Bernie Ecclestone, Sochi Autodrom, 2016

Ecclestone will ‘tear up’ engine rules unless performance converges

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says performance between the engine manufacturers’ products must converge or the new 2017 rules will be “torn up”.

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Would you rather see an open competition where one team dominates, or a rigged contest where everyone gets a chance to win?

F1 should not artificially try to close this gap, every few year a title goes to the wire but if this is forced it no longer becomes special. In the late naughties we were spoilt by dramatic title battles but these do not happen every year, sometimes we have to wait a decade for it. I have watched F1 for 30 years and this season is very good so far.
Markp

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Forty years ago today James Hunt won the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama. However his victory was initially taken away from him when the rear of his McLaren was found to be too wide. His first victory for the team was later reinstated on appeal, relegating Ferrari’s Niki Lauda back to second, which later turned out to be highly significant for the championship.

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  • 60 comments on “Ecclestone will ‘tear up’ engine rules unless performance converges”

    1. Tear up engine rules… 2.2l V6 turbo, 900hp, essentially making F1 an Indy clone or what?

      The moment Renault and Honda start catching up… Lets converge by force or rip up the rules. Does he even have any power in rulemaking?

      1. Honda and Renault are not even close to Ferrari. And Ferrari is not even close to Mercedes. On the average.

        While Merc have an impressive solution, they own the racing because people believe in things like political correctness, and ‘equality’. If you want a competitive field, you need more degrees of freedom, and more risks for Mercedes to face. Otherwise it’s just fish in a barrel for Mercedes. A very specific formula invites very few opportunities, something people really don’t want to admit for some weird reason. But that won’t stop some commentators from going on about “complex” regulations. If you want interesting racing, you will say no to more rules, and yes to less rules. Safety is one thing, gaming the system is something else.

        1. The key to increase performance is giving more freedom and having less rules. I totally agree with that. But actually they want to put a lot of rules over the engines.

        2. Tearing up the engine rules would be a farce at this stage. The formula needs to be given a chance to mature. The increase in out right performance of these power units are proof enough that there is so much more left to be extracted from these units. This hybrid technology is already finding its way into most performance road cars, and even some of your average family cars have this technology in one way or another.

          I dont see why they cant agree on equalization that was done when the V8s were first introduced. Renault was allowed to un-freeze their design to catch up. I can understand why the likes of Mercedes wouldnt want that,as it will erode their superiority, but this is for the greater good (words that are probably alien in the Piranha Club), if they agreed on it once before, all we can hope is that cooler heads will prevail once again.

          Equalization is probably the easiest way to get better racing at the front. The racing in the midfield is as good as its ever been. There a good few scraps (4 cars wide at one stage) yesterday, but we want to see that at the front.

          1. actually all they have to do is get rid of the 100 kg per race rule 100kg/hr flow rate rule and limit the boost on the turbos. Then, they can start altering the way the points are distributed to the manufacturer championship by accounting for fuel consumption. That is probably the only sane way at this point of doing it.

            The fuel flow and fuel capacity regulations are killing the competition in F1, just like they kill the competition in other racing classes, and throw the advantage over to the ‘engine manufacturers’. Get rid of the ridiculous fuel restrictions and F1 reaches parity MUCH QUICKER. … well, unfortunately too many teams on the grid are only there to be on the grid, that is a deeper ‘question’, that might be addressed by limiting the cost of engine+gearboxes to about 500,000$. And to be honest, I can’t see why those power units would cost any more than that anyways, plus, if the engine manufacturers want to take risks, they shouldn’t be leveraging that risk on the backs of the poor teams in F1.

            Common Sense.

            1. & Ethics.

            2. actually all they have to do is get rid of the 100 kg per race rule 100kg/hr flow rate rule and limit the boost on the turbos.

              The fuel flow rate limit is conceptually identical to a boost limit, but easier to measure and not as easy to defeat.

              With a boost limit, you are effectively limiting the amount of air which can enter the engine. With a fuel flow limit, you are limiting the amount of fuel. As these 2 parameters are inextricably linked (you can only burn a certain amount of fuel in a certain amount of air), the effect is the same.

              However, with a boost limit, there are more things to fiddle, charge temperature being the main one (colder air = more air for the same boost).

