Weekend Debate: Oil burning in F1 engines – a fan’s view and an engineer’s view
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Sep 2017   |  9:45 am GMT  |  400 comments

One of the most talked about intrigues in F1 this season has been what the engine makers are up to when they burn oil to gain performance. For most fans who like cars and F1, oil is for lubrication, not combustion. So what is going on?

This month the FIA reduced the amount of oil that can be used, to try to close off the practice, but what exactly is going on inside these engines?

One of our JA on F1 readers, Tachi, posted his explanation in the comments section, of how oil burning in F1 engines works. And in the interests of bringing the fans closer to the sport and providing insight, we sent it to an F1 engineer for a response.

Tachi wrote: “Races are ~300km, so they can burn ~3 litres of oil. They will also burn 145 litres of fuel. So burning oil is like have 2% more fuel. Distributed over a race, that is not much. Where it makes a BIG difference, is over 1 lap…

Remember that the cars have a mandatory fuel FLOW limit of 100 kg / hour. This effectively limits the output of the engine. Power gains can only be made with efficiency gains. Consider a track where a typical lap 1.5 minutes (1/40th or 0.025 hour). The fuel flow restriction limits them to 0.025*100kg = 2.5kg of fuel, or ~3.4 litres of fuel.

If the typical track is 5km long, and a driver does 18 laps over the duration of qualifying, that is 18*5 = 90km, so they can legally burn 0.9 litres of oil. Let’s just say they use half of that on each Q3 hot lap. Instead of 3.4 litres of fuel, they now have 3.8 litres of fuel for each hot lap = 11% more fuel for each special lap thanks to oil burn. Yes, that means ~11% more power.

Now you know why they can go so much faster in Q3, or selected special laps in a race (pit in, pit out, restart, etc). The strategy is where to spend the “oil fuel”. Clever, sneaky, cheating–call it what you will.

That’s what the oil burning is all about.”

Regular readers know that we have a network of F1 engineers, who are happy to help out (on condition of anonymity) with analysis on JA on F1 to help fans to understand the sport better.

So we put Tachi’s comments to one and this was his response.

Renault F1 team

F1 engineer writes: So your reader Tachi almost has the race description right except the engines do use oil as a lubricant so he can’t count all of the oil as additional power – far from it in fact.

But a small percentage could be considered as having done its job as lubrication and still find its way to the combustion chamber.

Now it isn’t fuel, so it isn’t burning at the same ‘power’ rate. However I am sure that in recent years oil development has had a consideration for also making it burn well when and if it does find itself in the combustion chamber at a convenient time in the ‘bang’ cycle.

For qualifying: it is true that within the rules you can replenish oil after qualifying in parc ferme.

So potentially if you can have a different, much faster flow of oil into that combustion chamber in qualifying than you would naturally need or get in the race, then you would benefit at a higher rate in qualifying.

Tachi has made a reasonable point in that respect. However his numbers are not correct and you cant burn at 100kg/hour on a lap because it also has a rev condition in the rules. Plus you do have to lift off at sone point around the lap!

On top of this you can’t change oil specification from qualifying to race, so it still isn’t the same as having an extra tank of equally powerful stuff as fuel that you can open the tap on in qualifying. In other words, the oil is still limited to needing to be suitably lubricating for the race.

So like these things normally are in F1, it will be a little help and everybody will aim to use the maximum they can, but it isn’t a silver bullet. It is certainly not 11 per cent power as your man has calculated).

The qualifying modes that they often talk about are simply the qualifying usage of their higher performing strategy modes: The engines are tested as being good for a certain mileage – but this is actually broken down into something that we will call “damage cycles”; like fatigue damage cycles in metals and it helps give you a number which is relevant across different conditions and track rpm/torque usage histograms (noting that every track is different).

For each engine your total allowable ‘damage’ is then kept as a running account. You will then brake it down into x laps available at strategy mode 1 which is most ‘damaging’ then y laps in mode 2, z laps in mode 3 and so on.

When you have a fast car you don’t need to use the highest modes until Q3 and ultimately if you really want to make sure you aren’t going to break down within the life of that engine you try to use them sparingly and keep the damage down or at least some in your pocket for a tricky day or a close fight in a race. [JA note: this is what we argued in the Italian GP strategy report that Mercedes did with its works and customer cars at Monza to make life difficult for the two Ferrari cars, which were starting behind Ocon and Stroll on the grid]

As Mercedes generally have a very fast car, they can maximise that approach. So when they are sure they can get to Q3 without using the higher modes then they don’t. Then when they do ‘turn it up’ it will give them a bigger step than those mid-field teams that have been using the higher end of the range in Q2.

Mercedes are particularly good at this ‘damage’ cycle system and they analyse the harmonics in the engine through its life to understand things like levels of piston slap, blow-by and wear characteristics and so on. Ferrari has also made good gains here.

So the ‘damage’ cycles left on the engine can be really well re-evaluated through the life of the engine. They can consider whether to turn it up for longer than planned at race 2 of its cycle, for example.

Renault have been playing catch up in this respect and the steps between modes are still not as big or elaborate. So Red Bull for example won’t have a few laps at that big step that Mercedes do. [JA note: Verstappen and Ricciardo confirmed this in the Singapore post qualifying FIA press conference.]

So there you have it, a good insight into damage cycles and oil burning, hopefully explaining what is going on. Thanks to Tachi and our F1 engineer friend for the ideas.

As a final thought, the above leads to several conclusions, but one of them is that if I were Mercedes supplying customers and my own team I would probably have a slightly more conservative set of strategies for the customer teams and would be more likely to push the overall total damage permitted on an engine in my own team’s engine either in total amount or by more extremes at the ‘peak damage’ cycles.

What do you think? Leave your comments in the section below?

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Sheesh – all this time I thought it Lewis a rabbit out of his Mercedes. No, I know it is not entirely oil burning but it is a help. Reminds me of some of the stories about cheating through the years, especially Sam Posey’s Dodge Challenger back in the Trans-Am days. They had acid-dipped the body to lose weight, prepped the car, passed inspection, but when the inspector stopped to chat and put an elbow on the roof, it flexed! Instant failure…


I don’t see anything wrong with burning oil. I had a car called Austin Allegro. I think I bought it for £300. It went well for a while and then it started burning oil. At a point when I sold it, for £20 so that I don’t have to dispose it off, it was burning like 1 litre of oil on every 5 litres of fuel. So, it was much worse than F1 cars. I told the guy “Look, it is burning a lot of oil”. “No problem” he said, and drove off. Thinking back, it could have been LH, but, can’t remember any more. Maybe that’s where all this idea started.


Good insight. F1 is very complicated, but James Allen try as much as he can to simplify it for us. Thanks.


Thanks for this article. It is rare that technical topics are discussed in such depth on websites.


Thanks for looking into this. I’d been meaning to find out what all the fuss was around oil burning, but hadn’t managed to do it yet. It’s one of those great pieces of ingenuity that you have to love F1 for. My gut feeling is that it’s not really much of a problem – everyone is free to do it and, other than works teams using it to get an edge on customer teams (which you have to expect, anyhow).

It’s a loophole that probably should be closed, though. If for no other reason than it flies in the face of this iteration of F1’s fuel efficiency objectives. Bloody clever, of the teams and PU suppliers, though.


Why can’t you then use Oil in the Fuel itself like in a Two Stroke Engine Mix ? I was always told that a bit of Oil up top is good Upper Cylinder Lubrication too !
So , can you use an Oilier Fuel in these Race Cars to get better Performance or not ?


Klaus : I’m not sure fuel composition rules allow the heavier oiling molecules. And anyway these would be included in the fuel counts (100 kg/race and a 100kg/hr flow).
On the opposite, the sump oil is not …

For our every day cars, although an oil-fuel mix could provide a good cylindre lubrication, I believe this would result in quite a high oil consumption and maybe cause some additional pollution.


@ James…You must be pleased with the responses to this topic? We have seen some really well educated and informative contributions that assist all concerned with the technical developments. Too many issues arise without any commitment to inform the fans/followers like thos that inhabit this board. As a suggestion would you consider adding an ‘ Engineers take out’ on a regular basis, bi weekly or even monthly. I’m pretty sure that you’d get a wholehearted response from not only your dedicated regulars but it would attract a wider audience that thrive on more technical detail. I will respond 100%.


If Mercedes can raise/lower performance as and when they desire, not just their works team but all customer teams too, they’re just toying with everyone.

Their chassis doesn’t work on twisty tracks but we’re done with those tracks. I predict Merc will unleash their furious engines and embarrass Ferrari just like they did in Monza. Expect 30 sec gaps by the end of the race in Malaysia which will demotivate Ferrari so much that they give up on this year and divert all resources to next years car.

Thank you for the article James, its great to have an engineer’s insight on what really happens behind the scenes. Hope they aren’t banned from disclosing such information in the future. Looking forward to more inside info on various other topics too.



So when you hear reference made to the Mercedes PU being the most “efficient” you might now question this statement. One could say more correctly, the PU which best optimises the oil burn regulations.

The point of the fuel flow restriction was not to allow teams to circumvent it with oil burn. The oil burn limit should be tightened.

Anthony Offen-James

Surely burning 1.2 litres of oil per 100km makes these 2 stroke engines!

I grew up in the 80’s and rode loads of motorbikes that didn’t burn that much oil and they were 2 strokes


Hi James,

Just want to say massive thanks for this article.

Im a long time fan and avid reader however don’t often post. Its these sort of articles that are the real reason why I love your site and recommend to everyone who asks for a good go-to F1 site.

Epic article with an amazing insight delivered in a very understandable and though-provoking manner.

Keep ’em coming!


now that is the most intriguing post ive ever read… love it! ….. well done


I’m not too sure of the relevance of having a non-expert opinion at the start of the article and then having his comments systematically unpicked. Surely just getting an expert to do the article would have been a little less confusing, but a very interesting piece all the same.


