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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Exactly these types of posts is why I come back to this site on a daily basis. Thank you James and team!


With all this talk of Oil Burning,
maybe Jaguar of Old may be induced to re-enter F1?


Jeroen spot on...exactly the reason why I'm here every day.

On the subject of insight, James, can you please, explain how exactly is the CFD and wind tunnel time limitation policed.
Who is there to see if team XY, is or isn't running their computers or wind tunnel during the night, or at any given time of the day? How anyone can know if the third party company is running CFD somewhere else for them (team XY), while they are locked down?
While on the subject of policing, there are many other limitations imposed to the teams. How are they policed?
How FIA is planning to police the proposed budget cap?
I guess this could be a topic for one of the next articles, especially once the season ends.
Thanks in advance and keep up the great work.


I completely agree, James deserves credit for being able to provide a unique and insightful site.


@James Is the following line correct, or have you left out a "not" somewhere as well as an opening paratheses?
"It is certainly 11 per cent power as your man has calculated)."
The way I read the preceding text gives me the impression that the gain is not 11%.


Even if it's 0.1% it's worth trying. All the little things add up so try everything. The more people that you have the more things can and probably are tried.


"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."
So that explains why Mercedes has experienced most if not all of their PU failures in the works team and not customers. Is it a valid perception James?


What about the oil also being an octane enhancer? Or even with clever chemistry combining with the fuel at high temperatures in the pre ignition chamber to enhance pre burn or reduce knock. I think the engineer is being a bit disingenuous treating the oil as a low octane fuel.


Oil will reduce octane but if it is injected at the right time octane doesn't matter.


Additives in petrol are controlled but not in the oil. Hence the oil could carry octane enhancers like MTBE


So these new engines being forced in because they are relavent to production cars is a bit of a lie. Oh no sorry I did have a Ford cortina that needed to stop every 100 miles so that I could top up the oil.


No , you had worn Piston Rings in that Ford Cortina Engine and it was Burning the Oil differently ,lol ! Haha !


Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Ford's rings.


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

They say they don't, don't they? At least, that's what I gathered from the article below: that the ‘phase document’ is the same for all customers.

Speculation: Do customer teams have worse cooling, vibration or other conditions (CVOC) that accelerate the damage? Is the ‘phase document’ parametric with CVOC as parameters? How much are the safe operating limits influenced by the damage metrics they monitor?

Source and key quotes:

What are customer teams allowed to do with their engines and the software that runs them? Is it one size fits all?
Mercedes: We use the same software and hardware for all teams – including the works outfit. How the engine is operated is governed by something called the ‘phase document’ which regulates how hard each specification of engine can be run.

How do the customer teams run their engines each weekend? Is everything handled by embedded HPP engineers in the customer team?
Mercedes: How the engine is run is defined by what we call the phase document. This dictates how many laps can be done in each engine mode and defines the safe operating limits. These are then fluid according to the damage metrics we monitor throughout each race weekend.


@ DB...interesting post, insofar as it it begs more questions!! Are all 'phase docs' the same ? Who checks the supplier teams 'phase docs' to see if they are the same ? and many more. We've all seen the effect that occurs when Mercedes turn up the wick, especially in Q3. Do all other 'customer teams' get the same level of additional boost in Q3? If so then i haven't noticed it on a parallel level. That's not to say it hasn't happened.


If the customer teams didn't get the same phase docs as the manufacturers then the customers would know. They have all sorts of clever people monitoring what goes on with the competition and if they smelled something fishy they would say.

As for the Q3 difference - the anonymous engineer covered this - he said slower teams/cars are using the higher modes to get through Q2 and the quicker cars save it all for Q3. It's right there in the article.

I know you want to try and find something dodgy going on and I understand your motivation, I really do. But don't worry, I'm sure Danny Ric will find a more competitive seat soon 🙂


@ C63...I thought by now you'd have learnt that, most of the time, nothing is as it seems in F1 and that youldn't always believe what you read. As for your throwaway, well what would i expect but then hopefully it does pan out.


