New spec engines for Lotus as Renault look to close the gap
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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2014   |  7:32 pm GMT  |  109 comments

The return to competitiveness of Renault and Lotus should take another step this weekend in China, as the black and gold cars have some updates on the chassis side and they will also have the latest specification Renault power units as used in Bahrain by Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

The season has started very badly for a team that this time last year was fighting for wins and podiums in the early flyaway races. Lack of mileage due to reliability concerns has been hugely frustrating for the team and its drivers. Even the Bahrain test after last week’s grand prix yielded less than 200km of running.


The latest specification Renault power units cut the power deficit to Mercedes from around 70bhp to around 40bhp, according to those in the know. That’s still a 4/10ths of a second deficit at most F1 venues. The power deficit has so far also compromised the DRS effect as the teams had to reduce the rear wing elements to improve top speed.

This new specification unit has a revised exhaust and is more robust in the turbo and MGU-H connected to it. This means that Renault can get most of the maximum 160hp boost from the Energy Recovery System, which it had not been able to do before.

Renault’s Remi Taffin admitted to this website in Bahrain that the company was one month behind the opposition.

In the build up to Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix Taffin spelled out some details on the progress made,

“We’re feeling more confident ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. While we know that the others are still ahead, we have made some good progress in the last two races, both in reliability and driveability, particularly in race modes.

“At the test in Bahrain we tested several new software modes that will see us closer to the limits of the Power Unit than before. In the past three races we have been some way from the edge of the performance envelope but these new modes should see us running more to the extreme.

“We have been working on the energy management per lap, particularly in the slow corners. We know we are missing out on the straights but these new steps have given us greater traction in the turns, which should in turn extend tyre life and give greater flexibility on strategies.”

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109 Comments
  1. Peter Scandlyn says:

    Hmmmm. Didn’t see the ‘C’ word used in there.
    Tony’s going to be one unhappy chappy.

    1. Random 79 says:

      “competitiveness”? ;)

      1. Peter Scandlyn says:

        ..r’nt us.

        Attributed to Caterham. I think…. :-)

      2. Random 79 says:

        I think you might be right.

        For the team that I thought had the most potential out of all the new teams they’ve been a massive disappointment.

        Oh well, it’s early days yet but let’s hope Haas can pull something out of his hat :)

      3. Tealeaf says:

        So what’s going on here, only 40hp advantage? that wquates to less than half a second so how comes the Merc was 2.5sec faster at Bahrain???

      4. Random 79 says:

        Pass…

      5. Kafka says:

        As I understand it, that 40hp is good for around .4 sec/lap, but with the bifurcated turbo the Merc also has a lot more flexibility in packaging. So the Merc has much less drag on the straights and is better balanced in the corners than the Renault-powered cars.

    2. Dave C says:

      70hp gap cut to 40hp? more like 100hp cut to 70hp at best. The season belongs to Mercedes good on them.

  2. Gaz Boy says:

    I really like the Enstone guys and girls. They’re a great bunch of no nonsense racers, but because of Mr E’s lop sided “special contract” with the “Big Four” (and Williams) what ever Enstone achieve in the constructors title they don’t go paid as much as the “special contract” teams who get sent big juicy pay cheques (irrespective of where they actually finish in the constructors!) from FOM and Mr E. So financially, the “other six” including Lotus are operating at a loss.
    As a result of this fiscal inequality, the charming Cotswold village of Enstone is visited every few weeks by some chaps from Venezuela with some big juicy pay cheques of their own. The only problem is Lotus have to take an employee of the Venezuelan’s – and he is, er, rather volatile………to put it midly.
    Anyway, I digress. Good luck to Lotus and the other Regie powered teams – I do hope Renault can incrementality close the gap without compromising reliability or driveability.
    Sorry about the above rant, I do apologise, but I hope I have explained the absurdity of the current F1 prize money distribution system in F1 – a pedigree team like Lotus cannot employ the driver they want, and have to take………well somebody who was not their first choice.
    Money talks in F1.

    1. Random 79 says:

      There’s nothing to apologise for in that one Gaz – you were spot on.

    2. Rich C says:

      a “pedigree” team? Surely you jest!

      a) its not the ‘real’ Lotus, and
      b) it can’t pay its drivers, so
      c) its crap.

      1. ErikT says:

        It’s not the real Lotus, but it is the same team that was once Benetton is it not? That counts for something, they aren’t the new kids in F1.