James a fantastic article providing great insight into a clever play prevailing. Elsewhere you had mentioned that Ferrari are hard at work with Additive manufacturing -3d printing their engine parts which is expected to shave a lot of weight thereby giving additional power. What would that mean for Mercedes and F1 in general. Will other manufacturers follow suit or will it be banned like other innovations.


maybe this ‘damage cycle’ malarky will have to be dropped next year if the teams want to avoid penalties with only three power units.


I personally think cheaper doesn’t mean less engines. 3 engines for 21 races is going to be horrible to watch as I don’t think it can be done without massive penalties and even if it can it’s going to cost a lot.


Horrible to watch ? I would tend to agree ! In 2014, the cars had to slow down because of fuel consumption … In 2015 and 16, it was because of the tyres … This year, I suspect that the engines are so efficient that they canno’t withstand the full fuel flow for long …

So, 3 engines for 21 races ? Reliability will be the key. A solution could then be to reduced the allowable fuel flow.

… Unless you consider than the engine is part of the game and also, that overtaking difficulties are the real issue !


Great insight into the tech side.
However,the sooner these PU are replaced by something less complicated,expensive and manufacturers control the better.


Great article James, so in reality the Mercs are cheating legally? Now joined by Ferrari.

James, are these strategy modes the reason why HAM’s engine died at last years Malaysian GP, using strat mode 1 too often…explains a lot of their recent dominance and making the sport look bad from a spectators point of view.


It was probably because Hamilton’s engines were Frankenstein engines from Spa on.


Can we have some bhp figures.?


That’s 6 x 7? To know what the answer is first know the question.

The question is what is that oil Mercedes use to make them take engines early to get around the or go through 2017 rules. They can now use more than 0.9 until the end.

Why is 0.3L that important? We will find out next Sunday if it even is but they sure think so.


I am happy to see this issue addressed from an engineering point of view. There has been all sorts of urban legends circulating about this issue.


We wouldn’t be having this discussion if we still had V10s!


Knight, if they had thought of it in the V10 days, they would have done it.


I’d say that the oil burning issue is more due to fuel limitations rather than the type of engine …


Are f1 engine oils 99% similar to our oils like the fuel they use?


the fuel used in f1 cars is fairly similar to ordinary petrol, albeit with a far more tightly controlled mix. formula one fuel can only contain compounds that are found in commercial gasoline, in contrast to alcohol-based fuels used in american open-wheel racing.



In the US the fuel for all teams comes from the same manufacturer.

The oil is not that tightly controlled in F1 unless I read something wrong.


11% more power is in the realms of Fantasy, but even if it delivers a more realistic 2-3% increase that equates to 20-30bhp which is a massive edge in F1 terms!


Yeah I think 11% is theory that may have been close in 2014 but only 1% is huge. That’s almost half a lap in an entire race.


I have no problem with any team trying anything to gain performance, within, or on the edge of the rules. Every year we see new innovation and rule-bending; I find it fascinating and quite frankly, it is a big part of the attraction of Formula-1 for many of us. Imagine a grid of cloned cars with nothing different bar their paint schemes; quite dull I think.


That would be terrible… the only difference then, would be the drivers’ skill!
Seeing Ricciardo win every race while Lewis circulated at the back of the pack and Max and Kimi smacked into each other at every race, would soon get very boring. 🙂


Axel, do spec series always bring good racing? Not in my experience, you often get one team dominating as well, good idea in theory, but tends not to pan out in practice.


No but if he in fact really is that good I want to see it.


something missed out on though was the fuel and oil supplier ( lets for arguments sake say Petronas) having a oil with a quantity of its makeup totally useless as a lubricant but having no detrimental affect on its ability to lubricate moving parts but when mixed with a certain fuel blend having a catalytic effect on the burn in the combustion chamber, I would probably presume making the wave face of the combustion cycle more predictable allowing more boost or advance to be run on the engine,lets also not forget that with fuel flow restricted then its also a possibility that a little bit of oil blow by is measured in for crown temp control, as for managing the damage cycle it sounds pretty much what goes on on aircraft parts with HUMS systems ( health and usage management) in live time so the pit sees lifeing information about the engine and can then give advice to the driver on engine modes


Exactly! Fuel and oil from same supplier solves this especially for customer teams.

The politics of actually doing that I see being very hard. Maybe to define what can and and what cannot be in the oil and petrol and enforcing it with an MS GC machine might work. Even something like that me be a hard deal to strike.


ross brawn has an idea of the mercedes advantage. if it was illegal, he’d have been onto the stewards to stop them at once. it’s just all talk..


A great article, but very depressing…

Ross Brawn has a huge job on his hands.


Humbled that my post piqued enough interest to put in front of an engineer in the sport, and yielded an interesting response. Thanks James, thanks Engineer x. Point about the max flow rate not pertaining to the whole lap is well taken.


I don’t buy the oil fed in via rings, turbo or crank vent. I think it’s smoke and mirrors. There’s no control of the ignition point and oil coated on tracts and cylinder wall just cause more problems especially when the ICU has to “go the distance”. Rather I suspect there are internal hydraulic galleries in the heads delivering oil to the injector circuit post the flow meter. The oil injection into the main fuel gallery can be precisely metered and controlled. Oil needs no special additives (more smoke and mirrors) as oil contains more energy per kilogram than petrol. It’s common high speed diesel technology.


Yeah just pumping it in you would think would be banned. Besides how would you make a pump to separate an additive from the rest of the oil.

Additives have been made for some time to keep oil out of the combustion chamber so why not one to get by the piston rings or valves or turbo and be in the chamber at a just right time for combustion. The software can help too as it will control timing.

Beyond that explanation requires a software and chemical engineer.


@ Mako…If what you describe is in fact true then that would be a blatant infringement of the rules as it couldn’t be described as anything other than an alternative/additive fuel system rather than a ‘by product’ . The question that i have posed is the same as yours…How are these ‘fuels’ metered and controlled?.


That’s a good one. Even a byproduct could be useful or use fuel and be fuel.


All of he fuel passes through an identical flow meter supplied to all of the teams. Study the regulations, they say nothing about adding lubricating oil into the fuel gallery after the flow meter. (I may well have missed it) This is so easy to hide and control within the cylinder head, not to gain an illegal advantage but to gain a legitimate performance advantage over your rivals. If the regulations don’t prohibit it it’s clever engineering. That’s why I say the talk of adding oil elsewhere is just smoke and mirrors to hide the real method and retain an advantage.


What needs to be done is to make all teams use the same fuel and oil. That would level things out for customer teams but will never be done because of sponsorship money.


Fuel gallery? You mean the fuel rail that supplies the injectors? How do you think they could manage to introduce a controlled flow of oil into this without the FIA finding it an immediately declaring it illegal?

“they say nothing about adding lubricating oil into the fuel gallery after the flow meter”

Yes, they do. Your theory is in breach of article 5.10.5 “Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate after the measurement point is prohibited.”

The beauty in the theory that they are using the breather or the rings is that it is simple, and legal. Crankcase vapor is required to be vented into the intake via the breather per the regulations, so simply make sure the vapor improves combustion. Since the oil isn’t regulated, this is easy.

5.14.2 “Other than engine sump breather gases, exhaust gas recirculation, and fuel for the normal purpose of combustion in the engine, the spraying of any substance into the engine intake air is forbidden.”

Since oil composition isn’t regulated, the “sump breather gas” is where you would hide your secret sauce.


@ Dale D… I somehow just can’t believe that the ‘sump breather’ suggestion can possibly be valid. These quali modes are quite precise in their application, too precise, IMO, to be the sole method of increased performance on tap. If it was that simple then all manufacturers would be using it to the same effect. If mercedes were using this method and they have now been stopped by the new capacities as regulated by the FIA then they should suffer slower quali speeds and closer performance by the other teams who didn’t get the same benefits.


I agree. True injection is not allowed. The only possible control would then be through a valve on the breather. But I am not sure this is allowed either.
And as twin oil tanks are now forbidden, I believe oil additives burning is now limited to Q3 and race starts, i.e. it cannot last …
And anyway, I don’t think the engines could withstand that addtitional power for long !


@ Pierre…That is an interesting comment. It has been stated many times that Mercedes can get greater use of their ‘go fast’ button than other customer teams during a race. That is borne out by actual racing whereby Mercedes get out in front with the assistance of the fast mode and once they have established a suitable lead they throttle back. When [rarely] they are challenged they simply turn it up again and maintain their advantage. If that is the case and the excess use is dangerous to the longevity of the actual ICE then we should see them having less performance quicker and actual failures. Otherwise, then would beg the question…are the engines used by Mercedes stronger than those supplied to the customers?


Vahid in comment 7 says about the same thing as me. But he supports it ! :
“So that explains why Mercedes has experienced most if not all of their PU failures in the works team and not customers.”


That’s the question Kenneth ! Not sure though. I would say it is quite hard to do this. Mercedes could however keep the best parts for them during the manufacturing process (if a difference there is …). A simpler and safer way could be to edit a conservative damage cycle book for all teams … and not respect it.


Pierre. The engines are homologated, an example of each version is sent to the FIA, and each example mudt match it. Do you really think Mercedes has “best parts”?!


I think the limit would be the software. I think whatever additives and or byproducts in the oil are there all of the time but cause more wear when the engine mode makes best use by the timing on the spark and valves.


I agree, what a fantastic article. Thank you


I read it a couple of times below but indeed the words, insightful, well done and love it!
Are very much appropriate!!

Thank you James.


Thank you for the different explanations. Interesting and well done.


Somehow in my simple mind “burning oil as fuel” sounds polluting. I mean, cruise ships burn oil as fuel and they’re one of the most polluting engines in the world.

I this this all goes against one of the main goals of the FIA to reduce the impact of F1 engines on the environment. They should ban it outright.


Maybe not. It’s hard to say it’s more polluting or less so without know exactly what compound it is.

Mercedes has something that Williams and Force India don’t besides aero I would bet.


you’re right it’s a lot more efficient to burn petrol in the engines than it is to burn oil.. but the amount of combustible petrol allowed is limited so adding oil to the chambers would add more power..the only problem is the quantity of oil needed to make a significant difference is not permitted..