You've created a perfect world for yourself kenneth. If anyone (by anyone I mean an engineer who actually knows what they are talking about as opposed to a biased fan looking for conspiracy theories) says something that doesn't fit with your idea of what is going on - you simply reject it as being part of the conspiracy you have invented. Sometimes things are just as they seem. Given all the turnover between teams ,and also people leaving the sport, it does seem slightly odd that no one has complained about the inequity of the PU supplied to the customer teams - assuming it's as widespread as you claim.
My last line wasn't a throwaway at all - it's my genuine belief as to why you are currently dissatisfied. If Danny gets a seat in either Ferrari or Merc (especially Merc) will you continue your crusade against the unfairness of it all? Serious question - will you still moan about all their resources etc? It will be interesting to see.


@ C63...you really are an objectionable fellow at times. Now that you're getting personal let me state clearly and concisely in terms that even you may understand. Engineers are creative people, they design and build things and they also ask questions as to why, how and when..then they analyse and provide solutions. Once an engineer always an engineer. That's the difference [ i presume ] between you and i. I welcomed the 'engineers'report as is obvious by my posts but i also made it clear that there are a lot of unknowns which were not made clear in the 'engineers' post. people talk about 'modes' as if they fully understand what they actually are. Now i don't know what a 'mode' is as there is no detail. Is it fuel supply, pressure,timing, boost etc etc.? Your attempt to denigrate my posts are becoming tiresome and i suggest that if you don't have anything to contribute simply bypass anything that i do post and move on. I don't usually subscribe to conspiracies and i certainly haven't said so here on this topic either. You really do need to take stock. James has said, and i fully believe him, that customer teams never win races. Now you need to go and argue the toss with him. Will you? Not a chance. It matters little who DR drives for so long as he can get a competitive drive. As for moaning about their [manus ] resources you have a major problem with interpretation. I simply state that they exercise a hegemony that controls who is competitive and who isn't purely based on engine supply. Until we see first class independent engine builders nothing is going to change, that, or either other manufacturers that can be competitive and provide an alternative engine. With that i suggest that you just 'suck it up' and move on. Your obsessions are simply getting worse.


The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.


There we have it, all of the teams know about 'burning oil'. No engine gains a massive advantage either in the race or qualifying. Mercedes make the most robust engine that produces the most power, they'd be at the top with or without oil burning.

Time to move on, there's nothing to see.


Rodger R1 Star2 Star3 Star
There we have it, all of the teams know about 'burning oil'. No engine gains a massive advantage either in the race or qualifying. Mercedes make the most robust engine that produces the most power, they'd be at the top with or without oil burning.
Time to move on, there's nothing to see.

Yep, that sums it!


Maybe...maybe not.


And the Merc engine is able to consume 1,2L and other brands only 0,9L
And there you have it...


....And all other Mercedes customer teams that didn't get the new engine prior to Monza.


Nope. Simply wrong. All engines introduced prior to Monza can burn 1.2 - regardless of which badge they carry.


Merc said at Monza their engines were already at the 0.9L spec, while Ferrari etc were still at the 1.2L spec


Aezy doc, all engines are now running the 0.9 limit. Mercedes introduced their new engine at Spa, which was designed to run 0.9, and so ran the lower limit a race earlier than everyone else. The fact that they won the race anyway tells us that oul burning isn't that much of a big deal.


Excellent post, James; kudos!


Very nice article indeed !
And as I understand, this oil issue may have two sides :
- additional power by actually burning the oil as fuel. This is obviously limited in duration ...
- or sending additives to the cylinders to improve combustion, efficiency or else.

In both cases, provided the engine can withstand the additional power demand.

But this may not be the whole story. By reading between the lines of various articles, I have come up to the conclusion that the pre-chamber combustion devices have become so efficient in the top teams that the full fuel flow (100 kg/hr) and associated power can only be used scarcely (but at any chosen time during the race).

This analysis would be supported by the fact that fuel consumption quickly ceased to be an issue in 2014 and never was this year despite the increased demand.

