F1 teams lobby for equal engines (Poll)

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Renault want engine performance to be equalised in F1 in 2009
Renault want engine performance to be equalised in F1 in 2009

Honda and Renault are leading the push for F1 engines to have equal power outputs in 2009.

Renault?s Flavio Briatore is said to have demanded the equalisation because Renault, unlike many other teams, did not get around the ??engine freeze? rules to enhance its power output in 2008.

Should the FIA equalise engine power in 2009? How could it be done?

Coming only a few weeks after the Formula One Teams Association argued strongly and successfully against standard engines , it seems strange that some of those teams now wants the FIA to make all engine power outputs the same.

It seems like a very complicated proposal to me. The characteristics of an engine are not simply defined by its power output – torque and the nature of the power delivery (is it smooth and progressive or does it all come in one big lump) also play an important role. Would these have to be equalised too?

Would it even be technically possible for the FIA to monitor the different variables and ensure the teams don’t make further performance tweaks to their engines? Presumably it would have to be done by the standard ECU introduced this year.

The attraction of equalising engine power is that it would help keep the racing close. But is equalising engine performance an artificial device that contradicts the ethos of Formula 1?

Do you think the FIA should try to equalise the power of teams’ engines in 2009? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should F1 teams get equal engines in 2009? (Poll)

  • Don't know (4%)
  • No (80%)
  • Yes (16%)

Total Voters: 497

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2009 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “F1 teams lobby for equal engines (Poll)”

  1. What is Flavio looking at? Reduce all the constructor advantages of the other teams and try to have a sort of equal machines in the field (not by his team’s improvement, and by depreciating the other machines) and try to win the championship with Alonso?

    Come on Flavio, make a fair play. Try to equal other machines (McLaren and Ferrari) on the field technically, and not like this.

    Of course, you can’t make a competitive machine right from the season start for 2009 but to retain Alonso you must give him a competitive car somehow and you’re doing it (but int he wrong way). As someone said earlier in this blog, you’re trying to make the constructor championship points meaningless!!! Bravo!

  2. Max, please stop spoiling the sport. If you just need the driver’s race, try to watch GP2 or some other spec series. For god’s sake leave F1, you’re becoming the best example for the worst rule-maker of the sport.

  3. Have clear limits on chassis , aero etc. , but let the teams do the rest in terms of engines and gearboxes – just limit the rev’s and specify the number of races engines and gearboxes must do – that will limit costs as well. But to try to put specific constraints on engine power or have one engine supplier will take away a lot of the sports uniqueness.

  4. I support Flavio and Ross Brawn on this issue. My argument is simple, what did the ‘Engine freeze’ mean? It was done for the teams to stop developing thier engine to cut costs (coz engine development took a huge chunk of money out of the F1 teams).

    It was a valid clause to allow unreliable parts of the engine to be worked upon… that made sure that if someone had made a major mistake at the engine freeze they wouldnt have to suffer for the next few years.

    Now if teams bent the rule to take advantage and continuously improve the performance, that was sneaky but counter productive to the whole cost cutting issue.

    I would personally prefer if there was no engine freeze in the first place but if you are going to put down a rule then make sure nobody gets an advantage.

    Im not sure if standard engines are possible (I actually hope that does not happen) but I would like it to atleast make more stringent checks to stop teams from taking advantage.

  5. The freeze was introduced at a time when the engines were all at about the same level, but that’s no longer the case. Therefore, either the engines should be equalised or the freeze should be lifted (or you provide the teams with a specification for an engine that they buy or build themselves…).

  6. FOTA stand together under Ferrari and Toyota and unanimously declare they are against any levelling of engine performance, apart from Renault and Honda. This is what I predicted when I first heard of FOTA – the teams just don’t agree enough on anything to be seen as an ‘Association’.
    Interestingly, neither Honda or Renault did any engine development last year, concentrating on 2009/2010 and KERS. Does this mean they have already scaled down their development departments? So they no longer have the people around to make continous changes in a season?
    This might be the beginning of the end for these Manufacturers in F1, if they can no longer keep up with the spending power of the other teams…….

  7. The FIA cant equalise engine power but im sure they will try tho for 2009…..
    I still find it hard to believe there are 5,000 individual parts to an F1 engine so theres allways room for some bright spark to gain an advantage for his team.
    November 28th will be an interesting day when the 2010 tendors are announced or FOTA announce they will break away and refuse the FIA’s ‘rulings’
    I believe 2009 will be an important year for F1 and hopefully the ‘push to pass’ button (kers)and new aero changes will be a success and then the teams can get over any problems about 2010 whether they have the ‘same’ engines or not.

  8. Rather than engine freezes, or limiting horsepower, how about limiting the amount of fuel that is allowed be used by each car in the race, thereby forcing the different team’s engineers to look at ways of maintaining performance, whilst using less fuel.

