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Williams confirms Mercedes engines – so who’s using what engine in 2014?
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 May 2013   |  12:11 pm GMT  |  213 comments

Williams has confirmed the recent speculation that it will switch from Renault to Mercedes engines next season when the new 1.6 litre hybrid turbo engines come in.

Mercedes believe that they have a class leading engine and powertrain and Williams believe that this will set them up well for improving their long term competitiveness. The Mercedes is believed to also be slightly cheaper than the Renault unit. There is a lot of unhappiness among the teams outside the top four about the cost of the new hybrid turbo engines. The manufacturers have committed vast sums to develop them and want a return on that, but teams feel that the price is too high.

Renault is also unhappy that it does not get enough promotional benefit from supplying a third of the grid with engines, including the three times champions Red Bull Racing and wants a better return on its investment.

So now the picture is clearer on which team is using which engine, here is our take on it:

Red Bull – Renault
Red Bull is the works Renault team, getting a free supply of engines and working closely with title sponsor Infiniti, the luxury brand which is owned by Nissan/Renault

Ferrari – Ferrari The team is the only one with the luxury of having its own engine department on site, a few metres from the chassis department.

McLaren – Mercedes (2014), Honda (from 2015) McLaren will look to Honda to provide turbo power as they did in the later 1980s. But they’ve not made a benchmark F1 engine for a while.

Mercedes – Mercedes The works team has its engine facility around 20 miles away from the chassis factory. Like the three teams above it is in a position to specify exactly how it wants the engine from a packaging point of view.

Lotus – Renault? The Lotus team grew out of the former Renault team at Enstone. The Renault engines have served them well thus far, but the price is high. A confirmation of their engine will be due soon as the deals are all being done now. Renault Sport boss Jean Michel Jalinier made an interesting comment recently, which suggested that Renault would prefer to supply only three teams, “We hope to confirm activities in the coming weeks. We have stated that we would be comfortable with three teams and five if there was a gap in the market, but this upper bracket is not our ideal case scenario.”

Force India – Mercedes Recently announced, the customer team that punches above its weight is keeping faith with Mercedes power.

Williams – Mercedes Announced today, the first time that the former champions have used Mercedes engines.

Sauber – Ferrari Sauber’s link with Ferrari goes back many years and they are politically aligned within F1 as well. However with money tight, there has been talk of a possible subsidised supply of Hondas for the team from 2015 onwards.

Toro Rosso – Renault Recently announced, Red Bull’s sister team returns to Renault, which aligns it with the Red Bull team. They previously had a Renault contract before Red Bull did a swap deal for Ferrari units.

Caterham – Renault Caterham has a strategic partnership with Renault in sports car manufacturing projects outside of F1. Former Renault Sport boss Cyril Abiteboul is now team principal at Caterham and provides strong links.

Marussia – Ferrari Likely to be announced soon and not unconnected to the presence of Ferrari development driver Jules Bianchi in the team. Marussia is the only team that had to change engines from its current supplier as Cosworth will not be making a hybrid turbo unit.

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I'm so happy Williams elected to change to Merc. The best engine next year mark my words.


Honda, Ferrari and Renault don't know how to make engines you reckon?


How can you possibly know that? With such a fundamental change in engine configuration it is a totally unknown situation. Mercedes' pedigree is in large, supercharged engines. Ferrari's is with mid-sized lots of cylinders engines. Only Renault have had real experience and success with smaller turbo charged engines. As we have often seen in this business, simply chucking money and resource at a problem doesn't always get you the best result. I think this is a very open subject right now - and Honda's entry will be important for them to produce a winning product given the loss of face at their exit (and Brawn's subsequent success with what should have/could have been a Honda).


Much as I hate to give them any credit, ferrari won the Constructor's Championship in '82 and '83 with 1.5L V6 turbo motors. They were runner up in the WCC in '84*, '85 & '88.

*albeit by a truly humbling margin that year.


Missed an asterisk beside '88 also, no? 199 to 65 is quite the margin. And that's with the double DNF at Monza that year handing Ferrari the only non-McLaren win.


But what about 2015 ?

Funny how you are so certain, yet the mighty McLaren have risked upsetting the Merc apple cart by already pledging to leave them after 1 year for a Honda.

Maybe James should run a competition to see whose guesses are closest to the fact, rating all the engines for BHP, Torque and Driveability /10.

My guess is Ferrari will come last, they have little experience with Turbos compared to the opposition and probably the least money.... But then again, that is just a guess...


Great idea for the competition! Don't agree with your predictions though. I don't think that what the manufacturers make day in day out will have any bearing on how good their f1 engine is. None of them put

2.4l v8s that rev to 18k rpm in road cars and they all seem to manage fine. They are not going come from the same design departments are they? The days of f1 engines being production based are long gone. They will employ the necessary expertise and experience. Mercedes certainly seem to be talking up their engine and I don't doubt it will be good, Mercedes have a long history of producing good (if sometimes fragile) f1 engines. But don't discount the rest, everyone is saying Honda will struggle but don't forget that you the current engines have been the same for several years hondas v8 from a few years ago would probably still be competitive now so they won't have lost out on any of the tech advances.

I just hope that the engines are allowed to become a key performance differentiator and not capped like bit is now.


SO Williams will become the defacto Mercedes junior team as a bench mark for Mercedes. The juniors get too close to the works team they have to step up the game.


It seems Williams have some work to do to catch up to Force India first.


Huh? Seems to me it's highly unlikely they'll be able to beat Force India? (assuming Vijay Mallya's financial empire doesn't actually come crashing down)

It's not as if Renault engines have been they're problem the past few years.

Do wonder why they insist on keeping there own transmission too. $?


Williams sell their transmission technology or at least some of it off to Audi and other ventures as well I believe.