      2. KARTRACE says:

        They have no heritage of Lotus nor one of the Benetton. What heritage does Mercedes got one of Brawn racing of the one of Honda or they would rather be linked to the heritage of Fangio and Moss of the Silver Arrows from the fifties of the last Century. Lotus Team seize to exist as the GP team on the day when Colin Chapman disappeared. At best they could claim Renault heritage…

      3. Pete says:

        A financially struggling team that punches (punched) above its weight? That’s pedigree!

        (ps: I have sympathies with the employees re: finance though)

  3. Mhilgtx says:

    This raises is a question to me. Is the ERS open to continous development?

    I also wondered in an earlier post if the “reliability” loophole was big enough to drive a Peterbuilt truck through.

    I know homolgation is supposed to control cost but it also seems to have the effect of locking in advantages and keeping out competition.

  4. FatOldNark says:

    Hi James,

    I thought engine changes were limited once the engine was homologated, so how are Renault able to change the turbo, at least that’s my understanding from the article.

    I accept software changes are ok and they might get some improvement in tractability and power delivery that way but changing bits of the motor?

    1. James Allen says:

      On reliability grounds

      1. Anthony Young says:

        Have you got your tongue in your cheek there, James? If their only justification for the changes to the homologated spec was to resolve reliability problems, wouldn’t they be wiser to keep quiet about having gained 30bhp in the process?

      2. RodgerT says:

        If the the engine is unreliable because of heat soak from the turbo charger causing cooling problems then you change the turbo to improve reliability.

        Now if as a side effect it lowers the charge air temperature and gives you another 30bhp so much the better.

        Nothing new really as the same thing was done when the V8′s were homologated as well.

      3. Jonathan says:

        reading about the Merc engine Renault can change the turbo as much as they like but the homologation rules won’t let them change the layout – which is where the gain is made.

        By the sounds of it Merc have used the concept of the MGU-H to change the way they build the turbo. The initial thinking was obviously to take a conventional turbo and stick a motor/generator on the end of the shaft. Merc chose to put the motor armature in the middle to split which makes sense. By looking this way they extended the shaft sufficiently to make massive gains on the amount of cooling needed.

        No matter what Renault do for reliability they will not be able to make this fundamental change that has reaped so many rewards for Merc. It will be interesting to see if they are allowed to make this change at the end of the year. Honda will be doing all they can to campaign against this … while they build their engine correctly.

      4. Rich C says:

        Yes, and apparently the standard for “reliability” is how much less horsepower than Mercedes they put out.

      5. Tom in adelaide says:

        So the smart play would be to build un unreliable beast and then improve reliability throughout the season? Or is it a painful process to get updates approved?

      6. Purple Helmet says:

        Well, one of the other reasons for being able to make changes was cost. So there was every reason to make the engine more expensive than necessary at the start to give opportunities across the board to make ‘cost’ changes throughout later.

      7. StevenM says:

        Yeah, but the PU hasnt been unreliable, just underpowered, so what gives?

      8. mtm says:

        Well part of the lack of power is due to reliability. They are not making use of all the electrical energy because during testing the systems would just break when they did. They have been limited by software fixes until Renault corrects the underlying problems.

        I wouldn’t say they’ve had no reliability issues in the races either:

        Australia retirements. GRO: ERS. MAL: ERS. VET: PU.
        Malaysia retirements. JEV: Turbo. MAL: PU.

        Bahrain was the first race without a Renault PU failure. Red Bull and Torro Rosso were running the new spec V6 that Lotus will have this week. Note also that this change does count for one of the 5 engine changes as well.

        Also have a look at the changes that have been made to the 6 systems making up the Power Unit. These are the individual items you can only use 5 of during the year.

        http://184.106.145.74/f1-championship/f1-2014/f1-2014-04/Formula%20One%20Chinese%20Grand%20Prix%202014%20Document%20-%203.pdf

        Every Renault car has made multiple changes, bar Grosjean who has made one. Compared to seven Mercedes powered cars who are still on their first of everything, which need to last 4-5 races each.