              The fuel flow is the correct choice for a limit on a forced induction engine. Personally, I would tweak the parameters of the limit*, but changing to a boost limit is not the correct way to go.

              * Currently, you get a slope from 0 to 10k RPM, then a flat limit. I would tweak it so the slope started at a higher amount at 0RPM, and change the flat line to a shallow slope. This would raise the revs used for power, but it would also increase the amount of power/torque available at lower revs.

          2. I don’t understand why there are so many calls for engine equalisation. Why can’t the engine be a differentiator? Is this not MOTOR racing?! Why should aero be the biggest differentiator again? Aero and suspension and packaging should play a key part (and they do), but in MOTOR racing, the MOTOR should be an integral part of a car’s competitiveness.

            1. it’s a false argument. You can’t have engine equalization. Not unless you take away the competition, but if you do that, where are the checks and balances maintaining the integrity of the ‘sport’? F1 needs real competition, not political correctness.

        3. “While Merc have an impressive solution, they own the racing because people believe in things like political correctness, and ‘equality’.”
          Correct! The rules, under the name of “the Token System”, actually hinder the convergence Ecclestone wants. He needs to discuss this with the FIA, not the engine manufacturers, because the FIA are the ones that implemented the Token System.
          The way it works is at the start of this power unit “spec” one manufacturer was bound to be above average and one was bound to be below, and the Token System kept those engines that way.
          One point that seems to have escaped Mr Ecclestone is he only demands convergence of engines and not chassis design and aerodynamic drag as well. He should be demanding this as well: teams that are ahead in those areas should be able required to copy the design used by those who are behind.

      2. 2,2 with 900hp would be far better what we have now. Cheaper which means more teams can afford to build race winning cars, more exciting to drive and see driven and more challenging as well. And would also make the cars faster even if the power output was similar because the hybrid parts are so heavy.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          2nd May 2016, 6:17

          NO – financial issues due to FOM keeping money rather than PU costs!
          NO – current PU most exciting I’ve seen; more torque (yes, I’ve been at races)
          NO – fuel (flow) limit is slowing the cars down; no other engine can squeeze more out of it.
          @socksolid

          1. Less complex engine with less parts will cost significantly less. It would be really difficult to make the current engines any more expensive.

            What is exciting about the current engines? Torque? After the v8s sure the v6 has more torque. That alone doesn’t really make it exciting knowing that it is so electronically controlled that it is almost like a traction control.

            I don’t care about fuel flow limits. If I wanted to watch race cars save fuel I’d watch formula e. I’d take V12 engines back in a blink of the eye. Even if it meant refueling was back too.

            1. Have you learned nothing from F1? They will spend 100’s of millions developing simple engine or complex engine. For sure even if they restrict them to inline 4 engine with 10000 RPM and no turbo, ers, or kers.. they would spend so much on development it makes no sense to change the rules. If nothing else they would try to design camshafts out of unobtainum.

            2. @socksolid, whilst the current leasing prices for engines in the IndyCar series is low compared to F1, that is because the regulations for the series force Chevrolet and Honda to lease the engines at a discounted rate (currently capped at $1 million a year).

              Both of those manufacturers have been losing millions a year because of the cost caps and have actually been trying to get rid of customers (expanding their customer base just increases their losses), but those same financial caps have also meant that new manufacturers do not want to enter the sport and killed off any attempts from independent engine manufacturers to crack into that market. Those regulatory restrictions on pricing rather distort the picture, since it doesn’t give a true reflection of what the actual price of those engines really are.

      3. The moment Renault and Honda start catching up… Lets converge by force or rip up the rules.

        Honda catching up??? Are you even watching F1. Honda has pretty much thrown in the towel, and will be starting next year with a new PU design from scratch. Renault are a decent amount behind Ferrari, and judging by the weekend in Sochi, Ferrari are a decent amount behind Mercedes as well.

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      2nd May 2016, 0:24

      The closest racing has almost always followed extended periods of rules stability, allowing all the teams to converge on the optimum solutions. So why does Bernie think that drastic changes will somehow magically close the gaps?

      1. “So why does Bernie think that drastic changes will somehow magically close the gaps?”