Oil has many different additives. In theory the should be one that could get by any boundary layers easier than oil and may have more power than petrol. Maybe something like nitromethane but I think whatever it is it also should be non polar. I think nitromethane can absorb some water though.

Nitrogen rich means power.


My understanding, as an ex multi-fuel combustion specialist, is related to the following in the above “However I am sure that in recent years oil development has had a consideration for also making it burn well when and if it does find itself in the combustion chamber at a convenient time in the ‘bang’ cycle.”
Exactly – certain polymers ( I will give some examples later) are include in a lubricant composition with the aim of reducing the end gas detonation – ie they are a knock suppression agent and therefore allow the engine to run at very high compression ratios. In fact many researchers view engine oil as a very real issue in controlling pre-ignition. Engine lube oil is intentionally coated on the cylinder line every stroke to reduce friction and to prevent ring and liner wear. Some of this lubricant enters the boundary layer of the cylinder and the combustion chamber in the end gas region. Typical lubricant base stocks have relatively high cetane number (and correspondingly low octane) or low auto-ignition temperatures, and therefore these can, if unmodified, result in pre-ignition. The use of a knock suppressant additive such as methylpropylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl lowers the cetane value and allows higher compression ratios.
Quite how they manage to burn over 0.5 L /100km I will leave to readers imagination.


One question about this great explanation of fuel oil? Could there be anything rich in nitrogen that is non polar (can’t absorb water) that could be blended in and get by the boundary layers you mention?


Glad to see my hunch is shared by someone who has studied this stuff.

“methylpropylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl”

Exactly. That.


and I thought they died out with the dinosaurs!


Ahhh don’t tell me only Mercedes engineers know about this.


Why doesn’t Williams show any improvement, with a mode-map-oil-whatever enhancement in qualify?
So Williams and Force India have Merc engineers “dictating” what to do or how to do it in each Q3?
Some light to this please, I cannot sleep.


Well you would have to look at the fuel and oil difference between a Williams and a Mercedes with a MS GC machine to know that one.


If williams and FI didn’t care for it, they are free to find or produce their own engines. Sauber is literally using a 2016 Ferrari engine.


I don’t think that that is at all possible.


I think this explains everything except one. Friction! In theory it should help beyond just the BTUs because the oil has to get by the piston rings to be burnt. I think it going by the valves would probably not help as much but either way I’m sure those ways have been tried.


@ JDR….How could the oil be used by bypassing the rings as the rings are not variable within tolerances at call ?


In any engine oil gets by the rings. It’s exactly what you said tolerances. Also there is probably the same effect in the turbo itself. That might be the best place but like you say it depends upon the tolerances in the rule book but no matter how tight some oil will get there.

I wouldn’t think it would just as simple as pumping it there. In fact the lighter more combustible parts of the oil would get there first.

I suspect some chemical high in nitrogen might even be better than petrol itself. Petronas probably makes the difference there.


they can design special slotted grooves to allow oil in during an up stroke..


I don’t think so.Read my post again…i don’t think you understand what i have said.


I am still curious to know if any/most engines are hiding Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) inside. According to Wikipedia, adding oil to HCCI significantly improves the stability of the combustion process.

There has to be some major technical advance for Mercedes and recently Ferrari to have such a performance advantage over the rest playing catchup.


I remember reading an article where it was clearly stated by one of the engine manufacturers (Mercedes ?) that HCCI was not involved in the present F1 engines.
And this understandable. In a true Diesel engine, combustion timing is controlled by the fuel injection at TBC : no fuel, no combustion ! In a HCCI engine, combustion occurs … well, nobody knows really when. Meaning, the combustion initiation is very sensitive to various factor such as fuel quality, cylindre temperature, etc. In addition, combustion occurs more as a detonation that ‘progressive’ burning.
I am not a specialist, but I believe that all this means that HCCI is not at all suited for race engines which run at the limit.


@ blouis79…I have read on quite a few occasions in the past that the ‘Diesotto’ concept had been refined by Mercedes and there were rumours that this was in fact occurring in their F1 engines. It was supposed to be a system that could be used in an ‘on/off’ method. The problem was understanding how the stroke could be altered at will to increase the necessary compression level needed. Maybe the addition of ‘aromatics’ in the oil allows for that to occur more easily. Nissan have recently announce a “Diesotto’ style of combustion with a method of altering the stroke but that is a complex geometrical solution. Would love to get some answers here…


Kenneth, the Diesotto effect could be activated by increasing the pressure in the cylinder. Increased boost would have the same effect as increasing the compression ratio.


gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy is used to sample all fuels and lubricants in f1. any attempt to add anything to any of them will be detrimental to the team. no team will attempt using additives to enhance combustion..


but that’s the whole point @aveli !
Merc and Ferrari (and maybe the others) are introducing an additive but not mixed with the fuel in the tank. Instead the additives are being introduced into the combustion chamber in the guise of being ‘lubricant’.
The loop hole being that some oil is always going to get past the rings.
Once again the FIA writes the rules without thinking how the teams are going to get around them.


if any team is adding additives, it’s got to be ferrari because mercedes asked for clarification on oil spec..


that’s interesting but i wonder why the fia didn’t issue oil specification rather than oil burn limit…
some sky presenters commented on a strange smell from the mercedes cars and ferrari staff are not giving interviews…
surely it can’t take that long to compile an oil specification to stop them in their tracks..


I think you missed out on the post where it was commented that there are no’specifications’ limited purely on lubricating oils.


now that’s interesting indeed!


Really really good read, thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you .


Oil burnings fine.
If somebody else is doing it and the other engine developers missed out. Well tough.
Get your skates on and do the same.
Red Bull with Renault (remember when they had a great partnership) had blown exhaust gases and engine mapping helping the drivers around the tracks ! With the right amount of everything on each sector. There were moaners and groaners… but everyone started trying to do the same thing.


Every time I hear Red Bull cry about the Q3 modes of Merc / Ferrari, I’m starting to think its been a few years now – why haven’t you done your own yet?

Surely for many tracks it would be worth sacrificing some race day pace to get early track position? But it’s just a bit staggering that after 2-3 years, nothing seems to be progressing.


You are aware i suppose that Red Bull do not manufacture engines ?


Great article.

Also shows just how much manipulaion and control Mercedes have ofer this most terrible PU era of F1.

Control customers to limit their damage cycle to be sure of good marketing of the Mercedes PU and its bulletproof reliability, also to hold them back – distant memory of Massa in the customer Williams taking pole and having the cheek to race for a few laps with a works Merc at Austria and Silverstone!

Plus it’s easy, when in clean air and the rivals are so far back just to switch to cruise mode for most of the race and keep the 5s or so gap whilst giving zero reliability issues.

I do wonder if the Merc boardroom ever consider allowing their best customers a boost to try and take the odd point away from their main rivals…


What did Mercedes do to their best and longest customer, McLaren after they beat the factory team 3 years straight?


I may be wrong here, but ,the beating they got was not because of the engines was it? I though, from memory, it was because mercedes chewed their tyres all day long.

And besides, Mclaren gave up their supply or merc power units, because they did not think they could win championship and driver titles without been a works team with access to their source codes as a customer.


McLaren used to get same engines as factory. After those 3 years when McLaren made Mercedes AMG team look pedestrian, that ended. This is a perfect example of a team which used to get factory engines and then it didn’t, because they beat the factory team.


Sebee. It ended because McLaren told Mercedes they didn’t want their engines anymore!!! Your grip on reality seems to be slipping even further away….


Yes, McLaren didn’t want a works supply of Mercedes engines and told Mercedes to stuff it and go away with their works engines.

And also unicorns are real. Seriously TimW. Look for one under a double rainbow.


Sebee. Your version of history does not match reality, yet again! Just to be clear, Ron did not want to be a customer paying for engines, far bettter he thought to get Honda to give them free engines designed specifically for his car, and if they wanted to sling a hundred million or so into the pot, then even better! Ron told Toto that he did not want his engines anymore, as he was sure that the Honda units would be better than the Mercs! This is what happened, it’s all out there Sebee if you wish to find it, there’s this thing called google….


First thing I thought was that oil doesn’t burn with the same power per cubic cm than fuel… And to read it all gives you a glimpse on how sophisticated are these engines! They literally are “overclocking” them on the go!


One of the best and most-insightful posts I’ve read on this site (and I rate the site very highly). Well done!


So my gut tells me that it is all very much about reducing knock via additives, and they get them into the cylinder via the breather and the rings, both of which can be controlled via the solenoid on the breather, if I understand correctly.

The oil, if I have read the regulations right, is not specified right now which presents an opportunity for the fuel supplier to put illegal antiknock agents in the oil instead. The crankcase is of course full of fine oil mist and vapor. This is then fed to the fuel/air charge via the crankcase breather into the air intake. Also, they could use the breather solenoid to control the amount of oil seeping past the rings by altering the vacuum in the crankcase. Once the additive are in the cylinder, the mix raises the knock limit allowing them to run more aggressively via the mapping, and avoid as much damage to the engine.

I also have a hunch, this is what Ferrari’s 3D piston is about, since they can make a stronger piston that can tolerate a bit more knock, and perhaps runs a bit cooler as well, avoiding hot spots that cause detonation.


@ Dale D…what exactly do you mean ‘allowing them to run more aggressively via mapping’ This aggressive running is exactly what ? Increased revs? greater fuel flow ?. How can the crankcase vacuum be altered back and forth definitively via a steering wheel mode switch and act as precisely as it does? Why would a 3D rapid prototyping [stainless] steel piston run cooler than other alternatives?.


Engine mapping, meaning when fuel and spark are introduced to the combustion cycle. Changing this alters combustion.

Crankcase vacuum is controlled via the breather solenoid.

3D printing (not rapid prototyping, but metal sintering production) a piston allows for a stronger but lighter structure. They use aluminum at the moment which means if they can produce a stronger steel piston that weighs the same, then it will tolerate more knock before being destroyed. Additionally, the “voids” in the piston that can be created with 3D printing will allow it to shed heat quicker, reducing the chance of hot spotting.