      9. Rick says:

        James I know this isnt a Lotus or Renault question but it is about engines! Just been reading that F1 is setting up its own masters series for ex drivers. The stunning news for me is that it is going to use the original cars not new spec ones. What engines do you think they will go back to V10? V8? Thanks :)

      10. James Allen says:

        I don’t think the old drivers will want to drive their original cars

        1. not safe
        2. gforces etc too much for old necks etc

        Also there is such a massive difference in pace between a 1970s car and an ’80s and ’90s car. How would you get any kind of equivalence?

      11. Rick says:

        Thanks! But what about the historic masters races which already use the original cars? Is safety a problem there? They really need an age limit on the drivers or someone could do themselves an injury!

      12. audifan says:

        reliability , cost , or safety

        but the other teams are informed of any changes that the FIA propose to authorise , and get an opportunity to object …AND of course , implement such changes themselves !

      13. Elie says:

        So Ferrari got it wrong because they concentrated on reliability and have no chance of “reliability upgrade” :)

  5. grat says:

    Does this affect the PU count for the drivers? I assume since they’re limited to 5 units, they’ll have to run the “old” spec components at some point.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I don’t thinks so.

      Dodgy old units or slightly less dodgy new units, shouldn’t matter so long as they don’t use more than 5 units total.

    2. StevenM says:

      Exactly what I was thinking!
      James?

    3. mtm says:

      Yes it does, Vettel and Ricciardo’s ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) count went up to 2 last week when they moved to the new spec engine. There are 6 components to the PU that can all individually use up to 5 components through the season.

      ICE Internal Combustion Engine
      TC Turbo Charger
      MGU-K Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic
      MGU-H Motor Generator Unit – Heat
      ES Energy Store
      CE Control Electronics

      FIA release’s the count for each driver at the start of each weekend and then provides further individual reports as teams make changes over a weekend:

      http://184.106.145.74/f1-championship/f1-2014/f1-2014-04/Formula%20One%20Chinese%20Grand%20Prix%202014%20Document%20-%203.pdf

      My guess is the Renault teams would only run the old spec engine again if they ran out at the end of the season.

      1. Fareed says:

        mtm this is great stuff- what is the actual website where we can access this regularly?

      2. mtm says:

        FIA publish the information on the race page each weekend.

        fia.com > sports > championships > f1 > “current race” > Event Timing and Information > Technical Reports

        Which is currently: http://www.fia.com/championship/fia-formula-1-world-championship/2014/chinese-grand-prix-event-information

      3. Jonathan says:

        come the end of the season if they have made decent progress I would think a grid penalty for an extra engine would be preferable to using an old underpowered unit.

      4. mtm says:

        True, they’re not that harsh. 10 grid places for the first 6th part. 5 grid places for any remaining elements 6th part. Pit lane start for replacing entire PU.

        The other option I was thinking was replacing parts, if they are allowed to “break the seal” and poke around like with the gearboxes last year. Also if that’s even possible with whatever the updates are to the engine.

  6. Thread the Needle says:

    How come Renault are upgrading their engine when it’s clearly reliable in the back of the redbull, is engine development a free for all then

    1. Rich C says:

      They have engaged the services of Red Bull’s lawyers so they define reliability based on their own “model”

      1. Elie says:

        Lol yes !

  7. Spinodontosaurus says:

    That Mercedes chassis must be immense if they only had 40bhp advantage over Red Bull in Bahrain. I mean, we knew this already, but it’s still pretty striking.

    Why is Caterham missing out the new specification engines? I would have guessed money if Lotus had any themselves, so I’m assuming it’s down to Lotus being slightly more competitive so far this season, at least in terms of pace.

    1. pcoops says:

      It isnt just about the amount of power the engine can deliver, but how it delivers that power. If the torque curve is smoothe it allows the driver to control wheelspin out of corners far better, if the torque curve is “peaky” then it can mean you have to keep reducing throttle to stop wheelspin and then go back through that peak again until grip = power. A huge amount of time can be lost from this.

    2. pcoops says:

      Plus – That 40 horsepower difference is on a dyno. Theres a lot of other differentiators before that power gets to the wheels.

  8. Jonno says:

    Will these new parts count against the number of replacement *elements* a car is allowed per season? Or will Renault get away with making major changes during the season as they’ve done in the past, claiming they need equality with other engine manufacturers?

    1. mtm says:

      Yes, it counts as a new ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). The only catch is they can go back to using the original, working but slightly dodgy engine if they run out at the end of the season.

  9. Kramgp says:

    It would be great to see lotus back in the mix. RoGro is a good racer and proved it last season, and Pastor… Well we will have to see.

