Verstappen expects ‘one second gain’ from year-old Ferrari

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen expects the 2015-specification Ferrari engine Toro Rosso will use this year should offer a one second per lap gain over the Renault power unit.

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On this day in F1

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59 comments on “Verstappen expects ‘one second gain’ from year-old Ferrari”

  1. RaceProUK (@)
    11th January 2016, 0:51

    Drat, why didn’t I think of the Konami Code?

    1. He missed the start. Hilarious nevertheless!

  2. I don’t know how Torro Rosso isn’t finding this switch to a year old Ferrari engine a step back, unless they are just trying to put a positive spin on the fact that Red Bull’s whining and thrashing around about Renault engine cost them a power unit, and now they have to use whatever they could find.
    I mean, if a year old Ferrari is that good, why didn’t Red Bull take it? Ferrari never refused supplying an old spec engine. And that’s really all you need to know. Red Bull knows that 2016 Renault is better than 2015 Ferrari.
    Torro Rosso really got shot in the foot by Red Bull.

    1. I mean, if a year old Ferrari is that good, why didn’t Red Bull take it?

      Because Red Bull & STR have different goals.

      Red Bull want to get back to winning races & championships & they believe the only way they can achieve that is to have a current year engine that is the same spec as what the factory team has at all times.
      Thats the thing your overlooking Red Bull were not simply after a Mercedes or Ferrari power unit, They wanted the same exact spec because fighting against Ferrari when Ferrari are an engine spec ahead puts Red Bull at a disadvantage that they don’t see as been correct. Taking a year old engine puts them in the same position in there view.

      STR don’t care about any of that, They just want the best engine they can get there hands on & given how the 2015 Renault is said to be 50bhp+ down on the Ferrari & that its unlikely that Renault will make that sort of gain they see a year old Ferrari engine as the best option for them in the mid-field.

      By the end of last season the Ferrari power unit was not that far off the Mercedes in terms of total power output, The Ferrari was perhaps a bit less drivable & not as efficient at harvesting energy but overall it wasn’t that far off so its a very good power unit to have & to be perfectly honest I think Red Bull were a bit silly in not taking it for a season.
      The Renault was a long way further behind in terms of both there ICU & there hybrid systems & given there inability to find much improvement to date I would be amazed if they find the sorts of gains to move ahead of the year old Ferrari power unit.

      1. Not to mention the significant improvement in reliability of the Ferrari PU over the Renault. If Max and Carlos enjoy more reliability in 2016, it means they will be in a position to score points more consistently. I would not be surprised to see this pair improve their points haul in 2016 just from reliability alone.

        1. And maybe in front of Red Bulls in some races… =)

      2. @gt-racer

        I agree with much of your post.

        However, please could you learn the difference between there, their and they’re? I know I’m going to sound like a complete pedant for mentioning it, but it’s difficult to read when you are wincing at every other sentence.

        The word you were looking for is “their” (of them or themselves), not “there” (in or at that place). See here for the difference.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          11th January 2016, 10:11

          @drmouse, you also could have picked:

          Thats the thing your overlooking Red Bull were not simply after a Mercedes or Ferrari power unit, They wanted…

          But most of us, including me, make spelling/grammar mistakes on this site. If only we had an edit button!
          I’m not too worried about it; ‘phonetic reading’ gets you to the true meaning of most comments!

          1. @coldfly True, and I know I’m being pedantic. It just happens to be one of my pet peeves, and it makes it harder to read a comment when there are errors which make you squirm.

            Also, once or twice would be a spelling/grammar mistake, which is easy enough to overlook. Use of “there” in place of “their” every time means they don’t know the difference, hence my suggestion to learn the difference.

    2. 2015 Ferrari engines is still better than 2014 Renault. So they guaranteed to improve this year. And like @gt-racer said STR goal is not to win championships, so for them if this engine going to help them fight better on mid-pack, that’s all they need.

      Also why it seems people like to think 2016 Ferrari engine will be miles better than 2015 version? Most likely it’s only going to be 0.2 – 0.3s faster and STR will still have realistic chance to fight with another Ferrari customer team (Sauber is a mess right now and Haas is unproven). Similary Mercedes gain will be smaller unless they still have an ace on their development sleeve. At worst, Ferrari could do a Renault and 2016 spec is actually worse than 2015 spec.

