Power play: Ferrari F1 engine builder to start work at Mercedes soon
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Feb 2018   |  6:51 am GMT  |  117 comments

Lorenzo Sassi, who was fired by Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne last summer, will start work soon at Mercedes.

He will be following in the footsteps of chassis designer Aldo Costa, who was chucked out of Maranello, but has enjoyed great success since with the three pointed star.

Sassi was held responsible for an engine development that went wrong last year, a mighty push that was intended to put Ferrari at least level with Mercedes for the second part of the season. It didn’t materialise and Ferrari weren’t able to capitalise on a strong start to the season as Mercedes struggled at some venues with the chassis and tyre combination.

They also hit reliability problems at key stages of the season.

After an enforced period of gardening leave, Sassi will join the team under Andy Cowell at Brixworth. As a long time Ferrari man it will add to Mercedes’ understanding of Ferrari’s technical capacities and new culture under Marchionne and technical chief Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari will no doubt build this year on a wonderful chassis, while Mercedes will hope to have made their 2018 car less of a ‘diva’.

Unless one of them has found a ‘silver bullet’ these factors may well prove to cancel each other out.

So it will be very interesting this season to see how the battle between Ferrari and Mercedes shapes up with regards to the engines. Mercedes has dominated for the past four seasons, but the game this year is to make engines last for seven Grands Prix.

This means having peak power for qualifying modes and in short bursts of the Grand Prix, but also having a regime where reliability is protected at all costs with a minimal compromise on performance.

Ferrari raised its game on qualifying modes to score some important pole positions last season, something that had been missing from its game for some time as Mercedes was able to turn up the dial for the final runs in qualifying.

This qualifying boost was encouraging for the competition and it will be the key to Ferrari’s chances in the 2018 season, as little else is changing on chassis regulations, while Pirelli has a similar range of tyres with one step softer for street circuits.

Oil burning, whereby additives that are not allowed in fuel, were introduced to the combustion process via the engine oil, has now been outlawed by the FIA regulations. There will no doubt be new battlegrounds opening up in the search for the incremental gain in competitive edge.

The new cars will start to be rolled out in the next week and then the testing will start and we will begin to get a picture of

Photos: LAT, Piola

What do you think will happen in 2018? Leave your comments below

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Perhaps if Ferrari didn’t keep firing good people just to satisfy their need to have a scapegoat they wouldn’t have to keep fighting to the rules bent in their favour in order to be competitive.


does anyone receive email reminders for responses to their posts?


You can tell it’s half term.


Ferrari have a much healthier attitude to F1 than most. Key people let go who then go to other teams with ideas. Contrast that with Mercedes who just add more of the good people to thier already vast operation starving the other teams of talent.

Makes for a poor show in the long run.


its time the FIA made F1 an open formula with no secrets on the cars. the smaller teams could copy anything they wanted to and the big budget teams would not be so keen to spend millions so others could copy


so long as it is a competition, every team will try to gain an advantage, nor matter what the rules are.


Might as well have go-karts then or watch NASCAR.


Good idea! There definitely needs to be some / many ways for the smaller teams to compete properly!


I haven’t read such a naive comment in a long time.

You spend billions on winning, and you expect a team to help the opposition? Bizzare. PS – Santa doesn’t exist.


Lol… I haven’t read such an honest reply to a naive comment in a long long time.


Interesting perspective. Mercedes also allegedly have “unfairly” long gardening leaves for their staff, to dissuade other teams from hiring them.


how long is a fair gardening leave?


The Mercedes Racing Team has lost people under normal or even shortened leave agreements with other F1 teams.

The difficult people to recruit are the Mercedes engine team members and that is because the engine crews are more a part of the AMG division not the Mercedes F1 Racing Team. In fact the Mercedes HPP system was when Mercedes was supplying engines to McLaren. That also means they may be covered by different a professional set of contracts. In addition AMG can counter other teams offers because AMG money is not dependent on formula one but are part of Daimler/Mercedes car business – AMG gets a significant resources as part of Daimler/Mercedes R&D in addition to revenues from the sales of Mercedes AMG cars. Most people proactively leave their jobs for more money or better opportunities. In many cases AMG has been in a position to match any offer thrown at its key technical members.