  10. Adrian J says:

    James, how is it that Renault are allowed to make these updates to the engine?

    I thought they had been homologated at the start of the season and were thus frozen for the rest of the year…

    Are Mercedes and Ferrari also making updates as well??

    1. James Allen says:

      Well, They are all allowed to fix reliability issues, with FIA permission

      All are doing so, as you would expect

      1. James Clayton says:

        James

        As I understand it, and I could well be wrong – because I was half asleep and my internet connection was playing up when Ted was explaining it at the beginning of the season, the way it works is this:

        The engine manufacturers are allowed to put in requests for ‘reliability’ updates out to the FIA mid-season, but in addition to the FIA, all other manufacturers are able to see (and have to approve) the details of the modifications – thus any manufacturer making such updates in-season do so at the cost of showing rival manufacturers certain details about their systems which they might prefer to keep secret.

        My understanding is that this only applies in-season, and any updates between the end of the season and the start of next season need approval only from the FIA (ie rival manufacturers don’t get to see details of what changes are being made).

        Would you say this is an accurate reading of the situation?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes. There is a list of areas they can develop between Brazil GP and end Feb 2015. Same process again into 2016

    2. Rich C says:

      They have their own definition of “reliability”

  11. Random 79 says:

    Better late than never I suppose.

    Given that we know that Ferrari and obviously Renault are looking to improve their power units it would be interesting to know if Mercedes are doing the same.

    1. James Allen says:

      They are all allowed to fix reliability issues, with FIA permission

      All are doing so

      1. Random 79 says:

        Cheers for the answer although it doesn’t surprise me in the least :)

      2. f1_fan says:

        @James can ferrari do changes too about reducing weight of engine ? rumors say their engine is overweight and they are working on new casts to reduce weight, i thought they have to wait till next season, wonder what reasoning can convince FIA to let them change engine castings ?

      3. Elie says:

        But James .. The Ferrari PU is reliable cant wait to hear their line

      4. Rich C says:

        See previous reference to RB Lawyers.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Oh, without doubt.
      Having said that, perhaps the Merc has had its “performance ceiling” and gaining incremental gains from the Brixworth V6 will be much harder than the Renault, which has more potential to extract?
      Or is that just wishful thinking for the competitive pecking order for this season? Whatever, for Sebastian and Daniel to win Renault have to extract a bit more, then a bit more, then a bit, bit more………

      1. Random 79 says:

        True, but it still means that Ferrari and Renault are chasing a moving target.

      2. C63 says:

        I would say the performance advantage enjoyed by the Mercedes works team is not just down to bhp. James mentioned, above, that 40bhp is worth about 4/10 second/lap. So, given they were something like 2 seconds/lap quicker at the last race (when they were in battle mode) there has to be a great deal more to it than just the PU.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        You’re right.
        Mercedes, like Brawn at the start of 2009 has got the most refined machine in F1 at the minute – its not really lacking in any area, it is fantastically strong in downforce, suspension compliance, engine power/torque, aero centre of pressure, aero efficiency, braking capacity…………pretty much all the boxes ticked for a supreme F1 car.

      4. Elie says:

        It still is mostly focused around the PU. Remember the compressor is located at the other side of the engine so balancing the weight and packaging is better.
        Further to this the innovation in the PU also means the efficiency of the turbo being spooled more efficiently down low means the response & drivability is better..
        Given these advantages afforded Mercedes have with that PU, i think the RB 10 chassis is incredible and still the benchmark by a long shot..Could you imagine if Newey could move/ package their engine better in the chassis and have a) better response b) more power and torque c) better fuel efficiency… Thank goodness they dont..
        Fair to say Mercedes have done a great job all round

  12. aveli says:

    we’ll if these changes help them to move up the field.

    1. Random 79 says:

      It should.

      The problem is that the Mercedes powered cars will still be moving up the field just that little bit faster… ;)

  13. IP says:

    Meanwhile Honda are taken the best or each pu and integrating it into their package

    1. Random 79 says:

      It’s a mad scientist worthy level of diabolical :D

    2. jake says:

      This technique will not necessarily produce the best engine. There is no gaurantee that each of the best bits work together as a whole.

