Engine

Engine Parity is something of a black art to be honest. Last year saw the engine freeze open temporarily for Renault who hadn’t made any “reliability modifications” to their engine during the year as they thought the letter of the law was being followed. After discovering that other teams had made these “reliability modifications” and were beating Renault’s brains out did they realize that maybe it had more to do with the spirit of the law.

This year has been a dominant year for the Mercedes engines who supply McLaren, Brawn and Force India. This has prompted a question of un-freezing the engines or taking a close look at the power curves and performance factors of the lump to ensure parity. Stefano Domenicali said:

“For sure this is something that we are discussing in the engine working group,” he said.

“With all respect we understand that we have seen a great performance from the Mercedes engine, but as always before giving the final sentence on that, we need to see the numbers and the power curve and everything connected to that.

“It is a point that is on the table to discuss between the teams.”

Without a spec design, there is real no way to have the same engine. Ross Brawn figures anyone without the strongest lump on the grid will complain of a lack of parity:

“I think it’s inevitable that whoever’s got the strongest engine will have people saying that [engines should be equalised],” he said. “It’s just impossible to have absolute parity on the engines.”

That stand to reason as other teams are outclassed in the horse power and torque world so is this engine freeze another leftover vestige of the Max Mosley FIA attempt to “reduce costs” which have actually increased costs? Should we not get rid of the engine freeze altogether or do you like the quasi spec rule? Let us know your thoughts on the issue below.

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Alabama_Tifosi
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Alabama_Tifosi

Unfreeze them! I mean come on, we all know that nobody has really been following this. Bring back the battle of the engines! It will be good for sport, and will make it an even bigger contest between engine suppliers to have the best AND most reliable.

SR
Guest
SR

Of course un-freeze the engines…this is F1. Fans want to know that their team makes the best race car with the best engine. There are plenty of ways to restrict engine development, or at least focus it in socially acceptable/beneficial ways, without this bogus freeze. F1 shouldn’t be putting restrictions on output or performance, it should put rules in place that allow performance to exist and grow as long as its in lockstep with some other progress, like electric power or fuel efficiency. I know that some of us believe that F1 technology is irrelevant to road cars, but I… Read more »

4kBeast
Guest
4kBeast

Excellent points, SR. With competition comes innovation. Some engine technology DOES make it’s way down to road cars, and without a freeze on engines new technologies will be developed that will make vehicles for the masses more efficient. We all know that gasoline engines are largely innefficient, and that means there is a LOT of room for improvment. That is part of what makes F1 interesting … it is an engineering excersize where the best ideas and strongest teams make for a winning combination. I mean, come on – they’ve developed lifters that are nothin more than high-pressure air. I’d… Read more »

Xorpheous
Guest
Xorpheous

The argument against unfreezing the engines that you’ll hear is the increase in costs that are associated with engine development. However, aren’t the manufacturers already spending huge amounts of cash on “reliability” upgrades? I’m all for opening the engine specs. Not just unfreezing development, but allowing for the re-introduction of various engine configurations. How cool would it be to hear a V10 on the grid again?

SR
Guest
SR

“How cool would it be to hear a V10 on the grid again?”

I’d love it…lets do it.

4kBeast
Guest
4kBeast

My thoughts are open it up so that you aren’t just locked into a V8 … you build what is fastest or what you believe to be the best motor. You’d see some teams with lightweight turbo V8’s with higher revs, turbo V10’s with differnt balance properties, and maybe even some advanced V12’s … can you imagine seeing a V8 next to a V12 on the grid? What a day that would be!

4kBeast
Guest
4kBeast

If we had to come up with a compromise within an engine freeze, why not just cap the horsepower to around 900hp? It would be much like what is going on with the WRC … teams could develop engines with wider usable torque bands and utilize higher revs, all within a limited a realistic cap that would limit top speeds, accounting for the safety side of speed. When combined with aero limitations, it would make teams innovate and find other ways to make up 1/10ths of a second (better fuel mileage means less fuel and a lower race weight since… Read more »

ubergreg
Guest
ubergreg

Before I launch: man, do I miss that V10 wail… Right: different engine configs would be awesome for the first year or two until, under whatever technical restrictions are in place, an ‘optimum solution’ is found and all the teams eventually adopt it, at which point we’re back to everyone having the same engine config. So we get two years of fun, but all the teams are massively out-of-pocket and we’re back to where we started. I like this idea of a much lower budget ceiling, as it means the really big boys can’t go throwing money at everything, thereby… Read more »

4kBeast
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4kBeast

Do they make launch control for forum posts? Man – I need to go get a drink before I sit down to read this. One comment on KERS – I love the technology, but I don’t like it used as a defensive element. If they could use it constantly or had pre-programmed places on the track to use it I wouldn’t mind it as much. I see everyone’s point that it really has hurt passing. Especially since the aero has been modified to try to allow for closer racing. If that is the goal, then KERS really is a bad… Read more »

SR
Guest
SR

KERS is only used for pass blocking of cars that don’t have KERS. I like the idea that the cars with the technical edge (i.e. KERS) can find a way to defeat the rivals without it. Let us not forget that the ultimate passing defense is to out qualify the guy and never be behind him. Seems to me the cars that are being blocked now spent their KERS money on a fancy double diffuser…well maybe they should have spent some time on their own KERS system… Just a thought. The idea is that the cars should be different, every… Read more »

4kbeast
Guest
4kbeast

Great points you have there, SR. I guess the implementation of this new technology just really sucks. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to now have the budget to invest in KERS under the current rule structure. Reduced costs what? If you are going to “raise the bar” or redefine the structure of technology in racing in a major way, you allow testing. But I digress. If one team has KERS, not all of the other teams in contention need to have KERS. I think it is necessary to allow the teams to save money (yes it would save… Read more »

ish
Guest
ish

The problem with the current reg’s is that the engine designs are neither frozen nor free. (They’re kind of slushy I guess).