And possibly cheaper as well

If you look at the back of the Williams they also have the smallest gearbox in the grid right now so they may just prefer that.


Or Mercedes get fed up pouring money into their own team, sell it to the highest bidder and switch to being an engine supplier only, focusing on Williams.

One can dream...


Before that they'll have to beat Force India


I remember how excited they were when they announed renault deal....they were sure it will bring them the old glory. Excited again?


Exactly... Engines are not Williams' problem, are they, Red Bull seem to do OK with their Renault engines..

This is either a commercial consideration, or the teams know the specs of the various engines for 2014. If it was the latter, and Merc have the best engine, why would McLaren switch to Honda for 2015?

To me it sounds like a money issue. Merc needed to replace McLaren to make the numbers add up.

I am not sure what to make of James' assertions that Renault don't feel like they don't get enough bang for their buck in F1... They sell Clios, not 650bhp performance cars, what kind of brand association were they expecting..? They can send Vettel to Sochi to sell Infitinis to Russian politicians as much as they want... I guess it's too late to get out now they have invested so much money on the 2014 engines... But it doesn't sound like they're happy...


It's not my assertion, it's Renault themselves who say that..


Compared to the Cosworths, there was surely some cause for minor celebration (bring out the 6-pack of Carling!)


WIlliams Is always changing : Engines, CEOs, technical staff, livery, sponsors..... Only competitiveness remains the same.


Perhaps you should have more respect for Williams than making disparaging comments. A real F1 team that perhaps does not have the resources of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull but makes an equally valid contribution to the F1 spectacle.


I don't really think so. Williams have gone a lot many steps backwards and with the constant no of changes things are not to bright at this moment. If you were to ask me without the budget of the top four it is force India who is clearly emerging to be the better of the rest. Sad that Nico made a wrong choice as the current sauber seems nowhere close to the force India at the moment.


Would be funny to see the 2014 Merc engine being the weakest or least reliable (which was their main problem in the past when new engines were introduced).

Why funny? because many people already are giving the 2014 title to Mercedes because of the alleged superior engine. I have a feeling renault is going to produce a bonkers engine...or power unit or whatever fancy name it is getting. I call them wuss engines.

If I was a billionaire, I would start a new formula: get 1 manufacturer to make a V12 with 1000BHP (with the gearboxes etc) that every team would get and then they all can spend 100 million on their car design/team/etc, 1 tyre manufacturer that makes a 1 compound, 2 stop dry tyre and a wet tyre, race only European tracks, race on the weekend that F1 has no race. Promote it as the pinnacle of motorsport (which would be easy to do with the joke F1 has become), attract the best drivers/engineers/etc with big money prizes and run with it.

So kinda like GP2 but with proper engines and tyres, pushing motorsport technology like F1 was doing till mid 2000.


2014 will be all about fuel consumption. You won't get anywhere if you don't develop the right balance between power and fuel management. Will be interesting to see Honda in 2015 as they are masters and already have benchmarks in Indy.


Good Luck with that


If I was a billionaire, I would start a new formula....

I think there maybe one or two teeny weeny flaws with your proposal 🙂


By a one-compound, two stop race, do you mean no prime and option tyre, or one tyre compound to handle all the tracks?

Unless you have refueling, there will be a lot of variation from track to track based on wear. The tyre war resulted tyres being made for each track to suit the likely race strategies. So if you have 10 races there will be ten tyre compounds to suit.

For 750 kW, you'd be looking at a bit over 3 litres in engine capacity, depending on the cost per engine. There wouldn't be a huge amount more torque than now. To make the engines more significant, I'd suggest turbo charging with fewer revs, so the torque level is much greater and with that wheelspin out of corners is more common. Managing turbo lag is also a skill that would increase overtaking. A big V12 will be loud, but won't necessarily improve the racing.


Europe only? Great way to market to, I don't know, the MAJORITY of the world.


i will run the event 1 week after F1 race mirroring all events and get the best traction on rubberised tracks


Your concept fails at the "only European tracks" aspect.

Pinnacle of motorsport sticking to one continent won't attract worldwide tv money which is what finances the show these days.


You are right that races must be worldwide but as far as TV money goes, it doesn't matter where the race is, people will watch it if they are genuinely interested in Formula 1.

Correct me if I'm wrong but GP's in India and the Middle East do not seem to have a lot of genuine local interest. These races are less about the fans and more about Bernie's wallet.

Europe is the heartland of Formula 1 and should hold at least half of the calendar races. There should also be at least another 2 races in South America.

The FIA needs to look at what it can do worldwide to bring the cost of entry level and amateur motorsport down to encourage more interest.


I believe the performance differentiator will be battery efficacy and weight.

As for your proposed series, the FIA has the trademark of World Champion in motorsport as well as contracts with the cercuits, a big advantage, and probably the reason why the FOTA rebels were happy to reconcile after Max capitulated in 2009, even though owning the commercial rights of their new series would have removed a very large current inconvenience, dealing with CVC.

No offence, but I think a lot of Europeans are still in denial of the full scale of their economic predicament. F1 is going to Asia and Russia because that is where the world economic power is headed.


No matter what engine they put on, the biggest player will still be tyres for next season. FIA needs to get their act together & let the best drivers in the world drive their heart out. Pirelli makes fantastic road car tyres & I reckon they are better than Michelin, but they are pressured from Bernie to make unroadworthy F1 tyres. F1 cars are running slower than some of the super cars on the road, absurd!!! As far as engine is concerned hopefully they are not going to be slower again & the cars will sound like F1 cars. Interesting thing about the engine is that Ferrari is not tipped to be better than Merc & Renault so far. I wonder why that is!!! To me Ferrari will be the best package because of their facility, budget, people in the team & not to mention they live & breath F1, bit like McLaren (minus making their own engine). Very interesting season coming up. Oh forgot to mention, please get rid of the drs, passing needs drivers skill, not easy wave & go overtaking


Next year's tires will be more durable, not as sensitive. There is going to be more torque, and more wheelspin created by the engines next year.