  14. kenneth chapman says:

    @ james…..totally OT but i have a question that is germane to the immediate future racing. i have read a report that said that mercedes submitted a 95page document to the ICA/FIA demanding a three race ban for red bull.

    have you heard this and if so you may care to comment. would also like to know the basis for allowing mercedes to aggressively participate in an action before the ICA whereby the only participants in legal conflict were the FIA versus red bull.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I’m just impressed that it would take Mercedes 95 pages to say “ban Red Bull for the next three races” :)

      1. Rich C says:

        German words are longer.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Good point.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Okay, seriously:

      You’re on the ICA, presumably you have an absolute load of background information, technical information, technical regulations and car telemetry to read through to make an informed decision, and then Mercedes come along with their own blatant self-interest at heart and hand you a 95 page wad of reasons why you should ban potentially their biggest threat for three races.

      Would you bother?

    3. C63 says:

      @Kenneth Chapman
      i have read a report that said that mercedes submitted a 95page document to the ICA/FIA ….

      Out of interest where did you read this report? Was it from a fully accredited source (as required by you of another poster in a previous thread) or, as you like what it says, does the source not have to meet your stringent requirements on this occasion?

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @c63…. i addressed this comment to james so i will await his reply however your implied sarcasm is totally unwarranted and nothing more than a sad attempt at a cheap shot.

        i presume that you are questioning the post re the supposed ICA full report of their reasoning that supported their judgement? well that poster was only quoting from a summary of the transcript….not the full report.

        i would suggest that if you have nothing of substance to contribute to the debate you would do better to butt out.

      2. C63 says:

        @kenneth chapman

        You posted a comment on a public forum and in response I asked a reasonable question. You were very curt in your dismissal of another poster, as you claim their source was not ‘fully accredited’ (whatever that means). Accordingly, I asked if the source of your information met the arbitrary standard that you have imposed on others. Reasonable enough imo. Incidentally, it doesn’t appear that your report was accurate/fully accreditted as Mercedes request was for a ‘suspended’ ban (not a straight ban as you claim)to deter RBR from following a similar course of action in future.
        BTW, does correcting your factually inaccurate post count as contributing to the debate?

    4. PxB says:

      I read elsewhere that Merc called for an extra, suspended, penalty so if they did ask for a 3-race ban it may have been as a suspended one.

      I think Red Bull made a similar intervention against Merc in last year’s Pirelli testing case, so it’s nothing new (and probably partly just payback).

    5. Ed says:

      They were allowed to participate (as were all teams) as they were disadvantaged.

      This is the same as last year where rbr were calling for a long ban for merc.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ ed…. how do you know this? i am curious as to what actually transpired in the lead up to the ICA hearing. as i said, i was of the belief that the reason for the hearing was that red bull appealed the FIA stewards decision. i was unaware that any other team/teams etc could also participate as they were not involved.

        mercedes certainly weren’t disadvantaged. they only had one car and they won! if, say red bull, had won their appeal then maybe the other teams could file an action but it would have no substance as a ruling had been made stating that they were not guilty.

        it would be helpful if you could possibly explain the background to this for me. as for the ‘tyre testing’ issue i do not see any parallels whatsoever. different background and not competetive re points in both championships.

      2. Ed says:

        Its because the normal way of raising suspected breeches of regs to the courts e.g. double diffusers etc is by teams protesting and putting their case. Just because it was the FIA / stewards that found out about the breech, shouldnt mean the teams cant have their say (as merc did this time, and rbr over tyre gate, and every man and his dog on off-throttle blowing!)

        Mercedes were disadvantaged because they followed the technical direct along with the rest of the teams and applied the required offsets. Redbull did not, and were consistently found to be running with a higher flow rate according to the only valid measuring device (and not disproved by rbrs questionably accurate calculation), increasing to 104g/h when Ric was fighting Mag. If merc had run at this fuel level, they could have gone faster (as could have all the others.

        The tyre testing is just another example of where a third party team presented a case at an FIA vs perpetrating team legal/appeal hearing.

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        @ed….. i think that you missed my point. red bull lodged an appeal against the ruling of the FIA [stewards].that was the sole basis of the ICA hearing.

        are you saying that mercedes lodged a separate protest with the FIA against red bull for not following the directions of the FIA or as a fact that they believed they were disadvantaged. they could only attempt to prove a disadvantage if red bull were found not guilty of a misdemeanour. surely that would’ve have to have been after the ICA announced their findings and not during the initial proceedings?

        obviously mercedes were allowed to present their case because they did so but i still don’t know what the ICA rules are for allowing third parties to present a case.

        interesting to note that the ICA chose to ignore mercedes call for further sanctions.