@ Dale D…i am fully aware of how an ICE engine operates. I am a qualified engineer and an ex Merchant Navy [ British and South African] as well. When it comes to the manufacturing of pistons my use of the term was simply this…3D printing/additive manufacturing is a ‘process’ “rapid prototyping is the end result and the generally used term. Obviously there is a benefit in using this process but we don’t know the definitive answers as yet as ferrari have not openly declared it successful.


Sorry Dale, but race engines are dry sumped and the oil in the crankcase is scavenged by a pump. So the bottom of the crankcase is low pressure.


I know they are dry-sumped. They still use have a breather, controlled by a solenoid.


@ Dale D…What i would like to know is why a 3D printed piston would have more structural integrity than one that is either forged or cast? Someone…anyone?


As understood, 3D printing allows to put the metal where needed and only there. So you end up with a steel piston that is stronger and/or lighter than an aluminium one, and that has a better heat resistance or even a better heat conductivity. The latter means cooler pistons and a lesser risk of detonation.
All this allowing to increase the engine peak power or its life time.


@ Pierre…I suggest that you look at the latest article on 3D/RP published by “Racecar Engineering’ dealing with ‘sand’ in the process. Fascinating detail. Great tech. Smart engineering.


@ Pierre…Yes, i understand that.


Now, what does the change in ambient temperature do to all these damage cycle and oil burn calculations? You know, Malaysia is one scenario and Spa is another completely different situation.


that’s just a data set issue… more data needs a bigger computer to decipher it.
Experience, simulation, dyno work will soon provide the info for each circuit and weather condition.


Good one. Mexico would also cause pressure issues.


Is there a performance advantage for the old configuration over the new ruling?


Was wondering what that was all about and its thanks to the original poster for forcing someone in the F1 world to put out some damage limitation blurb.
We go these engines due to clean air considerations and here we are with tricky old throwbacks to the 2 stroke era.
Todt will probably suggest painting the halo green to show how much Motor racing cares about the world.


I think the conditions inside the ICE would burn lube oil – a lot like a diesel
I would try introducing oil at the supercharger shaft – low pressure there and a lot of controls for the MGU-H. Not nearly enough oil in the air to burn but add some gasoline and watch it go.


As all engines have oil emissions due to heat and crankcase compression it’s not hard to understand manufacturers have been doing this for years


Thank you James…
That’s why any other F1 site can not come near you. Lucky to be here.


This article reminds me why I find F1 is soon dull in it’s “hybrid” era and why I don’t spend only money on it anymore.

…and now Sean Bratches (of FOM) is going to create artificial electronic noise using ceramic microphones to boost the pathetic low-level whiney noise of current F1 cars…(just when your thought things couldn’t get any worse than the horrific HALO!!)

I was at the MOTO-GP bike race at Silverstone this year for the very first time (cheering on Valentino Rossi)…but what saddened me most was that the motorbikes all sounded louder, deeper tone and just more exciting than these current F1 cars – (how pathetic is that?!?!?)


f1’s so dull, i’ll not see you on f1 pages ever again..


Have you ever seen anything more heroic in modern Motorsport than Rossi qualifying 3rd in the grid, with a broken leg!!!!!!! HALO can suck Rossi’s balls.

F1 is the past, it’s over. MotoGP is the future of hero level Motorsport.

F1 has lost it, and no one in control has the balls to set it straight (because to set it straight means someone might get hurt…might even brake a leg…and we just can’t have that. Not appropriate for children, not appropriate for road safety – and those are the two most important things in F1.


Twitch – for some reason your reply hasn’t passed MOD. Not sure why , it seemed fairly innocuous to me. Anyway, I’m not sure it’s reasonable to claim 6 riders were in with a shout – 3 maybe. Rossi was magnificent in quali but was always going to run out of puff before the race was over. As for Dobby and Vinales, they weren’t pulling up any trees and Pedrosa only made a late run but never looked like he was going to get the job done. Once Marquez was on the move the writing was on the wall imo. I still enjoyed the race though – Marquez is from another planet and when he is in a hurry he is a sight to behold.
On your last point – when was the last time in F1 a faster driver in a slower car came through to take the win using his skills? Easy – Singapore – 5th fastest car, but the quickest driver, took the win.


Hmm that’s strange, I kind of thought some of my stuff hadn’t been going through, and ive been trying hard to keep it all pc and pg.

Anyways, I won’t argue that Marquez looked like the favorite…but come on, when we say “Marquez is the favorite”, it’s not the same as when we say “Ham/Merc is the favorite.” Missing is the amount they’re the favourite by, and in the two cases, the margins are quite different. I’m saying this in the context of the last several season in both respective sports.

Let’s also keep in mind that Marquez’s Honda is not anywhere near on the level of Hammy’s Merc.

And like I mentioned before, ya he was the favorite, but he was supposed to dominate everyone, and he wasn’t. He crashed in quali, got an average start, and was riding the wheels off the thing just to keep up with Lorenzo. Remember that moment he had in the bus stop, we were onboard looking back at him, and his front end jumped like 8 inches during the direction change…that doesn’t happen when a guy is riding comfortably. He won like he was supposed to, but it was never certain he was going to keep the bike on two wheels to the end (well, in his case, on 1 wheel, somewhat upright).

Re Singapore, two things. 1, i meant when was the last time you saw a fight for the lead between two or three guys in relatively equally performing machinery scrap for the lead, and the guy who won did so with pure driving skill?

I didn’t mean last time someone in a slower car won, that happens often enough, but usually because of extenuating circumstances. Take Spain 2016 for example. Max won in clearly a slower car, but the two fastest cars got taken out on lap 1, and he was there to pick up the scraps. No doubt that is part of racing, but when was the last time we saw a multi car, multi team scrap for the lead? Happens all the time in MotoGP.


MotoGP is brilliant at the moment. I watched the race on Sunday and the best thing about it was the competitiveness in the top positions, with 3 different teams and several riders all in with a chance. Even with 10 laps to go it’s impossible to call who’s going to win.


I watched the race too and I enjoyed it. But it was fairly clear that Marquez was going to win – to me at least. He was easily the quickest rider – thats why he’s won the championship 3 out of the last 4 years and looks like it’ll 4 out of 5 this season. Also, and I’m not being picky, but there was a lot of chatter from the commentary team about tyres and rates of wear etc. Was it really so very different from F1?


It’s only the last few races that Marquez has got a grip on the championship, Dovi has lead for a while on his improved Ducati. The form book has swung from track to track. Although Rossi’s broken legs have taken a bit of sting out of the championship.

I suppose it has similarities to F1 but for me watching on TV the MotoGP comes across as far more of a sprint race where the rider is having a much bigger input. And to top it off the screaming engines adds to the experience IMO.

They do talk about tyres (I’m not a fan of the commentary on BT sport), I guess tyre talk is just fashionable in motorsport these days.


Don’t get me wrong Nick – I understand the point(s) you are making and I’m not picking on you. But it seems to me that the stuff which people moan about in F1 seems to get a free pass in other series. The motogp boys are mightily impressive but they are still managing tyres and fuel (although I believe the ECU on the engine does most of the fuel management nowadays – it knows how far they have to go in the race and rations the fuel to ensure they get there).
The championship has only just swung in LH favour – up until the last race it was wide open and prior to that LH was playing catch up. I grant you there has been more winners in motogp but if we discount the 2 anomalies of Rossi and Pedrosa there has only been 3 winners which is the same as F1 (would have been 4 winners if Ferrari hadn’t stolen Monaco from Kimi).
I don’t know why it is but F1 seems to attract a lot fans who watch the sport avidly but do little else but moan about it. IMO the majority of the moaning has it’s origins in who is winning – or more precisely, who isn’t winning 🙂


@ NickH….Whilst i would love to see Dovi take a championship he just doesn’t provide the ultimate excitement that i see with Marquez. The last rider who was as exciting as Marquez was Casey Stoner and they both ride in an almost identical style. Motegi will be a pivotal race for the title.


@ C63…Yes, Marquez was at his finest but it was not clear that he was going to win it as i have seen him drop the bike too many times. With Marquez it’s only over when the flag is waved. He was at his finest in Aragon which i really like as a circuit. Yes, tyres are a taliking point in Moto just like any series really. The major difference to F1 though is that they can mix and match, something that F1 should adopt if it enhances a cars performance! Why not? As for the championship, well it’s far from over and just one DNF by Marquez will see a mad scramble. I would not write Dovi off just yet. Some great races coming up and i would suggest that you watch the Australian GP at Philip Island. A great circuit and full of surprises.


You say that it wasn’t clear who was going to win and Marquez drops the bike all the time, but Marquez can’t fall off that often kenneth – he’s won 5 races and leads by 16 points. He’s also won 3 out of the last 4 championships.
As for Phillip Island – no need to sell that to me. It’s a great racetrack. I really like the camera shots at the hairpin – why can’t they hold a GP there? Is it not up to F1 standards or something?


@ C63…I don’t have the stats for the ’17 season at hand but in when i say he ‘drops the bike’ that covers all sessions. In ’16 Marquez had the third highest number of drops at 17!!! over the season. This year, IIRC, he dropped the bike four time in one week end! I cannot recall where but it is there in the stats somewhere. So, for me, the race isn’t over till it’s over. By the way, it’s ‘DOVI” not ‘DOBBY’ , just a gentle reminder with no hint of ‘approbrium’ HAND


Marquez is not the fastest rider on every track, every weekend though.

He was the fastest in the race, but having crashed in practice and quali, no one knew if he would keep it upright for the race.

On top of all of that, Marquez is by far the fastest RIDER on the grid. He’s not riding the fastest bike on the grid.

And come on, saying that race was predictable is just being facetious. Lorenzo, Dobby, Marquez, Rossi, Vinales, and Pedrosa all had a decent shot of winning. Marquez won because he is currently the best rider, and he out rode the rest of them.

When was the last time we saw an F1 race with 6 people with a reasonably equal shot at winning the race, and the fastest driver using his driving skills rise to the top.