Michael Powell

So glad you're not a billionaire.


I would contend that F1 started withdrawing from road relevance in the early 1980s... (although you did say "motorsport technology" and not road relevance). I really like a term I read elsewhere, "ground aeroplanes" is really what we're watching now.

You can't undo progress, however - F1 will forever be aero marvels as part of the package. There's simply too much to be gained in good aerodynamics.


Some years ago the Champ Cars had a big flat plate bolted on the back in an effort to slow them down via aero. It didn't flex, either.


Any truth to the rumors of Ford making a return with the turbos? If so, what team or teams would take them up?


Ford doesn't have the money or facility to be in F1. They have been struggling to sell cars as it is. They have just announced that they will close down the Australian manufacturing by October this year. It's a shame that we don't see some of the biggest brands in F1, like Ford, Holden, Toyota, Audi, BMW etc. Ford will make turbo engines, but not for F1

colin grayson

holden ? a big brand ?

what do they make ...scooters?


Holden being the Australian name for Vauxhall/Opel/GM. They make monster V8s for the Australian Motorsport series similar to Touring Cars, can't recall the name.


Wasnt ford powered by cosworth? If so. No.

rob in victoria bc

I'm guessing no. Ford has an association with Cosworth going back to 1959. Cosworth have said they won't be making a 2014 turbo, so I'd be surprised if Ford would go it alone.


Hi James

For customer teams is it commonly known how long each teams engine supply will last for?

The only reason I ask is to try to get a picture of who might end up with a Honda under the hood from 2016 onwards....


Does anyone have any good info on possible advantages/disadvantages to each of the manufacturers engines? I realise it's early but if anyone has info it's bound to be on this site.


From what I can work out, the answer is that nothing has leaked out. Renault has suggested that it is hitting the targets from its simulations. Mercedes is talking its power unit up.

Fundamentally I don't expect much of a difference in one lap pace. The engines are fuel flow limited, so for a given fuel input the power from the engine will come from combustion efficiency and reducing friction. The fuel isn't changing, so the last two points are areas the teams are pretty familiar with. The area they can play with mix of inlet port and direct fuel injection to control the combustion temperature.

The turbo-generator unit will recover power from the exhaust gases, so engery that isn't extracted from combustion via a high compression ratio is available to the turbo to try to harvest. Optimising the intercooler for the compressed air will be more about aerodynamics and packaging rather than power as the fuel flow rate is capped.

Battery or capacitor efficiency will be a key part of handling the available engery. Next year's cars need to handle ten times the charge of the current KERS systems with the weight capped at 25 kg. I'm expecting the odd reliability issue.

If Mercedes has an edge, I would expect it to be in the area of its battery technology, not in turning petrol and air into mechanical and electrical energy.



Kevin McCaughey

God help anyone caught in a KERS discharge then. Probably kill them stone dead. With that amount of charge in a battery I would not want to be working on the car (speaking as someone who's degree is in Electronic Systems Engineering). I don't care how good their marigolds are 😉


Not even the teams have any clue. It's all hypothetical at this stage. Merc is tipped to the best one because they have the money & the people. It's all guessing game until the first test I reckon.


While Renault and Honda do have a long experience with small capacity turbo engines, both in F1 and street cars, I fail to see where Mercedes' erpertise in this area is. They do ship big turbo-charged V12s. But a small V6 is a different story, isn't it? I for one wouldn't be so sure about the reliability of the Mercedes V6 turbo.


With this logic, everyone should be trying to get Saab and Volvo into F1 😉


I believe the Mercedes' thinking could be related to batteries rather than anything to do with the engine. The rules on the engine are quite tight.


They've been doing turbo I4's for awhile ... the original spec for F1 was for turbo I4's.


Given that Mercedes engines are being designed and built by what used to be called Ilmore for about 20 years now I fail to see what difference it makes how much experience Merc has of small capacity engines.


They've run V6 Supercharged engines previously in the SLK (nd probably others) so have some experience...though I realise Superchargers and Turbochargers are different beasts...

Michael Powell

The Mercedes cars are German. The Mercedes F1 engines are English. Hence the difference. The Germans could never manage to build a good F1 engine as has been proved over and over. BMW failed dismally with their attempts at F1. But the English built Mercedes F1 engine will be good, without doubt.


That BMW V10 was a beast.


Also, Miochael, have you never heard of the TAG turbo, built by Porsche for McLaren? IIRC that engine won a few races.


BMW failed at F1? Does Brabham-BMW ring any bells? The BMW 1.6L turbo was the engine to have for a while, and used actual production BMW blocks. I give your post a fail.


Think you're mistaken about BMW.


Sorry, thought you were talking about the ability to build a good engine rather than team-management capabilities.

I was thinking more along the lines of the championship winning turbo in the back of the Brabham in the 80s, the most powerful unit of the V10 era in the back of the Williams, that sort of thing...

Michael Powell

Ummm.....are you meaning the BMW who bought Sauber when it was doing quite well, slipped down the rankings until it was embarrassing, and then sold the team back to Sauber who have done rather better on their own. How bad does it need to get before BMW fan-boys realise that they have a disaster on their hands?


Are you one of those people who still think there is actually a connection between road cars and F1 cars, road tyres and F1 tyres, street engines and F1 engines?

They might as well be on two different planets with minimal interchange of IP and engineers. It's like the Sony that produces movies, and the Sony that produces TV sets. You'd think there is a connection but very little except for brand name and finance.


