Mercedes planning boosted engine for late summer as Renault sweat on 2016
Wolff, Horner
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jun 2015   |  2:28 pm GMT  |  192 comments

One manufacturer is flying and preparing a super motor for the late summer, while another is sweating on whether it can get close enough on development before the start of next season to make it even worth competing.

Mercedes’ technical chief Paddy Lowe has confirmed that his team will use engine development tokens “in the late summer”, for its third of four engines, while Red Bull’s Christian Horner has warned that Renault may be forced to quit F1 if in season development with the tokens system is not allowed to continue into a second year.

The idea with the new engine formula is a glide-path where development is allowed in the first few years before the engines are effectively frozen for years. The same model was followed with the V8s from 2006 onwards and after a bit of fiddling around and adjustment, they all ended up roughly the same by 2009.

The introduction of hybrid turbos last year has made them a major performance differentiator, as Montreal again showed with seven of the top ten cars powered by Mercedes.

Mercedes AMG 2014 F1 engine

From 2014 to 2015 8% of the engine was frozen and for the remaining 92% of areas were divided into 66 ‘tokens’, each manufacturer could choose 32 areas to develop and each one they did used up a ‘token’. Thanks to a loophole in the rules spotted by Ferrari, the homologation period for the engines did not close on February 28th, so for this year instead the manufacturers could carry any unused tokens after Feb 28th for use in the season. Ferrari used three on their engines which appeared in Montreal.

Mercedes has seven tokens still to use and will deploy some of them later this summer on the next engine, the idea being to keep them out of reach of the rest of the field.

However from 2015 to the 2016 and 2017 seasons 23% of the engine is frozen and of the remaining 77%, only 25 development tokens are available to be used by February 28th 2016 and that in season development loophole is due to be closed off by reworded regulations.

Renault are lobbying for a rethink to allow them to continue to develop during 2016, as they doubt now that they will make much progress this season, with all the reliability issues they need to sort out, before pressing the performance button and using tokens. A more powerful engine was scheduled for Silverstone, with input from Mario Illien’s company, but if homologation is to go ahead on February 28th 2016, there is too much to do in the time frame, with some very long lead time items in a power unit.

Horner says that they will be locked into uncompetitiveness and on that basis there is no point to continue, as they would always have a power deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari. Honda as a new manufacturer, is one year behind the others so has longer to develop before the engine freeze comes in for them.

Renault, Red Bull

Mercedes obviously want to lock in their advantage, but are mindful that they also have a duty to act in the best interests of the sport. They believe that if the roles were reversed – or if Ferrari had an advantage – then they would be very reluctant to give it up. But Horner has asked them to look at the big picture.

“From Renault’s perspective [the deadline] is the worst thing because the engines are effectively frozen forever after,” Horner said. “If you’ve missed it by February 28 then the scale of difference is unachievable in that time frame. Really, as these regulations are still relatively immature, it would make sense to allow, as we did this year, for development to happen in the season.”

“They [Mercedes] don’t have to agree [to carrying on with tokens], but the situation is that it’s a precarious point in terms of Renault’s commitment to the future. If you are effectively shutting that down in February, you are almost waving goodbye to Renault.

“I think they [Mercedes] need to have a bit of a grown-up think about it, and the FIA as well, to decide what is in the best interests of Formula One. If Formula One can afford to lose an engine manufacturer, then stick to February 28.”

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Please can you list the current relative power outputs[known,otherwise assumed] of current F1 power units.


maybe they should make tokens directly relate to the perceived discrepancy. the closer you get to the current fastest the more you are restricted.

they want equalization to be the main key??


ok for argument sake james….if next year say the fia said the rules are as follows…

1. unlimited development allowed on engines.

