Ferrari pair to take engine change penalties

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will take ten-place grid penalties this weekend after power unit changes.


Comment of the day

The forecast for this weekend doesn’t look encouraging for those in the stands:

I just hope it’s not so wet we just get a bunch of Safety Car running. I’m finally attending my first race, so I hope to see some racing.

I was initially bummed that I’ll only be there on race day, but now it doesn’t look like I’ll miss much. Indeed if the weather is as bad as the forecast suggests we may end up like Suzuka 2010 with qualifying Sunday morning.

I’ll be spraying a fresh coat of waterproofing on all my rain gear tonight.


Sebastien Buemi, Formula E, e-Dams, 2015

Formula E returns this weekend! Join us for live comments on the Beijing ePrix tomorrow morning from 8am UK time – the race starts at 9am.

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On this day in F1

Tony Brooks caused a stir by winning the non-championship Syracuse Grand Prix in Sicily 60 years ago today. The Connaught driver was followed home at the Sicilian circuit by no fewer than six Maserati 250Fs.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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74 comments on “Ferrari pair to take engine change penalties”

  1. I am very excited about the Ferrari engine change. If we get a dry qualy, hopefully they can take the fight to the Mercs! Either way, having the Ferrari’s have to fight through the mid-field on this track should prove entertaining.

    1. @clustr1 Ferrari changed the engines, but to the same spec of before. They haven’t used any tokens/upgraded it.

      1. Did they not do some reliability (non-token) upgrades? I only read a translated summary of the AMuS article though.

      2. Where do you get that from? Vettel says there is a performance update. That means tokens were used. They used 3 for Monza and are rumoured to have used the remaining 4 for Austin.

        For some reason Ferrari is always quiet on token use, but we’ll know after the race when FIA shows the updated token usage.

          1. Yet Vettel says:
            “So this should not be understood as a downside. If anything this is a very positive sign because we have been pushing very hard and the guys managed to make big steps in terms of performance.”

            Makes no sense to take a 10 place penalty for an engine that’s no faster than the one they have already anyway.

          2. @patrickl Fascinating. Though I’m not a fan of guessing things based on vague, context-free declarations by drivers.

            You’re welcome to post a link when/if it is explicitly stated that/how many tokens have been used.

            It would surely male the race a lot more interesting.

        1. With a wet weekend predicted in Austin and a Safety car likely, I wonder if this decision to take the penalty here might backfire on Ferrari.

    2. No dry running this weekend as the forcast is thunderstorms and rain on Friday and Saterday en heavy rain on Sunday due a Tropical storm near north Mexico.

  2. I think Vettel wants to cast his mind back to Singapore 2012 when Button damn near rear ended him. Until a rule clarifies not to do something that can give you a competitive advantage it will be done.

    Like cutting curbs at Spa, or having a car with a spring loaded front wing to circumvent ride height rules… oh wait that was never within the rules they just got away with it until they were caught red handed.

    1. I too thought of Singapore 2012. He isn’t wrong though. Mercedes does back up the field, especially Hamilton drives very slowly if Rosberg is ahead. The FIA should be more firm in managing this.

      1. Agreed. Does anyone remember the 2007 Japanese GP? Hamilton-Webber-Vettel. Vettel rear-ended Webber and got a penalty, later on it was removed because it turns out Hamilton was driving in an inappropriate manner during the safety car period. 8 years later, same thing happens again.

        1. Ironically, in the end that was one of the things that cost Hamilton the title, as two cars that would have finished ahead of Raikkonen in that race were eliminated.

    2. It’s actually always been their plan and looked at positively it’s good because it’s always been their plan and it’s good as it’s always been their plan and it’s a good plan looked at positively, so that’s clear then.

      1. @hohum Obviously.

        1. @keithcollantine – Surely you meant ‘For sure’?

    3. Vettel was warned once for not keeping the right distance when lined up behind the safety car. Later he did it again (making room so Webber and he could make a pitstop on the same lamp) and he got penalized for it. Swearing while he was fulfilling his driving-through penaly that he had done nothing wrong.

