Teams agree to fifth engine for 2015

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull’s Christian Horner says all ten teams have already agreed to increase the maximum engine use limit this season from four to five.


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F1 to agree on a fifth engine for 2015, says Christian Horner (Sky)

"We unanimously agreed on it (the fifth engine) in Malaysia. That was all the teams, including Bernie Ecclestone, so it only has to formally go through the strategy group and permission to be signed, and that can be done by fax vote."

Ferrari threat won't make Mercedes rush F1 engine upgrades - Lauda (Autosport)

"Mercedes will not rush bringing in upgrades for its Formula 1 engine, despite the resurgent Ferrari having dramatically reduced its power deficit, says Niki Lauda"

Maurizio Arrivabene pushed Ferrari to produce a car to suit Kimi Raikkonen (ESPN)

"Raikkonen struggled throughout 2014, pointing to a lack of grip and feedback from the car's front end as the main reason. Arrivabene arrived at the team following the final race of 2014 and said he quickly set about asking for a car that would suit Raikkonen's driving style."

Horner annoyed at 'compromised' car (F1i)

"We are definitely making progress with the car. (Bahrain) is probably our most competitive weekend. The problem is we are running the car in such a compromised state that we are not in an optimum window with the car."

Hamilton ends 20-year relationship with Arai (

"Lewis Hamilton appears to have compromised his 20-year relationship with helmet supplier Arai by swapping to Bell."

Auto #10 (FIA)

"The latest issue of the FIA's international journal is available to view for free."


Comment of the day

With names like Vettel, Kubica, Sainz, Magnussen and Ricciardo all having been made in Formula Renault 3.5, the championship is considered every bit a proving ground to would-be F1 hopefuls as GP2. But does it deserve such a reputation? @rjoconnell isn’t so sure…

I enjoy FR3.5, but it’s just as hit-or-miss as an F1 feeder category as GP2 has been.

For one thing, most of the series’ top exports to F1 are former Red Bull Junior Team members, from Vettel to Sainz. Their backing of the series is an overwhelming factor in the series’ prestige and without them, they’d be in trouble.

Sainz is also the only former FR3.5 champion on the F1 grid now with KMag discarded like a used tissue – compared to five active GP2 champions in F1, one of whom (Maldonado) used FR3.5 as a stepping stone just to get to GP2. So did 2008 champ Van der Garde. Three times in a row the champions of the series (Aleshin, Wickens, Frijns) were all passed up for F1 promotion the next year over the runner-up that year (Ricciardo, Vergne, Bianchi).

Once you get past the elite level of talent in FR3.5, even going back before the SL points, there was a steep drop-off of talent and quite a handful of guys who had no business being up this high on the ladder except to fill seats. I think Philo Paz Armand has a cool name and he seems like an alright young man, but I don’t think he’s going to end up being vastly superior to Daniel de Jong on the other side of the fence.

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On this day in F1

Heikki Kovalainen won the first ever GP2 race on this day ten years ago at Imola. Here’s the start of the race which began with Nicolas Lapierre on pole position ahead of Giorgio Pantano.

And on this day 20 years ago Emerson Fittipaldi took the final victory of his Champ Car career at Nazareth. He snatched the victory from Eddie Cheever in the final laps while under fierce pressure from Jacques Villeneuve:

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71 comments on “Teams agree to fifth engine for 2015”

  1. Good news at last for RedBull, with a 5th. engine they might almost make it to the summer break without grid penalties. Fingers crossed.

    1. lol, at this rate they may need at 15 engine cap.

    2. The 2016 regulations should allow for either 20 engines per season or 0 engines per season, because anything else is missing the point of F1 altogether. The unit cost of each motor-package is negligible compared to the development cost, and, to further compound my point, as with any production model, the unit cost to a customer goes down with increased volume.

      A one-for-one engine-to-race ratio would allow all teams to work on a performance basis throughout the weekend without over-concern for reliability, and the development process would operate in a parallel fashion (saving the hypothecated hundreds-of-millions now wasted on making motors as robust as truck engines at the cost of performance). And, clearly, it is not working, because they are exploding anyway. Soon (once 4 or 5 blocks have lunched themselves) there is nothing with which to replace them, so we are witnessing the fashioned farce of major teams having used all of their engines by the fourth or fifth race.

      The current regulatory cul-de-sac is the worst of all worlds and a lose-lose scenario.

      This year could be blown by blowing engines – pardon the pun. McLaren, for instance, once it gets past a critical point where the performance gap won’t close quickly enough for it to score significant points, will soon have no reason to worry about the 5-engine limit, and could, if it so wished, install new motors at each race as test units. That will not be good for McLaren’s grid position, nor for the sport’s strength-in-depth, nor for the career of Alonso, but it will be good for McLaren’s long-term future.