2. maximum revs = 17,500rpm with limiter at this point ( fia control unit used)

3. maximum bhp at 17,500rpm = 1200bhp

4. maximum fuel flow rate as per now

the last 2 clauses limit naturally anyway as I see it. regardless of how much they spend on engines if they are limited by max rpm and bhp which as per now can be overseen by a control system that can detect any discrepencies or cheating by over revs or hp use.

then it would be down to each manufacturer how max hp is achieved ..whether they choose to get this at max rpm allowed or max hp is achieved at lower rpm …up to them


Victories become hollow with such a distinct power advantage as Mecedes have. It’s not good for F1 overall and even the Hamilton, Mercedes followers must agree. Pretty sure Mansell in the FW 14B ( think that’s the model) had an enormous advantage with the active suspension and the powers that be changed the rules as it was not good for F1.


red bull are acting like a petulant child, everyone had a dosier of all the new rules, engines etc, so just because renault have done a inferior job on their engines and nothing to do with red bull at all, its mercedes fault. horner you need to man up, stop blaming everyone else, take it on the chin, accept you may not be the top team for a couple of years, work at it and aim to rebound, like williams and ferrari


I can see Renault walking and Honda going in a few years if they don’t improve. Yep, the current engine formula is a massive success.


The situation looks like this :

Mercedes built an excellent chassis + body + engine F1 car which brought them two (even three if no major regulations quake occurs) well deserved Constructor Crowns.

The corresponding driver titles, well they are less meritory due to the advantageous car they drive.

So it is Mercedes marketing to establish if they agree to let the other manufacturers to catch up or, as the trend is, to continue to depreciate the driver title (as they would be afraid that their drivers are not good enough to win against closer matched up cars)


Christian Horner:

“If you are effectively shutting that down in February, you are almost waving goodbye to Renault. I think they [Mercedes] need to have a bit of a grown-up think about it, and the FIA as well, to decide what is in the best interests of Formula One.”

Mercedes need to have a bit of a grown-up think about it?!! Really?!

Red Bull’s childishness has been laid bare for everyone to see – since the start of this season especially – and Horner has the audacity to come out and say that…

Here’s a quote from Eric Boullier in 2011 (the then Lotus Renault managing director don’t forget):

“The tendency of the road car market, especially for Renault, is to go to smaller engines with more hybrid technology to make fuel savings. F1 has to move forward. We need new regulations and new technical challenges for our engineers.”


This is my favourite line from the same article, the opening sentence:

“Renault is threatening to pull out of Formula 1 if the much-discussed new 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine formula for 2013 is not soon confirmed by the FIA.”

Someone really needs to remind Horner of this and tell him to grow up.


I personally feel james that the rules are way to restrictive right now and over complicated.

yes there should be a limit but let the engine manufacturers develop there engines as they wish like its always been in the past BUT…set a maximum spend limit on development – say as an example 50 million euro just for engine grades. no tokens but keep engine penalties for engine usage at 4. all teams will benefit from upgrades, obviously factory teams will get first use but also with that comes risks of failures being the first ones to use.

ive said before, if we jettisoned in the 80’s era of cars and engines and mixed it with todays technology and safety standards no one here would be complaining. I hope the strategy group are true to there word on hp at least and increase to at least 1000bhp, frankly they need to go to 1200bhp. F1 was and should be the pinnacle of open wheel motorsport, drivers from the cart/indy days in the past were gobsmacked and in awe of being able to drive these cars, but now, im not so sure.


Controlling spend is unpoliceable – there is no trust between competitors


@Fireman- that wont work because Mercedes/ Ferrari team will still provide R & D to the teams regardless of where the money comes from.

The manaufacturer teams have to be split (comms, equipment etc)!from their automotive operations (otherwise they just keep providing input through the back door) and everyones roles defined then you would need someone to check on them- Independent auditors.

If you say a team cant exceed 500 people , cant spend more than €150m,- thats a starting point -has to have all its assets audited regularly. Of course the structure would add millions but it save hundreds of millions if not billions. More importantly it would create equity in the racing and it would add integrity and credibility to the organisations that run it. Its a tough ask because noone wants anyone to tell them how they run their business but collectively- that exactly what they’re all asking right now.


It would be 100% policeable if done right, ie, every teams money is handled through a central account, who pays all bills and monitors all spending. Any team found spending any money outside of the central fund is disqualified. Now if FOM decided to make some real money, all teams could be given their entire budget before the season began by FOM into their separate account with the central money management company. All spending is then equal and accountable.