        He doesn’t. He just wants rid of the current engine formula, more money in his pockets, and more control. Simples.

    3. It frustrates me that Lewis would say stuff like that (BBC article). I want to believe that he’s being taking out of context or that it’s made up entirely.

      His comments from the Reuters article are almost the polar opposite. The BBC one makes it sound like he is parroting the very people Toto is trying to denounce.

      I rather hope it’s poor reporting and not poor form.

      1. what’s wrong with his quote? It would be ignorant to think hes not going to face problems in the future, no? Given the ‘trend’ of reliability issues hes had this year, you would have to think hes probably going to have to spend more time having his mechanics double check everything, which in turn invites other risks, like burn out and morale issues.

        1. @xsavior Did you read the other quotes from him in that article?

          1. yeah, I just did, and I get the sense he is feeling isolated, no doubt due to the lack of leadership at Merc. I would be pretty too if my boss came out in front of the tv cameras and kept regurgitating lies and misleading statements in order to prop up an illusion that all is well at Mercedes.

            To be frank, there is nothing wrong with what he said, hes just not going to act like a fool, and he said that ‘he’ was going to do all he could. Now, he, and hopefully the leadership at Mercedes, if there is any, will get this issue sorted out.

            Personally, I feel Hamilton’s lack of faith in the team and the leadership at Merc. I hope he can overcome this and destroy his teammate. There is just too much dishonesty in F1 these days, and thats because people keep believing something different will happen with out something different actually happening. Insanity?

            1. Hmm…LH says he has complete faith in the team, but you feel his lack of faith in the team and it’s leadership. And they are liars. Your own invented storyline ignoring what is a really being said in favour of what you want to hear. Insanity?

            2. you can put words in my mouth all you want, won’t make you right.

              I said Toto is a liar, I never said he had a lack of faith in the team, I said he felt isolated because he kept saying “I” a lot, as in he will do what he can do.

              An ad hominem is usually the first clue someone doesn’t know what they are talking about btw.

              here is an interesting link if you have the time “lying”
              http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lying-definition/#TraDefLyi

    4. Apex Assassin
      2nd May 2016, 0:58

      “Ecclestone will ‘tear up’ engine rules unless performance converges”

      how about I say please and buy tickets to at least 2 races for each season for as long as the engine regs are wide open??? it’ll never happen but I’d love to see the manufacturers make any engine they choose with no limits on anything, except spending and exotic materials.

      As for Toto – his “lunatics” comment made my day! i’ve always admired his honesty but this is simply terrific!

      1. yeah, Toto is a real honest dude. Lolz. Throwing insults to deflect criticism is not honesty btw, it’d dishonesty.

        1. @xsavior What would you call them then?

          1. what do you call someone who is dishonest?

            1. what do you call someone who is dishonest, who calls other people dishonest?

        2. He’s talking directly to you.

          1. It’s funny because it’s true.

    5. Alonso only being able to do one “hot lap” to me is indicative of all that’s wrong with F1.

      In the push for the technically advanced fuel saving engines (which is also to help cut costs) F1 did indeed become more of a care-bear formula. I’m reminded of the quotes from Mark Webber where he pointed to how WEC drivers are able to push the cars and themselves to the very limit every lap.

      While it’s easy to point fingers at the race-track and say that’s what was boring about yesterdays race. Surely it can’t be the only thing taken in to consideration while the drivers are deliberately lapping whole seconds slower than what they need to.

      1. If you go over to the Sky F1 page and watch Ted’s Notebook, Ted states that the Honda is not economical and McLaren had to watch their fuel usage. The Mercedes is economical and they had no fuel problems.

      2. @Tristan “the technically advanced fuel saving engines (which is also to help cut costs)”

        Maybe you didn’t say that correctly, because the advanced fuel saving engines, as you say, do not cut costs but do exactly the opposite. They are largely responsible for three teams quitting F1 and leaving others on the financial ragged edge. Benz is rumored to have spent more than $500 million to $1 billion USD on development, and engines to teams from the manufacturers – which are the only teams able to afford development – are approx. $25 million USD a pop.

        Most laughable of all is that – based on Williams data from late last season – for the entire field and the entire season, these engines saved about as much as taking one American SUV off the road for one year.