So getting additional power by burning oil or sending additives to the engine would come on top of that and is therefore probably used with much caution. Having a good understanding of the engine aging would then be a advantage. And as indicated in the article, Mercedes engineers seem to be be very good at it !


I'm surprised that none of the teams have tried using an 'air additive'. Increasing the level of oxygen in the air drawn into engines would give more efficient burning of fuel and more power. Oxygen could be fed from a cylinder. It would be particularly useful at tracks like Mexico where the air is thin.
Of course, putting a cylinder of oxygen in cars would add another safety hazard. Perhaps the FIA has banned the idea already?


@Newst - what might you think a turbocharger does?


A turbo forces ambient air into the engine. Ambient air contains 21% oxygen. I was speculating what would happen if that percentage of oxygen were increased.


The compounded turbocompressor easily allows to change the intake air pressure for such purpose.
And I guess oxygen injection is not allowed, as per rule 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."

There could also be some specific combustion issues with pure oxygen.


There's a lot more than combustion issues. An engine uses several times more oxygen than fuel. Engines would have to be strengthened to cope with a extra power produced. All for what, a higher speed that would have to be limited to ensure the cars would be safe on track.


good point, @pierre
I think the fuel capacity was increased for this year too, due to the cars being heavier and wider (greater Cd) ... anyone confirm this or did i imagine it??


Indeed. The cars can now start the race with 105 kg of fuel in their tanks, instead of 100 kg before. But the maximum allowed fuel flow has not changed (still 100 kg/hr) which is logical since the PU's are the same and even have to last longer.


You didn't imagine it, they increased the amount of fuel permitted to 105kg (up 5kg) for 2017.


Back in the day when you got 1 engine per race or more they all burned a lot because of less friction between the piston rings and the block. Too much and you have too much blow by tho.


Oil burning spits in the face of these PU regulations. Spirit and purpose. Does it not?

And it seems it is the team that pushed for the regs that started us down slick path, right?


i agree. i have a terrible, nagging feeling that this oil-burning business is what's behind the Mercedes dominance of recent years. and now, there's an ALLOWABLE amount! how does stuff like this happen? i'm sure i'm not the only one who would say - there should be NO oil-burning!


You can't escape oil burning. Your street legal car also burn oil to some extend. Otherwise there would be no need to top it up.


Never have to top up my oil in my 16,000km intervals.


I agree. I would go further and mandate that only normal commercially sold oil should be used. We want road relevance in F1 sp they can use what we use! No exotic concoctions cooked up with Toto's chemistry set!


there should be NO oil-burning!

Not possible I'm afraid rory. An internal combustion engine will always consume a certain amount of oil during operation - that's why the oil level needs checking every so often in a road car. The FIA understand this - hence the limit in order to control any abuse.
As for your terrible nagging feeling - read the article again. The anonymous engineer clearly states it is not the be all and end all:
"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".
Now hopefully you can relax armed, as you are, with this new found knowledge 🙂


thanks C63!


@C63 - have you ever felt you're wasting your time?


lol - like trying to herd cats 🙂


@Piere"or sending additives to the cylinders to improve combustion, efficiency or else."

Iirc fuel burning additives are banned from oil already. The only additives you are allowed are those plausibly for legitimate lubrication purposes. [ Although doubtless there are different legitimate combinations that would aid or hurt use as a fuel!]


Nope, oil additives are not banned. Oil remains 'unspecified' unlike fuel which has a specification. Not only that, but fuel must be approved, and oil is not currently subject to approval. That being said, since the oil burn started becoming more discussed this year, the FIA did add a new reg that teams must submit a sample, but again, they still don't have a list of approved limits and chemical breakdown like fuel.

My guess is that they are requiring samples of the oil so they can figure out what exactly the teams are putting in the oil. After they understand that, I would imagine we will see a regulation specifying oil composition.


@ Dale D....Mercedes are using their own brand of special 'snake oil'.