Everything can be controlled via separate regs on how the teams are structured and how they are policed. When TP say it “cant” be policed they mean they dont want it policed. There is always a way but of course noone will take the initiative.It takes someone in the sports regulators – FIA and F1 management with gonads and strong diplomacy to do it and take the decision away from teams.Some of the teams have already suggested it before & again at Montreal didnt they?- “thats the light coming on right there- someone just needs to start tapping in the door now”. It wont be a walk in the park…Ive made 5 feuding global organisations settle their disputes / queries and collectively settle all our combined finances in the process -Incredibly tough but incredibly rewarding.


The solution:

Contract all drivers to the FIA; drivers graduate from lower classes automatically – no commercial seats.

Each driver drives each constructor’s car twice per year at random.

Points awarded as normal.

Drivers paid according to championship position; teams share revenue and get championship bonuses.

Drivers can sort their own commercial deals if they wish.


Allow as much development as you like in season but cap the cost of engines to customer teams at €15 million.

Keep the file flow limits etc etc.

We get faster engines being developed by interested manufacturers withiut bankrupting the smaller teams.


Even if Mercedes agrees – it won’t make any difference!

I definitely think, that preventing in-season development (it should really be called upgrades) is wrong, since the main argument for it is essentially flawed. The engineers are not going to go home during the season and since these are all separate entities from the race teams, they aren’t going to do anything else either. And if you have 500 employees sitting around, you’re going to get them to work on the engine, and also commence with testing / producing prototypes – so it costs the same no matter what.

However lifting that ban even in general would not change much, without also postponing the slow march to freeze the current advantages.

Here is why:

When the rules where conceived, Mercedes did not wait until getting a final copy of them, but set to work instantly on the assumption, that they had a rough idea, what the end result would be like. They invested heavily (they employ 500 people compared to Renaults 200), implemented efficient structures (Renault for example works a lot with contract engineer, who oftentimes lack the necessary overview and intrinsic motivation, and is being slowed down by their works council – a lot a problems you encounter in large corporations) and came up with ideas to reduce the risks posed by unknown factors (e.g. they tried to replicate the in car conditions as closely as possible on their dynos, having similar packages and even air flow around the engine). That is why they were so far ahead of everyone else at the beginning of 2013 and had less reliability problems.

But why shouldn’t that change in the future?

There are multiple opposing factors to consider here:

– There more you invest (provided you have an efficient structure), the faster you will improve.

– The better your engine is already, the less you can still improve on it (diminishing returns)

– The longer you are taking to change the engine, there more the rules freeze certain areas, which limits you possibilities to improve.

So Renault could go down 2 different routes:

– Wait for the diminishing returns to kick in more and more, to catch up slowly like that. (But given what the state and progress of the development is, that is unlikely before the freeze catches up with them)

– Invest a lot more heavily to catch up. (Which must not seem to inviting the Renaults management, given that even their relatively smaller investment, should have at least bought them a small improvement over last year – which it clearly hasn’t)

Why won’t the diminishing results of development help Renault close the gap before the freeze?

Renaults biggest deficits (apart from reliability) seem to be in the following areas:

– Mixture preparation: looking at the fuel consumption vs straight line speed, you the that the specific power output is way lower, meaning they will definitely have to work on mixture preparation and combustion quality – that will require a complete redesign of the cylinder head, combustion chamber, pistons, ports, injector position etc.

– The DNFs earlier in the season and comment thereafter, indicated that the Renault engine has problems with knock, which prevents them from running higher compression ratios. That might have a number of reasons, but it is highly likely that they have residual gas in the cylinders, that does not get flushed, leading to higher temperatures and increased knock sensitivity. Fixing that would require a redesign of the camshaft and / or the intake / exhaust system.

– Drivability: Renaults control strategy seems to be outdated and still has its origin in the old engines. Do not underestimate, how much more complex the new power units are. New actuators include: The MGU-H, Wastegate and Variable Compressor Geometry – coming from only Throttle, MGU-K, Injector and Spark Timing. Completely new control strategies are needed here that might benefit both power and drivability.

