A very interesting article by the fine folks at Autosport about STR’s victory highlighting an inequality between engines amongst the teams.Several weeks ago, we mentioned Flavio’s concern over Ferrari and Mercedes engine development program that has improved their engines even though there is a “engine freeze” in the ruling for new and future development. It has been suggested that these developments have been for reliability and cost saving measures and the FIA has approved the changes. This article would support that theory.
Specifically Renault, and conversely through supplier relations Red Bull Racing(RBR), appears to be at the heart of this issue as they took the engine freeze literally and have not developed their engine this season. They feel this has left them 30bhp down from their rivals. Flavio says he has met with Max and that a resolution should be forthcoming. Christian Horner, RBR team principle, says he certainly doesn’t want one engine for the entire field but the additional development has cost Renault dearly and they are suffering from it. This as their junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, has now taken the lead in the world constructors points over RBR.
One question may be, if Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW made changes to their engines with approval from the FIA, then I am not sure I can fault them as all parties felt the changes were legitimate to the well-being of the engine or better cost measures. Renault certainly had that opportunity but having said that, I feel for Renault who were trying to play by what they thought was very clear rules. If the FIA did not alert Renault that the other teams were making engine changes, I am not sure how Renault would have known it was appropriate to do so.
A tangled web that seems to have been turned up an notch with STR’s win at Monza. Interestingly the article states that Fernando Alono’s willingness to remain at Renault could be tied to this lack of performance and just may cost Renault a two-time champion at the wheel. Those are high stakes indeed.