Paddy Lowe, Mercedes, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2016

Engine power shouldn’t be equalised – Lowe

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In the round-up: Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe disagrees with planned moves to equalise engine performance.

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Can the rule makers accurately judge just how fast F1 cars might be next year under the proposed new rules?

I’m just curious what they will do if the cars will become ridiculously fast. I think there is rather high chance that rule-makers underestimated the potential of the new rules. More aero coupled with unrestricted engine development may give the cars much more than three to five seconds a lap.

And I can’t even imagine what will happen in 2018 and further when teams will exploit the rules more.
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  • 72 comments on “Engine power shouldn’t be equalised – Lowe”

    1. Thank you for COTD :)

      IMHO Lowe is absolutely right, but nobody is going to listen only because they’ve got the best engine.

      1. I can see where Paddy Lowe is coming from but surely that is only relevant where unlimited development is allowed.

        1. Development on the engine is unlimited next year? I have to fully agree with what he is saying, since 2014 the token system seemed very unfair and helped ring fence a engine advantage but from next year it’s all to play for.

          1. My understanding is that they can only implement those developments when they use a new engine and as they’re restricted to only 4 or 5 engines a year that’s only 4 or 5 opportunities to upgrade the engine. So, although development is unlimited, implementation isn’t.

            1. There has to be a balance somewhere as although I want as many engines as you can the line has to be drawn somewhere. With the time it takes to make new engine parts you may find that even if they could use as many engines as they want they would have less than 5 updates in a season anyway. Next year in theory you could start with a modified version of this years engine whilst awaiting a complete new design a few races in, thus using the old engine for Friday running. I think this is a great chance for Renault and Honda to really catch up, they know where they went wrong but have been restricted by tokens, now they can learn from their mistakes and if needed change nearly everything. Next years engine rules as long as there is no attempt to equalise anything look nearly perfect for me.

    2. F1 couldnt come to an agreement on next year’s rules?…shocker!

      So correct me if Im wrong. The best way to get cars in close racing while generating healthy levels of downforce is to get the underbody to generate more downforce? We’ve talked about bringing back ground effects for a few years now, would that not be the way to go? We’re all aware of the dangers that it poses, but surely they can look into it as a viable solution. Some of the best engineers in the world work in F1, Im sure they can figure out a way to make ground effects “safer”.

    3. Liking more and more reading Pat Symonds’ interviews and quotes

      1. @fletchuk China made him more welcoming of Haas.

    4. Funny how Mercedes F1 don’t think the regulations should change, now the engines shouldn’t be equalised… It’s like they’re winning most of the races or something…

      Yes they did the best job, but they’ve had 2, and what looks like will be 3 years of domination, it’s getting boring from a competition standpoint.

      1. knoxploration
        27th April 2016, 6:11

        Exactly. The reason the engines *should* be equalized are twofold: Homologation prevents rivals from catching up because they can’t make changes to their engines without grid penalties, or without putting themselves at a disadvantage by either introducing new engines at non-optimal times and then having to race the older spec again later in the season, or having to wait to introduce the new spec until current engines reach end of life. And testing is basically non-existent, meaning that they have to do their testing on track in real races or during preparation for real races, which again puts them at a huge disadvantage versus the dominant engine(s).

        Of course, Merc knows this, but Lowe is talking entirely selfishly here and doesn’t care whether rivals can’t actually catch up due to poor rules. The only way in which the engines *shouldn’t* be brought to parity is if we scrap lifecycle management and allow a reasonable amount of in-season testing outside of race weekends.

        1. knoxploration, on the other hand, one of the counter arguments is that equalising the engines and thereby nullifying any competitive advantage in that area shifts the balance of the sport sport even further in the direction of aerodynamic supremacy, that area which so many on this site complain is already an overly dominant factor.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            27th April 2016, 10:08

            don’t forget that engine equalisation was a big contributor to the previous 5-year ‘domination’ era.

          2. knoxploration
            27th April 2016, 23:10

            Even if that’s true (and I rather doubt it, frankly), it is at least sporting. Whether one team can best its rivals in aero isn’t a big deal, so long as other teams are able to make the same improvements themselves. There is no homologation for aero, and it is routinely tested during practice already, so the answer to that is yes they can catch up — IF they’re good enough. That’s very different to the situation with engines, where realistically you cannot catch up no matter how good you are under the current rules.