@ Twitch 6…Yes, i fully agree. To see rossi racing last night in such a parlous state was impressive…although he did dirty on Pedrosa at in excess of 300KPH!!! As Jack Miller said. ‘Rossi is a legend. I qualified 13th and the ‘old bloke with a leg broken in two places qualifies 2nd…WOW’. There can be no doubt about who the heroes are. Moto GP is a prime example of courage and insanity, in equal amounts,that leaves the spectator breathless at what they can achieve and under what conditions.


hey Twitch_6….you keep the moderator busy but i’m cheering you on. i’ve been watching F1 since the 60s and am getting so turned off by the complicated and grossly unfair governance. you’re right! MotoGP is far more the exciting sport.


@roryfireplace, if you mean I keep the mods busy with my [modding] language, that’s me censoring myself. Me swearing like a sailor doesn’t make the site look any better, but it can help me get my point across.

If you ever see a post by me where the naughty word actually goes through, that’ll mean I really mean it.

Even my rant about [mod] Mercedes…I say that in a “sitting at the pub shooting the crap with the guys” type of tone and attitude, not some “I’m ready to go to war over this!!”


@ Roryfireplace…we seem to share longevity. Moto GP is where all the thrills are these days. F1 has been usurped to a great degree by overwhelming complexity that has led to dumbdowned racing. It’s still F1 and i will always watch but when i think of what it could’ve been i’m grossly disappointed.


Why is that pathetic? Motorcycles ARE more exciting than cars.

I like that F1 is technical and complex. It should be. The pathetic part is the sport and its journalists do such a poor job of explaining what’s going on and why anyone should care. The oil burn issue is just one of them. A lot of media attention to a not all that important issue – damage cycles seems like the much more interesting development.


What about how the whole ERS is deployed? Ever since Honda came out and confirmed that the whole system is mapped to deploy around the track and repeat deployment and regeneration I’ve been wondering just how these engine modes work, and they link in directly into damage cycles, shifting instructions to driver, etc. Would be nice to understand exactly how this system works.


Oil burning could perhaps determine outcome of championship. How is that exciting?


Sebee, how could that happen when they are all burning the same amount? Did you read the article where the expert says it isnt a silver bullet?


it’s not exciting. it’s terribly dull. and it’s breaking my heart!


You will get over it rory…


But every body knows that a little.oil squirted in the right place, increases the compression in the cylinder…
The oil us used not as a combustible, it is only to increase octane to the fuel and bring a spike in compression and more boost…
Now the trick is how do you squirt it and where in the cylinder.


it’s not like they’re breaking the rules. every engine burns oil..all they’ve done is encourage more oil burning. the fia know and have put ristrictions on it. insignificant in the world of cheating….


Great article, thanks for this!

I still don’t understand how/why Mercedes engineers are telling Force India and Williams what engine modes to run in. In theory, shouldn’t the customer teams have all the info they need, and be able to run in any mode they want, whenever they want?

Or is there something in the contracts which states that if a customer team doesn’t run at the “advised” levels or modes, then the factory is not responsible if the engine goes pop – meaning that the customer team needs to pay to replace it.

So then Mercedes just goes super conservative with their “advised” levels of performance to the customer teams. Maybe that’s what McLaren instantly felt in 2014, and why Ron concluded that a customer team will never win a championship.


Twitch. The Mercedes engineers ate there to give the customer teams the information they need, in real time! The teams are not the experts on the engine, the decision on how hard to run the engine requires a lot of information from the car that the manufacturers collate and intrrpret.


So then why the [mod] are Mercedes engineers telling Williams and FI to turn up the wick when it suits the factory team? Why can’t those teams turn up the wick when it suits their agenda, as opposed to their daddy’s?


The teams are fully entitled to chose WHEN they ‘turn up the wick’. What the manufacturers (all of them not just Mercedes) dictate is how often and for how long they can do so without damaging the engine. Think of it as ‘permissible damage’.

When you are supplying PU’s that have to last x number of GP’s, only the manufacturer can tell you how hard you can run an engine without risking early expiration.


when it suits the factory team….

I’m not at all sure that you have that right Twitch. The teams can use the higher modes when they want – what they cannot do is exceed their allocation of higher modes. The amount of ‘damage’ (as I understand it) is not merely a function of mileage – it’s affected by conditions, e.g. temp humidity etc – and one of the Merc engineers jobs is to monitor in real time how the engine is performing and feed that back to the customer team. They then know how much ‘damage’ they have left and can use it accordingly.


Then why was it reported that Merc gave Stroll and Ocon more power in Monza to stick it to ferrari, based on their starting positions.


As I understand it from JA’s race analysis – Merc had factored in the higher damage cycles/engine modes for Monza for themselves as well as their customer teams, as they had apparently identified Monza as a good opportunity to score heavily given the nature of the circuit, i.e. it is a power circuit. I don’t know, but it would seem reasonable to assume, that the customer teams would have considered Monza in a similar light and were happy to use the extra power there as well. By the same token Merc were using old engines at Singapore (Hams was first used in Spain) as they had identified Singapore as a circuit were it wasn’t worth ‘wasting’ a good engine.
I understand you guys don’t like Merc or Ham (or maybe both) and are looking for some kind of conspiracy but I don’t believe there is one. If Williams or Force India don’t like dealing with Merc they are free to ‘shop’ elsewhere. It’s also worth remembering that no Ferrari customer has ever beaten the main factory team in a championship and a Ferrari customer has only ever won a single solitary race. In contrast Merc has been beaten in the championship by a customer and customers teams have won numerous races. So maybe they aren’t quite as bad as you make them out to be and they deserve a bit more credit than you are giving them.


@ Twitch6…Yes, i’d like to hear the answer to that also…c’mon C63 share with us?


@ twitch6, i have been saying for a very long time that when one team, who is also a manufacturer, has a level of control over the performances of customers engines how can this be ‘fair competition’. Surely there exists a level of ‘undue influence’ that could be initiated at will. The fact is, how do the customer teams know the extent of their competitors ability to manage races vis a vis use of the ‘extreme modes’? If some engines are already out of cycle with other customers how do they all know whether or not ‘extreme modes’ are fairly apportioned amongst them? I would say that they don’t…therefore Mercedes [ Ferrari ] would have an unfair advantage. I guess that there are a lot of questions here just begging for answers.


it’s not a competition worth watching so don’t watch. leave it all to me to enjoy, all by myself!


Questions begging for answers…questions which beget more questions.

I actually feel a little sick that this is what F1 has come to.

It really is the Circus, aka a travelling stage show. Fair, even, hard nosed competition, it certainly is not that.

How do we know Williams and FI have been allowed to race each other fairly?? If Claire bakes Sussie a nice cake, is there a chance Williams could get a little boost at the next round?

The ONLY thing we have to go off in this situation is Mercedes’s word….and sorry, Toto, Niki, or anyone in a tri-star shirt are not exactly top of my “trust what these people say” list. The only people who lie and bend the truth more than the F1 paddock are politicians.

The fact that so many people seem to be overlooking, why this is such a disgusting situation, is that MERCEDES HELPED DESIGN THESE [MODDING] REGULATIONS!!!! Just like mother [modding] Citroen did with WTCC – they turned a once proud competition if a farce, the absolute laughing stock of the Motorsport world. They helped write the rules, build a car which was head and shoulders above the competition, and then ducked out.

I’m dead serious when I say this, but [mod]Mercedes Benz. [mod] them as a team, [mod] them as a brand, [mod] them as an engine supplier. They’re poison, cancer – they should quit professional sport, just like they did back in the 50s after Le Mans.

I want to see the best drivers in extreme but equally matched cars, and the world’s most extreme race circuits. Mercedes has turned this [mod] into a joke.


When has this been different. Ferrari and Renault all negotiated and agreed to this formula. So merc designed the best solution to the hybrid era, is that their problem, of course not. If Ferrari had come up with the best solution, are we saying this would be any different? I doubt it. As for red bull complaining. The exhust blowing that Renault perfected allowed them to dominate for 4 years. Everyone else copied it but because the came up with the original idea, non of the other teams made it work as well as they did. Innovators always dominate, until the others catch up, eventually.


Merc designed the best solution because they helped design the regs to begin with. They also started working on tbeir PU well before the other teams did.


Twitch, not that old chestnut! All the teams were consulted on the regs, all the teams voted for their introduction. If Mercedes did start developing them early (and we only have Luca’s word that they did) then good luck to them, Ferrari and Renault were in the sport, and could have done the same thing.


Twitch, quite a rant! Maybe you should tell us when you think F1 was “fair, even hard nosed competition “, and I will give you some examples of it not being that at all.
It seems your hatred of the sport runs pretty deep, could it be time to stop torturing yourself?


Tim, why is the only option to turn to some musty eyed era of the past?

I like old F1, but if you really want me to get into it, it was never that good as a sport. It was always just a spectacle.

It sucks that you think things can only be as good as they once were, and that there is no hope for the future to be better than the past ever was.


Twitch, I don’t think I’m saying it can only be as goid as the past at all! What I’m saying is you started watching a sport that was not as good as you wanted it to be, continued to watch it while (according to you) it got worse, and carry on torturing yourself by watching it now! My view is the sport is better now than it was then, and I’m sure it will continue to improve in the future.


Tim, I started watching the sport as a kid, was impressed by the loud noises and fast cars.

As I’ve gotten older, and learned more about how the sport works, I get less and less impressed by certain aspects, such as the politics, lack of even competition on the racetrack, out of control budgets, over glamourization, amongst other things.

That said, I love motor racing, always have, always will. As long as the majority of the motorpsort community continues to consider F1 the pinnicle of Motorsport, I will continue to follow it, as it has relevance to the sport as a whole (the sport being racing cars).

Furthermore, as long as I see areas where I think improvements can be made, I’ll continue to speak on it.

Make no mistake though….I love racing, but have no emotion towards F1 as a brand or series. To me, it’s just that, a brand, which happens to be the most popular at the moment. I’d be lying if I said I don’t get some enjoyment from watching F1 circle the drain. It’s karma coming back from all those Bernie years of spitting on the fans and jerking off the Rolex crowd.

F1 or no F1, I could care less. If it’s here, I’ll follow it. If it goes, there’ll still be top level motorsports with top level drivers, it’ll just be called a different name.