    4. Until a rule clarifies not to do something that can give you a competitive advantage it will be done.

      I remember when Mercedes were running very slow formation laps during part of last season that the subject was discussed in the drivers briefings with Charlie Whiting. There were reports then that there is indeed a rule and that the stewards can take action if a driver drives excessively slowly or erratically. The lead driver can and should be allowed to control the pace and is expected to bunch up the field before arriving at the grid or ready for a restart, but they do also have a responsibility to the rest of the field.

      I would not be surprised if the subject comes up again this weekend in the drivers briefing. Last year the Mercedes drivers did drive “faster” formation laps after the discussions, probably because they knew that these laps were under scrutiny.

  3. Whilst I have little sympathy for the position RBR has gotten itself into I am enjoying the schadenfreude of seeing Renaults apparent plan of having RBR test their engine developments for 2016 falling apart because the 2015 engines have not only lacked power but also reliability. Annual report: Must try harder.

    1. I am not even sure Renault was ever expecting RBR to run the engine @hohum. For Renault it was enough to use as many tokens as they could and build a solid foundation to built on for next year. Apparently the engine might not even be more powerfull right now, because its design was done with other changes for next year in mind and without them it won’t be running to its full potential.

      Or maybe its just about Renault showing RBR that they CAN make progress if they are left to just get on with it.

  4. Wow Alonso has used 10 engines in 17 races, that’s actually worse than what the 2005 regulations allowed (1 engine for two weekends)… crazy

    1. yeah, pretty soon Keith will have to invent a new colour just to keep track of Hond’s engine parts… and, worst than that, Renault is not really that far behind!

    2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      23rd October 2015, 4:29

      @mantresx at least McLaren are #makinghistory hahahaha!!!

      1. indeed, record setting year for the team with their amount of engine penalties @omarr-pepper, @mantresx!

    3. To think that Mclaren would improve their times by 2.5 seconds and improve the ridiculous reliability, is asking for miracle. Funny part is that even if Mclaren found 2.5 secs a lap, they would still be behind 2015 Mercedes’ time. That’s how sad the current state of affairs at mclaren and honda are

      1. @todfod Depends what happens when they fix the turbo compressor for 2016. The Power Unit was about 70% of the difference to Mercedes at Silverstone. They are confident the car is a bit better than last years, so that with a Mercedes engine, they would be battling Williams most weeks and ahead on tracks that suit them specifically.

        But, the Honda ICE is not as good as Mercedes, so it’s fair to say they could easily halve the gap, and after that, it’ll be a long slog to regain ground, from the same position as 2014. Conclusion: Honda needed one more year to be fully ready.

        1. Conclusion: Honda needed one more year to be fully ready.


          Honda should have been in the sport one year earlier

          1. @todfod True, like the new teams of 2010, they will always be playing catch up. If those teams had a good year plus more to prepare, they could have been more on the pace at the start of 2009’s new rule set.

  5. Vettel’s comment on Mercedes formation lap in Russia reminded me of the whole debacle regarding Japan 2007.

    1. Or Hungary 2010

  6. Thanks again for recommending Tony Brooks’ autobiography Keith, it was a very interesting insight into the period.

  7. For the first time and engine penalty has me excited. Will be interesting to see what that brings to Ferrari.

    The upgrades have been coming thick and fast for Ferrari this year mainly on the Engine side of things.

    Forza Ferrari!

  8. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    23rd October 2015, 4:28

    Isn’t that 10 place grid penalty what definitely seals the race and the WDC for Hamilton long before it starts? I’m a Seb fan but I don’t understand the optimism about the penalty, especially this weekend.

    1. The idea is that here its possible to overtake if you are fast and good enough @omarr-pepper. Also, a more powerfull engine will bring a significant boost in performance with the long backstraight.

      Vettel will need a few points to keep the championship fight going, but he himself already said that is not their focus this year.

    2. Lewis is being handed the WDC on a platter – much like his last two seasons. What’s so shocking? A trained monkey could win in the W06

      1. @johanness

        So was Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Vettel and all the others who won championships in dominant cars tainted?

        You say a trained monkey could win in the W06, so the obvious question now is, why hasn’t Rosberg done so?…… After all he’s viewed has the most intelligent and cerebral driver on the grid. So are you saying that he’s dumber than a ‘trained monkey’?