            1. You are aware engine rules are already going to be relaxed next year don’t you? This article is about FORCING engine parity which I disagree with instead of OPENING up engine development which I agree with. (Which would just leave the problem of small teams getting more money for development)

        2. It’s obvious that Merc will be talking selfishly, and I completely buy your explanation to engine freeze plus no in season testing is a great way for Merc to keep this advantage for another couple of years. To be honest each team on top will fight tooth and nail against maintaining that advantage, which is exactly what Merc is doing.

          What annoys me is Toto’s stupid explanation of performance convergence, despite the fact that Mercedes’ engine team has said that there is still plenty of potential to unlock from the PU and it will be a while before they start seeing the diminishing returns on their effort. Additionally, Toto and Lowe will fight for no in season testing, because obviously, Mercedes is so concerned about keeping their own and rivals’ costs down. Coincidentally, other engine manufacturers will take time to claw that deficit back without in season testing, which will extend Mercs advantage for a couple of more seasons at least. Additionally, Merc have crippled their customer teams with inferior hardware and software, and are afraid of supplying ‘crippled’ engines to front running teams as well.

          Hats off to Mercedes for doing such a phenomenal job over the past 3 seasons, but it’s time to level the playing field one way or another.

          1. “Additionally, Merc have crippled their customer teams with inferior hardware and software, and are afraid of supplying ‘crippled’ engines to front running teams as well. ”

            Have you got a source for that @todfod? As far as I was aware Mercedes supplied their customers with exactly the same hardware and software (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2016/04/insight-how-mercedes-supplies-its-customer-formula-1-teams-with-engines/). So far as fuel goes I think they get the same too (despite Williams having a Petrobras sponsorship), the exception being when McLaren had their engines in 2014.

            1. @geemac

              I haven’t found the articles yet, but remember Williams saying in 2014 and 2015 that just the hardware isn’t always enough with these complex PUs. The software is considered proprietary and only a skeletal version is shared with customer teams. Williams also questioned several times about when they would receive the updates to the hardware as well.

              I’ll post the article when I find it.

            2. @geemac, as far as I am aware, Williams were bound by the terms of their sponsorship deal with Petrobras to use fuel and lubricant products developed by them from 2015 onwards (although they did use the standard Petronas mix in 2014 because Petrobras did not have enough time to develop specific fuels and oils for Williams). Similarly, back in 2014 McLaren used products developed by ExxonMobil as their existing sponsorship deals bound them to using fuel products from them instead of from Petronas.

              Those are the only instances I have heard of where Mercedes’s customer teams have not been given access to the fuel or oil products developed by Petronas – otherwise, I do not believe that their other customers have reported having any issues with their fuel or lubricant products.

          2. “Additionally, Merc have crippled their customer teams with inferior hardware and software, and are afraid of supplying ‘crippled’ engines to front running teams as well.” Lies, Lies, Lies.

            I want to know where you get this info from?? Just another Armchair genius know it all/Mercedes doom mongrel.
            Have any of you bothered to read the JAonF1 article about Mercedes supply of engines a few weeks ago???
            Mercedes are crippling no-one, you’s need to accept that Chassis is by far better than any of their customer teams and add to that they get the bonuses of packaging, because everything is in house.
            Its clear you all assume that Mercedes supply inferior hardware and software and if they didn’t Williams would beat them. That is clearly not the case. The only thing that is crippled is your thinking.

            1. Please tell that to Mclaren. Nothing better shows inequality between works and customer engine thatn situation with Mclaren, because they chose hard and costly path in order to competative works engine. They stated numerous times, that in this engine formula, that you can only win if you have works engine.

            2. @Kestokas, Fuel, lube and software is everything. Mclaren in 2014 were using Mobil 1 fuel and lubricants(and still are today). Mercedes engines are specifically designed for Petronas fuel, it’s up to the teams they supply if they want it or not. Ron Dennis said “You can’t win if your not a Works team” Yes, but did he say why??? NO.

              Williams have been using Petrobras fuel since the start of 2015, they need it for sponsorship money, is it any surprise there performance dropped or stagnated since 2014 and add to that there chassis has not been as good as Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull or even Mclaren?. Plus the Mclaren car chassis/aero wise has not been better than the Mercedes since the end of 2012.