    3. I think STR believe they may beat their big brothers.

      1. I think it could well turn out to be a comparison not too much unlike 2008 …

    4. The other gain for STR is that the 2015 Ferrari is also more reliable that the Renault engine they suffered with in 2015. How it fares in comparison to the 2016 Renault power units remains to be seen. Should be interesting.

    5. Red Bull knows that 2016 Renault is better than 2015 Ferrari

      Nope, just because the 2016 Renault is the 2015 Renault and that was for sure worse than the 2015 Ferrari.

    6. @Biggsy – The assumption that 2016 Renault engine is better than 2015 Ferrari just because RB took the former is a big jump. It very well may be true from the start (let’s hope because otherwise RB is in bad shape) or as the season progresses, but we won’t know that until the testing/season gets underway.

      RB not wanting to take an old-spec engine is, in my opinion, almost entirely to do with not wanting to set a precedent. If they take one this year, that is all the big manufacturers will offer from here on out and that means RB will never win again. As it stands, “since the current F1 engine package was introduced for the 2014 season, a customer team – even those powered by Mercedes – has not won a grand prix.” (Autosport)

      I think offering old-spec engines in anything other than a last-minute emergency (e.g. Manor 2015) should be against the rules as it only makes it even more of a two-tier championship. I also think that the FIA/F1/whoever should make it mandatory that manufacturers can provide current-spec engines for at least 4 teams. And RB really needs to work hard with Renault to get a good engine or start developing its own with a new partner.

      1. @hobo, I would like to address the comment by Autosport that “since the current F1 engine package was introduced for the 2014 season, a customer team – even those powered by Mercedes – has not won a grand prix.”

        At the moment, we have had only two seasons, or 38 GP’s, under the new regulation package, which is still a very small number of races. Under the V8 era, the first win by a customer team did not occur until the third season of those regulations (Vettel’s win in the Italian GP), which was the 49th GP under those rules – even then, it was the only victory that season which came from a customer team (and the first time ever that any of Ferrari’s customers had ever won a race).

        In effect, there were only a handful of races which were ever won by teams which could have been considered as customer teams in that era – 1 for Toro Rosso in 2008, and 14 between Brawn and Red Bull in 2009 (Red Bull being upgraded to joint works status from 2010 onwards).

        Even then, that high number in 2009 was something of a fluke – Brawn was technically a customer team, but arose from the remains of the former Honda works team and the BGP-001 was developed with the resources of a manufacturer team, something that would be well beyond the means of most customers. Furthermore, given that Mercedes then went on to buy the team, it is questionable whether the relationship really was truly that of a normal customer and supplier, or whether Mercedes was providing assistance over and above what they would normally provide given their interest in purchasing the team.

        After that, the next win by a customer was Maldonado in 2012, with Kimi being the last driver for a non manufacturer team to win in 2013. All in all, there were 147 races under the V8 formula – taking a liberal interpretation of “customer team”, you end up with a total of 17 wins in that entire era, or about 11.6%.

        However, that figure is massively distorted by Brawn, which accounts for 8 of those wins (nearly half the total) and was not what would be considered to be a traditional customer team. Strip them out, and you have a figure of 9 wins from 139 races, giving a rate closer to 6.5%.

        Under those regulations, we could see multiple years pass between victories by customer teams – there were at least two stretches without customer teams winning that were longer in time than the current lack of customer victories, so it is not exactly surprising that is the case now.

        In effect, the actual likelihood of a “customer team” in the traditional sense of the term – an independent chassis developer that purchases an engine from a suppler, but only has the minimum amount of technical support from that supplier necessary to run the engine – is likely to be very low under whatever engine regulations are in place. A team that has true manufacturer backing – such as McLaren – is likely to be substantially wealthier, and therefore have better resources, than a true customer team (like, say, Sauber or Force India), and that advantage will extend into areas far beyond just engines.