      This is lose-win.

      With deregulated unit allocations, all teams would have a reason to go hell-for-leather in Qualifying and the Race, and an irresistible motive to play freely with avant-garde and creative strategies, knowing that, even if an engine pops, the damage is limited to just one event and the risk may still have been worth it.

      This restores the puristic excitement that F1 is now lacking and does nothing to harm the budgetary concerns at all. Engineers and teams will, in fact, spend smaller net sums while focusing on pure performance, and, comparatively, need to spend hardly a thing on the afterthought of reliability metrics.

      This is win-win.

      Add into the mix the necessary return of blown diffusers (allowing low-speed ground effect that provides vital traction for the hugely torquey engine delivery), then just add wider tyres, and you have a race on your hands.

      1. Your aware of course that it’s not just a cost issue, the engines are supposed to be reliable. If I’m buying a car then the engine needs to last more than one Grand Prix length.

        1. @smiggs – That’s why you have Le Mans & other endurance events that allow a wider range of technologies to be implemented to their cars. F1 is supposed to be a sprint, not a half-baked endurance series.

  2. Wise words by Niki Lauda Mercedes should not rush their engine upgrades. Sticking to their schedule is important as rushing things can lead to mistakes being made. Also it is important to make sure the parts work and are fully tested.

    While Ferrari may gain an advantage with their engine upgrades, they also may not gain one. Even if Ferrari do gain an advantage Mercedes can counter those with upgrades of their own, so Mercedes are still in the driver’s seat so to speak.

    1. its not like Ferrari are rushing them either, they are sticking to their schedule and are said to have found another 20-30hp with 5 tokens.

  3. This quotation cracked me up:
    “‘Sources suggest that Arai’s Japanese management regard that decision as a tipping point, and that the company can no longer support Hamilton. In addition, his comments about lack of development did not go down well. One source said: “The ‘undeveloped’ helmet won the last five world championships…”

    Funny to think about a helmet being responsible for 5 straight world championships! (Especially with Seb having enough trouble getting credit for four of them as merely the driver…)

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      23rd April 2015, 6:40

      Bad enough he had a Newey car, but an Arai helmet too? Pfft, Taki Inoue could have won four titles with those…

    2. And now we know why Kimi was really so fast on his medium tyre stint.

  4. HELMETS ! I suppose that if you want to have different hemets for practice, qualifying and racing like SV seems to like you could be using 60 or so helmets a year and getting them free from Arai might be a good deal, now however 1 helmet will be all that’s needed (unless you crash) and a paid sponsorship deal seems entirely appropriate, well done Lewis, you will be retired for a long time.

    1. MB (@muralibhats)
      23rd April 2015, 1:18

      A couple of Full stops would help!

      1. Sorry, S.V. , better?

        1. MB (@muralibhats)
          23rd April 2015, 17:09

          Not Actually! But its ok.

    2. Bell helmets are among the ugliest in the sport, they gotta pay you a lot to wear that

    3. It looks like Fernandos helmet has some kind of

    4. They should have to use 2 different helmets during the race. One a little worse than the other but doesn’t disintegrate in the wind as quickly.

      1. Ahahahaha classic!!

  5. Well.. Quite a big fuss about a helmet. They are talking about it as if helmets are the car chassis..

    1. They actually are an integral part of the aerodynamics of the car. We spend a lot of time simulating the shape and the venturis created by helmets.

  6. So Ferrari can design a decent car in 3 months? Thats pretty good going considering the couldnt design a decent one in 5 years!
    I find this hard to believe. The design of this car would have started early last year. To say that he pushed the engineers to built a car to suit Kimi is a bit cheeky. Kimi likes to “feel” the car, and other drivers (ahem Fernando) dont?
    Its great that Ferrari have finally come to the party…now they need to stay at the party.

    1. agreed this ‘the car now suits kimi’ is rubbish. Its faster so he feels better with it so is in turn going faster, its a simple as that. Kimi whole career backs this theory up.

      The car has a fair bit of understeer which is a fernando alonso trait not Kimi. If Fernando was in that car he would still be well ahead, perhaps not as far as last year but enough not to be losing any sleep.

      1. Fernando also struggle in the oversteery Mclaren, what do you think?

      2. Sure, Alonso would be ahead by 0,6 sec.

      3. There is a really good video detailing the benefits of the suspension on the SF15-T Vs the F14T on youtube by Enrique Scalabroni.