Twitch, you clearly have more than a casual relationship with the sport, why else would you spend so much time here? The uneven playong field that has always existed in F1 is a function of it being a constructors championship, to me this is what makes F1 unique, and what keeps it at the pinnacle.
We all like different things, I get that, but sometimes I see people on here massively over reacting to trivial things and describing them as “another nail in the coffin”, I wonder why they bother watching at all.


@ twitch6, i can support that post 100%. Good one.


well said Twitch


ross brawn is fully aware of what’s going on at mercedes. he’s the gamekeeper now, do you not think he’d catch mercedes if they were poaching?


Aveli, Ross Brawn build that Mercedes team from the ground up!! And now he has to cut the head off of the beast he helped build??

Don’t be fooled by Ross’s sly smile. To quote the great 20th century poet Sean Carter – “He’s not a business man. He’s a business, man. Now watch him handle his business, damn!”


Great quote..learn something new every day!


I’m confused (not unusual), how is the oil delivered to combustion? What happens when the engine mode is turned up to actually deliver more oil to use for combustion?


Hope this is OK to post JA? Sky F1 explanation with very helpful graphics.


JDub@. That’s just what I want to know from this article. Perhaps to most it’s obvious, but to me it ain’t…


I question the engineer’s conclusions that oil is not fuel and Tachi’s assertion of an 11% gain is incorrect. Both petrol and diesel are refined from oil. Diesel typically costs more than petrol because even though it requires less refining it contains more energy from the same quantity. Ergo oil injection into a properly managed ICE would create a larger gain in power than the same amount of petrol.


This information is welcomed and hopefully there will be more in the pipeline, covering items that are commonly discussed but short on detail. I do have a couple of further questions that may be able to be answered. Firstly, how did the FIA hit on a reduction from 1.2L to .9L per 100KMS ? What was it that led them to these numbers? Every engine has a known ‘appetite’ and with four different engines how did they know what that the limits would be identical? Secondly, how is/was the ‘oil burn’ metered over time/distance? Some reports have indicated that crankcase venting was in operation either as a prime source or as an additional source. If so then how was this metered? Maybe we can get some additional info….thanks again


The FIA Scrutineers measure the oil in the tank before the race and then after it.


@ gary…yes i was well aware of that. That doesn’t answer the question though. Why was a reduction of .3L deemed to be the appropriate level for all engines irrespective of the manufacturer. If a manu says that the engine ‘needs’ a certain amount of oil to run satisfactorily how come the FIA could say that they are wrong?


@ Jeroin hit the nail on the head, and at the top of the comment list. Thank you, James for taking these issues on and adding to understanding.

As ‘kenneth’ above shares, there has to be something missing (or otherwise implied) in the article regarding exactly what “turning up” the power on these engines involves. Given a rudimentary understanding of how engines work you need to increase the volume of air (blower or turbo) and fuel (jetting or injector flow/timing) for any given combustion cycle and can also play with ignition timing and possibly RPM. From the engineer’s comments, it would seem to follow that oil “use” is pretty much a constant based on a given power setting or RPM measurement — or is it a situation where increased “oil” is indeed being introduced into the combustion mix in some way for a limited amount of time ? Which appears to be the premise of Tachi’s comments.


Im guessing from your name that Turbo is your thing..
the only real variable is RPM. The regs limit it to 15,000 but the onscreen display shows that they rarely exceed 12,000rpm.
Of course more rpm’s = more fuel … hence ‘oil as fuel’ would get around the fuel flow limit.


@ Axel….no the oil wouldn;t get past the FF limit. That is set at 100KG/HR and to exceed it is to be disqualified from the race results.


As I have said long ago the intake on the Mercedes turbo looks larger than all the rest. It may be the paint scheme being black there but it still looks larger.


So if I’m a Mercedes customer team, what’s stopping me from using “engine strat mode 3” (or whatever it is) every lap off the race, winning the first two races of the season, DNF’ing in race 3 because the engine couldn’t take it any more and then taking 65 grid place penalties for the next race. At least we would have been heros for a couple of races.


Axel. Christian Horner estimated that the higher modes are worth between two and three tenths for the top teams. This isn’t enough to get Williams ahead of Red Bull, let alone Ferrari or Mercedes.


Money. The additional cost of engines used will negate what ever money you get from the two race wins.


@ Axel Knutt The reason that doesn’t happen is because Mercedes engineers ’embedded within the teams’ control the ‘go fast’ button. Or so i am led to believe. Teams/drivers have no say in what mode can be used and when or for how long. If this is still the case and it is currently the ‘mode d’emploi’ then Mercedes actually have a big say [ control ] in what the ‘competition’, and i use the word loosely, in how they race. That is my belief but i may be well off in assuming this to be the case ATM. I stand to be corrected although i have based that around a comment made by Pat Fry when at Williams.


Teams/drivers have no say in what mode

I’m not sure that is strictly accurate – the teams can choose how and when to use the higher damage rate. What they cannot do is exceed their allowance. At least that’s how I remember it.


C63, that is correct. I remember an interview Pat Symmonds gave while still at Williams in which he referred to how aggressively Mercedes allow them to run the engine.


While you are correct each team does control the performance life of the power units they buy, Mercedes controls when you can upgrade your engine. This is important because you have to judge your performance relative to the expected development road map. E.G. Mercedes customer teams did not get the power upgrade until Singapore. That meant the customer teams had to stretch their units longer than Mercedes, plus they lost the opportunity to use the extra power at Spa and Monza. Mercedes blamed production limits, but I tend to take that with a grain of salt. I think Mercedes wanted to preserve their right to use the more liberal oil usage if it is called for later this year so they launched the units earlier than they planned.

Since we know Mercedes can run their engine for a long while (I believe in the preseason both units used covered enough mileage to equal a n entire season). The only question is can Ferrari introduce a unit that pushes the performance window enough that Mercedes is forced to change the way they run their engines. So far I see no evidence Mercedes is concerned about Ferrari power. I think they are more concerned their car is under performing at some tracks and are working very hard to mask those weaknesses until they can fix them for 2018.


That was hard but true on Honda


Complete nonsense


Kenneth, as ever you neglect to mention the Renault and Ferrari engineers embedded with their customer teams, or that this system is in place for a very good reason, that it has been in place for decades and that nobody except you sees it as any kind of problem.


I also suspect that Ferrari Mercedes and Renault jealously guard their secrets and interlectual property right. Allowing the teams they supply to pock around in their power units beyond the user manual would be ground on and with good reason. After all, what would stop McLaren staff learning the mercedes power unit secrets, and giving them to Honda when they changed power unit supplier.


Except McLaren only used Mercedes 2.4 litre V8 engines not the ‘new’ PU. It might indeed have been helpful if they had run the Mercedes PU. As it was, Honda started with a clean sheet of paper. With the benefit of hindsight, it was a tall order. This article alludes to the software management of PU’s and this would be the area I am guessing that Honda is finding difficult.


Except McLaren only used Mercedes 2.4 litre V8 engines not the ‘new’ PU.

Incorrect. In the first year of PU era McLaren used the Mercedes PU.


@Kenneth didn’t say he had a problem with it. He just was just stating his understanding of the matter.
OTOH I do have a very big problem with it… in any other sector of the corporate world, this would be seen as anti-competitive behaviour. It’s surprising that the EU hasn’t already pursued this. When Caterham tried, they were soon bankrupted into non-existence.
you can’t beat the man!


Axel…Thank you for that comment. No matter what i post, ‘The Shadow’ will always attempt to deconstruct and deride. It is his lifes job ATM…in fact it has been for a very long time. That’s all cool as his comments are as valid as anyones. I just never respond and that ‘s what gives him the needle. It’s the sound of one hand clapping hahahaha. All good fun.


Axel. Kenneth has said on numerous occasions before that he has a problem with it. Not sure why either of you do though, you will see Pirelli engineers in all the teams garages, they are the experts on the tyre, and the Merc guys are the experts on the engine.
The scenario you mention above is one reason the manufacturers have engineers in the customer team garage, if the team were in charge of the button, they might be tempted to keep their finger on it, but no way it would last an entire race distance in that mode. The higher mode is only used for one or two laps in q3, and maybe the same again in the race. You are probably looking at less than 40 laps during its life cycle, any more than that and it would be big bang time!


what’s stopping me from using “engine strat mode 3” (or whatever it is) every lap off the race, winning the first two races

Their chassis…


Um nothing unless the lubricants are different.


It’s not cheating until they do it when the rules say they can’t. It may be unfair to some but if so change the rules.


So if I’m a Mercedes customer team….

I remember an interview with Pat Symmonds back when he was at Williams and he touched on this subject. Each customer team has a manufacturers engineer overseeing the PU usage during a race weekend . i don’t know , but I would guess if they don’t do as they are told then no more PU’s. Also please remember Mercedes aren’t the only powerful manufacturer in the sport – Ferrari will be doing it as well and so would Renault if their PU was any good .


@ C63…I only used Mercedes as an example, as you well know. It’s common knowledge that Renault have their engineers embedded in other teams and i expect Ferrari do as well. mercedes are used to illuminate the issue as they are the dominant force…especially in Quali3. Regarding your comment re ‘if they don’t do as they are told’etc etc etc. Doesn’t that imply a certain level of undue control? What i would like to see is James investigate this by publishing either an original or a facsimile of a typical engine supply contract!!!! That would make interesting reading.


@kenneth – Since when has James Allen been 007? F1 contracts are confidential. Last week Channel 4 TV ran a programme about Guy Martin working for weekend with Williams at Spa. The last thing he did before leaving the team was sign a confidentiality agreement.

Last year JA published a very good article about Mercedes and their arrangements with the teams they supply. An article that you have read and moaned about. Like one of two others here, it’s time you stopped repeating yourself. No amount of complaints from you will change how F1 is run.



@ Rodger R … when i need to be advised i will let you know…until then. My comment was perfectly valid and it would be interesting if we saw some investigative journalism getting to the nub of what a typical [ if there is a typical] engine supply contract would look like. Until then it is all speculation. The article produced re Mercedes that you mentioned is totally lacking in clarity. It’s more like a vanilla press release for all the information it gave.