Exactly right. There is no significance in Renault's experience of building turbo Clios that would give them any edge in a F1 engine compared to Ferrari or Mercedes who basically build non-turbos



Ferrari also has turbo experience in F1. The parent company, Fiat, also has extensive turbo experience in road cars, with Fiat, Alfa, Chrysler and Lancia.

To this day, I do not understand why Mercedes is being placed on a virtual pedestal, after all, won't they all believe they will have the best unit?

I suspect Renault followed closely by Ferrari will be the order.


The current 55 AMG's are 5.5 litre V8 Turbo units with thunderous torque. That said BMW and Porsche make equally if not better ( power wise at least) turbo power plants including their sizes. That said like someone above said F1 engines are a different ball game .

I cannot imagine a better V6 Turbo engine manufacturer than Porsche, & their R&D are second to none. One can only pray that they will join the fray a little further down tha track.

Stephen Taylor

Yes just look at Mercedes naturally aspirated V10 and how unreliable that was in the end.


Its funny how now all leading teams seem to have a sister outfit the effectively control through same engine use, apart from? McLaren. This could harm McLaren if

Red Bull - Toro Roso: Renault

Mercedes - Williams: Mercedes (via the Toto link)

Ferrari - Sauber: Ferrari

Mclaren -? : Honda



Toro Roso: Ferrari


STR are going to Renault, so they can 'buy' gearboxes and the like from RBR.


Did you read the article? Toro Roso is going to Renault power next season.


Maybe Caterham for 2015. Renault appear to be only interested in supplying themselves (RBR - Torro Rosso).

They may as well switch away from Renault anyway. With the new ERS system emitting 10 times as much as the current system, Renault teams can expect to be at a huge disadvantage in this area. Just look at Renault's recent past with KERS. How many times have we heard over the race radio that someone with a Renault pushing them along was experiencing KERS problems.


Caterham have a road car project under development with Renault (Alpine), I assume they will get a discount. Red Bull's KERS problem is self inflicted, due to their placement and cooling of their battery packs. They prioritise center of gravity and compactness of their car and taking a small performance drop, but will surely adapt next year, when ERS will be so much more important.


With out testing like in the past its their only option.


Their other option was to build their own engine. McLaren had plenty of time to do this over the last 5 years. The money they put into their road cars and factory shows they are not short of a dollar.

Stuart Harrison

Marussia and Force India both have some kind of technical partnership with McLaren, so they could be considered the sister outfits...?


Who else will Honda poach? Or be thrown from Renaults disinterested grasp in 2015?


Maybe a return to Lotus Honda isn't too far off...


Probably Lotus!


If Sauber switch to Honda in 2015 that will leave Ferrari only supplying themselves and Marussia. Is that going to be viable for them?

Obvioulsly they will still make them but will it make them more expensive. I assume Marussia have some sort of subsidy for taking on Bianci.

Should Marussia fold, as has been speculated many times, that would leave Ferrari making an engine purely for themselves which is mightily expensive even for a team like Ferrari. Not to mention limited on track testing.

Kevin McCaughey

That's assuming Marussia don't fold. I am hoping they fold and I think they will mid 2014. I would rather have an electronic Hare circling the track than the useless road block that the Marussia is.

Stephen Taylor

Ferrari will never pull out unless the company itself goes bust.


Yes. And thank goodness for that. True passion for racing cars.


It's not only the issue of price but also data - you collect much more info having 6 cars on track as opossed to only 2. That's why Sauber will probably get a good offer for a long term Ferrari deal, which leaves Lotus to negotiate with Honda.


Witmarsh has already said that Mclaren will be the only Honda powered team in 2015...


I think you underestimate the amount of money Ferrari get from Bernie and their sponsors.

Mark in Australia

Great update on the state of play moving forward.

AND; how sexy is the pic of that Merc unit. I love it.

More talk about engines please, less talk of Pirelli.


It looks like a hat-box on top of a regular engine.

Or a biscuit tin. Ahh, Mercedes branded biscuits.


Sorry James, but Toro Rosso never used Renault engines. They used Cosworths in their first year and Ferrari ever since.

Red Bull did "offload" their Ferrari contract on them, when Red Bull changed to Renault engines in 2007.


The junior team actually got the better of that deal, with the Ferrari engines. Wasn't all that long ago that Newey was pooh-poohing the Renault engine, and sounding out signing with Mercedes (McLaren kiboshed it at the time).


Exactly, perhaps I didn't express that well enough. I've updated it

Rubinho's Keyfob

More importantly ;), will they now rebrand as "Taureau Rouge" ?


Most definitely 😀


Toro Rosso have never used Renault engines before. Before Ferrari, they had that one year using the Cosworth V10 in 2006.


There's a lot of "believing" going on here.

Especially in regard to Mercedes "believed-to-be" most powerful engine.

At this stage how can anybody reasonably "believe" this?

I think they're all deluded by PR.


Agreed. People are also forgetting the restriction on gear ratios next season. Pick wisely or it won't matter what engine you have.


What are those restrictions? I thought they were moving to 8 gears, from 7? That would loosen things up, and allow more short-gearing for more teams. RBR particularly has used short-gearing to good effect in the current 7-gear spec.


Wow, I didn't know that. So you're saying that while it's 7/30 this year (7 gear ratios picked out of 30 total), next year it will be 8/8? That certainly restricts things. What's the FIA's thinking behind that?


I believe you have to use the same ratio's all year. Also more races per gearbox.


2013 7 gears but teams can choose 30 different gear ratios for use during the season.

2014 8 gears, but they can't be changed so have to do for Monaco and Monza!



I believe this year they can choose from 30 gear ratios. For 2014, they must nominate 8, for 2014 only they will be allowed to change them once, and the first set then becomes void.

The ratios would need to be a compromise across the circuits. If they don't choose wisely, the engine could be irrelevant.

