Team Ferrari
Posted on May 5, 2010
Ferrari to attack Barcelona with new rear wing and updated engines | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) we will be in the pit lane in Barcelona closely studying the updates the teams have brought to their cars for the start of the European season.

It will not be as radical as last year’s first European event, when the race was on to fit a double diffuser as soon as possible to many cars. Nevertheless this year we will see some major aerodynamic and mechanical updates and F duct rear wings, the devices which ‘switch on’ at top speed to allow a car to shed drag on the straights, first pioneered by McLaren.


The Ferrari team conducted a a straight line test at Vairano over the weekend, permitted in the rules, to assess the new wing in a back to back test with the old one. The new wing will be in Barcelona and will be track tested on Friday during free practice. The drivers and team will then decide whether to use it for qualifying and the race. Ferrari has confirmed that the switch to turn it on will be driver operated, like the McLaren, whose drivers use their knees to close a vent – and that both drivers have already tested it out on the simulator. There is also a new position for the wing mirrors (see photo) after the FIA banned the outboard mirrors.

Also under close scrutiny on the Ferraris in Barcelona will be the engines, which have suffered some reliability concerns in the early races with Fernando Alonso now down to just six engines for the remainder of the season.

“The team requested and received authorisation from the FIA to make some changes within the framework of the current engine regulations and these modifications will be fitted to the engines to be used in Spain,” said a Ferrari statement yesterday.

The way the process works is that a team or engine builder must submit a report to the FIA about a part which has proved unreliable, together with photographic evidence of its failure and request a modification to that part.

This report is then sent out by the FIA to the other teams and engine makers and they have five days to voice any objections, otherwise permission to make the change is granted.

One weakness in the system is that teams are not obliged to prove that a problem occurred during a race weekend, so if a team wanted to make a performance upgrade they could deliberately cause a part to fail on the dynomometer or test bench in the factory and then request a change.

Engine builders tell me that it is very difficult for them to object to a change because they know that if a failure should happen to them later in the season, they are likely to be turned down, tit for tat, by the rival whose claim they rejected.

In Ferrari’s case they have clearly suffered failures in Alonso’s car at two Grand Prix events.

The problem Ferrari have been working hard to rectify relates to some of the moving parts of the engine, according to sources in Italy, such as the connecting rods and in particular the way they are fabricated, rather than their design, as I understand it.

As the engines are frozen in development terms the engine builder must have incorporated a reliability problem in the changes they made to the engine over the winter, ironically when supposedly chasing out a reliability concern from last year’s engine.

The team did have some problems on the valve system prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix and changed the system in parc ferme before the race. But Fernando Alonso recently denied suggestions that the valves were the item the team had requested the FIA to be allowed to change.

Ferrari to attack Barcelona with new rear wing and updated engines
24 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: jose arellano
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 6:41 pm 

    so.. even if they suspect the changes could add more power they preffer to aprove them so the seam team dont reject htem when they request ??

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: ash
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 7:11 pm 

    So Ferrari made reliability upgrades to the engine that made it suddenly unreliable? Exactly how many failures did they have last year?

    Why doesn’t the FIA just say ‘Go back to last year’s specification?’

    Sounds like their back-door engine enhancements backfired and now they’re trying to fix it and at the same time keep what I suspect is ‘extra power’ from the pre-season upgrades.

    Mercedes should engineer some failures into Schumacher’s units so they can get some upgrades, too. Not like he’s doing much with them engines anyway….

    (j/k)

    [Reply]

    JohnsonsEviltwin Reply:

    My sentiments exactly.

    [Reply]

    TM Reply:

    I totally agree with what you’re saying, but I think they’re all at it, not only Ferrari.

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  3.   3. Posted By: F1 boy
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 7:42 pm 

    Hi James,

    Can’t wait till Friday to see new updates on the cars. I look forfard for some more inside comments on how ne F10 stalling wing works..?

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Tom
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 8:13 pm 

    Will Sauber and Toro Rosso have the changes on their Ferrari engines too?