              This could be true or false(someone correct me if im wrong) but an example is that a engine pushes the car along the track, it does not turn corners, sometimes Williams are faster than the Mercedes in the speed traps on the straights, so where are williams losing time? the corners and so much for Mercedes supplying inferior software and hardware didn’t Williams get Pole in Austria in 2014? Didn’t they end up behind Mercedes last year at certain tracks in Quali???. Are Mercedes supplying inferior engines to Williams? No, are Mercedes supplying inferior engines to Force india than the ones Williams get? No, are Mercedes supplying Manor inferior engines to the one Force india get? No. Don’t you see the pattern, ITs THE BUDGETS? Don’t you see F1 is only a engine formula when Red Bull are not winning since they caused this stir, if they were winning with a Renault engine F1 would be fine for them but since they are not, it’s a engine Formula, Yet it’s called MOTORsports, not aerosports.

              Also Ferrari do the same thing as Mercedes supply teams that can’t beat them but Mercedes get all the hate, the hypocrisy and double standards with some of you F1 fans is despicable. Where most of u Mercedes doom mongrels get your info from is the claims from Red Bull (im not saying your fans) who couldn’t even have a Mercedes or Ferrai engine, yet start making claims Mercedes and Ferrari supply inferior equipment like they have some inside info and hold the contracts of other teams, didn’t lotus say last year that they get everything equal to Mercedes?

            3. Kestokas, the decision by McLaren to form a partnership with Honda was made for a number of different reasons.

              Whilst technical considerations did play their part, there was also a sizeable commercial interest – McLaren took a sizeable financial hit when Mercedes downgraded them from their works team to a customer team, since it meant that McLaren went from being subsidised by Mercedes to having to pay them instead.

              In their financial accounts after that status downgrade, McLaren quite explicitly noted that their sudden sharp downturn in revenue was because they were no longer receiving sponsorship revenue from Mercedes. They also then highlighted the fact that they were expecting their partnership with Honda to bring about a substantial improvement in their results – a none too subtle hint that Honda would be pumping cash into the team to make up for the loss of Mercedes. Rather than costing them, McLaren were expecting to become wealthier as a result of this deal – it’s Honda that is bearing the brunt of the expenses for this endeavour.

            4. Why are you making accusations about hating Mercedes ? See, currect F1 engines is so complicated, that only big manufacturers can make competative engine during few years(although not all, Honda and Renault are examples). And developments costs are so huge, that it only worth to do it, if techonolgy will be used on manufacturer production. So, it leaves only manufacturers with real change to WCC and WDC, and other teams are aside, because they can’t make engine by themselves. Contratry, competative aero package can be created with smaller BUDGETS by all teams, thus FAIR competition would be increased through the field. So it will be bad if manufactures will have power to decide which team can be competative and which not. If F1 will remain on the same road , it will be bleed much more than now, hence future of will became more gloom. So it not about hating one or other team, it about more about seeing wider view.
              Really, your arguments are worthless, because McLaren stated numerous times about only teams with works with work engines can win. Why we should not believe them ? And believe random armchair expert who say othervise because of his bias ? They are paying huge cost for that road, so do You really honestly believe that Mclaren didn’t bought fuel form Petronas if they would saw opportunity to win with Mercedes engine ?

    5. Toto and Paddy are fighting tooth and nail to keep Mercedes’ advantage alive. They’ve spent a lot of time in coming up with reasons such as performance convergence over time, historical engine advantage, blah blah.

      I’m just not buying Mercedes’ arguments though. Aero and chassis design is something that each team manages for itself with the tools they can afford to have. Engine is something that teams are dependent on their engine supplier for. If Mercedes were to give their customer teams the exact same hardware, along with data for creating an optimal fuel mix and the software to run it optimally, then it’s fair enough that we stick with the engine formula. If not, let’s level the playing field by giving the teams relatively similar engines and let each team fight it out on their own ingenuity.

      1. knoxploration
        27th April 2016, 6:15

        They’d need to go a step further than just giving their current customer teams the same spec engine. (Which, frankly, should be required by the rules — it shouldn’t be allowed to intentionally cripple your customer units. I’d go so far as to say that the engines should be assigned by lottery post-manufacture, to ensure Merc doesn’t know whether any given lump will be going in their car or a customer car. But I digress.)