        1. Jimmy Price
          2nd May 2016, 16:37

          I don’t think you understand the point of the engines.

        2. @geeyore, which three teams do you think quit the sport due to the new generation of engines?

          HRT collapsed back in 2012 before the new engines were even introduced, so their collapse was certainly not related to the new generation of engines. As for Caterham, Fernandes’s comments before the 2014 season began indicated that the team would have been shut down anyway, irrespective of the engine regulations, because the team had outlived its usefulness to him. As for Manor, well, the team had been losing money right from the beginning (when they were still known as Virgin Racing, they had to sign over part of the business over to Lloyds Banking Group after defaulting on a loan to them back in late 2010), so blaming the V6 engines specifically doesn’t make much sense.

          As for teams being on a financial edge, most of the teams which are on edge were in the same financial situation before the new engines came into force. Sauber has been in trouble since 2010 (i.e. pretty much ever since BMW dumped them) – Ferrari threatened to cut them off from engine supplies in 2012 after Sauber missed several payments, whilst some members of staff were already complaining about missed payments back in 2013 (including Hulkenberg, who wasn’t paid at all whilst he drove for Sauber).
          As for Lotus, Genii have admitted that the team had been running at a constant loss ever since they took over: in the case of Force India, well, most of their problems are more closely linked to the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines and the trouble Sahara, the other co-owner, is in.

    6. Future things Bernie could say: All these rules will be torn up and then new ones put into place by at least one month before the 2017 season begins. That should be plenty of time.

      1. No it’s ok…they won’t be able to reach a consensus on how the rules should be torn up and who should do the tearing. Pirelli will need more tearing testing first, with a 2017 relevant mule, and Ferrari will just veto it anyway. They’ll just go ahead and tear up the proposal to tear up the rules because even they with their extra hundreds of millions won’t want that to all go down the tubes as BE would have it.

    7. How can there be convergence on engine power, when the rules limit engine development by using the tokens.

      Maybe convergence should be applied to prize money as well.

      1. I think Bernie should just shut up, leave the sport alona and stop trying to damage it @w-k, @bullmello

      2. @w-k

        Turbo boost pressure

      3. Jimmy Price
        2nd May 2016, 16:38

        There are no tokens next year. Teams are supposed to be able to upgrade what they want when they want.

    8. At least Button had the balls to call HAM’s 1st corner chop and gain of position exactly what it was… It was very unbecoming of a champion, bad sportsmanship and more than a little desperate.

      1. Actually it was a smart move deserving of a WDC, Vettel, Alonso, Raikonnen, would all have chosen to take that ‘fully legal’ evasive action

        Why would you ever choose to put your race at risk and drive alongside carnage like that? No matter how good a driver you are you can’t predict the unpredictable path that will be available to you when cars start spinning and crashing.

      2. Tbf if I were in his shoes, after being helpless to avoid damage the previous race, I’d have taken avoiding action too. It looked like go left of get hit to me. After making that decision, any racing driver would have kept their foot on the throttle to get on with it quickly too. I have to agree with @ju88sy here, I won’t, however, be surprised if they look into ways to prevent it happening in future

        1. Hard to know if LH actually saw carnage about to happen, or just a bunching up of cars. I was a bit surprised they didn’t at least question his gaining of positions but I’m assuming it is because indeed he gained spots mainly from other cars crashing. I think he did even hand one spot back to someone once he got back on track.

          I do think LH got a small amount of good luck back with this incident…avoided getting caught up in it and immediately gained 5 spots. Was the best case scenario for him as was getting second. He said he thought he could win the race for much of it, but I find that a bit hard to swallow. The only time he gained on Nico was when Nico was slowed getting through back markers. Once LH ran into the same back markers the gap went back to what it was. He never had enough pace to catch Nico let alone get by him. Especially given that Nico was on slightly fresher tires, would have been conserving, and as he said still had plenty of tire left to put in the fastest lap right near the end. Only a technical issue with Nico’s car would have seen LH win this one.