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Knuckles
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 8:57 pm 

    James, I’m reading elsewhere (recently at Autosport, and probably brought up first by AMuS) that the issue supposedly was with the engine’s pneumatic system, and that this did not occur last year because it was refilled during pit stops. So this would at least mean that the problem was not self-induced to the same extent as if it had been newly created by the changes over the winter.

    On the other hand, it is unclear how such a refill is supposed to have happened. AFAICT nobody ever noted additional work being done on the Ferraris last year during pitstops. Someone suggested an additional system in the fuel hose, but then the teams are forbidden to make changes to it, are they not?

    And lastly, Alonso said on Monday at the Santander event (before the Autosport story was published) that “the things written about the valves and the air intake system are false”. I wonder why Autosport is sticking to it then.

    So, can you say anything more than what you wrote above about the connecting rods, and do you agree with Alonso?

    Thanks.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 9:02 pm 

    James
    I guess what frustrates me with this engine freeze is that Ferrari had a reliable engine last year and changed something which probably gained but caused some tech failures. So now they change again (twice changed presumably since last seasons finish).
    I have nothing against Ferrari and I’m sure they are not alone, but that’s not a freeze!
    Nobody wants to see the excesses of the BMW (where I believe they I read in autosport they built something like 100 engines per season – think I saw in autosport this week -someone correct me if I’m wrong) era with Williams, or Honda turning up with mclaren with 4 spec engines to a race but some sensible boundaries on development have to be there surely?

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Astro1
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 10:46 pm 

    People need to stop blaming Ferrari for this and instead look at the “engine freeze” as the problem.

    People long ago, before the freeze was introduced said that it would be more of a slow down rather than outright stop in development.

    There’s just no way to stop development when you allow modification based on “reliability”.

    The two, performance and reliability are related so changes to reliability are in fact changes to performance.

    One could (and likely have)simply push the engine beyond proper operating conditions and ooops there goes reliability. Better ask the FIA for a modification allowance.

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of this frankly it seems like a huge area of exploit.

    [Reply]

    carl Reply:

    So why isn’t Renault allowed to update the engine for the same reasons?

    It is FerrarIA time again this year.

    [Reply]

    TM Reply:

    I believe that Renault wanted to update to improve performance (to catch up with the others), not to improve reliability.

    [Reply]

    Knuckles Reply:

    Also, people forget all the time that changes are allowed both for reliability and for cost savings.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: rob
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 10:51 pm 

    here’s my take on this. 8 engines for the entire season. this makes me think that the engine is reliable. there is enough time in testing to determine whether or not any off-season changes (which, if any have been made, are strictly for reliability) to the engine are working the way they had hoped.

    once the season starts, that’s it. if you had to replenish the pneumatic system last year during longer pitstops then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this will be a problem this year.

    i’m not against ferrari, but it seems a little unfair to any other engine manufacturers that started the season with an engine that is reliable.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Except that Renault made a raft of changes to its engine this season already, and Cosworth didn’t have to stop making changes until nearly the start of the season while everyone else was frozen.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    surely, you cannot have a problem with cosworth having to tinker until just before the season. most of their teams are getting lapped. it’s a brand new engine. ferrari’s is 4-5 years old.

    do we know for sure that renault made changes during this season?

    my point is that once the season starts, you should have to finish the season with that exact engine spec.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Astro1
        Date: May 5th, 2010 @ 11:31 pm 

    @rob. It is unfair, but the rules are the same for all. Maybe they should have started with some flaws.

    I just see it as a bad rule by the FIA.

    In fact limiting teams in being able to modify their engine’s reliability seems retarded to me; especially when they have the resources to make those changes.

    That is why a rule that basically states.

    “Please don’t make changes to your engines unless they are unreliable” is simply retarded, and always has been.

    As far as Ferrari exploiting it (even if they are) more power to them. The more this goes on, the sooner that rule can be dropped.

    And if fairness is in question look at Renault. Red Bull are certainly not complaining about the fact that Renault blatantly got an FIA’s OK to increase the performance of the Renault RS27 engine while under the freeze.