        If it was to be sporting and make it so that we didn’t need to equalize the engines, they’d need to also be willing to provide their engine to any team which wishes to buy it (and at a realistic price, too). A small handful of teams having access to a dominant engine is no better than a single team having access to it, for as long as homologation and testing rules basically prevent rivals from catching up with their own engines.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          27th April 2016, 10:32

          Knoxploration, you’re not just digressing, but also totally wrong.
          All PU are exactly the same; it’s in the rules.
          (Small print: SW is gray area; STR same as last year; in season upgrades also gray area)

          1. knoxploration
            27th April 2016, 23:11

            Translation: They’re exactly the same.

            Small print: Except the crucial places where they’re totally different.

            *rolls eyes*

      2. @todfod – Completely agree. The sport needs to be fair and with the current engine disparity, it isn’t. Some will have more resources than others but they need to all have the same basic opportunity.

        As things stand, a team can design and develop the best car, have the 2 best drivers both at peak form, have the quickest pit stops, improve their car most over the season, have the most luck and yet not get on the podium all season. How can that be right!?

        1. the sport doesn’t need to be fair, but it obviously favors the engine manufacturers with the ‘rules’ it has crafted. That is what is not fair.

          The problem isn’t between the competitors, the problem is between the rule makers and how they squash competition.

          Have to say, the good cop bad cop coming from Mercedes (Lowe/Toto) … Can’t say I am impressed. Hope Lewis leaves that joint and goes to RBR as soon as possible. Mercedes are a bad example.

    6. If every team is given access to the best engine then the same logic must be applied to chassis and aero. How would the whingeing Red Bull feel about that?

      1. Red Bull make their own aero as does every other team. No team buys aero kits from other teams.

        Red Bull don’t make their own engine and are instead, reliant on others as are all but 3 teams.

        Are we simply saying Mercedes deserve to win because they have lots of money and are an engine manufacturer whereas Red Bull/Williams/Force India/Toro Rosso etc are only racing teams?

        1. Red Bull has had a bigger budget than Mercedes for years. They could have used some of that to build their own engine instead of putting it all in their aero package.

          Of course they want engines equalised or reduced to a standard item. That way they will again be the only team left with the biggest aero budget and can continue to dominate like they did for 5 years (although they lost out in 2009 due to a lot of crashing by their drivers).

          It’s pretty much impossible for a car manufacturer to compete with Red Bull under rules where engines don’t matter. We saw that long enough.

          Engine builders were spending even 50 million per season on engines at the end of the V8 era when performance developments weren’t allowed. Now they are spending 100 million if not back up to 200 million when full development will be allowed.

          Besides Ferrari other teams are also not receiving a 75 million bonus from FOM like Red Bull do. All in all, teams like Mercedes and Renault would need to spend 125 to 275 million more than Red Bull to get an equal aero budget.

      2. it doesn’t matter how big Red Bull’s budget is, or what Red Bull do, if they don’t have the best Power Unit on the grid they can’t win given the direction of the rules.

        The rules exclude anyone but the best engine manufacturers from winning. The only thing RBR get to do is whine.

        Less aero, more power unit, only favors Mercedes, and Ferrari in the end run. It’s about promoting the engine manufacturers, it’s not about competition. The biggest competition in F1 right now is to see who out of the commentators, press or Toto, who can get the ‘masses’ to repeat the most uncompetitive ideas going. It’s ridiculous how anti competitive the rhetoric is, and how people are made to repeat it over and over again like they think they know anything. Real comedy.

    7. Saying that we should dismiss Lowe’s comment about not equalising engine performance just because his team has produced the benchmark engine is misguided. You don’t have to look hard to find reasons to dismiss arguments for and against practically every big political issue of recent times.

      Independent teams like (Williams, Force India, Sauber and Manor) say costs should be brought under control – Well they would be cause they have the tightest budgets don’t they.

      Ferrari say revenues F1’s shouldn’t be redistributed – Well they would say that because they get the biggest slice of the pie and therefore have the most to lose.

      Red Bull say “stick more aero on the cars”, that’ll make the racing better – Well they would say that because they are perceived to have the best aero team in F1.

      And on and on it goes. Paddy Lowe couldn’t be more right on this point, engines need to be a differentiating factor between the cars. Aero and driver performance should be as well. It may be a bit too much of a differentiator at the moment but the fact that Ferrari, Renault and Honda are taking an age to catch up to them is not Mercedes’ fault. F1 is about striving for excellence in all areas, not dropping to the lowest common denominator.