– But most important of all: Management! The Renault Sport management appears to be under the delusion, that they are on the right path and just have to tweak things here and there – just like they have claimed, that the engine has improved from last year.

The problem is, they seem to focus on reliability not power at the moment. But it simply does not make sense to make an engine more reliable, that you have to nearly entirely redevelop for performance after that. I would bet, that Renault will have similar piston problems, once they have their power upgrades.

Even with all of these things done in the first iteration, they would still not be where Mercedes is now, so they would need 1 or 2 more iterations. But it is not like there are no more improvements for Mercedes to be had:

– EGR might improve both knock sensitivity (enabling them to run higher compression ratios) and energy extraction

– Drivability could still be improved, by option for a really short intake system like Ferrari has got, reducing the reaction time of your intake system.

– Ferrari shows, that improved MGU-H cooling can boost your system output quite a lot, by being able to use the regenerative braking more.

– This list is by far not exhaustive – they will come up with a lot more things!

I think that Horner hopes to create a more inviting framework for Renault in F1 that makes them not only comfortable to stay, but also invest more, to be able to catch up. With the current regulations (not only the in season freeze, but especially the current path to the long term freeze) that will not be possible, almost definitely going to drive Renault from the sport.


Jeez i had to wade through countless nonsense to read this, wish you posted earlier. You seem to know a lot, to put it mildly !

Do you think it is worth it to develop this engine or would to start from scratch be better in the long run ? Can they can achieve what Ferrari did ?.


Merc did a bloody great job but I wished the others had at least be closer but sigh it is not to be. So it’s simply predictable by now who stands where, it’s so obvious and no rocket science needed. If it’s the same situation in 2016 which I feel it will be it’ll sure be another boring year. Must watch this weekend 24hour Le Mans and MotoGP too!


Forget the genuineness of the reason behind Horner’s thoughts. But I feel that there should be penalty system for teams who are guaranteed F1 money at the end of the year. Every time they threaten to quit, F1 should add penalty points. And at the end of the year divide the money they were supposed to receive by the number of points they accumulate. That would be the money they finally receive.



I am sure I am not in the majority but the thing I love best (used to love best) about F1 was seeing what tech, improvements, developments, teams came up with each race. I loved seeing teams win because of their technology, working the rules, and being superior. I loved even more seeing other teams catch up in reply.

As I have said many time here I am the least qualified to comment of F1 stuff I am just not as knowledgeable as so many on the forums. But I can only say I know what I Iike.

I want to see teams bring new tech and I want to see other teams bring something else to compete. It keeps me interested all season long and dreaming of the next season once the current one has ended.


Go back 60 years to 1955…and Mercedes were light years ahead of the other F1 Teams entirely due to technical innovation…they finished 1,2,3 & 4 in the British Grand Prix at Aintree..they also had the 2 quickest drivers…Moss and Fangio…had they not withdrawn from G.P racing following the Le Mans tragedy, who know how many years they would have continued to dominate?

These really has nothing to do with tokens…Mercedes have just done a much better job than the other engine manufacturers in their design of a total hybrid “package”…some will remember they had a fully operational unit 6 months before anything appeared from Renault.

Situations like this will always happen from time to time in motorsport which is why rules are eventually changed to try and create a level playing field again…this is what will eventually happen.


Its time for horner to pull newey from the distractions of other crap that is nothing to do with F1 and focus on F1 again and work out some new magic for the chassis.

after all i do remember not to long ago, when horner was complaining about the renault V8 engine was down on power compaired to the rest, but then they went on to 4 WCC’S.

The way i see it is Red Bull dropped the ball, letting a lot of their talent ( drivers for developing, technicians for design, data analysts, etc ) walk out the door to other teams.

when you find good staff you can’t just let to much of that sort of thing happen, or your business is going to face big problems, and its not always obvious, its like cancer it just creeps up on you till all of sudden, “oh crap”.

So Horner and Newey need to say,” well this is the engine we have to work with”, lets get on with finding that secret ingredient in the chassis that nobody else has.