I’m sure James Allen will be pleased to learn that his work is being rubbished by someone who has no credentials outside of making a lot of noise on an interweb forum. James writes for us for free, he could hide behind a paywall, instead he’s chosen to continue to pass on information that we’d not find elsewhere. I suggest you think about that before making similar comments in future.


kenneth – I think the first part of your reply must have been intended for someone else. I didn’t pick you up on only mentioning Mercedes.
Also Pat Fry never worked at Williams so far as I know. Didn’t he work at Ferrari?

As for Q3 – the article already covers this. The anonymous engineer points out that slower cars use the higher modes/damage cycles in order to get through Q2. Mercedes has a generally quicker car and can therefore save their higher damage cycles for Q3.

I’m not sure about undue control – assuming the customer teams are not under any form of duress when they sign the PU lease contract then they knew what they were getting into. If they don’t like it they don’t have to sign up. It’s no different to Pirelli imposing minimum tyre pressures – this advantages some more than others. There is no doubt some teams would have liked to run lower tyre pressures than has been permitted but Pirelli say no and that’s it.


@ C63…The Pat Fry reference by me was a mistake by and should’ve been Pat Symmonds. Mea Culpa. At least i got half of it right. As for your point re Pirelli. No, the analogy is wrong. Pirelli supply the entire field and therefore it is the same for every car/team. As you are well aware there are four very different engines so what is done by way of performance control by each manu will be different in both operation and implementation. You are quite correct in saying that each team that signs the contract will know what the limitation are at that point. The fact remains..do they have any alternative? I would say that up to a point, No, as the FIA mandate how many teams can be supplied. No manu should be vested in that level of control over so many teams. IMO of course. That is why it is vital to see the intro of independent engine builders.


@kenneth – all motorsport has works teams. They have the benefit of trying new parts before a proven and tested engine is passed onto the teams pay for them. That is the accepted way that motorsport operates. Last year, Lewis Hamilton, driving a works Mercedes had several failures with his car. Failures that ultimately cost him the WDC. None of the other teams had the same failures.

I’ve written this out slowly, so you will understand.


Roger, wrong. NASCAR, BTCC, TCR, LMP2, GT3, GT4, none of those series have bespoke factory teams.

I curious…what exactly is your agenda hear? Other than calling people stupid and telling them to shut up, and defend the status quo for no apparent reason, you have contributed. nothing.

Also pretty sure James Allen doesnt meed the likes of you defending him. He seems to have thick skin (unlike you) and is fully capable of defending his writing and journalism if feels Kenneth has wrong him.


@Twitch_6 – I suggest you do more research on your alphabet soup of championships. For example GT4 is an amateur championship, BTCC certainly has factory supported teams – with another joining next year, NASCAR isn’t a sport that is moving forward, in fact it’s about 50 years behind the rest of motorsport, Why put money into LMP2 when the development is being at LMP1.

I object to you and the others because you want to stagnate motorsport or worst, take it back 20 years. You want to live in the past, comment on something else, don’t continue to repeat the same nonsense for months on end. This forum is being clogged down with rubbish posts by one or two people who are not bothering to learn a thing. I believe Mark Twain had them down to a T.

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”


object to you and the others because you want to stagnate motorsport or worst, take it back 20 years.

Genuinely interested, do you think the current engines have been good for the sport? If so how? I don’t buy the ‘F1 needs to go with the times’ and ‘efficiency’ arguments. I don’t know why this is relevant to the microscopic F1 world, which is an entertainment show.

On this forum it’s fairly clear the only ones waxing lyrical about these engines are Hamilton/Mercedes fans. If he was in Alonso’s situation for example I cannot imagine they’d be singing the same tune.


Every team has outside engineers in their teams to ensure they get the best from tyres, suspension and the like that come from outside manufacturers.


@ Tommy…that is to ensure that they get the best performance out of what they pay for. In the case of the engines, they, the team, don’t get to call the shots. A vast difference.


I seem to recall something about Pirelli engineers attached to each team now you mention it. Not sure about suspension – but I’m happy to take your word for it.


This would never work! For a start the engine builder has a big say in how their engines are run and secondlly if a team destroyed engines as you suggest it is possible that they would face a race with no available engine! They simply don’t build that many engines – as all want any available upgrade ASAP.


I don’t know about that… Maldonado, Panis, Trulli are all still dining out on one GP win. Same with Torro Rosso. 5 years since Macca’s last win… i reckon they would gladly skip a race with no engine if it meant scoring one now (Honda definitely would)


Customer teams have special agreements to only use the setting a few times during the race and qualifying. The Merc engineers are controlling that part.
The Merc team has unlimited access to the setting.


Eric. The Merc team does not have unlimited access to the setting at all, they are limited by the same damage cycle restriction as the customers, read the article! It’s worth remembering that the driver selects the engine mode on the steering wheel, if he put it in the higher mode and left it there during a race, there is nothing Mercedes could do to stop him, other than inform the team that the engine is about to explode!


if he put it in the higher mode…

IIRC didn’t Rosberg do just that at Spain a few years ago, in an attempt to get past Hamilton?


C63, yes he did. As I remember nobody said anything about it until Lewis got him back at the next race, at which point it became the worst thing any driver has ever done…..


No surprise there – Although it further demonstrates the difference in performance levels isn’t that great. Rosberg had it turned all the way up to 11 and it still wasn’t enough to get by.

Tornillo Amarillo

Mercedes are particularly good at this ‘damage’ cycle system

What about Honda?


Honda’s damage cycle flowchart….

Did we run the engine? Yes – it’s broken. No – It will be broken soon. 😬


Unfortunately Honda don’t have a damage cycle, Just constant damage.


That was fantastic. That made me laugh.


What about Honda?

in. terms of damage delivery system, they are unbeatable!


Honda’s aims at a damage cycle seem to have succeeded!


Honda only does the damage part..


What I don’t understand is how the media hasn’t made more noise out of the fact that different engines now operate under different rules. This is a major scandal in my view. We now have a system that allows Mercedes to cheat more than the others, and this in a time when everyone is fed up with the dominance.


The FIA has the authority and the precedent of changing rules mid-way through the season… the reason they can’t here is due to the problem of the ‘engines per driver’ regulation. because their lack of fore-sight in anticipating the team’s ability to find loop holes the FIA has given up their own ability to enforce the rules.
1: FIA decides to stop teams cheating
2: but can’t ban it because teams only allowed 4 engines per year and banning would mean an extra engine.
3: bright idea! – “let’s give them 4 races to introduce ‘clean’ engines”
4: Merc fits new ‘dirty’ engine at last opportunity
5: Merc has ‘unfair advantage’ over other teams = Scandal

The alternative would have been the FIA saying ‘the rules have changed to this (less oil consumption) effective immediately.. don’t like it? bad luck”

Either FIA is either a) Dumb b) needs to grow a pair OR c) is under the control of other stake-holders (yes, i am suggesting corruption… not unheard of in international sporting federations)


Acel nut, precisely incorrect. The conspiracy theory that Mercedes can run the higher limit for the rest of the seasonas they introduced their new engine before Monza is false. The unit they introduced at Spa ran the .9 limit, and will continue to do so.


Precisely correct.


That post refers to post146.


Kenneth I’m sure nobody would think you would say that any of my posts are “precisely correct”! I would say though, that in the time it took you to congratulate Axel on trotting out the Merc loophole story, you could have researched the story yourself, and found that it is far from correct.


The whole ethos of F1 is about pushing the rules to the limit, and sometimes, over it. Finding other ways of getting more bang for your buck, however small is classic F1.


It’s worth noting the article does not confirm that Mercedes allow customer teams a lower damage cycle . But, assuming they do . What about the teams supplied by Ferrari? Are you suggesting they don’t allow themselves a similar advantage? Why don’t you consider that a major scandal ?


In what way are Mercedes cheating? They have the same maximum oil burn as others teams ICE’s introduced prior to and at Spa 1.2l/100km, ICE’s introduced at or after Monza 0.9l/100km.

If they can run their engines at a higher setting for longer than other teams, then it’s up to Renault, Honda and Ferrari to catch up.

We might be having the same debate again in 2021 when whatever new engine rules come into place.


Absolutely spot on..


that mercedes lead driver says your view may be distorted so specs savers may be a useful place for you to visit but am not sure i agree with him..


Never heard of ‘specs savers.’


now you have.


Given your above mentioned spelling of the well known optical retail chain, perhaps you should pencil in a visit 😉


since i received my pen certificate, i no longer use pencils..


So the next time I’m driving down the street following a car trailing a cloud of smoke, then I know that F1 technology really is benefiting our cars.


Great example of F1 trickle down effect.


VW is clearly ready for F1.


Then add a small hick-up to the cylinder head gasket. This will allow a small and controlled water to be sipped in.
Or the well known technique of water injection may be already in use ?!?


Now that’s comedy boys and girls! Nicely don’t Vince.


Great article JA! Thanks for following up on this subject.


And thinking of limit workarounds. Red Bull never complained again about the fuel flow meters did they?


I think that’s because the FIA told everyone “don’t worry about the fuel-flow meters anymore”.


You’ve definitely dreamt that. The fuel flow rate is closely monitored and anyone exceeding the maximum permitted flow rate of 100kg/hour will immediately be excluded from the race results.


Presumably because, IIRC, they had to conform to the specified rules and FFM’s.


No? That’s a good question.


Love love love love this post. Great info!


Priceless piece of info James, that’s why I consider this site the best source of insightful material about F1!

Honestly, massive thanks for the effort to you and your network of F1 engineers 😉


Damn me but that’s a great article. Really makes this layman understand the whole oil burning issue. Thank you


…which would never happen if not for fuel limitations.

What this Oil Burning issue is all about is the fact that deep in their heart Mercedes, Ferrari and now others by default really don’t believe in these “efficient” engine regulations with these actions. If they truly did, they wouldn’t be circumventing the fuel flow limits and trying to get an advantage in that area, clearly against the spirit of the rules and more importantly the purpose of the whole shift in Formula 1.