        1. Agreed. Merc needn’t be singled out like they run the show and are evil. They play within the rules set out, just as all teams do. If you want to argue Merc has some power to affect the rules along with the other top teams, fine, but they didn’t give themselves that power. Talk to the man or men in charge.

          But the reality is that once a team dominates for too long efforts are made to change that, like RBR having rear diffuser work curtailed and then the whole format changed with these new PUs that saw a new team dominate, which many hoped would happen, while many thought RBR would just carry on dominating in spite of the massive changes.

          I don’t know that engine equalization can even work other than through rules stability, and otherwise F1 does already work toward a form of lowest common denominator once in a while anyway, with wholesale changes meant to try to disrupt a dominating team from their run.

          We all seem to want the next big change to include far less aero dependence and better tires, and to me those are massively more important than engine parity of some sort. Equal engines will not suddenly make Ferrari or RBR pass Mercedes when we have seen identical Mercs unable to pass each other due to dirty air.

          1. Totally epic point, merc with merc engine cannot pass merc with merc engine…

      1. Nonsense. Merc only cares about one thing and that is keeping the mercedes dominance going. Engine equality is the best thing that can happen to f1 in short and long term. It would make the racing better, it would allow more teams to build cars to challenge mercedes (who could not build good car without dominant engine in the past!) and it would take away this nonsensical political game where everybody is just trying to lie as much as they can in short interviews.

        There are absolutely 0 downsides to having balanced engines in f1. There is no downside to having cheaper engines so teams like sauber, williams, force india, manor, renault and toro rosso could build more competitive cars. F1 is first and foremost chassis contructor’s championship. There are no points for engines and very few teams make their own engines. And due to the complexity making your own engines is impossible for most teams. This makes engines a crazy effective political tool of the tech rules fail. This is what we have now. Just like back in the day when we had double diffusers. The buge difference was that everybody on the grid could build a double diffuser car. With bad engines you are stuck with it until end of times.

        One thing that just keeps coming on this site is this anti red bull thing. Whenever any kind of rule change is discussed there are always the vocal people who would rather have f1 teams race bicycles than to have any kind of rule change that could even theoretically bring red bull closer to the front. This engine debacle is the best example of this. People want to keep mercedes and ferrari dominating because that way red bull can’t and won’t. It is almost sick how people are willing to throw away the most fundamental pieces of things that make a competitive race just to make sure one team can’t win. Nothing else seems to matter. Voices from lowe and toto are seen as pure gifts from gods when they contradict statements from horner. It is almost like nothing else matter except red bull must not win. In most cases it is obvious. I find it really really sad.

        From the history we know for a fact that balanced engines make the best racing. There is no question about it all. The engines are also something the teams have no control over. You can’t even change your engines because no one will sell you an engine. You are locked into disadvantage if your engine manufacturer does poor job. Look what happened toro rosso. They were forced to run year old ferrari engine out of spite. As a team you can’t do anything about it at all. This puts political power into the hands of the engine manufacturers who are only interested in two things. Laptime advantage and political power than comes with selling 2nd rate versions of your engines to teams who hope to have some of that advantage themselves.

        F1 is always about politics but let’s at least try to have the politics between the teams and not some faceless engine manufacturer corporations. Chassis wars make f1 interesting because the action happens on the track. Engine wars is just politics and all the action happens cabinets.

        1. Of course there’s a downside to equal engines. You might as well say we’d get better racing if we had equal aero and chassis. If we excluded the best 3 or 4 drivers. But F1 is not a spec series it’s a competition about excellence.

          As for Torro Rosso, they could have had Renault but they chose to gamble on 2015 Ferrari.

          And people being anti Red Bull doesn’t come out of nowhere, it comes out of observing their behaviour, their sense of entitlement, their disloyalty. Now they’re a team with no engine facility competing against teams with an engine facility, which is their choice too. And even so they might catch up, even this year.

        2. @socksolid You say Merc only cares about one thing…and RBR doesn’t?

        3. @socksolid – Actually, @geemac ‘s point is, pardon the pun, rock solid. All the teams pushing against Mercedes PU advantage have motives, just as Merc has their own motives.