Looks like another case of can’t go fast in the straights so have to go faster through the corners to make up the gap… AGAIN !


@ paul R….newey has very much had his hands all over this years car according to red bull. newey has publicly stated that the reason he has stepped away is because of the suffocating restrictions placed upon the designers and that now that the engine is the main focus there is nothing left for him.

i think that the red bull performances last year indicated to lots of red bull employees that with the renault engine being a hopeless mess and unlikely to improve in the near future that they would be better off decamping to greener fields where there were better opportunities…and how right they were.

this so called story about renault not getting their due appreciation for red bull success is pitiful. by memory the team were called red bull renault so they got the press by their association plus i can safely say that i never once saw a promotional TV piece from renault extolliing their expertise in F1!! were their PR/adv/promo teams all asleep? the renault engine was never a top performance piece and the success, in the main, was due to red bull’s aero designs being far in front of the competition from time to time.

now it seems as though it is too late for renault to pull something out of thin air and take it to mercedes or ferrari. we are, i’m afraid, in for a long season of same old same old.does anyone really think that mercedes can be toppled in the forseeable future? i hope that i am wrong and something magical will happen but there is no movement at the bottom of the garden, not that i can see anyway!!!!


@ C63….messed up? surely you jest. all i have done is collect the available data, assemble an accurate analysis of said data then present it in, hopefully, an understandable fashion. some people can understand that and some can”t.


@C63…from my understanding it was newey who first came up with the concept of the ‘aerodynamically blown diffuser’ and it was developed in concert with renault. i may be wrong but if you have contradictory evidence then please correct me. as for my statement re the renault ‘lump’ being the main cause for the rapid drop in red bull performance if you care to do the research i think that once again you will find that horner has countered the chassis accusations in part by stating that the engine is 85% of the problem and 15% is down to the chassis. this latter contribution has been brought about in part because the engine deficiencies have brought about chassis mods that have not worked as expected.

once again, i am sure that if i have messed up and have come to the wrong conclusions then i would welcome your comments setting me on the right path.



the renault engine was never a top performance piece and the success, in the main, was due to red bull’s aero designs …….

That’s a bit harsh ! Who do you think developed the engine mapping which maximised the exhaust blown diffuser concept? I agree Renault didn’t blow their own trumpet often enough or as loudly as they perhaps should. But the way RBR are laying the blame at Renaults door right now is poor . Right now, RBR are struggling to beat their junior team,Toro Rosso ,and they have the same PU supplier, so it can’t all be the engine.


Phone conversation recently intercepted…

Bernie Ecclestone: Toto, it’s Bernie. We’ve got another problem

Toto Wolff: Ya, Vot iz it zis time?

BE: Well, it’s been a few races now and we haven’t had a Merc issue to make it interesting.

TW: Vot about Monaco!?!

BE: Yes, well that helped. But still you stuffed that one up all on your own. Then we had Canada, and it’s killing the TV numbers!

TW: Ya, I also heard za fans were getting really sick of za F1 show too.

BE: Who..?

TW: You fans! They congregate on

BE: What’s that? A superyaght? If you’re having trouble with the fans, get an electrician to have a look. Renault should have a spare one lying around, they don’t seem to be doing much these days.

TW: Not zose fans! The people who buy tickets to F1 and watch on za TV!

BE: They buy tickets!? What…to the paddock club? How come I haven’t met them?

TW: not za paddock club, they buy the tickets for the outer stands and GA areas.

BE: Where? What on earth are you talking about?

TW: forget it! What do you vant?

BE: like I was saying. How about we spice up Austria a little? Maybe Lewis could have a little engine issue? Maybe Nico could get a drive through for excessive coaching?

TW: aargh! You love to give me za headache! Ve already drive around wiz za four bags of concrete jammed in za foot wells everyrace. Iz zat not enough?

BE: No! And besides Seb would look great winning in Austria and sticking it up those Red Bulls. I’m so sick of them winning! If I had it my way we’d introduce a token system for aero and ban EBD! And my sprinklers and medal system would…

TW: ya..OK Bernie..ok…but they stopped winning a while ago now, Vis za engine changes and all? Isn’t zat vy you called in za first place?