Jonathan Lodge

The Merc could easily be the most powerful but, as Renault have shown in the past, power is not the be all and end all. The smoothness of power delivery and fuel economy are also VERY important. Combining those characteristics with ERS and what that means for torque and braking performance will be the defining issues next year.


Just like this year's McLaren! Fast out the box. Ahem. By looking at it...

"Oh and because it's McLaren- only made six bad cars in twelve years!"


Hi James,

It's been announced that Williams will still be making the Transmission, what advantage does this give them if any? I'd have thought they'd be better going with the one of the shelf?


Williams' current low-profile gearbox is a distinctive part of their aerodynamic solution, so I can see why they'd want to retain the capability to come up with things like that.


No, they are a proud team with their own gearbox department.. no need to buy in


Proud is all well and good, but it's development time spent on something that isn't the aero or the suspension. All the power in the world is worthless if the car doesn't stick mid corner, as Williams should know from the BMW days.


Williams sell their transmission technology or at least some of it off to Audi and other ventures as well I believe.

And possibly cheaper as well

If you look at the back of the Williams they also have the smallest gearbox in the grid right now so they may just prefer that.


I agree with this.

It feels like Williams have their little 'hobbies' (like the gearbox) where they are know they are strong.

They either don't have the right Human Resources, or they they are not distributed very well.

Aero has clearly been the performance limiting factor for the car right back to 1998 when Newey left. They've never got on top of it.


There's a ring to Williams Renault, it just can't be matched by anything else 🙁

Interesting to see what will happen with Lotus, maybe Honda will replace Renault there for the second time in it's history (if you count the Lotus history from the 80's)


Williams-Honda had a pretty good ring to it, before then. The start of the iconic Canon livery too.

Jonathan Lodge

I was expecting Williams to go back to Honda - who supplied and partnered them to many wins before switching to McLaren.


It makes me feel sad in a way that this will be the last ever year of the Williams-Renault partnership while Frank Williams is still there. My gut feeling is that the Renault engines next year will be the ones to beat.


Williams Honda? After all, this was their name in 1984 to 1987

Stephen Taylor

Hopefully Bottas will keep his seat and we can maybe have two Finnish race winners next year.


It would be odd to see Lotus not using a Renault engine if they go a different route. They have so much history between them.

And it is kind of odd to see Toro Rosso an Italian team without a Ferrari engine


Why? How often did Minardi, Coloni, Forti, Andrea Moda and the countless other Italina teams use Ferrari engines?


True! But I was just saying there isn't much Italian about Torro Rosso other than its name and its factory in Faenza. Its more Austrian-French much like its sister Red Bull-Renault


I think the people that work there would disagree with you, and I certainly don't consider Red Bull an Austrian team regardless of whatever license they compete under.


Yes and no. Sure there was a lot of history between them. But the golden era of Lotus was with Chapman and Clark.


Well I wasn't referring to the Chapman Lotus although there is obviously history there too. I was more asserting the Enstone factor. The Enstone based team can be traced to using Renault engines since the Benetton days.


Yep what we need is a new Cooper-Climax engine in the field powering the Lotus! 😉


this has not come as a suprise, as soon as Wolf took over Haug's role and kept his Williams shares you new what was going to happen. This will have been in Mclarens thinking as well, because if Merc pull the plug on there own team Williams will get works rights before them. I hope they produce a good engine (sorry power unit) next year and Williams can have some succes. By they desive some.

Wilma the Great

So why does Renault prefer not to supply a fourth team? It would spread the initial invest over more engines and thus open the possibility to lower the price and/or get a ROI more quickly.


I don't think they actually generate a profit from the build and supply of engines, so they actually increase losses by supplying more teams. It is more economic/beneficial to have success with as few teams as possible but that is a trade-off for develoment and testing mileage. Ferrari potentially being in a position of only supplying their own team (as suggested in a previous comment) is probably desirable as they could spend whatever they wish on the engine development. However, the rules require them to make the engines availabe to supply to other teams at a reasonable cost so supplying extremely expensive engines at that "reasonable cost" becomes an expensive proposition. From memory I think it is written such that they must, if requested, supply at least two other teams which was intended to make engine manufacturers keep at least a focussed eye on costs.


AND had they charged Red Bull for the engines rather than make it a free giveaway for them, the cost might be a bit lower and more affordable for everyone else that's going to use Renault engines.


Works teams generally get free engines. They help develop it and usually represent the best chance of winning, thus offering the best advertising. RBR is effectively the Renault works team.


Indeed ... seeing as they're providing engines to RBR for free, as JA says in the article. JA, Renault F1 Sport aren't taking any cut of the prize money they contribute to with RBR??


Seems unfair that the top 4 teams with least financial worries are now "works" and get free engines. "The get richer" as they say.


Ferrari and Mercedes develop their own engines so it's hardly free, and McLaren will have to pay for their Mercs next year as they've had to do since 2010. As James said it's always been the case, if your going to partner a team to develop an engine with, why charge them for it when they can spend the money on making the car quicker?


Non-League sides often buy their own shirts. Manchester United demands £20M for the privilege of wearing yours.


...and ever will be! Basic laws of economics and the (not so) free market.


You mention Sauber as maybe going to Honda, but would it make more sense for Lotus to align with Honda? Renult want to supply three teams Red Bull is two teams plus there alignment outside F1 with Caterham, so that leaves out Lotus. Add in the historic links with Lotus Honda, they would be more likly to get a Jap into Lotus then Mclaren.

In the rules dont Engine suppliers have to proved for more then one team? I know Cosworth arnt this year but that wasnt down to Cosworth but HRT going bust.


Lotus maybe too big a threat to McLaren?