Mercedes are using their own brand of special 'snake oil

You think Ferrari is buying theirs at Supercheap?


Oil technology is improving all the time. Fixing the oil make up would benefit no one. Other than a few Luddites who were upset when R40 was replaced.


You're so much more intellegent me advanced than everyone Rodge👌


Any kind of oil is fuel especially the thin stuff in a high rpm engine.


From reading various articles I believe that the oil burning is mostly about getting these additives into the engine cycle and using them as a catalyst to boost performance with the same fuel flow, it's more to do with burning these additives that they can't put in the fuel than burning the oil. To do this they actually create a controlled "hiccup" in one of the pistons which allows a small amount of the oil in. The more I researched this the more I discovered how much the way the engine works is perfected by software and it also went a long way to explaining why Honda have struggled to recreate their dyno testing in the real world (software doesn't match closely enough).

Really great idea for an article James.


Is the oil introduced into the combustion chamber just by (exceptionaly well controlled) piston ring blow-by or is actually being injected in, through a separate injection system?


Spot on! Whether we’re talking oil burning or octane enhancers, this is one of the key points.


@ Axel knutt that's exactly what i would like to know as well. People talk about modes etc etc etc but the actual physical methodology has not been stated. I do not know how any 'controlled blow by' could be engineered to precisely set limits.


@Kenneth - how about writing to Mercedes and asking for full details of their engines. I'm sure Tonto will be more than happy to oblige.


@ Rodger R.....not your strongest point! Comedy, that is.


Exactly my question - how do they do it?
Surely ring blow-by cannot be switched off/on to give a boost at specific times.


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.


Seriously though....F1 keeps comparing to other sports for logic. Why not a set team roster? You're allowed 30 "players" at a Grand Prix - Total! You bring 3 marketing people? Now down 27. Pick carefully.


I actually really like that idea Sebee! Maybe certain rounds, like round 1, the fInal round, Monaco, you could allow for an expanded roster. But for most of the flyaways, there's no reason there can't be a cap on the number of people a team brings to the weekend.

And with Sky, I'm not saying this so people lose their jobs, it do we really need 11 talking heads per GP weekend?


@Twitch_6 - what's with the Sky nonsense? They don't race a car, neither do the BBC or any other media who attend F1.


They take up space in paddocks which are now considered too small.

Do try to keep up Rog


Absolute rubbish. Sky had to ask Ross Brawn for a room to charge up their camera batteries this year.


@Twitch_6 - there is a limit on team numbers at races, and there has been for some time. Perhaps you were still at school when the rule was bought in.


I was aware. Did it occur to you that perhaps that number could/should be adjusted? Or is making adjustments as things evolve not a concept you learned in school?


Sebee, efficiency is performance. An efficient engine will use less fuel, and produce more power than a less efficient engine.


not necessarily... my Mklll Cortina 4.1 litre auto was very inefficient, but it sure as hell out performed a Prius.


out performed a Prius.

Not by that much though. When you consider the relative displacement of the two engines the Cortina was barely any quicker. Something you might find mildly interesting - Mrs C63 has a 1.4 Polo and that would comfortably outperform your old Cortina and it returns something like twice the mpg.


Axel, and if it had a more efficient engine, it would outperform the Prius by a larger margin.


Flatulent rice pudding outperforms a Prius! 🤣 I’m sure that your Cortina sounds great, makes you warm inside when you drive it, and couldn’t hold a candle to 1.not a lot highly turbocharged shopper off the lights.

My heart bleeds for old school noise, muscle and grunt, but it has no place in modern F1 racing for so many good and bad reasons...


Your 4.1 Cortina Axel? That sounds like something from Frankenstien's lab!


Flawed logic.

If this was so, Top Fuel Funny Car wouldn't be settings standing 1/4 mile records at 3.654s and 329MPH with unlimited fuel flow.

Efficiency is efficiency.
Performance is performance.

You will always take away from one to gain the other.