BE: What??? What are you talking about? Just improve the show will you! And you don’t happen to know an electrician? Having trouble with the fans on the superyaght?! Get him to bow down to me in the paddock club will you, and I’ll take it from there” …click!

Recording ends.


I fail to understand how engine freezes are appealing to engine makers. Cost is the only benefit I can think of. To address that how about constant, but restricted development, with tokens available every year of which a set number can only be used in the offseason, and a set number can only be used during the season. If engine parity is achieved then it all becomes an aero race, so you solve one problem but create another.


Everyone seems to be missing the most interesting point here…It is the FIA who has tweaked the rules to ban the use of in season tokens for 2016.

The loophole was found (a good thing for F1 overall) that allows it for this year and now the FIA, not any team, has decided to close it down for next year.

The real question is… Why is the FIA taking an approach that will prevent competition in its own sport?


A better question might be why have Merc and especially Ferrari been able to develop their engines and move forward relative to Renault? The same restriction apply to all the engine manufacturer, so clearly it can be done – Renault are just not doing a good enough job.


@ van…’.renault are just not doing a good enough job’. even if that were so, you are saying that they should be denied the opportunity to rectify that problem for ever and a day. if that is so then why would they continue and the same applies to red bull?


They have exactly the same opportunity as their competitors to develop the engine. Renault have said themselves that the homologation rules are not restrictive at this stage. Even if there was unrestricted development allowed, do you really think that they would be doing a better *relative* job?

Horner’s point is, quite correctly, that the lead time on engine development is much longer than on chassis dev. In past era when there has been unrestricted engine dev, the best engines were still kept their relative advantage over many years. Horner understands that he’s landed with a dud and the nature of engine development means that Renault will likely never be on parity with Mercedes.


That’s what it boils down to.


To be fair there’s no guarantee that even with a competitive engine RBR will be front runners again or remain in F1. I have never seen such bad losers who overestimate their importance and contribution to F1. They are proving that they’re a drinks company who just happen to own a F1 team and why they’ll never be a part of F1 heritage in the same way as Ferrari McLaren or Williams.


The death of formula1? Formula 1 has made it through 65 years of rule changes, and fans crying to bring back th old but formula 1 will always live on. This is the 3 pointed stars era and it will last a while. Somebody else will get a turn afterwardS. It’s the way th cookie crumbles


I thought that they were allowed to develop engines in season for

Reliability, cost-saving and safety measures. Does that not carry forward into next year?

And remember Renault agreed to these rules when they were drafted, surely anyone with any common sense would have thought what happens if we mess up the design do we rule want these rules as they are? I can’t help but wonder if Renault would be in favour of changes to the rules if they had the dominate engine.


Exactly, IIRC, Renault and others were pushing for the hybrid systems to be introduced or else they would leave the sport. I think the only one against the idea was Ferrari, as that was not how their road cars were being marketed. Renault has been shown up to be laggards so it’s up to them to get their act together. Mercedes was at one time somewhat of a laughing stock, having to deal with excessive tyre wear. They hired the right people and ultimately dealt with it, and I feel Renault needs to stop complaining. Look at Ferrari’s turnaround compared to last season, so all is not lost.


+1. First response to hit this mark. Renault and Honda are the two manufacturers who can really claim that their engine upgrades are reliability based. pretty simple. Turn it up till it blows, then develop a fix so that it can be turned up more.


What is this pathetic picture being painted here by Horner about Renault leaving the game?Alright,understood!
But then,tell us how Renault wants to buy a team of their own when they intend to leave the sport?Does it make sense?Is this not another attempt by another attempt to bring about the much wanted equalization rule?Renault should have first thought long hard before leading the charge for these new Hybrid engines.So after calling to arms, a “free for all” technical brawl, you come to terms that you using a “pistol” when others came with “assault rifles”.
So you want a truce,or the war to stop for you to go bring your big “pow pow” right?Well ,the others should be really,really stupid indeed to listen to you![mod]

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