Its never a single man show, not even for Newey. Its slightly insulting to the other team members, when people like Elon musk, Steve jobs takes ‘ALL’ of credit for Accomplishments that involve thousands of design decisions, and hundreds of thousands of man hours.



And same goes for drivers of course, they are nothing without 100s+ hard work to get them to the start and finish line – and we have seen some pretty average drivers win WDC because of amazing engineerying.

But still some fans seem to think their fav driver designs their cars as well as driving it…..


some are better at it than others and we watch to identify them.


some drivers are not only better at driving but also better at leading their design and development engineers to design and develope a better product for them to do battle with.

that’s why we watch f1. if that wasn’t the case, no one would watch f1.


By some fans you mean aveli.


True, but, there is in any innovation lead setup a lead figure. Others in the group coalesce around that character who sets the tempo for the others to follow. Its is also true sugesting its only one man can be seen as devaluing the contribution of other. Do we get to hear of the other aero people working with adrian newey, not very often, unless they decide to move on. This fire them attitude that has always been at Ferrari is never helpful, as there is always the fear that if you get it wrong or on the wrong side of the boss you could be for the chop. Mercedes have been the beneficiaries of this silly attitute. You would think they have learned after the aldo costa debacle, but they don’t. That Ferrari for you.


As the saying goes, “you win a race as slowly as you can.” I think this is what Merc have been doing for the last three years.

One has to wonder if Ferrari’s reliability melt down in 2017 was not related to race speed / PU preservation balance and if this pressure didn’t pervade through the team. I seem to remember that Merc had the confidence to largely run their engines in sequence where as Ferrari rotated, which may have been a case of Merc knew their engines would last for 5 races and Ferrari weren’t sure.

Lorenzo Sassi’s presence at Merc may at least add that little bit more information as to where the outside of the envelope is for Ferrari and thus tell Merc how far they can go.

May be a season of two halves again, with late season reliability being the key.


“…hope to have made their car less of a diva.”

Now, for the driver…


@lkfe. Please ..Valtteri may have his ways but definately not a diva.


Ha! i was waiting for it…:)


Bottas certainly has his moments – you never know which version is going to turn up. 🙂


My sense is Mr.Sassi was given a Sergio “promotion” – meaning you go to another arm of the FIAT group or you simply just go. Once you taste F1 your not going back to anything so Mr. Sassi said no and Sergio said good bye.

Merc will pick his brain to see what he really knows and find him a cozy place to exist and contribute.

Ferrari knew his limitations and when your the head of any department you rarely do anything other than manage. Perhaps that’s where Mr. Sassi fell short.

Who knows for sure but one thing is certain, Sergio is very good at playing chess.

What will happen in 2018 ? Ferrari will lead the season.


What if …

Ferrarri found a good sollution in the 3D printed steel alloy cilinder heads … but as we know, the news they were workin on that leaked … so we all know. So what if Sergio sent this guy off to a mission where he works for Merc and tries to stop them from taking that same route for as long as he can convince them it is a crap solution ? How would anyone know what kind of cilinders Ferrarri is using ?

Isn’t F1 dirty like this ? Would be a good con, no ?


well that’s the way you run a serious outfit and it surely does match the grey matter of Sergio but its too much James Bond for some.

I think its too good. Back to the world of Crofty and his grid kids my friend.


Wow. I could not have down played that dismissal any better. Do you suppose Mercedes would have been so quick to employ him because he is a face to know. He will have technical, and especially engine knowledge that may come in handy in the years to come.


Anyone that hired Paddy Lowe and did not fire Lewis Hamilton is not all there so anything is possible with Merc.


Ferrari this month reported 2017 net profit of 537 million euros ($669 million), up from 400 million euros the previous year. Shipments last year rose by 5 percent to 8,398 vehicles, while net revenues increased 10 percent to 3.4 billion euros.