          To your points, engine parity would be interesting if it occurred, but forcing it is not the answer in my opinion. Tightening ever more boxes from development is going to make racing more processional, not worse. And pushing more toward aero without changing the rules to allow closer racing (DF via floor, less disturbed air off the top, less aero overall, …) won’t exactly help the racing. You will end up with cars with equal power that cannot follow closely. Without a massive DRS boost (ugh) or something, how will anyone pass?

          If there is a massive RBR/TH backlash here, it is probably because they are constantly saying things that only serve themselves. So you complain about Merc wanting to protect advantage but either don’t notice or conveniently overlook RBR wanting to skew back to their advantage. Neither position is great, both are expected.

          “It is almost sick how people are willing to throw away the most fundamental pieces of things that make a competitive race just to make sure one team can’t win.” You mean like cutting off someone’s foot because they can run faster? Like that? Also, I think most people would love a 3-team battle Merc/Fer/RBR at the front with different teams and drivers winning and pushing. The problem is that one team who was JUST dominant for 4+ years, now wants to throw everything into the fire because they aren’t winning constantly. Competition means sometimes you lose.

          “From the history we know for a fact that balanced engines make the best racing.” I can’t call this wrong, as I don’t have the analysis in front of me but I’d call it unsubstantiated in this instance. Show your work.

          “You can’t even change your engines because no one will sell you an engine. You are locked into disadvantage if your engine manufacturer does poor job. Look what happened toro rosso. They were forced to run year old ferrari engine out of spite. As a team you can’t do anything about it at all.” This just isn’t true. Lotus changed engines. Manor changed engines. RBR changed from Ferrari to Renault when it thought Renault were better, and that worked pretty well. And now STR could have had this year’s Renault engine, which is clearly not bad, if RBR hadn’t thrown a fit last year. Now, RBR has a solid engine that, with development (Holy cow, what?! Development as opposed to restriction?!) may prove to bring them right back to the front.

          “F1 is always about politics but let’s at least try to have the politics between the teams and not some faceless engine manufacturer corporations.” In the case of the engine manufacturers, they are one and the same with the teams. RBR could have played nice and maybe found a partner, enticed an engine manufacturer into F1, or worked on developing their own. Instead they threw Renault under the bus publicly (rather than privately) and they were lucky Renault was willing to continue to provide PUs.

          See also: @lockup ‘s response.

          1. ***** Instead of “…is going to make racing more processional, not worse.”

            It should read “is going to make racing more processional, not less.”

        4. “F1 is first and foremost chassis contructor’s championship.”

          I would love for you have had the opportunity to say that to Enzo Ferrari @socksolid. :)

          And my post was by no means anti RBR/STR. As @hobo mentioned all I was getting at is that you can’t say Mercedes are trying to protect their position by arguing one side of the coin without recognising that everyone else is raising counterarguments to advance their own agendas.

          1. F1 was is 1st and foremost about engines. When it started aero was of no consideration. I cannot fully respect a team that cannot build their own engines. It is MOTOR racing not Chassis racing. If anything is controlled tightly it should be aero and let the engines be developed more and more.

      2. Honda and Renault cannot keep uo because of anti competitive token system.

        Well and poor R&D.

        And if we have seen anything so far, engines are converging.

      3. I disagree with Lowe but agree with the rest. Everyone only cares about what they want. Engines shouldn’t play as big a differentiating factor as they currently do but then we’ve got the idea of adding more aero which is rediculous.

        I haven’t heard a single person in F1 who will have a say in the new rules who has said anything I have fully agreed with because they are all fighting against each other for competitive advantage!

        The solution is compromise but it’s hard to see how it’ll be found fairly.

    8. The one thing that I hate about Mercedes domination is the illegal Barcelona tyre test.

      They were fastest in qualifying in ’13 but couldn’t manage their tires to save their lives, it is obvious that test gave them an unfair advantage (seen clearly whenever pirelli has moved the goalposts); rulemakers should, instead of changing their minds faster than they change tires, focus on making rules that are fair for all competitors, and come down hard on those that break them.

      1. The tyres Mercedes tested in 2013 were completely different in terms of compound, construction & overall behavior to the tyres that have been used the past 2-3 years so while they may well have gained some advantage at the time it wouldn’t have been a lasting advantage due to how much the tyres have since changed.