  15. kenneth chapman says:

    sorry for the double dip, i meant to say, ‘demanding a three race ban for red bull starting with this weekends race and both spain and monaco’

  16. foreverf1 says:

    Good news for the Renault teams.

    But can someone please give me one good reason why you are allowed to develop aero throughout the season when there is a development freeze on engines?

    F1 has always championed technology that may be carried over to road cars, hence the move to the V6 turbos. The aero of an F1 car is the least relevant piece of technology that could be fitted to future road cars. If anything, they should be developing the engine throughout the whole season to be faster, more efficient and cheaper so that road cars could benefit from them in the future.

    Besides, wouldn’t it be great to see Renault and Ferrari teams catch up to Mercedes teams in an all out aero and engine development race?

    Wasn’t this is how F1 used to be?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Couldn’t agree more.
      When you think of it, 750 Bhp from 1600 cc, 6 clyinders in a vee (and a 90 degree vee at that – ideally, a V6 would either be 120 or 60 degree for better primary and secondary balance), a turbocharger and some clever electrical systems is an amazing achievement of engineering!
      Can’t wait for a very wet race…….all that torque……lots of flailing arms, skyving revs, wheelspin and locked front axles aplenty….

      1. David Howard says:

        Gaz, I’m relatively new to F1 (8 years) but I find the wealth of technical knowledge here fascinating. I’m a computer tech guy so my knowledge of engines is fairly limited. Could any of you post or email me with some links where I could learn more about this? I was particularly interested just know about how the geometry of the engine affects performance.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        RE David Howarth: Yes, no problem David.
        Here’s some good wesbsites:

        http://www.formula1-dictionary.net/engine.html
        There is an excellent essay on these new V6 turbo engines, as well a generic history of the internal combustion that has propelled F1.

        http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2014/1/15408.html. Excellent essay on turb hybrid technology.

        http://www.renaultsport.com/IMG/pdf/rsf1-moteur2014-presskit-en_final2.pdf
        Very, very, very detailed analysis of the new Formula 1 from a Parisian perspective. With Renault making big strides into Mercedes, its quite timely too! This is a PDF, but it tells you practically everything you want to know (and some you probably don’t!).

        Mark Hughes, editor of Motor Sport and (Motor Sport.com) is an excellent authority on F1 technology and if you subscribe to Autosport.com they have access to the brains at Brixworth, Paris and Maranello on the developments coming thick and fast on the engine front.

        Happy viewing!

    2. Thompson says:

      @foreverf1.

      Which f1 are you talking about, as long as I van remember F1 was always dominated by one team at a time.

      Only the Williams/Benetton era of the 90s spring to mind, nip and tuck racing – they both had the Renault engine too which was the engine to have.

      Which era do you speak of?

      1. foreverf1 says:

        @Thompson

        I really don’t care if one manufacturer dominates, as long as all teams are given equal time and access to tweak their engines and aeros during the season within the legal limit.

        For example, at the moment, Merc has an incredible engine while Redbull has the best aero package. Merc can upgrade their aero to possibly match or exceed Redbull’s aero performance throughout the season but Redbull are not allowed to improve the performance of their engine to possibly match or exceed Mercs.

        Why aero updates, but not engine mods? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

        I believe that until the mid 2000s you were allowed to increase the performance of your engine along with reliability and safety, while introducing new aero updates during the season.

    3. mtm says:

      I think it all relates to incremental measures for cost cutting (and the fallibility of the method). Engines were picked as one of the most expensive parts to start on.

      With the introduction of the V8′s, the idea was to freeze development. Prior to the homologation and rev limit to 19000rpm of engines in 2008 and the addition of the maximum number of engines for a season to 8 in 2009. Teams could do whatever they wanted on the engine side. Some could have a quali engine they run at absolute maximum to only last a few laps then have another race spec engine then replace them for the next race if needed. Obviously this leads to a performance advantage purely to the team with money to burn, especially a works team.

      The side effect is once you regulate an area, the big teams just spend all that money on the area’s they can… aero/mechanical/design development.

  17. Random 79 says:

    “Can someone please give me one good reason why you are allowed to develop aero throughout the season when there is a development freeze on engines?”