For the same year, Daimler AG’s net profit rose 24 percent to a record 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion), helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and the new version of its E-Class luxury sedan. Revenue rose 6 percent to 94.7 billion euros

How was Ferrari able to dominate F1 in the 1st half of 2000?

The answer: the three pointed star was not there as a team.


Methusalem. That theory only works if we know that Mercedes spent more than Ferrari last year, but we don’t know that.


These kind of figures to explain Mercedes’ dominance are flawed – if F1 performance was a simple proxy of car manufacturer size then Honda, Toyota and BMW would have crushed Ferrari while they were in F1.


James Allison also came from Ferrari (after fallout/being let go) except for he was a much bigger head. One can find a long list of people moving over between various teams.

Do no see anything wrong with musical chairs and Merc would have done necessary due diligence on their hires.

Ferrari must be confident their talent pool is deep enough.

Frankly—If any one NEEDS engine talent it is HONDA.


You are wrong about James Allison. The reason he left Italy and returned to the UK to work was entirely understandable because it was occasioned by the absolutely tragic sudden death of his wife and the need to spend more time with his children.


Yup, I can just see how the Honda interview went: “we see you have the talent Sassi San, but do you have what’s needed?”

“Eeeer a pair offff….?”

“Yes Sassi San a pair of slit eyes. Where are they Sassi san?”


Hardly a kingpin move for Merc – but none the less a guy worth having around to share any Ferrari PU secrets.

Even though Ferrari lunched a threat to Merc in the end they were not in the hunt – Ferrari were pushing the PU to the point of repeatably breaking to get near Merc – they were on their tippy toes trying to have a swing at Merc.


Yippee I didn’t need to type my name or edress for the first time in years. Thanks team JA.

There’s no way of knowing exactly why this guy was sacked anymore than why James Allison was. Discretion in F1 is equally as important as your technical input.

Let’s not forget, sacked or not, this guy was part of the engine team at Ferrari F1. Oh to be there in the first place please.

Good people treated badly and then turned by the “enemy” are a true asset.

Vengeance is sweet.


That’s assuming he’s good.


Ferrari‘s style putting blame on someoneks head and firing capable people is really detrimental for their own sake. The dominant Mercedes PU is basically work of some of the ex-Ferrari guys. Just imagine where Ferrari might have been if they had been a little accommodating. You win as a team and loose as a team.

I remember and appreciate Toto’s angry replay to Ted after Baku race when he was asked about the headrest incident. He firmly rejected the possibility of blaming the person responsible, which was quite straight forward to find out, and said it’s not Mercedes style of working. Ferrari needs to take a leaf out of their book.

This attitude has already lost them the opportunity to get services of Adrian Newey in the past. They are creating/ have created an environment which makes new great talent to join them difficult and they are always on back foot.


It still impresses me that having spent all that money on engine update, when they didn’t work quite as well as planned Marchionne immediattely had the person most familiar with them fired. I wonder how far that set the rest of the engine department back and how many conversations went “How does X interact with Y?”

“Don’t know, Lorenzo did it,”

“….Che Palle,”

I bet it was a lot.


It also beggars belief that (in JA’s words) they had issues with tyre/chassis combinations in the 2nd half of the season…..

….so they fired the engine guy!

How very Italian…


Linking a rumour/belief to an unrelated event and treating the two as cause and effect.

How very British, one might say…



And getting the wrong end of the stick, but not checking before flapping their gums 🙂

How very Australian…


No Mercedes had tyre and chassis problems. IN second half the season Ferrari had engine related issues.


At least it was refreshing to see James Allen in this article clarifying the matter of last year’s racing: ” Mercedes has dominated for the past four seasons.”
As some posters are still of the opinion that the racing for the championship was close last year.


Cyber, I think saying they “dominated for the past 4 seasons,” is a general comment. It was close, last year, for a long time. It could have gone either way. But, there were things on both sides that swung the balance heavily in Mercedes favour. Spa was a key race.