        Also remember that other teams also got an opportunity to do a tyre test later in 2013 (That Mercedes were barred from attending) which removed any advantage Mercedes may have gained over the other teams.

        1. And let’s not forget that Merc were not advised what tires nor even pressures they were running, let alone if those tires would actually be used in the future. It was a test and it was Pirelli’s test, not Merc’s, and Pirelli needed a relevant mule just as they are asking for regarding 2017 changes, and at the time the Merc was only a 4th place car. Tires were exploding. Would it have been less controversial for a top 3 team to do the test, a test which was crucial? Sure it seemed suspect that the other teams weren’t invited (or some say they were at least asked to make themselves available) but they had to get on with this test immediately and we have all been learning for weeks now how far F1 gets when every team can put the blockers on everything just by saying we don’t like this because it does not suit us alone.

      2. It was not illegal it was a loophole. Mercedes did not ‘arrange’ the test, iirc, therefore it was not barred.

          1. As it says Pirelli just didn’t go out of their way to invite the other teams, is all. Merc actually had consent from the FIA, so it doesn’t really constitute a reason to start hating their domination. It’s just something to resent if you dislike that already.

            1. Periods of one team dominating F1 are fairly typical.
              I don’t have a problem with that.

              What I have a problem with is with the nonsensical approach of “let’s change this bit here, and now this one bit there whilst we ignore all that pile of hastily fixed stuff over there”.

              So yeah if you’re going to fix engines, do so. But do it as part of longer term plan. Make the competition fair, reward the best competitors accordingly, do not put those already at a disadvantage on a more difficult path to competition; and if anyone’s trying to go around their competitors in an unfair way (pretty much what Briatore’s teams always did), make an example of them.

              Do it and then watch the sport (and the revenues grow).

            2. Okay I agree @faulty but if you want a level playing field you have to let excellence succeed and be consistent. The tyre test was a minor thing, compared to, say, tobacco sponsorship being banned for 10 teams out of 11.

    9. Equalising engines is the same as DRS or degrading tyres, it is a fake way to interfere with natural competition. You build your own engine you should get the most benefit from it, everyone can build their own engine according to the rules so cannot afford it or cannot be bothered is just tough luck, next they will try and have some kind of balance of performance based on how good a driver is. There should be as many engines as you want allowed, testing and no development restrictions, if one team dominates others have a chance to catch up, if they cannot tough luck. The token system tainted Mercs performance for me as it ring fenced an advantage but next year this is gone and I am looking forward to that. If teams cannot afford more then 5 engines tough luck just use the 5 a season, these smaller teams should not hold back what is happening at the front as they will never be there and teams like Ferrari and Merc should not be dragged down for the Manors of this world.

      1. Exactly. Token system is the one reason why #1 Mercedes engine remained dominant so long. Without it Honda would totaly redo their engine for 2016, now they will only do it for 2017.

        All these limitations to testing, aero time, engine development all just make sure dominant team stays dominant for longer.

        Rule book should be torn up and thrown away.

        Teams should be given a safety rulebook(cockpit design etc) ,maximum downforce cap at various speeds, and controled tires… Everything else is up to them.

        If they want B car mid season let them, whatever whenever. Whatever is safe they should be allowed to race. Then we would see some real racing instead of this cost saving madness.

    10. Even I – Uninvolved fan, with 0 financial incentive for either team to win… Am torn about 2017 rules.

      Should they bring them in with potential to ruin to ruin racing, almost for sure to produce 1 team dominating all others. So it was every time rules changed. One team came massively up front.

      On other hand if rules do not change… We pretty much see Mercedes dominate these set of rules we have now. And it is not down to engine. Everyone can say what you want about that. Williams have same engine and are dominating squat.

      Engine performance is converging, at rate this is going with stable rules next year we get a three way Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull fight.

      But back on 2017 side, rule set right now is inherently poor and rewards poor racing and 2017 under same rules is only to provide more poor racing upfront, and harder to follow as cars become ever more optimized.

      So, what will happen? Mercedes, Williams are pushing like mad not to change everything. Under guise of careful research in to what changes should be brought in. Perfect guise. Red Bull wants change asap. Things could not be worse for them.

      One side is gonna loose and worse thing is nothing changes.. then we fans loose… somehow maybe first decision team needs to change. Then we can expect better decisions in the future. Any rule change is gonna cost teams roughly 200-300 million. Might as well make it a good change.