  3. Last year’s Ferrari engine may be a second faster than the Renault, maybe even more than that, but relative to the competition, they are going backwards. The only teams which may potentially have worse engines than them are Red Bull and Renault, simply because it is underdeveloped. Renault will at least have chance to make huge gains throughout the season, Toro Rosso will be stuck for the entire year.

    1. How will they go backwards when the engine deficit is going to be much smaller all trough the year compared to last year?

      Last year they were much more on the back foot already at the beginning of the season and they received no updates which gained them any horsepower all season long. If Renault halves the gap with the late Ferrari ’15 engine during this season they are probably going to be thrilled (that would be 40/45bhp, because the Austin spec Ferrari engine was about 85bph better as the Renault engine).

      Last year the Mercedes and Ferrari customers only got one modest update (Canada spec) which was worth +0,1/0,2 seconds a lap, and if that happens again this season, no one at Toro Rosso would be losing any sleep over it.

    2. @strontium It probably not getting backwards if they can make a deal to get latest spec engine in 2017. After all Ferrari excuse is they can’t increase production with such late notice and there’s no reason why they can’t increase production next year if STR stay with them.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th January 2016, 6:14

      relative to the competition, they are going backwards.

      Max says himself: “I think we can make bigger steps then our close rivals.”
      Why wouldn’t we believe the guy? @strontium
      And we saw last year that in season development is worth next to nothing (e.g. 01-0.2sec for the Mercedes).

    4. It’s definitely not a step backwards. The 2015 Ferrari is better (by a long shot, in my opinion) than the 2015 Renault, making it a step forwards.

      The only thing to be seen is where it is relative to the 2016 engines. If the 2016 Renault is better than the 2015 Ferrari, they would have made a bigger step forward by sticking with Renault.

      1. @drmouse That’s exactly what I meant

        1. But can you count on it? Ferrari engine is reliable 1s faster the moment you sign contract…

          Renault needs to develop performance and reliability and then extend the advantage… Before it is better for TR.

          Also italisn team with italian engine…. That has to count for some crowd horswpower in Monza.

    5. I got the chance to watch some races via the onboard cameras fitted to the cars, and I came to the conclusion that maybe the Renault engine was superior to the Ferrari engine. I don’t know why the racing results didn’t show this, but I did read somewhere that Red Bull supplied their own hybrid system. I took some screen shots from a video of a race on 27th August, 2015, so I think they are from the previous GP. One screen shot is of one Red Bull driver traveling at 340 km/h, while there was a Mercedes engined car that traveled at 341 km/h at the same race, and I have an image of a Ferrari traveling at 336 km/h. These were straight line DRS assisted speeds, but one interpretation is there was little difference between a 2015 Mercedes engine and a 2015 Renault engine, and that they are slightly more powerful than a Ferrari engine. I know that isn’t what the media say, but that is what the video says.
      I don’t see how a the 2016 Renault engine could be inferior to the 2015 Ferrari engine because, as I said, my study of the on board camera video suggested the 2015 Renault engine was faster in a straight line than a the Ferrari 2015 engine.
      One important point is the hybrid system, and especially the MGU-H system supplies a lot of power, and that could be more important than the actual internal combustion engine.

      1. Speed traps don’t say anything. Top speeds are a result of engine power and drag. It’s well known that the Renault-powered teams used less wing to compensate for their power deficit, especially on medium-downforce tracks like Spa, so that’s why their top speeds were pretty good. They lost an awful lot of time in the twisty middle sector, though.

    6. I think Honda would be over the moon if their 2016 engine is even close to the Ferrari engine which finished the 2015 season. Last year they are saying they lost a second to Ferrari on the engine side and I doubt the Ferrari 2016 engine will be 1 second faster than their 2015 engine so they would have gained on Ferrari. I am expecting them to beat Red Bull this year.

      1. 1 video in one race on one straight and you come to that conclusion? Red Bull had to run very little wing to be competitive on the straight so it is impossible to compare on trap speeds at any given moment in time. They then were sub optimal in the corners. For the best idea of engine performance look at the Italian Grandprix when everyone runs with little wing.

    7. As mentioned further up the comments section, STR are not out to win championships but to train and nurture young drivers in the ways of F1. What STR need is a reliable engine to give their boys the maximumm millage they can get given the extremely limited real world track time they get with the current regs, that is exactly what they have in the 2015 Ferrari PU, it’s a bonus they have a half decent chassis which will allow their drivers to hone their wheel to wheel combat skills.