          1. nah, I watched the race, he consistently kept bringing down the time, back markers or not, even when he was going through them. He was gaining time primarily because, as Nico stated, Nico was saving his tires. Lewis probably could have cut the gap to the front to 5-10 seconds but he would have never had the pace to win the race unless Nico had an issue, because it’s almost impossible to pass since 2015 when the new noses came in to effect, at least with the Merc gang.

            If Lewis gets in front of Nico next race, he can slow Nico down and back him in to Ferrari, which I hope he does. F1 is fundamentally broken, in so many ways.

            Lewis biggest problem is the leadership at Merc, his attitude, and his side of the garage. He is still faster than ROS, he just is having issues off the line (maybe his ex-mechanic kept some secrets). Lewis probably would have had pole by 2/10’s in Russia, but his PU broke in Q2.

      3. @EF1
        I would bet my life! My actual life, that Schumacher, Senna, Alonso, Vet, Hakkinen and quite frankly every other WDC would’ve done EXACTLY the same as Hamilton in that position.

    9. Unicron (@unicron2002)
      2nd May 2016, 7:29

      I don’t bother wasting my team reading the articles about Mercedes conspiracy theories. It’s all pretty pathetic. What annoys me is that respected journalists and news sites actually waste their time writing about the lunatic fringe on twitter. Have they really got nothing better to write about?! And as for TV presenters asking that stuff to Toto’s face… where is my mute button?!

    10. When I first read the title for today’s round up, I thought it said Ecclestone will ‘tear up’ unless engine performance converges. ‘Tear up’ as in start crying unless engine performance converges. After reading it again, I realised that he’ll tear up the engine formula rules :P

      The only thing that could tear up Bernie is the half a million dollar valuation dip he’s suffered. Future of the sport he helped create would never have any emotional bearing on that old man.

    11. Ecclestone (and the FIA) will tear up the engine rules for 2020 anyway. Bernie and Jean, as the commercial rights holder and regulator respectively, want control of THEIR sport back, and the way to do that is to have control of the engines, AND tyres.

    12. So Bernie’s position is basically “Do what I want, or I’ll do what I want”.

      1. Except that he can’t. Which is why the text says the rules ‘may’ get torn up or ‘could’. In reality they won’t and can’t. If BE actually meant it and got his way the teams would be throwing away billions collectively on what they have spent so far on this current gen of cars and pu’s and then he would cost them billions in forming the theoretical new chapter, with no guarantee that said new chapter would result in anything better on the track.

        Purely more smoke and mirrors by BE.

    13. ‘Tear up’, ‘abuse’, ‘lunatics’ and ‘ridiculous’… and that’s before you have even opened the round-up. I wonder why F1 has lost one-third of its TV audience over the last years. As Draco Malfoy said (sorry for another quote from HP books), who wouldn’t want pets that can burn, sting, and bite all at once?

      1. Yeah I tear up at the abuse we fans take over lunatic and ridiculous gimmicks that have obviously not helped viewership and only turned F1 into something more like fake wrestling where such words to describe it are the norm.

    14. ‘That will all be torn up and we will start again with a new set of regulations’, huh.

      Why do manufacturers choose to be PU constructors?
      Money? Yes, that’s true but there’s more. Boost brand value, morale of the workforce? Ferrari always done it & they’ll keep doing so, so that’s tradition/history. Honda say they use F1 as training ground for their engineering workforces. Merc does it for the branding or to show off their capabilities. Renault has been doing it for a long, long time. Trickling down of technology to road cars? That isn’t so direct & it could be years to actually realize it(except for maybe the lubricants or fuel).

      So, what does F1 want or need?
      One thing we can be sure of, these big names give the PUs credibility, give F1 it’s credibility. And they asked for road relevance. “Pinnacle of Motorsports” needs these big names to remain so, having just 2 manufacturers like IndyCar won’t do. Sure, “who needs these big names?” Simpler engines would certainly be less of a performance differential and decrease the gaps. To have screaming V10s or V12s on the back of these cars will be awesome for racing, but won’t be worth taking about now.

    15. It’s funny that the commercial rights owner can tear up any rule in the first place.

      1. Yet he can’t as explained in the last little paragraph of the article. After all, if he could we’d have V8’s back, sprinklers, reverse grids, double points races etc etc. This is just BE posturing for his nbf Putin.

    16. Bernard does not have as much power as he thinks he does.

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