Engine designs are frozen except for loopholes based around reliability etc. The FIA should either freeze them entirely or leave the manufacturers free to develop within the rules. I’d prefer the second option.

4kbeast
Guest
4kbeast

Note to self: Have team driver’s blow both engines in Practice so that we can make the argument that we need to improve the reliability of our engine for the last few races. Oh wait, BMW is probably already in the midst of doing that. What a great idea for a strong close…

SR
Guest
SR

That’s brilliant…I never saw it that way but that would be the way to go wouldn’t it…?

BMW to the FIA: “Suddenly our slow engines are starting to go ka-blamo, we’re not sure why but we need to look into the reliability.” “OK, we found the problem, we were using the wrong material to line the cylinder walls, we need to start using this fancy new exotic liquid alloy in order to protect the engine internals…we’ll get right on that thanks”

hydrogenvodka
Guest
hydrogenvodka

I believe they should have restrictions on displacement, compression, materials and others, but never a “freeze”, which is as Brawn says,impossible. Actually the clarity and strictness of the rules is more important than the rules themselves. The point is that they must be clear and consistent with all the players of the game.

SJ Skid
Member
SJ Skid

Folks, I have nothing to add but this: What a great discussion. This is F1B at its finest, getting into technical nitty gritty, doing it so congenially and a reference to drinking. Perfecto. Well, maybe I can add this: I think there have to be some loose guidelines that, as mentioned above, make it possible for there to be a level playing field between the “haves” and “have nots.” But I’d love to see different ideas of “what’s best” battle each other. Then again, I’d also worry we’d be back to having cars that are minutes slower than the front-runners.… Read more »

4kbeast
Guest
4kbeast

Drinking? Did I miss a note from NC referencing SPA ’98? Dangit! We need a phrase that you can make someone else listening to the podcast drink. Anyone seen Three Sheets?

I guess reading your points makes me think that there may be some merit to putting a cash cap on teams. The motor specs unlocked, aero unlocked, testing unlocked. As the world market gets better in ’10, I think we’ll see more rumors of testing coming back for the ’11 season. Man I wish we could have both.

Benalf
Guest
Benalf

Unfreeze everything….that’s what F1 is all about; ingenuity, breakthroughs, new wild things on racecars. It is clear that even with freezing the lumps, it hard to “control” the regs. Racecars are things that evolve year after year and so must the engines be. Limiting revs, HP’s is all BS. I rather prefer to ban refuelling and see who can go faster with the least fuel load. Un freeze any kind of KERS system and you’ll see the engineers coming up with ways to win races following simple rules and regs. The sport of racing is about moving forward, not stopping… Read more »

4kbeast
Guest
4kbeast

Meant to reply under this heading, read next post below by me, Benalf. Oops.

4kbeast
Guest
4kbeast

I wonder how the team cost to performance obtained ratio is when comparing NASCAR to F1 (Gob-loads of money spent in both series, and at some point you do have to get back to basics and focus on the racing – racing is quite simply a business for advertising. Closer races = more interest. Isn’t that what we were supposed to have etched into our memories about F1?).

SR
Guest
SR

NASCAR and F1 could not be any more different. They are two completely different series. Two completely different concepts in racing. One is designed to be a completely spec series (every car is “the car of tomorrow”, the other is designed to be the absolute pinnacle of motorsport with constructors building their interpretation of what a race car should be within the sporting regs. Racing is about advertising, you’re right, but in order for the advertising to be effective, the racing needs to be worth watching in the eyes of the fans. All the money spent by the teams and… Read more »

4kBeast
Guest
4kBeast

I was purely looking at finding a way to measure just how much more performance is obtained in Formula 1 than in another series which consume a lot of money.

I agree the series needs to be worth watching, note I am not proposing a spec series, though.

SR
Guest
SR

I’m ragging on you, I just don’t know how an F1 fan would even consider converting it to a spec series. There are a ton of “spec series” to watch…almost every other racing series is “spec” for the most part. This is/should be the one true anti-spec series…I say anything but spec should be the law in F1. Just my .02

SR
Guest
SR

I’m NOT…I’m NOT ragging on you… I hate that there is no “edit” option with these posts. There should be a 5 min window for editing posts…

royce amatique
Guest
royce amatique

If the following and overtaking are compromised by the disturbance from the wings etc of the car in front, why make rules which prevent better use of underbody aerodynamics. That has to be one of the easiest ways to improve overtaking.

Another thing I don’t understand, why are teams allowed to develop flexible aero surfaces which deform under load; it would be an awsome innovation.