      However, what you stated about not having any kind of further development curve on the PU has got to be exactly the reason RedBull turned them down for the Big Bulls.

  4. I mean, if a year old Ferrari is that good, why didn’t Red Bull take it? Ferrari never refused supplying an old spec engine. And that’s really all you need to know. Red Bull knows that 2016 Renault is better than 2015 Ferrari.

    Does anyone know roughly how powerful the 2015 Ferrari engine really was towards the end of the year? I have heard that it was just about on par with Mercedes’ engine and anywhere from 50 to 80 bhp (depending on qualy or race mode) more powerful than Renault.

    In 2015, the average gap between Ferrari and Red Bull (excluding Austin, where it was raining, and Ferrari were on a dry setup) was seconds 0.750 seconds. The biggest the gap got was (unsurprisingly) at Monza, an enormous 2.165 seconds.

    Not many people here seem to believe that Ferrari actually has a better chassis than Red Bull, so that would make the Ferrari engine perhaps an average of 1.0 seconds/lap faster in qualifying.

    Will Renault’s 2016 engine be that much better compared to their 2015 engine? Renault themselves have said that even with unlimited tokens, they wouldn’t be able to catch Mercedes as they are running out of ideas. They also made the least amount of progress throughout the year.

    1. @kingshark It’s very simple;

      2016 Renault engine = 2015 Renault engine

      That is why the 2015 Ferrari engine will be a massive gain for them. If they create a decent chassis like they did last season and both drivers perform great again they’ll be the surprise of the season.

      1. Yeah, 2016engine is likeley to be 2015 engine with issues ironed out, and maybe slight ICE improvement.

        That wont get you 100bhp.

    2. @kingshark That’s a pretty neat take on the topic. I thoroughly agree.

  5. and then I had three so-so races at the end. I still drove pretty well and didn’t make any mistakes.

    Hamilton might think this, but the reality is he did make mistakes. He crashed his Pagani Zonda car in Monaco, which he said was caused by sleep deprivation affecting his ability to drive, which was mistake. Also, he let Rosberg win the Abu Dhabi GP, because now Rosberg thinks he has a decent chance to win the 2016 Championship.

    1. I think its more PR and saying things than a real connection to how the year went. At the latter stages of the season Rosberg just got more out of the car to put it on pole 6 times in a row.

      In one race Hamilton was the cleverer and better racer, in one race the weather played a role and Hamilton made a great start to beat Rosberg, in one race Rosberg would have likely won if not for a car issue and in the last 3 races Hamilton just was not able to beat Rosberg, partly due to the same strategic disadvantage Rosberg had had for most of the year running behind his teammate.

      He did make mistakes earlier in the year, (Monaco and Hungaroring) and yeah, overdoing it and crashing that car in Monaco etc was a mistake too.

      I think Hamilton is clearly capable of being on top of things, but we will see whether he does so once testing begins.

      1. Hamilton was talking about not making mistakes in the last three races @bascb. Monaco wasn’t his mistake anyway, unless you think he was wrong about his tyres or it’s up to drivers to know the gps data and work out the gaps while the track transitions from VSC to SC.

        We have to see Nico vs Lewis 2016 anyway. I wish we knew what Merc did to the car after Singapore.

        1. Monaco was his mistake as much as it was his team’s. He was the one that started pushing his team to let him come in stating that his tyres would be horrible in the first place @lockup. In the small amount of time available unit he would reach the pit entry the team then failed to realise or check that he had a big enough gap.

          But yeah, we will have to see how each of the Mercedes drivers does in 2016.

          1. Hamilton obviously did not ask to come in willy-nilly irrespective of track position @bascb. It was a 2-part decision, and only the team’s part was wrong.