Cyber. If you had read the whole article you would know that James’ dominant quote related to the engine, not the whole car. You would also have seen quotes like “Ferrari will no doubt build this year on a wonderful chassis, while Mercedes will hope to have made their 2018 car less of a diva” and “Mercedes struggled at some venues with the chassis and tyre combination”. Vettel lead the championship for the first 12 rounds, how does this show Mercedes domination? It’s true that Merc had the better car over the season, but this didn’t become apparent until the end of the year,and it’s also true that Seb dropped a large number of points through driving and psychological errors.


Ferrari will finish on top, Marchionne will se to that a brilliant business mind & administrator they should have wrapt the 2017 both WDC & WCC if it was not for Vettel blunders & quality control of components, failures is the mould to success ,people in the know say Ferrari with the superb chassis & engine equal if not better 2018 is there for them to loose.


by the way, vettel is a superb driver


Plot twist: This is a Ferarri deep-cover sabotage mission.


Exactly!! I knew that Aldo Costa wasn’t to be trusted. Winning championship after championship, all in the name of Italia. Forza!


That exactly what i was thinking


I’d love it if you could get a technical person to explain the architecture of that engine James. The airbox into the tubo looks really different, though maybe that’s just my lack of knowledge.


I don’t know much about Sassi and the depth of his role/contribution. But have followed F1 long enough to know about Costa and what he brought. That firing really bit them, very stupid. This doesn’t appear to be much smarter. We will see.


Aldo was responsible for ferrari’s last championship winning cars. But the Italian way is scapegoating. They’ve been regretting that decision ever since and don’t appear to be learning. Now merc has Mike Elliot who with James Allison build the 2012-2013 lotus – a tire whisperer chassis. I’d be very very worried about what mercedes will produce for 2018.


May the best engineering group win !

Background on the new comment format would be appreciated. The old format wouldn’t accept anything last night ? ? ?

Thank you.


Mercedes is just going from strength to strenght in every department

If that merc has a rake, game over before the season even starts ……


It’s not as simple as you think it is. Mercedes will probably go for higher rake and smaller wheelbase this year. This has its own trade offs.

It will add to cars drag i.e. reduced straight line speed and reduced downforce in high speed corners, both were highlights of their car last year. This new concept is completely different from their low rake concept for last 4 years. They will have less data to work with, design completely new aero and drivers will have to adjust to newer balance of the car. They are giving up their high speed track advantage to be competitive in low and medium speed tracks. It will be a surprise if they managed to hit the ground running in Australia.


Omg, Rake does not equal performance. It’s aero philosophy dependent.


Toto did say after the season ended there’d be looking at a raked W09 for 2018. So assuming they will , they’ll be looking at loosing few centimetres from the long wheel base.

Tornillo Amarillo

2018 is about a reliability game…

Example, Red Bull and McLaren could not compete with Ferrari and Merc in order to keep the engines safe and take advantage of any opportunity if one of the engines of the frontrunner cars fails.



Why would you employ somewhere got the sack for developing a dud engine? Especially when your engine was far superior to the one that he designed?

Only reason i can think of is to stop him going elsewhere, like Renault, Aston, Cosworth etc


ahh! auto correct! should be “Someone who got the sack”


“Sassi was held responsible for an engine development that went wrong last year, a mighty push that was intended to put Ferrari at least level with Mercedes for the second part of the season. It didn’t materialise and Ferrari weren’t able to capitalise on a strong start to the season as Mercedes struggled at some venues with the chassis and tyre combination.” I have said all along that this was the case for Sassi’s getting booted. It was obvious that he over promised and under-delivered. Gook luck with that Mercedes.


Aldo costa might have words for you.


Speaking of oil burning,

how about a 2-cycle engine option for F1?

Need some creative thinking and innovation.


Mercedes will have the best engine and they’ll have a solid engine.

Ferrari have had problems with their quality control on engine production. So they need to have a German mind set to improve mishaps. Toto stated that they haven’t turn the engine on full blast and there is more to come from the engine. Though both teams realise that they have only 3 engines all season. So blasting it on full beans mode maybe problematic. As durability is the key now. Short bursts of power and then engine management will be the state of play this coming season.