        It always fascinates me that whenever it comes to anything Lewis accomplishes, the goal post then gets moved further by you and those who would do anything to pour disdain over what he has done. Even though we have seen the very same thing from drivers in the bygone era.

        To win in any sport, you need to have the best of everything, not equipment that’s par, but the best.

        1. I don’t think Hamilton has been singled out in this way to a greater extent than when, say, Vettel won his 2011 and 2013 titles.

          1. To be honest I’m not sure any driver could have won in the RB of 2011 and 2013. Webber managed to only finish third in the championship in those cars…

        2. It always fascinates me that whenever it comes to anything Lewis accomplishes, the goal post then gets moved further by you and those who would do anything to pour disdain over what he has done. Even though we have seen the very same thing from drivers in the bygone era.

          I always find it funny Hamilton fans act like it’s only with Hamilton that this happens whilst they are very happy to do so towards other drivers…

          1. You quote my comment, but somehow miss the meaning.

        3. I’d say Mansell is a better example than those 4, who were all at the top on pure pace, and won titles with competition or not the fastest car. Mansell came close, but in the end needed the ’92 Williams to get that WDC. Maybe a modern comparison would be Webber?

      2. Just not a monkey named Nico.

      3. No they could not. Very good club races would be well down the grid in that Merc so would many race instructors, please go to a circuit for a training day and see how good these guys are and even they would be mid pack in that Merc if they could even sustain a decent pace for a race distance. Hamilton is a deserving champion as they all are, I am not a huge fan of his as I like Ferrari not drivers but he wins he deserves it.

        1. Totally agreed. I often say at club races, don’tlaugh at the driver in last place, because he’s still beating you and me.

      4. Is that why Rosberg is coming 3rd?

        1. I still see him finishing second, which is better than what Webber achieved in 2011/2013.

          1. But then Rosberg isn’t a designated “number 2 driver” like Webber was after his 2010 mutiny.

          2. @patrickl

            But then Rosberg isn’t a designated “number 2 driver” like Webber was after his 2010 mutiny.

            What a bunch of nonsense.

          3. Oh sorry, of course Webber just forgot how to drive from one season to the next. Nonsense indeed.

    3. @omarr-pepper Well at least we get to see him fighting through the field, in any case we’ll see a mixed grid anyway because of the weather.

    4. @omarr-pepper, from Vettel’s point of view, he knows that it is more of a question of when, not if, Hamilton wraps up the title this year. The upgrade package that Ferrari are bringing for this race should feed into their development programme for 2016, however – so I think that Vettel is content to sacrifice a chance of a title that is already effectively gone this year in preparation for a crack at the title in 2016, when Ferrari might finally be able to bring its financial resources to bear.

      1. Yep exactly. 2015 is over. Ferrari are just being smart, unlike a certain other team.

    5. Ferrari is so much faster than the other cars that they usually end up on the same spot at the end of the race anyway. perhaps Williams would be a struggle, but even those they are passing with relative ease the last few races (or at least get close enough to run into them).

      This engine should last for 4 races and if it gives them enough of a boost they might even have a better chance of winning a race. Realistically that’s all they can hope for anyway.

      Of course it’s never over until it’s over, but Hamilton not scoring 9 points in the remaining 4 races is a bit of a stretch.

  9. To be honest, I’ve been to the Malaysian GP six times in my life, Japan 2007 and China 2009 and I can quite safely say that there is no greater joy than watching a wet race, especially changeable conditions. In the 2012 race, I could see driver struggling and going off track through the middle sector; it looked like a river. But I was sitting at Turn 1, wondering why they weren’t on slicks. And watching the cars wrestling through corners in the wet is just fantastic. I should be glad of a wet race personally if I was attending a race, although to get to and from the stands may a pain in the ***.

    1. I’ve been standing in the rain on a muddy hill in Belgium watching the race and I do have to say I enjoyed watching a dry race a lot better :)

      1. @patrickl Well, in the grandstands, you get shelter, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem from there. In fact, if you don’t mind a bit of a light spray, you can get 5 seats at the front row for yourself (everyone usually clear out quite quickly).