Ideally Honda would supply two teams for extra data and to play the game within F1. Ideally it would be a midfield team


James, any rumours concerning Hyundai? I would think GENII would be looking to move on? Hedge funds managers aren't known for long term investments that make a loss. Their championship position would also make it a perfect time to go. A new formula should also disadvantage customer teams?


Not heard that.

GENII is not your typical VC in terms of the F1 plan.

They use the F1 team as a platform for developing their other businesses in the tech sector like Wix and Nimbuzz. They invite telcos, for example, to a race and then the CEO and sales people from Nimbuzz meet with the telco people and do business. The F1 event provides the opportunity for the business to happen, but it has nothing to do directly with the F1 team. Jackie Stewart has been involved in developing this model and in activating it with GENII's Gerard Lopez.

Where they have not been as successful is in putting sponsors onto the car.


James any thoughts on which engine supplier Lotus will end up with if they loose the Renault engine?


Stephen Taylor


Stephen Taylor

James I don’t ever remember Torro Rosso using a Renault engine in 2006 which was when RBR used a Ferrari Engine? I thought the 2006 Torro Rosso contained a rev limited 3 litre Cosworth V10? Am I wrong?


The regs say that a major car manufacturer may only supply three teams at once. Both Renault and Merc are major car manufacturers, mind you, by the definition in the regs so is Williams.


The regulation is, "A major car manufacturer may not directly or indirectly supply engines for more than three teams of two cars each without the consent of the FIA."

So it's not a problem as long as the FIA ok it. The question then is whether the FIA would want to get involved with such a matter, or if they'd rather just give consent. In the case of Lotus, it would effectively be saying, "You're using Honda engines". Unless Sauber went to Honda and opened up the possibility of... Lotus Ferrari? =/ But of course, Ferrari wouldn't want their engine going to a team that's likely to beat them on track with it. So we're back to Honda.

But as James said, McLaren might not be too happy about having a front-running team powered by the same Honda engines. Maybe it's even written in some way into the supply contract.

Lotus seem to be in a pretty awkward spot it seems.


But the math doesn't work, 11 teams three engine manufacturers next year.

VP of Common Sense

It doesn't seem like Renault want to power more than 3 teams from 2015 onwards. Lotus seem like the odd team out. Lotus Honda in 2015 onwards? Interesting to see if McLaren would try to block a formidable rival from coming to Honda.


Since Lotus's recent loss of TD to (rumoured to be) Ferrari, maybe that can tie up a Ferrari engine deal for Lotus?

Just a thought.


I think if an engine supplier is requested to they must supply more than 1 team, and if the other suppliers are already at fully capasity the FIA may not give Honda a choice in the matter. I'm sure James will correct me if I've got that wrong.


James, isn't Infiniti owned by Nissan, not Renault?


Much like Lambo owned by Audi but they are all under the VW / Porsche group.

Michael Powell

Renault is the senior partner in the Renault-Nissan conglomerate, and they have various sub-divisions including a premium brand called Infiniti. It's thoroughly disregarded in the market in Europe, hence the perceived need to give it some publicity. I expect most of us would be hard pressed to find a dealer let alone see the need to buy one, although the Americans do.


Nissan is owned by Renault.


You are correct in that Nissan and Renault's relationship is a Joint Venture it was not an acquisition but Carlos Ghosen runs both and the at least the small cars all the same chassis and engines just slightly different interiors and sheet metal.


I heard Redbull were changing the advertising on the car to be all "infiniti" and no Renault anywhere. I heard Renault arent liking this and looking at options for a main engine team. I cannot remember where I read the article. .. but it doesn't make sense because it's the same company. ...


Not a company per se, but a strategic alliance, backed by cross-company shareholdings.

They (Renault Nissan, that is) have a partnership with Daimler as well. So it's all one big family, it seems!


F1 is in a dilemma : it has to be the most technically advanced sport, that's its reputation yet the engine freezing, the tighter rules made it more affordable for smaller teams and more competitive than it has ever been. If some aren't convinced they'd better watch some of the early 2000s races to be convinced.

The 2014 shake-up will make survival the only aim of the smaller teams, as once the engine are paid for, they'll have barely enough money to run a home fan rather than a wind tunnel.

Besides, this will create a bigger gap between top teams which will make the 2014 season less competitive IMO. Afterwards, gaps might close.

Should we prefer technology or competitiveness ? The FIA made the choice. I don't know !


I don't have much add other than I would love for GM to get into the game somehow. Their IndyCar engine is pretty strong. Not sure how that compares as I have said before. I guess it would probably be under Holden or Vauxhall brand. I like it hat RBR are using the Infiniti nameplate instead of the Renault, just because Renault has such a bad reputation here in the states.

Great article as always James, thanks.


I think their Indy engines are done by Ilmor.


You are correct, apparantly they were making Honda's engines for a while and just switched in 2011.


I fear next year might be a terrible championship with 1 engine manufacture totally dominating the sport and the championship is over by August time.

And another thing I have noticed is why is no one talking about Ferrari having the best engine. 1 thing Ferrari have always been the best at is producing a engine that losses the least amount of power after it is used in a race. Time will tell but I can't remember Ferrari having a engine that wasn't the best or nearly the best in the last 15 years.


"Renault is also unhappy that it does not get enough promotional benefit from supplying a third of the grid with engines"

Karma would say they got more than their fair share of promotional benefit when the Enstone team were still named Renault for ages despite them having pulled out.


By ages you mean one or two years before being first unofficially Lotus Renault and then officially Lotus. It was also pretty much a midfield team before last year, and Renault was their main creditor, effectively lending GENII the money to buy them out.


Wait... are we talking about Danny B's "new Lotus" or the "real Lotus" ?

And whatever happened to him, anyway?