All teams will end up with silly penalties as it’s always going to be the case that a forth or even fifth engine is required through a long season of racing.

So Mercedes get another Ferrari man. Though it all equals out. They got Hamilton’s old race engineer Jock Clear.

The main contention is Renault and their ex FIA man. No gardening and straight into a role at Renault. That is a FIA Inside Man in a Race Team. Whats fair about that. Though Red Bull McLaren will probably benefit from his role at Renault.


This Season will be interesting as the 3 engine rule and oil burning control will held the qualifying difference low and that is the spice which was missing. I am looking forward to a dog fight between 4 of them. I hope Renault wont disappoint us this time. it will be fascinating to watch 4 driver fighting for the pole.


I think Mercedes are almost maxed out on the power front, therefore leaving Ferrari with the larger scope for potential gains which will probably see them about even on power.

This leaves the chassis for development, where wheel base selection may become the largest difference between taming a Diva, & not burning rear tyres in the really quick stuff.

This is where both Ferrari & Mercedes need to beware of Red Bull, as they ran less wing for most of last year to cover the (65 h.p.?) Renault engine deficit.

After Gardening Leave, Lorenzo Sassi’s input may take 18 months to come to fruition, so I see this year being another Red verses Silver contest being very upset by a hungry Daniel & Max in faster than last year Red Bulls.

Bring it on.


@ Mick….’Mercedes are almost maxed out’!!!! And where did that little gem come from? If you believe that then obviously you haven’t been paying attention to what Andy Cowell has been saying.


You lot have been saying that for the past how many years. Merc will always find gains with reliability or higher power modes for longer.

Merc and ferrari are within 10 horsepower and renault another 20 – 30 hp behind.


The article cut off at the end there. Are you trying a new layout? The comments appear differently, and there are only Reply buttons after an initial post. The Reply also just takes you to the bottom to comment.


Yeah right?! It’s been like that for about a day now.


Nice fear culture at Ferrari.

Fail and you will be fired…to go and succeed elsewhere.


Twas ever thus at Marenello – well before and after Brawn anyway!


“…but the game this year is to make engines last for seven Grands Prix.

This means having peak power for qualifying modes and in short bursts of the Grand Prix, but also having a regime where reliability is protected at all costs with a minimal compromise on performance.”

Perhaps should read…

“…but the game this year is to make engines last for seven Grands Prix.

This means having peak power for qualifying modes and in short bursts of the Grand Prix, but also having another thing limit the maximum performance of Formula 1 cars in Grand Prix, ensuring drivers drive to yet another limit along with fuel flow, fuel amount, and tire wear to name but a few.

Consequences of not doing so will result in artificial penalties, which will punish fans, especially those who pay big bucks to attend races in second half of the season only to see their drivers demoted to the back of the grid for trivial reasons.”


Sebee, what era of formula 1 have you seen where the drivers weren’t managing various car parameters? Outside of qualifying, drivers rarely drive on the limit. Car management has always been a integral part of motor racing. It would be wise to remember that.

Your fascination for v10’s is admirable but even then they cycled engine mode for longevity or power. Get a grip man!


Oblah, I understand. But it was way less management.

The point is simple. We continue to move the game toward more management, more of these restrictive aspects that no one wants to watch for. Do you not see this? Do you not see the balance moving away from the sprint and push toward this management crap? And can’t you see it’s not the driver doing the management? It’s the software? It’s the engine modes? I mean…they are being told when to shift…the shift lights are programmed to give them indication of when to shift for the particular engine mode program.

How can you claim that the V10 era was even comparable to this? They could have a fresh engine each Grand Prix, and all the fuel they wanted. Not having this limitation is right at the top of the list of features to allow drivers to push.

I’m watching 1000m speed skating right now. How about we go to the skaters and tell them they can only use 105 calories in the sprint race and then see how much they can push in that sprint race?