      4. It has been shown in the past that Kimi’s performance depends on whether or not the car suits him or not, and it’s not just down to understeer. The 2007 and 2008 Ferraris were both understeery, but while he won the championship and outperformed Massa in the 2007 Ferrari, he was soundly beaten by Massa and struggled with the 2008 Ferrari. In 2007, Kimi was actually struggling to adapt from the 2006 Michelins to the 2007 Bridgestones for the first half of the season, so it wasn’t his finest season overall, but given that his performance in this season was still significantly better than in 2008, this suggests that his problems in 2008 had an extremely significant impact on his performance. The reason for this was the new front suspension system on the 2008 Ferrari, which Kimi couldn’t adapt to, as he needs a front end with “bite”. Another example of the front suspension being critical to Kimi’s performance was in 2005, when he had McLaren build him a completely different front suspension system to Montoya’s to suit his driving style. The 2015 Ferrari, as has been pointed out, has a new suspension system which has seemingly greatly helped Kimi. I have had a suspicion that Kimi’s struggles in 2014 were very similar to his struggles in 2008, as he had the same problem: struggling with a lack of front end bite. If we make the crude assumption that driver’s abilities do not change over time, we can see that Raikkonen’s performance relative to Alonso in ’14 was extremely consistent with his performance relative to Massa in ’08:

        >In 2008, Raikkonen scored 77% of Massa’s points (75-98).
        >In 2013, Massa scored 46% of Alonso’s points (112-242).
        >In 2014, Raikkonen 34% of Alonso’s points (55-161).

        If we used 2008 and 2013 to estimate Kimi’s performance relative to Alonso in 2014, we would get: 46 x 0.77 = 35.6% (extremely close to the 34% of Alonso’s points Raikkonen ultimately scored, suggesting that Raikkonen vs. Alonso in ’14 was very consistent with Raikkonen vs. Massa in ’08).

        Talk about how Massa’s performance changed after his head injury if you want, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Also, doctors, and indeed Massa himself, have said that there’s no reason why his head injury would have affected his performance on track, apart from possibly psychological reasons. Massa said that he has had many examinations, and all the doctors have said that there is no evidence of anything that would have affected his performance. Also, if you split each year into halves, early 2010 (the first time he drove in F1 again after the accident) was actually one of his strongest performances relative to Alonso.

      5. Yes, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that if it were Alonso driving in the Ferrari he would have won Bahrain.

        1. I don’t think so.

      6. Actually Kimi’s sensitivity to the car was very clear in 2008. He was well on his way to picking up the WDC that year. Until first Ferrari killed his Monaco GP at the start, Hamilton punted him out of the Canada GP and then for France Ferrari had developed the car away from Raikkonen and towards Massa.

        Raikkonen couldn’t set a proper fast quali lap in that car and he wasn’t much of a threat during the races either.

        They couldn’t get the car fixed for Raikkonen. So they gave him back the original setup for Spa and he promptly got pole again.

        Of course by then he was so far back he took too many risks and crashed a lot and in the latter races Raikkonen had to give his race position to Massa.

    2. yeah, its more or less that after last years testing they must have realised that the car was junk, and while Alonso could cope with it enough to do with it what he showed last year, for Kimi it was even harder to make up the deficit, so they probably worked all year to (finally?) make a car that was handling well again @jaymenon, and yes, it helps Kimi, but surely Vettel is also relieved to have that and Alonso would surely do very well with it too.

      1. oops forgot to add the 10 at the end @jaymenon10

  7. I find it totally absurd that after just 3 months of 4-engines-per-season rules, we have already decided to revert it back to 2014 rules.

    You’d believe such a top sport would take their time to discuss and agree on the rules for following years and work around it… but certainly, they are not good at planning. Surely they all said “yes, sure, 4 engines, great for costs” back then, and now they don’t want that because reasons.

    As someone said the other day, we were discussing some rules here, and someone replied me saying: “they are doing it for costs reasons”. F1 never works for reducing costs.

    Another 20 very expensive engines are going in… keep them coming. 1000 bhp, more development, sure… everything is okay in F1’s world.

    1. I wouldn’t be too sure of it (the “agreement” on the 5th engine) really being there already @fer-no65. Why does Horner bring this up after yet another blowout and a couple of weeks after that discussion?
      He also mentions that its not planned to be discussed or voted on in the meeting AFTER Barcelona and that he thinks it should be fax voted. But we know from Kaltenborn as well as Fernley, that they were open to the idea, but only for FP1-2 runs and with question marks over cost of that extra engine.
      So in reality what we have here is Horner putting some pressure out, making his voice heard and try to hurry everyone up a bit, because the idea is received positively, but details seem to still be open and nothing is quite decided upon yet.