      1. I think the 2017 cars are already decided @jureo, to the ‘McLaren’ spec, because there’s no prospect of that decision being overturned by the necessary unanimous vote.

    11. Helmut Marko’s birthday today, btw.

    12. In the year of Ferrari and Redbull domination atleast the fight was close, other teams had a chance to beat them if they made a mistake or focus was lost.

      But the domination from mercedes is by far the most frustrating especially when we see them being so far ahead of the field and even with mistakes they still catch up and win races / climb podiums.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        27th April 2016, 15:28

        As much as I dislike domination, at least Merc achieved it in a level playing field.
        Gone are the days (for now) when FIA allows some teams to equalise. @RedBullF1

        1. Level playing field up to a point, in 2014 no engine development all season then after this the token system so whoever got it right straight away had a ring fenced advantage. However next year tokens are gone and everyone can develop what they want within the engine rules so for me next year truly is a level playing field. It would be rather amusing if Renault start next years testing with a huge advantage over others on the engine as watch how quick Red Bull would then fight any engine equalisation rules.

        2. @coldfly it’s not level. Williams designed a 2014 car and then bolted an engine in. Mercedes designed both together as well as with fuels and lubricants to ensure it’s better than the rest.

          The rest don’t develop their own engines once they receive them, Mercedes do so they are always one step behind. Williams will never have a better or level package (hardware and software) than Mercedes, for example.

          This means we’re rewarding being a manufacturer over being the best racing team.

          1. @petebaldwin

            Quite correct Sir. It’s not level, never has been level, and never will be level as long as we continue with this apparent fascination of making everything on the car as complex and technological as possible.

            Complex/technological rules only reward those with the most outlandish of budgets, be they Mercedes with the engines, or Red Bull with the chassis/aero.

            Your last point is particularly prudent, because this is where F1 really does have it’s priorities around the wrong way ATM.

            Manufacturers come in when it suits them, they leave when it suits them. F1 should be looking after the RACING TEAMS whose main business is to go motor racing, not the road car manufacturers whose main business is, obviously, to sell road cars.

            1. Ferrari are a manufacturer and have been in F1 since the start, they are a proper race team that builds their own engines.

    13. I have a sensible Idea for engines…

      12m pounds for year supply. Any team can buy the supply, up to 4 teams per supplier.

      Upgrade as often as you can. If upgrade is possible all teams can have it at same time.(engine penalties apply)

      Fuel, lubricants, software all need to be standardized for each PU.

      Teams higher in constructions championship can pick engine first.

      I know it will never happen, but so far engines are the best thing that has happend to F1 in years. Curbing their development is a blow to the knee of road cred f1 might have.

      One more afterthought rule… Code for engine software need not be released to costumers.

    14. I do agree with this.

    15. Paddy’s just protecting his own teams interests, as he should, no harm no foul there, but, power SHOULD be equalised, and it WILL be equalised. The method they’re chosen in pursuit of that is total pants, but that’s for another day.

      Privateer-inclusive racing is in Formula 1’s DNA, so whether it’s Mercedes spending 200-300+ million on engines, or Red Bull spending 200-300+ million on chassis/aero, both are beyond the reach of the privateers, and as such, both are wrong.

      I know what’s coming next, *start whinge* “oh but Red Bull are a privateer though” *end whinge*

      Red Bull are a privateer team with a mainstream road car manufacturers budget, and as such, they must be pooled with the manufacturers.

      A good racing car is inherently a very simple thing, and the next generation of regulations needs to reflect that.

      1. If teams cannot afford to be at the top level in F1 then there are other series for them. Haas have come in and Gene Haas has already said the smaller teams moan to much.

    16. F1 shouldn’t equalise anything because F1 is about development and creativity. Of course we need smaller differences in order to see close racing. Token system has to be abolished in order to performance convergence reached in a natural way (of course engineers have to work hard or copy but they have bigger chances to decrease differences) while the engine rules are stable (or small changes year by year). The fuel/race limit has to be increased to 105 or 110kg/race in order to see the same fuel saving during races because the increased drag and weight (if the fuel/race limit would be abolished or refueling would bring back, we could see much less fuel saving).
      4-5 PUs/year is a quite fair compromise if we see costs, development, reliability and savings.

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