F1 V10 used to be an action movie. It didn’t care if Bruce Willis drops a chair with a monitor and C4 down an elevator shaft and blow up the building. Now suddenly it apparently cares about how much noise Bruce Willis makes in the action movie. How many bullets he uses. About saving bullets for the next action movie Bruce Willis stars in. It’s ridiculous.


You’re absolutely right Oblah, but you’re wasting your time – various posters have made similar observations to your good self and it’s just water off Sebees back.


[quote]. . . make engines last for seven Grands Prix . . .[/quote]

The deciding factor.


a slight dig at vettel.

“i ‘m in this sport, yes to win, but to win by being the best, not getting lucky or whatever. if i win a title i want to know that i was the best guy that year. to be the best you have to go against the best and i’ve certainly got a very good one alongside me in max.


He continues…I want to teammate with lewis. Alluding to lewis being the best.


i thought everyone knew that?


I think he took dig at both Seb and Lewis. Seb progressed through RedBull junior ranks and got the seat on merit. He thinks that Seb got lucky, I don’t know what Seb had done not to deserve that seat or who deserved it more than Seb that year. Lewis transfered from higher placed McLaren to a lower ranked and underperforming Mercedes. He was actually questioned for his decision which at that time looked pretty stupid. But I guess, he must have seen Mercedes’ new engine progress and he was assured of their commitment. So it was calculated decision.

RIC is a great driver, but taking dig at WDCs and calling them lucky is frankly sore grapes. If he doesn’t get WDC winning car and couldn’t win WDC, he will be remembered only as a journeyman. Lewis actually put him in his place last year by reminding him that he has to first defeat his teammate (Max) next year before challenging him.

If he wins WDC in future, I don’t think he will give a **** who was the best driver that year. It’s just desperate talk nothing more.


Very succinct. While lovable, Daniel has display traits of pettiness and jealousy. He is a good driver but deep down knows he doesn’t possess that “it” factor lewis/Alonso and now max has. Given the right car, he’ll get the job done a la Jenson, kimi or various single champions. But to be great, to be generational…he simply doesn’t possess the necessary talent.

The greats do the unexpected with high frequency. They wow you with their tenacity and ruthlesss optimism. Daniel is solid by all accords and can get the job done, but he’s no max, he’s no lewis, he’s no Alonso and he knows this.


ricciardo suggests vetted won by getting lucky.


Or, in other words…


Well, perhaps it’s a blessing that Sassi got the boot because the team need less Italian personnel in top positions as the team performs best with a diverse workforce

As for the Ferrari engine upgrade in 2017, I reckon, this points to the fact the team still struggle due to the ban on unlimited testing

Now, with Mercedes acquiring a new top technical employee, I would say that perhaps Wolff is just as good as Brawn at man management more so after the team found a solution to the diva car in 2017.

On the topic of engine qualifying modes, Ferrari will be working flat out to produce more juice for their engine however, we saw in 2017 that the ban on oil banning affected the team more

Likewise, the team will be counting on Vettel to get more mental strength as he lost the team a couple of pole positions in 2017 when he chickened out on the brakes

Overall, what I expect in 2018 is a much more competitive seasons as the rules will remain stable which means the teams will just copy from each other


With the new regulations are there any legs in accepting you will have an engine penalty or two, and so therefore going all out on the other races to win, accepting you’ll only pick up a few points at most on a couple of races?

It seems with the overall performance of the Merc and Ferrari, they can pretty much guarantee points from anywhere on the grid. Especially so if they have more performance than the rest of the field!?


Absolutely! I’m sure all the teams are passively planning for this, and some will be actively planning for it.


Renault and Honda missed a trick here. Mercedes on the front foot and looking to strengthen their position.


Well Honda didn’t… what could a gaejin possibly teach them!?


What a great site this is. The team all do a great job in keeping us all ticking over with great articles that contain as much info as is available, so thank you James and Co.
This appointment will of course make a small difference to Mercedes and that’s what F1 is all about.


If Lorenzo Sassi has spent his whole career working for Ferrari, he’s in for a culture shock.

I notice you’ve finally binned the Star Points for posters. A good start, now to set a quota for posts in a thread.