Remember that in 2011 Lotus Cars, as owned by Proton, sponsored the Renault team, as owned by GENII. Though I doubt they ever payed the agreed money. Then GENII renamed the chassis Lotus after the Lotus vs Team Lotus (Caterham) settlement and the other teams agreed to continue the historic status payements of the Endstone team.

Danny Bahar was canned last year when the Malaysian goverment sold Proton and the new owners didn't need any snake oil. There doesn't seem to be any on the record comments, but his departures from Red Bull, Ferrari and Sauber don't seem to have generated a lot of love lost or tears shed.


You wouldn't count two years of sponsorship worth millions as ages?



See lending GENII the money to buy them out above, during a major recession. Ceeping the Renault name also increased the prise money they got from FOM for their historic status, you would need a big sponsor to make up the difference. I may be wrong, but I also don't think they paid for engines for a while, so GENII got a good deel.


James just wondering can teams test the 2014 engine this year? With Ferrari having fiorano on there door step could they stick a 2014 engine in a 2011 chassis and legally be ok ?


I would think as long as the chassis is 2 years old there wouldn't be a problem. Didn't Toyota use a sports prototype chassis to test their engine before coming in? The power unit will also be eligible for LMP cars, so maybe a Maserati tilt at Le Mans?



In the previous Turbo era there was higher differentiation amongst the engines (4 cyl BMW, V6 Renault, different V angles, etc) resulting in very different performance / consumption levels. Do you thing there will be big performance differences for the new V6 1,6 l engines?


Is there not a conflict of interest in Woolf having input (I assume) into allowing Williams to get a new Mercedes (top of the range) engine, whilst still sitting there with a lot of shares in Williams?


Why are Renault playing hard ball with Lotus?! Perhaps Lotus is doing too well and Red Bull is using their political capitol to push Lotus out?

Williams is leaving Renault so they would have one less team next year.



Several teams are swapping there left rear tyres with the right rear tyres.. Maybe also in the front they are swapping theIr tyres..

Could you do an article on that, to why they are doing that and why it could be benefitial? Because i dont have a single clue..

Thx in advance!!


If they are indeed doing that, I'm guessing it'd just be to get more track time without using more tyres. Most circuits will put more load on one side of the car than the other, just down to how many and what kinds of left and right corners there are around the circuit. Catalunya for example has turns 3 and 4, both fairly long high speed right handers, not to mention the shorter but still fairly quick 9 and whatever number the final corner is. Now that I think about it, 12 is a longer but a bit lower right as well. Most of the lefts are pretty short and low speed, so the left side tyres (the heavily loaded tyres in a right hand corner) will see a much bigger loads through a lap.

So basically, if the tyres on the other side of the car aren't taking much of a beating, swap 'em to the other side of the car and get a bit more out of the set, rather than just discarding them for the next set (or more likely, just sitting in the garage waiting for the next session).


off topic here. In light of Nico's performances this year against Hamilton, looks like Schumi actually might not have lost as much as some thought when he came back with Merc. It's a shame he didn't come back this year. I think he probably would have been ahead of Nico.


The saying goes 'Father Time is undefeated'. I think he would agree, perhaps grudgingly, it was time to go.


Unless Bridgestone and unlimited testing come back!


I know change next year in some form is inevitable but this will effectively be the sixth different engine williams has used in the last ten years. This fact is a really sad indication of the team Williams has become.


Mercedes have always built very powerful and in particular very torquey engines. However as many have said before- their racing engines historically have been built on the limit of reliability so that's the big question. However such technically complex packages will be questionable for all teams in 2014.

It's amazing how quickly things change. Lotus were the Renault team before- I suppose crashgate changed all that. Redbull "grass-cut" them to take works status. I think Renault have to be careful as on one hand they are branding "Infinity" as a more prestigous brand of Nissan. (Not Renault.) You would think it would want its name on its championship winning team. Either way Lotus too have ambitious plans to be champions by 2015, so there's a big question mark on how long they sign with Renault for if there is uncertainty on supply/ support. Im thinking they will sign for 2 years till 2015 & if they are still kicking ( given their financial troubles) then switch to Honda for 2016.

I can't see how Honda can committ solely to Mclaren long term and even if this were the case- wouldn't both parties be limiting themselves with technical development comparisons with other teams. Lotus may beat Mckaren by that time and for any engine supplier that would be a nice draw card.


Perhaps, as a fallout, we could be seeing Kubica in a Williams next season.


Quite keen for the turbos, surely I'll be visiting a Grand Prix next year, which will be my 2nd GP ever that I went to, which is kind of pathetic lol.


James, any thoughts on reports that Ford is now considering a return to F1?


Weren't BMW supposedly interested last week?

A lot of talk like this st the moment. Makes F1 look like the place to be

Stephen Taylor

No they are not.


The work of Mr E perhaps?


James, while Merc and Renault are making all the deals and noises about 2014 units, Ferrari seem to be surprisingly quiet. They have neither released a picture or have their engines man, Luca Marmorini talk about it. Renault had Alain in Monaco, Merc hosted journos to take a look but no such thing from Ferrari. Are they waiting for Monza or are they behind in the development compared to Merc and Renault?



Im an Alfisti, its such a shame Alfa are not involved anymore in F1 , maybe in the future as well as Maserati... For sure now we are going into small engined V6`s Italian Engineers are clicking their fingers with excitement . I know Paolo and Rory have got the engine and aero experience to be at the top of f1 for 2014 . Lets wait and see what Mercedes have promised also Renault.


Fiat wouldn't want to challenge the Ferrari brand in F1, though re-branding the customer engines may have its advantages.

Michael Powell

Very encouraging to see so many engine suppliers getting involved. It's a developmental challenge more than for advertising, even Renault have got little from publicity despite powering the last three championship winners.

As the size of the engine, it's power and consumption decreases, the challenge to produce more from the electric motor (or KERS as it is being oddly called) is increasing.