      1. @bascb I’d agree – it seems to be a Horner PR drive possibly with a view to making anyone who publicly opposes a full 5th engine look like they are blocking the will of the majority (surely all of the Merc teams plus Sauber would be against this, plus any team who might benefit from a Red Bull penalty at some point). If all teams have agreed that the 5th engine is for anything other than FP running then I’d be surprised at this point in the season.

    2. It really annoys me how rules are changed so arbitrarily in F1 and at all times it feels like the rules are being changed for the benefit of 1 or 2 teams. Let’s say Red Bull or Honda hadn’t burnt through their engines but Sauber or Force India had, would they even discuss changing the rules to help them? Even though @bascb suggests that Kaltenborn and Fernley are open to the idea, I would think that if they were the proposers they might not be received with as much openness.

      1. Its hard to be openly seen opposing something that is pitched to “solve” teams doing minimal running on the fridays to save their engines @mahavirshah. But you are right that this being RBR, who are tight with Bernie, makes it easier to bring the proposal up, and I doubt McLaren would be against it!

    3. F1 is not a real sport. Sports are open to everyone and F1 is closed. Also real sports don’t change the rules every other Tuesday. When F1 settles down and stops with the pointless tinkering (helmet change ban?) then and maybe then I’ll see it as a real sport. F1 is just pro wrestling on wheels.

      1. @tiomkin.
        I think there you are wrong. This is exactly what makes F1 so interesting. It is all out team battle to win. Team principles how have to fight to get the regs in there favor. Designers how have to design the best car to the regs his team principle could get them and the driver and track side team to get the best out of the car the designer designed. That is what makes F1 so great sport. At the end the race is only the show piece where you see ever thing comes together. If the team principle was good enough to get the other teams to agree to a rule changes that will benefit his team then he did a great job. F1 is a sport where there is no inch given, i will even go so far as to call it a cut throude sport. Where if you are week you will die.
        This is way it is for me the best sport on the planet. Every thing the team does from top to bottom has consensuses.

    4. Unless I have missed something here, I think Mercedes and Ferrari have used 1 engine so far this year (or they are both just started using their second engine). So I see no reason for them to agree to a 5th engine (unless of course it is just used for mid-season testing and practice sessions, which they may agree to).

      Heck i doubt manor and Sauber would agree to this given their financial state and the exorbitant costs of an engine.

      1. @dstaplet13 I completely see what you are saying, but bear in mind that while it is all going well for them now, it could put a strain on them later on in the season. Also, say Ferrari, for example, really did want to have fifth, I think they could easily come up with an agreement with them to make it less expensive, or even free.

  8. This is why I said a few days ago that this Arrivabene guy sounds just like Montezemolo. I mean, there are at least 600 people in Ferrari who know much better than him, how to design an F1 car and what to take into consideration when designing one.

    He said to make suit Kimi…
    No, they were making a car to suit Lucas di Grassi, but thankfully, Arrivabene arrived and saved the day.

    “I said ok, I’ll work together with you guys, come on.”
    Yeah, when you finish your shift and go home, I’ll take over in the windtunnel and keep working on the car. I mean, how much different can it be from flogging tobacco?

    And as an icing on the cake, you gotta love those “quotes” from Kimi, which sounds nothing like anything you’ve ever heard him say.

    And ESPN is supposed to be specialized in sports, not just another news site…

    Arrivabene seems so pompous now that he basically lucked into a fast car. The one thing he did right was to make a clean cut and let James Allison build the team from scratch, but he had nothing to do with this year’s car, since the work on it probably started a more than a year ago and it was going to be designed by Allison, no matter if Arrivabene lead the team or Domenicalli.

    It’s also funny how he is distancing himself from the pre-2015 team just because they had one bad year 2014. What they’ve achieved since 2008 is still a lot more than he has achieved so far.

    1. Ferrari had an off season direction change. This is widely known. Did they redesign 100% of the car? Obviously not. Is it possible that under Arrivabene direction, the design team was tasked to abandon design principals/philosophies of the past 6 yrs (none of which would have suited Kimi’s style) and pivot in a direction more in line with Kimi? Absolutely. This pivot was backed by a +100m dollar injection of cash for the F1 program, blessed by none other than Marichionne. 100m buys you a lot of direction change and these guys arent going to be happy chasing titles in 3yrs.