Sebee. Efficiency refers to the amount of energy extracted from a given amount of fuel. If an engine is extracting more energy from the fuel, then it is generating more power per kg, and it doesn't need to use as much.
Your dragster example is clearly it relevant as that sport has different demands to F1. A 1/4 mile car can carry as much fuel as it likes, but even in unrestricted fuel flow eras of F1 where refuelling was allowed, the weight of the fuel was a serious consideration for the teams.


@TimW - I'm convinced Sebee is trolling. The nonsense he's coming out with gets worse by the day.


What do you mean Rodger?

I'm very clear here with my points.

If you do what TimW says, you are aiming at a efficiency of a particular configuration under specific limitations.

As some Formula 1 teams have proven and as is discussed in this very article, exceeding those limitations with some extra oil being burned delivers more performance. They are trading efficiency, in this case efficiency of emissions and level of pollution for performance.

I'm quite clear. Give anything to these F1 engineers and they will find more performance, as long as they are not constrained within strict boundaries. And if they are constrained within strict boundaries to achieve highest performance from given parameters, they will reach a point of diminishing returns, and eventually no more gains to be achieved. Then what? Then we've reached the end point of parity across the field, simply some will arrive there later than others due to resources.

Why not just realize that, achieve it in the first place and deliver fair competition where the driver makes the difference?


Sebee, yet again you are misunderstanding the meaning of the word efficiency. In this context it refers to the amount of energy extracted from a given amount of fuel. If oil is being burned as well, this is in addition to the fuel being burned, and therefore has no bearing on the efficiency figures quoted, as they only refer to the energy extracted from the petrol. Got it now?


it's Formula 1 - the car are made to fit a formula, which is currently a V6. Not amount of you going blue in the face will change that. Stop repeating the same nonsense time and time again. Your 20 posts a day are all saying the same thing, over and over again.


So then don't read his stuff, genius.


Correct. Ultimate performance is not linked to 'efficiency'. The only time they are linked is by 'categorisation'. eg economy runs.


Kenneth you are confusing efficiency with fuel economy.


@TimW - He's just confused.


To be fair to kenneth he is fairly consistent on one point; Mercedes are the villains. It's just a question of looking hard enough and the evidence is sure to be uncovered. Oh and he doesn't much care for Lewis Hamilton either - although he will insist he is neutral on that point 🙂


@ C63...there's a saying that is appropriate to your latest dig..."There's no show without Punch' .Enjoy. I do however think that there's enough evidence to warrant looking askance at many of the things that Mercedes do. Enjoy Sepang where your man will thoroughly dominate!!!


Does that make you Judy then?


Predictable....no cigar. Must try harder.


I knew you'd say that...you always do 🙂


"Formula 1 should be about give it all you've got," well that's interesting.. but your idea does nog count for some drivers i noticed. They are not permitted to give all they got.
But even so.. it's not true. Even cornering is a question of efficiency in using the speed, apex, tires etc.. tot the best result. Fot that most of the time, way of, the "giving all you got" mode.
Driving a F1 car is balancing speed against natures boundaries and looking for the most efficient way to conquer them.


It should be about what human behind the wheel can conquer them best. And any efficiency should be based on skill and ability and controlled fully by the driver. THEN it would be impressive.

I don't mean to belittle equipment, but the equipment should be designed to let human driver excel, not to achieve parity among driver abilities and skill level by automating it all.


Yes, Schumi went within tenths of pole all race long, fuel weight corrected, to 4 stop the 2004 French Grand Prix in the dry.

That's give it all you've got.

Not this 5s slower than pole crap for fastest in-race lap time we have now.


Sebee. 2004 French Gp pole position 1m13.69, Fastest lap 1m15.37.


@TimW - there were 4 pit stops to refuel. If refuelling was allowed again - teams would require at least another 6 team members for a pit stop. Didn't I just read Sebee telling us that teams need to reduce the number of staff at a race.
I shouldn't need to point out that now the cars carry 105kg of fuel at the start of the race, not 30kg as before.

Shooting wotsits in a dodah innit.