This will be the continuing pattern for road cars too as internal combustion gives was to hybrid power and these in turn give way to purely electric power with batteries or fuel cells.

It's genuinely a development area that manufacturers have to involve themselves in whether they come racing or not, so why not join the club?


Good deal for Williams, hopefully the start of some good times



Do you think that the current testing regulations favour those teams who produce their own engines?

For instance, isn't McLaren as non engine supplier at a disadvantage when it comes to switching their engine supplier in so far as under the current regulations it is unable to give Honda their 2013 or 2014 chassis to test their engine for a 2015 introduction?

The incumbent engine suppliers will be testing their own engines in races from the start of 2014.


I asked this question in Monaco

Seems that the dynamic test rigs the engine people have now are so good they can cover a lot

The advantage of being number 1 customer is that you can work with the engine builder on packaging and make a better aerodynamic shap than if they just send you a finished engine in a box


It seems accepted that Mercedes will have the best engine next year. Is this just based on the fact they sorted the best KERS in 2009? Or is there any other information/rumours around?


James, are RBR likely to share more info with TR now that they are so closely aligned? What are the benefits of them not getting the team higher up the midfield?


I don't think the performance of STR bothers them much. They bought the team when customer chassis were allowed, so having four cars represented value for money and an extra vote in meetings. Now they are basically moving Red Bull billboards and young driver developers/evaluators. They would much rather spend the money on the main team, and wouldn't mind selling STR.


Do you not recall the Williams complaint of TR using RBR tech / aero / cars back at the time around when Virgin joined F1? Customer cars I think it was called.

Sharing of these data would certainly be a huge risk for other teams to complain again.


You might think that but I couldn't possibly comment


I see what you did there! 😉


Next announcement, Susie Wolff gets second seat after Pastor's check bounces!



There was talk a few years ago about McLaren wanting to develop its own engines the way Ferrari do. Has that idea gone away in McLaren or is it still something they're looking at?




Wasn't that going to be with the PURE group?


Looks like Lotus' good performance MAY prevent them from getting the engines for 2014.As mentioned by other posters Renault/Merc/Ferrari will not be keen to make life difficult for their factory teams.

Perhaps that is why James Allison left...


Why is the consensus so srongly that the Mercedes engine will be the one to have in 2014?

None of them have hit the track yet, so I'm just wondering if this is based on anything tangible?


BS and Superstition.


Why, Why, Why, have we got to have a wholesale change in engine specification when so much emphasis is on cost savings?


What's better carry on with 8 year old v8s by next year, if you wanna talk about cost saving, what about the 100s of people employed sitting in wind tunnels 24/7 making there front wings 0.1 % more efficient then the others,


That is the fundamental problem with trying to reduce costs. Make the regulations stable, engines and gearboxes have to last longer etc and in theory the teams should spend less money. In reality they spend just as much money, just the incremental gains are less per

pound/euro spent.


Hi James!

As a Lewis Hamilton fan, I would like to have an insight into the "braking" balance Lewis is struggling with at Mercedes.

Sky Sports F1 has an article about it here:

And I could find another similar situation in another season at the official F1 site:

So, that is an important part of testing at friday's that we are not used to hear about. We know that the teams work on upgrades to make the car goes faster, but there is this other side of the tests (eg.: driver trying to get used with the car, and extract the most of it), that in the LH case can be even more important right now than upgrades. As he needs to be on top of his game to beat his first "opponent": his team mate.



That's a good suggestion and thanks for the link. I hope James follows up on your idea.


Mercedes is by far the most superior engine in normal aspirated specifications. But, for them the Turbo spec. philosophy is alien... The Engine Manufacturers who have excelled in Turbo era and weathered the rule changes will stand to benefit due to the previous data they possess.

Hence, Ferrari, Honda and Renault stand to excel in the first three years of its introduction.

Having said that, how different the current Technology is to its preceding era will be interesting to study.

We could be looking at a completely new animal as compared to its previous existence, in such an environment there is no team who can attain supremacy, yes, there will be teething issues but the engine that will reign supreme is the one which has large resource base, bearing that in mind Mercedes and Ferrari look to fight for that mantle having resource allocates in both engine as well as the chassis sides of it.


Bearing in mind ofc that Merc does not build/design/etc its own engines...


I would argue that, as they own the company that does, they sort of do make their own engines, it is just separate affiliate, like AMG, Smart Cars and indeed AMG Mercedes F1. I'm not sure if they fall under Mercedes Benz, the F1 team or directly under Daimler. It's not like Judd making the Lotus engines for Indycar last year, basically outsourcing the production.


James, what ever happen to the new cosworth (prodrive) engine?


We need to remember that these are not just engines, they are power units. The old Honda turbos were great because of their engine management. This will be even more so with the new power units. The best and most innovative controls will win. They will charge batteries when braking, but from the engine overrunning, not from engine braking. With the electric compounded turbo, we will see some interesting solutions in the power unit management.


My personal jury is still out in regards to Honda... Yes, the company does have some pedigree in F1, but these days, Honda has become more of an every-day average type of automotive company for the masses - just like Toyota.

Stephen Taylor

How about VW making engines under the Bugatti name.


James, can you explain why marussia uses ferrari engines but it 4 seconds of the ferrari team?


What is happening to McLaren?

They had the fastest car in 2012 and there were no rule changes. Now they are super slow. Did Paddy Lowe deleted all the 2012 car designs (sorry for creating conspiracy here)? hahaha...

One thing is for sure, Nikki Lauda has been getting the people that he wanted to build a DREAM TEAM.

I am not sure if Mercedes suppose to have an upper hand. Renault and Ferrari had yet to show what they've got. We simply have to be patient and wait for Melbourne race 2014.

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