    No, not really.

    “Wouldn’t it be great to see Renault and Ferrari teams catch up to Mercedes teams in an all out aero and engine development race?”

    Why yes it would.

    “Wasn’t this is how F1 used to be?”

    Yes, I believe it was.

    It’s strange how much common sense you can see leaking out of your comment – best see a doctor about that ;)

    1. Random 79 says:

      While I see a doctor about my inability to reply to another’s comment correctly

      Was meant for ForeverF1

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        You haven’t got that new Ferrari V6 turbo keyboard system have you? Apparently its a bit slower than it rivals, and a bit more temperamental.
        Mind you, that new Venezuelan keyboard system is worse – prone to crashing a lot apparently…….

  18. Kevin Green says:

    Microsoft could not be picking a worst time to flood tv advertising with there Lotus associated advertising could they not? especially when you take it in word for wiord talk about damaging your brand!!

    1. Random 79 says:

      Q: What does Microsoft software and Maldonado’s Lotus have in common?

      1. Kevin Green says:

        terrible job even a 4 yr old kid would insta answer that :)

      2. Random 79 says:

        …and yet no-one got the answer I was thinking of ;)

        If you do know the correct answer Kevin now’s your chance :)

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Both have components made in Taiwan?

      4. toleman fan says:

        Microsoft is a sponsor, sorry, ‘partner’.

        The kind of partner that gets its name painted on the car:

        http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/2012/aug12/08-30lotusf1.aspx

      5. Random 79 says:

        It sounded so promising, but it’s amazing how quickly it can all go south :)

    2. James Clayton says:

      Yea… isn’t the message in the advert something along the lines of “this software makes the decisions that differentiate losing from winning”?!!

  19. mem says:

    dont really understand why some dont seem to like the other teams trying to regain some performance. I guess people like to see a car finish a minute ahead every race as they snooze in front of the tv . The rest of us want to see a race.

    1. Rich C says:

      Because the *rules say you can’t develop the engine. So they all cheat and say its for “reliability” which they define as how far behind Merc they are.

    2. Thompson says:

      This year is different.

      We have a racing team dominating this part of the season with two competitive drivers.

      Not since Mansell/Piquit have we had such a juicy pairing leading the pack – this season is already turning into a classic.

      The Schumacher era was vulgar with his no.1 status shenanigans and cheating the Vettel era was just plain unsporting and farcical with one car breaking down for no good reason – while the other was bulletproof

      This is the Hamilton & Rosberg show – one day a film will be made about this season.

      You watch – best season in decades…… so far.

  20. KARTRACE says:

    FIA homologation as the principle is a great charade and farce. I remember days in 2007 when 10 different KF engines were homologated. Most of them who were underperforming were claiming cooling issues for necessary updates. Within the first three years of the initial homologation they changed so much that the losers became winners, all over sudden. FIA is a bunch of hypocrites. Principle of homologation is absurd. If FIA stick to their guns they would have one manufacturer dominating the season fully protected from the opposition and others that could park their cars and wait till the end of the season. There is no point in locking equipment in the first years specifically when there is a very limited testing in place. Homologation should’ve taken place only after the first introduction season of the new formula, if any homologation is really needed. Homologation only makes sense in touring or GT cars in order to make more even playing field when it comes to works and privateer teams.

  21. David in Sydney says:

    Good to see those, ah, reliability problems having been fixed are resulting in an increase in performance…

    1. Rich C says:

      But wait! It turns out there are *new ‘reliability’ issues which will no doubt require more upgrades!

  22. Richard D says:

    How do the words “latest specification” and “homulgated” stack up together?

  23. Jarv027 says:

    These engines being homologated for this season is a stupid rule anyway. Teams need to develop these new engines as fast as possible. I can understand them being homologated after 3 seasons but not in the first!!

    Whats next? Not being able to develop the chassis unless it has reliability issues??

  24. forestial says:

    The article mentions software changes, by Renault.

    Is the software that manages the engine created by the engine makers, or by the teams individually? Can the teams choose to use the engine maker’s software, or adapt it themselves, or go their own way altogether?

    There would seem to be plenty of scope for clever team-specific engine management software to adapt the engine’s behaviour (with all those interacting ICE/MGU-K/MGU-H bits) to favour other aspects of the car. But I don’t know if this is permitted by the regs.

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