A ‘quota for posts in a thread’. That would be interesting and hard for some to comply with. Sometimes it’s very easy to believe that you have blundered into a chat room by mistake. However, no other site I visit has an issue with this and it only seems to apply to perhaps a handful of posters on JA at the most so the answer might be simpler and more elegant.


ARGH !!!!!!!!!!

They’re back.


Come on Jonno, one day even you will be a 5-star general ! ;o)


Good thing too – Aside from my own reasons for liking the stars, that temporary whatever-it-was (trial? bug?) looked terrible and completely impersonal.


May the best engineering group prevail !


I expect it to be closer between the top two, and that Red Bull and McLaren can get amongst it too.


I agree Tim, but only for the first 3rd of a season at which point Renault will be on to engine no.4 and that will be the end of that…


Lkfe, we’ll see, deprnds if Regie puts his hand a bit deeper into his pantalons pocket…


Seven races per engine with the current immature engine technology. Good luck with that. I highly doubt that there will be team that will survive the season without engine penalties.


Toto Wolf said that they could have ran 3 engines in 2017 if they had to with no problem.


Or by boring us spitless with ‘sandbagging’ and tactics to spare the engine during qualifying. And then slowing down during the race to preserve the engine. Not my definition of racing. Boring season ahead methinks.


I just had a thought on this…

The PUs will be designed to last no less than, and crucially, no more than 7 races.

How’s that different than “the good old days” when engines were designed to last no more than one race?

We had far more engine failures back in the day, so ultimately. The price paid for unreliability back then was higher than it is now.

I think the 7-race rule creates intrigue… those are the rules and they’re there to be gamed if you want to… some teams aim for 4 engines and take a mulligan at the least damaging circuit.


Just for comparison I think tbat back in tbe day Tyrell had a pool of Cosworth DFVs. They used them for two races then hired them to an other team who did one more race and then they went back for a rebuild. I think tbat Stewart once said thay they had one engine tbat however it was rebuilt always seemed to be a bit better than and that he always preferred it but they had no idea why it was better.


Hang on, weren’t Pirelli told to make tyres that could be pushed closer to flat out for entire stints? Isn’t that now going to be almost completely negated by having the engines turned down for long stints during the race??

This is sounding like a less attractive season the more I think about it. Cars not racing to their full potential to save engines and fuel, ugly coat hanger stuck on the cockpit, continual issues with DRS and KERs making things artificial, race time shifted to now take up the entire of Sunday afternoon…..

Honestly, what’s here in terms of changes that’s positive for the fans? Those 2018 Indycars are looking rather nice, even with the windshield that F1 couldn’t manage to get working…..


What a complex issue it all really is. IIRC the reduction in engine numbers was primarily supposed to be a cost saving issue. Now from what i’ve heard the additional costs associated with parts that needed redesign to ‘beef’ them up plus all the other associated costs in test time, that this exercise will increase costs to the manufacturer and ultimately the customers. So what exactly is the point? Take renault as an example. Their engine was sub par when it came to output and then look at the number of engine related issues that beset Red Bull. That ruined any chance to compete with Ferrari for second in the the WCC. and any chance that Ricciardo had to challenge for third in the WDC. So Renault will not only be faced with raising there power output but also their reliability!!! Recent history would indicate ‘ fat chance’.


I think Abiteoul has already said they are concentrating on reliability for the first part of the season. Who knows if they can succeed, but with two strong customer teams and themselves maybe they have more incentives this year to succeed. Last year the works team was never going to win anything even if they had a Mercedes level engine so no real incentive to do anything other than development work and testing on the engine.


Wouldn’t it be ironic if the first engine failure of the season was not a Renault, Ferrari or Honda!


My big prediction for this year (nothing to do with the above story) is that McLaren will be battling for third in the constructors. Could even clinch it.


i’ll be watching.


I find that unlikely. McLaren face a transition year to a new (3rd rate, customer) engine supplier and have a lead driver that is distracted by his own self-promoting ambitions elsewhere. That leaves Stoffel and the chassis / aero guys with a lot of ground to make up.

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Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

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