    2. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
      23rd April 2015, 4:13

      But I find hard to believed he “lucked” into this fast car. You can see how Pat Symonds reestructured Williams and the results started coming right away. So a manager who is brilliant in applying modern efficiency techniques (which I’m just supposing Arrivabene is, but it looks like he is, for the results) can really tip the balance on Ferrari’s favor

      1. The thing is @omarr-pepper, Arrivabene was not the person who initiated the reforms of Ferrari’s technical department.

        Reforms had already started at the tail end of Domenicali’s time at Ferrari – for example, it was Domenicali who promoted Allison to his role as Technical Director in 2013 – and the bulk of the changes in Ferrari’s technical team actually came under Mattiacci’s brief tenure.
        It was Mattiacci who overhauled their engine and hybrid power development teams and made changes to both their tyre analysts and aerodynamics development team too. It’s perhaps notable that one area where Ferrari have made major strides is in their powertrain department, where Mattiacci made the largest changes.

        Yes, it may be the case that Arrivabene made further changes after he arrived, but the bulk of the larger changes actually pre-date his arrival at Ferrari at the end of November.

      2. @OmarR-Pepper Yes Pat symonds restructured the team, but there progress was largely due to a timely engine change leaping them ahead of the Ferrari and Renault powered teams. As you can see from this year, as the Ferrari engine improved so Williams fell down the pecking order and you can be sure that once Renault and Honda have competitive engines, Williams will be back to fighting for the minor points and to be 5th fastest team.

        1. @asanator Regarding Williams, don’t be too sure about that. The engine leap helped but they still had to have a decent chassis to compete with Red Bull and they still got pole in Austria. This year they have stepped back a little with Ferrari moving forward but they are a long way ahead of Force India and Lotus, both running Mercedes engines.

          1. @strontium yes they were battling with Redbull who were making the best out of a poor engine whilst Williams were just about beating them with the field leading engine. Relatively the Redbull chassis was MILES ahead of the Williams one.

          2. @strontium No doubt the Red Bull chassis was better, but it doesn’t mean that theirs was by any means bad.

          3. Ah oops that should have been to @asanator !!

    3. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
      23rd April 2015, 4:15

      @biggsy and that about Pat is not my invention, I saw it on Sky, how he decided to gather distant offices, which were originally on different floors, and setting them side by side, so they could share direct input.

      1. Considering that the design of 2015 car must’ve been started last year , he did in fact lucked into a fast car… He looks like doing a fine job but the one thing I don’t like to see is the way he seems eager to take credit for everything

        1. And I have to thank all the guys at Maranello, every single guy at Maranello, that they were able in three months not only to work on engine development but to work in every single part.”

          How is this taking credit for everything? Also we might have not fully understood the guy’s demeanor in just 4 races time. English isn’t his first language and he could have meant it differently as well.

          Only thing puzzling me is what on earth were they developing all the while if it took Arrivabene at late December to align it towards Kimi’s preference (~Vettel’s as well).

          1. Yes, that rear wheel steering might have been problematic.

          2. @hohum I dont think I quite get what you are conveying.

          3. the fact that he said “in three months” is what makes HIM take credit for it, because that happens to be the period he was there. I’m sure the engineers were working on that before he arrived. ..

          4. @evered7,

            what on earth were they developing

            Oh, I was just speculating.

    4. Yeah, when you finish your shift and go home, I’ll take over in the windtunnel and keep working on the car. I mean, how much different can it be from flogging tobacco?


    5. It is an unwritten F1 rule that those we don’t like luck in good cars but those we do like always did it on talent alone.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd April 2015, 9:50

        we’re lucky a person with talent never wrote down that rule ;) @xtwl

    6. I read somewhere that when Arrivabene and Vettel arrived they had to change a few things to suit both SV and Kimi, I think that’s what Arrivabene is alluding to

    7. You’re talking about Ferrari as if it’s North Korea.

  9. You had me at ‘Teams agree’… it’s not every day you see that!

    1. On second thoughts, it’s a) “teams to agree” b) Sky c) Horner says…

      1. exactly @bullfrog, its Horner pushing / uttering wishfull thinking here

  10. No matter what Horner does he can’t get the benefit of doubt. I thought they had all agreed before Horner said that

  11. Sainz is also the only former FR3.5 champion on the F1 grid now with KMag discarded like a used tissue – compared to five active GP2 champions in F1, one of whom (Maldonado) used FR3.5 as a stepping stone just to get to GP2.

    I’m not sure that using Maldonado as an example of GP2 producing better drivers than FR3.5 was the wisest course to take.

    1. That being said he is a race winner.

  12. I really like those GP2 cars from 05.

  13. The 5 engines will be few as well. :D

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