Rodger, yep without refuelling Michael's fastest lap would probably have been another "few tenths" slower than his pole time. His F/L was set on lap 32 out of 70, Schumacher was quick, but he wasn't quick enough to get that close to quali times with over half a race distance of fuel onboard!


There you go again Tim - clouding the issue with facts. tut tut.....


And is that 1m15.37 still the lap record there till this day?


Sebee, yes it is, although the circuit was only used another four times after that. Still don't see how nearlybtwo seconds counts as "within tenths" though....


fuel weight corrected

I believe this was included in what Sebee said 🙂


NickH, does Sebee fuel correct the fastest laps set by PU cars? What method does he use to fuel correct these lap times? The point of course is Sebee is keen to promote the idea of all races being run flat out back in 'the good old days' and is happy to use correction factors in pursuit of this, but never extends the same courtesy to modern F1 machinery, and will not allow any suggestion that any races are run at a similarly hot pace today.


What method does he use to fuel correct these lap times?

Speaking of 'fuel corrected lap times' I remember it being a big topic of discussion on the commentary back in the 2000 era, what with fuel having greater importance in qualifying and strategy. I wouldn't be surprised if someone did the maths for Schumacher's 4 stop race back then given the greater emphasis and analysis on refuelling / time cost per lap of fuel.

Obviously nowadays it isn't a factor so it's never brought up. So yeah it's impossible to compare both eras in that respect. Only emotionally.


Not really Nick. Even today when drivers are low on fuel end of the Grand Prix and they dive in for some fresh softest rubber they can't approach the pole times.

Look at the lap times this year, basically averaged out you get 4s gap between pole on Saturday and any fastest time on Sunday. That's over the entire 2017 so far.

Now, let's go to 2004. Nearly all fastest laps are within 1s of pole. There are also like 8 fastest laps that are identical to pole, and 4 or 5 that are slightly faster than pole thanks to track conditions improving and drivers pulling out another tenth or two over pole for fastest lap. And that's with absolutely dry conditions both quali and race.

Point being, it's nice to have a Saturday special, but when those Saturday pole times are replicated in the Grand Prix, then we have a confirmation that one lap or 60, the boys are pushing hard. That is an absolute impossibility with PU cars. Why?

Let's remember that at the beginning of PU races times can be 10s above pole. That must feel outright pedestrian in a Formula 1 car, when you know this thing can go 10s faster.


NickH, maybe someone did do the maths back then, not Sebee though, he doesn't like maths.
Comparing eras emotionally is a dangerous business, rose tinted specs are easily applied, but difficult to remove....


I know what you mean but it's impossible to compare eras where there are such huge differences in regulations, tyres etc. Most will just pick the one they enjoyed more.


NickH, I don't see why F1 hast to be chopped up and categorised into different eras. I started watching in the early eighties, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of it. To me the sport is fundamentally the same now as it was then, and I watch and enjoy it for the same reasons.


I completely agree with your sentiments here Tim. I started watching around the same time as you and I've enjoyed it every year since - some more than others, but I've always enjoyed it. I just don't get all this moan moan moan from some. Why don't they just do something else if it's so bad? It's bizarre!


How are those V10 records doing so far this year, with all that extra oil being burned now? Still standing?


Sebee, no doubt they are doing just fine, why do you ask? I wonder how much faster a modern F1 car would go if it had traction control? What do you think Sebee...


Sebee1 Star2 Star3 Star4 Star5 Star
How are those V10 records doing so far this year, with all that extra oil being burned now? Still standing?

They are beginning to tumble. Even when PUs use a fraction of the fuel and a fraction of number of engines a year.


How much money are those fuel savings and engine savings....saving?


You constantly fail to realise that when F1 engine gets more efficient, the road cars follows. Soon enough, most street cars will be hybrids using high efficient engines as generators. The savings are not only restricted to the sport.


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.


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 😉


Love love love love this post. Great info!


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.


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


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.


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..

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..


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.


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.


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.


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...


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!


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....


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...


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.