            As far as I can make out from what Toto’s said, the gps system went down for a few seconds, an engineer made a quick estimate in which he miscalculated by 3 seconds, and they okayed it when they should not have done. But Lewis’s side of the decision was correct. The fact that he misinterpreted what he saw on the big screen is irrelevant: fresh options would indeed be a lot better after an SC than dead primes. 100% right. He didn’t say “I’m frickin coming in be ready” did he? :)

          2. Off course Hamilton did not ask to come in willy nilly @lockup. He saw a replay of Vettels and Rosbergs stops earlier in the race and thought they would be on newer tyres. But in the short time span neither did he say that was the basis of his fear of being passed, nor did the team manage to actually ask him about that.
            There just was only a short time to make the desicion, and they made the wrong one.

            You clearly feel that HAmilton was doing it right and the team messed up. I see enough evidence to conclude that Lewis was part of the wrong line of thoughts that got him in 3rd. Lets leave it at that, because we just see this one differently

          3. Track position wasn’t a consensus issue @bascb. It wasn’t something to have a quick meeting about. It was an absolute given and a team responsibility. It’s muddled thinking to mix it up with Lewis wanting fresh tyres on whatever basis. Anyway yes let us move on :)

          4. @bascb

            But in the short time span neither did he say that was the basis of his fear of being passed

            He did though! More than once did he state his belief that the two drivers following him had changed tyres. If Mercedes had responded to either of those messages saying they hadn’t then you can bet he wouldn’t have wanted to box anymore ;)

        2. @lockup It was a new front suspension design. According to some, it was even visibly different. Lewis traced his issues down to the new dampers and tried to run the old dampers with the other elements of the new spec in Abu Dhabi only to find himself even more down on Nico.

          @bascb Don’t argue with lockup regarding the Monaco-gate, I’ve already tried it some time ago and it’s worthless…

          1. Ah thanks @atticus-2. Curious how a front suspension design, with the same pickup points I imagine, would fix such an obscure problem. And then leave the car suiting Nico a bit more. Perhaps they made it a bit less sharp?

            Anyway it has left us with a bit more anticipation.

          2. @lockup I got the info from various AMuS reporters (Twitter) and AMuS technical articles, but I concur that the whole thing is still not entirely clear – we don’t know the answer to any of these questions, to be perfectly exact.

            I guess the real test of the new solution will be Singapore this season and somehow, I have a feeling they have ‘done a Williams’ here who piled iteration upon iteration in a bid to overcome their low-speed disadvantage only to fail with every step on the way. ‘We’ll see,’ said the Zen master, haha.

            But the assumption seems to be correct: what if the W06 was inherently too stiff for too bumpy surfaces (reduced pace advantage on the also rather bumpy rides of Montreal and Interlagos as well) and they’ve tried to make it softer overall? It would suit Nico I’d imagine – Lewis is so ad-hoc up until the apex of the corners with his very late braking style that he would probably need all the responsiveness a stiff front end could get whereas Nico seems to be more afraid of a vigilant racecar and prefer rhythm and consistency above all, which a softer ride can more amply provide.

            (Of course, we are talking about nuances, half a tenths, here.)

    2. @drycrust
      Hamilton didn’t “let” Rosberg win in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg won because Hamilton was too slow. He was also too slow in Brazil and Mexico. Rosberg was faster in USA and Russia too, Hamilton just got lucky.

      1. @kingshark: I agree that Hamilton didn’t let Rosberg win, Rosberg won because he was better than Hamilton. Excuse me, I do have to be careful to not belittle Rosberg’s wins, he won because he was the better driver of the two. The question is why?
        My belief is Hamilton didn’t win because he was performing at less than his best, and that was a mistake. Rosberg is a very very good driver, and if he had any other driver as his team mate then he’d have won the championship. At the very least he makes Hamilton perform at his very best, and if Hamilton isn’t at his very best Rosberg will win. If Hamilton is correct and that he didn’t make any mistakes, then he has lost the 2016 championship because what he is saying is even when he performs at his best Rosberg is now the better driver of the two.

        1. Rosberg is a very very good driver, and if he had any other driver as his team mate then he’d have won the championship.

          Lol…Vettel or Alonso would have ran circles around him too. Probably quite a few more in the current field.

          Rosberg keeps Hamilton honest, that’s sure. But he lacks pure passing skills/racecraft. It made him lose some important races this year, being forced out of a few corners by Hamilton. He hasn’t overcome his try to be Senna-like in 2014 spa. That kind of action, if he had executed it better could have made him less of a pushover in situations like that.

