An interesting directive from the FIA came out this week regarding the parity amongst customer engines. There has long been speculation that the engines supplied to customer teams such as Force India, Williams, Haas F1, Sauber, Red Bull etc, are the same engine the works teams use but there were modes that were not accessible for qualifying and other cases.
We’ve asked on the podcast if the engine mapping, software and engine modes were all the same and that always seemed to be a grey area when queried. Most press reports Iv’e read have speculated the same but stopped short of confirming it.
The FIA must also have the impression that this could be the case and they have moved to clamp down on any potential. Let’s be honest, it is difficult enough to double your engine supply costs and get a hybrid power unit from Mercedes or Ferrari but to have the engine maker bake in a limitation via modes that ensure you won’t be able to run their product the way they do is really not fair. The FIA said:
“is to ensure that all power units supplied by one manufacturer are identical in all respects, we have good reason to believe that this may not be the case.
“Whilst the dossiers for each team may be identical it would appear that some are being operated in a different way to others being supplied by the same manufacturer.
“It is therefore our view that all power units supplied by one manufacturer should be identical, not only in terms of the dossier for each team being the same, but we also feel they should be operated in an identical way.
“With this in mind, we will expect all power units supplied by the same manufacturer to be:
“i) Identical according to the dossier for each team.
“and, unless a team informs us that they have declined any of the following, they should be:
“ii) Run with identical software and must be capable of being operated in precisely the same way.
“iii) Run with identical specifications of oil and fuel.”
As Autosport points out, the fuel exception is there as some teams may not use the same fuel supplier as the works team.
I’m glad the FIA are addressing this because I believe Williams and Force India should be able to run the engine at the same level as Mercedes. If they couldn’t before, they will never be a threat to Mercedes or Ferrari for that matter.
Hat Tip: Autosport