    It’s not McLaren’s or Ferrari’s fault they made less power. The freeze is just another rule created without thinking.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: F1 is a Fraud
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 4:58 am 

    Ferarri can update engine (which also would gain in power) and Renault (with Red Bull using them) isn’t allowed to update the engine to get on similar levels as Merc and Ferrari.

    Nice going, un-biased FerrarIA. Jean Todt is showing he is so un-biased.

    [Reply]

    Faisal Reply:

    There is difference between performance & reliability. As per engine freeze, you cannot do anything that gives you more rpm or bhp. But you can always request changes for resolving reliability issues. Renault was allowed to have small performance gains probably last or in 2008.

    This change will not make Ferrari powerplant any stronger, it will just make it reliable

    [Reply]

    muelte Reply:

    Do you have any proof that backups your statement of Ferrarin gaining power? As written by JA the problem is related with some parts and “the way they are fabricated, rather than their design” How can you gain power that way? Don’t you think the FIA & other teams’ engineers wouldn’t be able to see if they are trying to gain power with that part.

    BTW, Renault got a low of ‘reliability’ upgrades allowed just a few months ago. It was just their request to ‘power equilisation’ that was rejected, as that is forbidden by rules.

    [Reply]

    TM Reply:

    The point of the engine freeze rule is to stop development costs, not an attempt to make all the engines equal. Therefore Ferrari are making this change for better reliability, whereas Renault wanted to change theirs to catch up in terms of performance.

    I do agree that it’s wrong that certain engine manufacturers have used the reliability/cost saving rule to their performance advantage, but the fact that they have been allowed to improve performance in this way is the flaw, not the fact that Renault are not allowed to increase their performance to catch up.

    It isn’t only Ferrari doing this though so saying that this proves the FIA are in favour of Ferrari is wide of the mark.

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Jon
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 10:11 am 

    Ferrari shouldn’t be allowed to make this change. Like Ash said, they should go back to an old spec. The only reason the engine is unreliable this season is because of changes made last season.

    But the changes last season were made to improve reliability (when the engine was already bulletproof), and now it’s unreliable. Gee, I wonder why that is?

    Frozen engines in F1 is a mockery.

    Why wasn’t Renault allowed to make changes a few weeks ago, if Ferrari is now? Ferrari and Merc’s advantage over the field continues to get stronger, despite the freeze. What a joke.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Robert Powers
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 11:11 am 

    “Ferrari can update engine (which also would gain in power) and Renault (with Red Bull using them) isn’t allowed to update the engine to get on similar levels as Merc and Ferrari.

    Nice going, un-biased FerrarIA. Jean Todt is showing he is so un-biased.”

    James,why is the Todt era beginning in the worst way possible?Doesn’t he know this appears to be a Ferrari bias?I’m not a conspiracy fan,but this looks bad.

    Did Ferrari seek to paint itself into a corner from the beginning of the season,one where there are only eight engines allowed?Then they could use thier pull with the FIA.That then gives them an advantage over the other teams on the all important powerplant area.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Chris Neale
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 1:39 pm 

    Hi James
    Do you think this engine update ultimately has something to do with fuel consumption issues? I understand that the Ferrari engine was one of the worst on fuel mileage last year and I think they had tried over the winter to get permission from the FIA to have the valves modified to allow leaner running.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Paul
        Date: May 6th, 2010 @ 4:35 pm 

    One interesting point to this of which I was previously unaware is that the team requesting special dispensation to improve a part must provide photographic evidence of its failure not only with the FIA, but also their competitors.

    With respect to internal engine components this must certainly be cause for some consternation within the requesting team’s design department. First, they must provide detailed photographs of a internal part which would otherwise not be visible to their competitors. Second, they must show how and why it failed, and third, they must show what they plan to do to correct it.

    This kind of information sharing would never have happened if it were not required by the (flawed) engine freeze regulations, and I would wager other teams are keen to learn anything they can with respect to their competitor’s approaches to reliability improvements.

    This perhaps is also motivation for approving these changes. Aside from the obvious “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, it could encourage other teams to divulge information they wouldn’t otherwise be wont to do.

    [Reply]

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