  10. Willem Cecchi (@)
    23rd October 2015, 7:27

    By taking the penalties now, Ferrari give themselves a better shot at a win in the final three rounds if the Mercedes drivers might need to use a new engine.

  11. Scrolling down and seeing that Renault livery and carshape, my instinct said mid-2000s F1 title winner! Needed a double take to see it was a Formula E car! Beijing should be an interesting start to season two, with development kicking in..

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      23rd October 2015, 10:27

      Unfortunately it looks like Renault e.DAMS have gone and done a Merc by looking at the first session of practice.

      Looks like Rosberg wont be the only Nico finishing second in the best car this year…

  12. @fullcoursecaution So that’s where Renault spent their money ;) No wonder Ghosn wants to pull out of F1 and focus fully on Formula E. They’ll get the Mercedes effect, even if in a smaller championship. On that note – I take it the cars running last year’s specs are gonna be miles behind, that’s a shame for Robin Frijns.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      23rd October 2015, 13:44

      I still hope Robin’s talent shines through, at least in the early rounds while the big teams struggle with their new tech @fastiesty, and Simona’s also.

      And I’m really hoping Citroen produce a DS Virgin car worthy of their lineup. Another year of DiGrassi / Buemi / Vergne milk float fighting sounds like just the ticket for the cold Saturday nights.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        23rd October 2015, 13:50

        I think there are going to be a ton of DNFs at the start of the year so the ones using last year’s equipment need to get their points scored early before the other teams start to become reliable.

  13. Why is Vettel crying? He’s the master of doing anything he can get away with. Including the very thing he’s crying about here.


    1. Can we stop with with the ‘Vettel crybaby’ comments? The guy has two kids and he is the only one who has to balls to speak up about safety.

      1. Exactly! But look at the audience. It’s usually the Hammi-fan-drones who are seeing the writing on the wall. Their idol is being challenged more every race, and they can’t handle the competition from what is undoubtedly the hardest working and most level-headed competitor on the grid.

        1. Either that, or, as i said in the OP, Vettel is in no position to criticise. It’s upto you, really.

  14. petebaldwin (@)
    23rd October 2015, 13:45

    Ok so that guarantees either Vettel or Kimi DOTW. Prediction: Vettel will get on the podium and he’ll be DOTW for a “great recovery drive.”

    1. Ha, ha, yeah. That’s usually how it works.

      Or sometimes not even that much effort is required. Perez started in P7, 4 cars ahead of him drop out which puts him P3 and bingo he’s DOTW.

      1. Bit over simplified there are many nuances as to why the majority of voters gave it to him. We could do this with anything, a great football goal is just kicking a bag of air into a net. Luckily Bernie has not found out about F1 Fanatic DOTW as it is democratic and he would stop this and tell us who was DOTW.

        1. DOTW is not so much democratic as it is useless.

          Really, making up places in the race is the best way to end up high on the DOTW. Doesn’t matter if the driver makes a single overtake or everybody just drops out in front of him. Even when the driver fumbled in Q2.

          Another good trick is to finish the last stint on the softest compound and overtake some cars that you wouldn’t have been behind if you used the normal strategy anyway.

          Or driving in a car that is especially suited to a particular track. Most voters don’t understand this and assume the driver all of a sudden found some untapped speed.

          To be honest even team bosses and F1 journalists suffer from that lack of insight.

        2. It’s useless because most people just vote for the ‘feel good’ story, not the actual performance.

  15. Gwez, vettel penalty brings Ham closer to title… Doh. 9 points more than vettel… And they would need an engine penalty anyhow soon?

    They are working on next year like they should for last 4 months… Potentially race win this season. Probably they did simulations, saw race win wont happen.. Lets start from back put engine through paces amd do a great show.

    Maybe RBR will take penalty aswell.. Would be nice…

    That being said, if engine is much better they have awesome chance if rain strikes.

  16. the FIA is ruining the sport with all these rules and restrictions; four engines for an ENTIRE season?!!??!! it affects all teams and I think is an impossible rule restriction with the physicality the engines go through.

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