This oil burning is Formula 1 team taking a giant whiz on the PU regs, from inside.


Seebee. Of course they would! It’s in the very DNA of F1 to use every advantage and find loopholes in the regs! Are you seriously suggesting that F1 engineers would stand back and say “well chaps, that rule is entirely fair so we’ll stick to it” . I’m sorry but it does indicate a limited understanding of the entire philosophy of F1 and why it’s exciting on so many different levels not just noise and the number of cylinders.


Time for a different tune. This one getting beyond boring.


What is your beef?

If you argue that these rules are crap like me, this oil burning proves the teams don’t believe in their purpose.

If you argue that these PU rules are awesome, as perhaps you do, this oil burning proves the teams don’t believe in their purpose by exceeding strictly set fuel flow limits and fuel usage they themselves agreed upon. They are trying to put more fuel into the system, or more dense source of energy to gain an advantage over the intended rules. You should be outraged if you support the PU formula. Honestly.


Don’t ban it. Allow teams to innovate and reap rewards. F1 is technology sport discipline.


How would that help?

Eventually there is only so much power available to be extracted from given amount of fuel and braking in a Grand Prix.

These rules are about efficiency. F1 is about going fast, a sprint. I understand that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. However, when you’re running the 100m and not the marathon, the starting point is…give it all you’ve got.

Formula 1 should be about give it all you’ve got, not about efficiency. Efficiency can be gained elsewhere, like reducing weight teams are allowed to take to races on planes and number to crew and personel who travel. Does the pits top need to be 18 or 19 people or could it be fewer and change one side at a time? That would be more entertaining too. Imagine the jet fuel saved on those measures alone! All those engineers on the wall, mechanics in garage – thin it out!


The best engines are approximately running at 50% efficiency.
You don’t think there is any advantage to making them more efficient.
100% efficient = twice the energy from the same amount of fuel. I think it just might make the cars a little faster. They would actually rev to their 15000 limit as the fuel flow would not be the barrier it is now.


And do they all need those huge motor homes? The could travel the world in a more logical manner as well saving more fuel


I agree about the logic of the calendar but the motorhomes are hospitality units. They use them to entertain sponsors etc. No money no racing…..


It should be about give it all you got, but within certain parameters- one of which is the goal of technical innovation, which necessitates efficiency. The goal of the sport should be maximum performance with the minimum usage of resources- minium use of fuel, tires, and manufactured chassis and parts. Reducing fuel usage and setting restrictions to maximize engine life are in line with this- and they should be making the move toward minimizing tire use, as well, and I would go so far as to suggest they should go back to the 2005 regulations of banning in-race tire changes, meaning that pit stops for fuel and tires would basically be banned. Who wouldn’t want to see a race in which the cars don’t have to make stops and the action is settled completely out on the track?

Another paramter should be a fixed operating budget cap. As much as many people don’t like him, Max Mosley had a lot of foresight some years ago when he suggested a hard budget cap paired with reducing technical regulations. And while the budget cap has been brought back into discussion, we haven’t heard any talk about freeing up the technical regulations. This is the best way to make F1 more competitive- set budget caps to ensure no one wins by attrition of money, while giving teams further down the grid the ability to shoot up by having the design freedom for bold innovations.

Making changes in this direction would give teams and drivers lots of variables to account for and compromises they may have to make to achieve maximum performance, while giving them the freedom of possibilities to get there and ensuring the ability of every team to compete with spending restrictions. It would shake things up massively and give F1 the boost of competitiveness and unpredictability it needs, while keeping resource usage sustainable.


With all due respect I completely disagree.

The goal of the sport should be to have noisy, balls to the wall, out and out racing, with spectacular cars and drivers. Conserving things has no place in F1, it’s using a minuscule fraction of the world’s resources, and we need to enjoy life, so concentrate on reducing the massive pollution from shipping, excessive packaging, cow farts, whatever, but leave a few clearly non PC extreme things so people can brighten their days.

When motorsport has days such as Arnoux/Villeneuve, Webber/Alonso Eau Rouge, Hakinnen/Schumacher, Mansell/Piquet, Mansell/Senna, Rossi/Stoner at Laguna Seca (look it up on Youtube non bike folks, it’s the Arnoux/Villeneuve of bike racing and the best race I’ve ever seen live), etc that’s what we love.

Restrict things that make sod all difference to the racing, but don’t conserve tyres, fuel, etc. Boring is “we need to make these tyres last another 12 laps, so back off”, “lift and coast”, “wait for the pit stops to try to under/over cut”. By all means make it as resource efficient as possible, just don’t compromise the show for it.

The cars need to be very difficult to extract the best out of – the last few years with tyre conservation especially diminished the gaps between good and great drivers.


I don’t see why all out racing wouldn’t trickle down to road cars in this manner either. If you can make an engine, tires, fuels etc… withstand the demands of all out racing, tailoring it back a bit should make its road counterpart significantly more reliable, efficient etc…


we need to enjoy life, so concentrate on reducing the massive pollution from shipping, excessive packaging, cow farts, whatever, but leave a few clearly non PC extreme things so people can brighten their days.

Fully agree.


Good post paul. Lots of people will agree.


Budget caps won’t work, because you can’t trace the spending of the “big factory teams”. If you look at Mercedes or Ferrari, you can’t draw a line between research for F1 and research for production cars, so they can shift the balance. McLaren got it’s engines for free, while Williams needed to pay. One team needs to pay its drivers, another receives money to let their driver compete,… Need I to go further?


And maybe this is another reason to impose a different engine than the current one, less “road relevant” for those engine manufacturers involved in F1 and more attractive for those outside (as Porche, Aston Martin, Cosworth, etc.) – a V8 with only the MGU-K comes to mind.


Absolutely! Off balance sheet accounting is as old as the hills…


You make good points but perhaps there is some conflicts between them.

First the parameters for efficiency is the engine formula. But what’s going on now is they layer more parameters on top of that. That’s the issue to a degree. When you could do 4 cyl turbos no one told you that it had to be at this fuel flow and only so much fuel. In essence this layering strangles F1.

Having longer use of components in name of efficiency is also not good in F1. Consider what is going on right now with engine penalties. Also, why should fans at Monza go to see failures vs. Oz fans because one grand prix is start of season and other near end?

Budget caps are absolutely a good thing and I’m all for it.

Unlimited development is not good either for cost reasons for one. But the set formula could offer development opportunities.


@Sebee – You’re going round and round in circles to the point that nothing you say makes sense.

If teams are budget capped, how can they be expected to use parts with a short life? Is there a magic parts tree?


On the subject of wasting your time – I can assure that no amount of rational explanation will have the slightest effect on Sebee!


Rodger R,

The parts don’t have to be that expensive. Consider that the V10s cost 6m per season, and you got a fresh one for each Grand Prix in 2004. Do you think that those engines got that much more expensive today?
What if more of the parts are standardized? Consider how much money is spent by each team solving basically the same problem. Now consider how hard it is to come to unique advantageous solutions, and how quickly they are copied or people who have invented them move to other teams to sell that knowledge. One exception now being this PU perhaps, because so much of it is out of sight and software related and very complex and automated.

I see your note above. Why do you think that discussion here is pointless?

You know, I spend a decent amount of energy here putting points forward so that people consider the needed solution, the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. Do you think this is pointless to do? Do you think same eyes read these pages only?

I don’t recall having many, if any exchanges with you for example. Why do you feel the need to shut down a discussion, not to engage in a back and forth to see the strengths and weaknesses of suggestions?

You seem to think that all of my suggestions are flawed, and I’m talking out of my ass. I believe that I have seen enough and I’m yearning to see the drivers get a starring role in Formula 1 again. I want a more fair grid. Stronger teams. Chance for teams to succeed. I want to be entertained. I want automation to be gone. I want to know, without shadow of a doubt that the guy at the end of the year standing with the big trophy, earned it. Not had his engineers earn it for him with some trick or rule bending loophole. Do you disagree that this is what we should all want? Or are we going to put some technological agenda ahead of that?


Sebee, all of Rodger’s comments over the last two days can be summerized as “you’re an idiot, shut up.” Not just you he’s having a go at.

It’s one of the great mysteries of life to me, why people go to a discussion forum just to tell others to shut up.


Sebee, if you want your V10 to rev to 20,000 and produce 1000bhp, then yes, the parts do have to be expensive.


@ Sebee…an extremely good rant and i fully support your comments. Don’t let them shut you down. F1 has been emasculated and we are now seeing the post operative effects.


That’s a good one. NASCAR uses half the size and hydraulic jacks with more than one bolt. Indy Cars well they just have to wait for fuel.

Most of this stuff is unfair tho because if a guy gets a big lead and there is a late caution the guy in the lead usually doesn’t win.

I always thought qualifying and pit stops were much better in F1. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.


20 people to change 4 tires.

Sky sometimes bring up to 11 broadcast team members (plus everyone behind the camera) to an event…majority of whom spend all of 10 minutes on screen over a weekend.

Efficiency indeed o.0. No wonder Imola’s paddock is “too small”.


@Twitch_6 – do you believe those 20 people have nothing else to do all weekend?


Of course not. They have to set up the hospitality suite, take down the hospitality suite. They have to move around the wet tires which can’t be used in the wet as well.

What exactly are you defending here roger? That it’s a good thing that F1 teams spend an exhorbitant amount of money on their excessive amount so of personal?

You think it’s a good thing that Imola is now “too small” for F1?


I saw a behind the scenes programme on Sky a while back and you will be pleased to know that Sky HAVE reduced the number of personnel brought to each race quite considerably over recent years. Apparently they (Sky UK, Italia etc) each used to have their own production facilities in the pits. They now share one.


We can agree that the primary goal of this wasn’t efficiency but rather cost savings for Sky…perhaps after they paid significantly for the F1 rights and aren’t necessarily seeing ROI on that?

Now that one I can agree on TimW by the way! When you get more efficient, you do save money. And in Formula 1 there is plenty of inefficiency and plenty of ways to eliminate it, and therefore save money…for teams. And I’m quite certain, it would actually improve the end result and create more competition.