  6. Ferrari’s 2015 PU is a “known” element and I suspect will be capable of adding a second to the STR.
    The Renault and TAG (also Renault) PU is completely unknown but given they are already downplaying it is unlikely to even match the 2015 Ferrari PU so it’s probably a great deal for STR.
    Amazing though that Max was able to get away with a huge swipe at Renault without the haters suggesting it’s wrong to criticise them. Imagine the outcry if Marko had said that.

  7. It makes sense for Red Bull to go with Renaults engine becouse they will never be allowed to beat Ferrari with an Ferrari engine. It also makes sense for STR to go with the 2015 Ferrari engine as it will be a clear performance and reliability gain for them next season. The question is, assuming the Renault engine eventually catches up to the competition, will Renault allow Red Bull to beat Renault with an Renault engine?

    1. Red Bull Renault beat Renault in 2009 and 2010.

      1. Judging by last years drama Renault aint very happy about how that turned out.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          11th January 2016, 23:20

          Renault weren’t happy that their engine was powering a team that beat a team they no longer owned? I call ‘bluff’; Renault were certainly happy enough to make Red Bull a semi-works team and take four consecutive double championships.

      2. @selbbin, at the end of 2009, Red Bull issued a statement stating that they’d been given the same status as the former Renault works team – by 2010, Genii had a controlling stake in the ex-works team (75%) and was responsible for day to day operations. The might not have been a full works team, but they were not just a customer team either – they kind of sat midway between the two as Renault restructured their affairs in the intervening period.

    2. Lewisham Milton
      12th January 2016, 23:02

      Ferrari couldn’t do much about Vettel at Monza in 2008!

  8. The GP Masters was good. It was great to see the old guard battling it out in contemporary machinery on a (partly) classic track that was Kyalami or Silverstone.

    I watched the opening race on YouTube a few months ago ad it was astonishing how quickly everything just seemed to come back for these guys. They were wheel-to-wheel pretty quickly and judged their speed reasonably well. Piquet (the Sr.) or Lauda said at the Red Bull Ring last year, after a show run in old machinery, that it all comes back so quickly for them. Even he seemed to be surprised.

  9. How is 1s a lap gain from engine alone a bad thing for a midfield team.

    For a team that is meant for budget race driver development. Also gives RBR a lot of useful Ferrari data and a chance to hedge against a fail Renault engine… Just in case it does not improve.

    I reckon Toro Roso might overshadow main team if TAG engine fails to improve by atleast 0.5s.

    Toro Roso already was an outstanding chasis for a midfield team.

    It also places Toro roso well to potentialy have 2017 ferrari engine come 2017. Again giving them a nice hedge.

    If meanwhile RBR is stuck in uncertainty, dreaming of IF they had Merc engine… Verstapen is all L@L W00T more power. Or whatever teens say when they get extra power.

    1. Verstapen is all L@L W00T more power. Or whatever teens say when they get extra power.

      Lol @jureo

      Toro Roso already was an outstanding chasis for a midfield team.
      It also places Toro roso well to potentialy have 2017 ferrari engine come 2017. Again giving them a nice hedge.

      If what Key said about corner speed being second only to one Merc at Barca is correct, then it might be a bit risky for Ferrari to give them the full current works engine, especially for the second car.

      Even as it is, normally we’d expect development to be tapering off a little by now, so the 2015 Ferrari engine might not be too far off the 2016 one. Torro Rosso could be up with Williams.

      1. That explains why TR were so awesome many times this year. Their Aero must have been amazing and in some ways Bettet than RBR.

  10. We shouldn’t forget Toro Rosso’s main purpose is to stack up two rookie drivers against each other and determine which one of them is the best. Reliability is crucial, in order to get reliable data and give both drivers a fair chance of proving themselves. Already for reliability reason alone, the team will make a step forward. The 2015 Ferrari PU was much more reliable than the Renault.

    1. Agreed, but you dont wanna be reliably out of the points either. Toro Roso continues to impress with their low key sound decissions.

      It seems all midfield teams are digging in and doing their best. Only front runners provide big fails of the season.

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