  9. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
    11th November 2008, 9:27

    I fully disagree with this policy. I like F1 because it’s the maximum when we think about materials research, technical development, aerodynamic science, fluids, simulation, CAD, and on and on and on….. The only limit teams know, respect, and obbey is called MONEY. They will spend till the last cent of their budget if they can. When they run out of money, well, that’s their limit. If you want fair play, then a maximum amount of money to spend will be fair, clear and easy to understand. Rest of this story is just to steal a piece of F1’s soul, IMO.

  10. just found some more info on engines….

    2400cc engine with 8 cylinders in a 90° V bank, each one with 2 inlet and 2 outlet valves. An engine must weigh at least 95kg, mainly limited to be built with Aluminium alloys (with ceramics, metal matrix and magnesium alloys forbidden). Variable geometry intake and output systems forbidden.
    750 hp at 19000+ rpm

    2400cc engine with 8 cylinders in a 90° V bank. Regulations identical to those set since 2006. Engines are homologated by the FIA and development is freezed for 10 years. Therefore, because of a WMSC decision on 7 December 2007, no engine other than those available at 31 March 2008 can compete in an F1 event between 2008 and 2017.
    The world motor sport council also issued the followin on 7th December 2007:
    The following aerodynamic testing restrictions will be applied from 2008:

    • Teams to use no more than one wind tunnel.
    • Test fluid to be air at atmospheric pressure.
    • Maximum test section wind speed 50m/sec.
    • Maximum model scale 60%.
    • No more than one model to be tested during a run.
    • Maximum usage to be equivalent to 15 runs per 8 hour day on 5 days per week for team F1 purposes. Tunnel may be contracted out at other times.
    • Aerodynamic testing may only take place in wind tunnels if at reduced scale or at FIA approved test tracks if full scale. Full size testing to be subject to the F1 testing agreement.
    • Full scale specific aerodynamic testing is to be reduced to 5 days/year.
    • Restrictions will be imposed to stop shift of resource from wind tunnel testing to CFD.
    • The number of people involved in CFD (computational fluid dynamics) development will be limited to a number to be agreed.
    • CFD computer systems will be characterised in order to set hardware performance limits but growth will be allowed year-on-year to allow for hardware / software development.

    Other restrictions will be placed on Rig Testing, Design and Manufacturing, Suspension and Brakes, Hydraulic Systems, Bodywork, Weight Distribution, Circuit Testing and the number of personnel at races.

    Further details of these restrictions will be given to the teams at a meeting on 11 January 2008 and detailed regulations based on these principles will be put forward at the spring meeting of the WMSC.

    The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), to be introduced in 2009, will continue to be an entirely open technology. As such, the use of any type of KERS storage/transmission technology will be permitted.
    Source FIA

    For 2009 each engine must be used for 3 races, slicks will be back and tyre warmers are banned

  11. I really would like to know how, Honda and Renault plan to go about upgrading their engines. Are they planning on using a new engine or upgraded parts. Clearly the same avenue by which some teams where able to improve on their engine performance, was available to these teams. Why didn’t they make use of it. They can still make use of it.
    The manufacturers where allowed to re-tune their engines for the 19,000 Rpm rev limit. If they chose not to then they should hold themselves responsible. Power output equality was never the reason for the freeze. Engine reliability and performance reduction was why the rev limit was decided upon.
    The only solution would be to allow all manufactures upgrade then re freeze. Allowing just a few the permission to upgrade will be most unfair and potentially dangerous.

  12. Surely if Renault and Honda are aware of updates other teams have done they should just be free to do the same updates to their own engines.

    Problem solved.

  13. schumi the greatest
    11th November 2008, 12:47

    nooo!! i dont want f1 getting any closer to a spec series…i undertsand the need to cut costs but it doesnt need to be done by equalising everything. part of f1 is the technical challenge to design a better car than your rivals, thats why the best engineers and the biggest car manafacturers are in f1, to prove they are the best!

  14. The Renault gripe about the engine freeze was that they’d stuck to the spirit of the scheme, whereas others (Mercedes, Ferrari, BMW) had snuck in power increases under the guise of reliability improvements.

    Equalising the power output of F1 engines just seems pointless – it would just shift the focus onto torque curves, fuel efficiency, weight, etc. Ultimately, one team would still have some sort of advantage over the rest. Finding a way to completely standardise engine performance across the full range of metrics is difficult, and ultimately wrong. Otherwise, what distinguishes a Renault from a Toyota or a Mercedes? Essentially nothing, just like the standard engine concept.

    However, Renault do have a valid point – if some engine suppliers have managed to gain a power advantage by making “reliability” upgrades then why should they be permitted to carry that forward on an ongoing basis?

    The answer may be allowing the suppliers who didn’t upgrade their engine to catch up or by allowing a new homologation round. But it sure isn’t equalisation.

  15. I still fail to understand the logic of all these different teams building their own engines just so that the FIA can then all equalise them. It’s silly and wasteful.

    I know the teams don’t want a spec engine, but this is not a better way of doing things.

  16. I said it before and I still think it: I can’t understand why Renault (and Honda) followed the ‘spirit of the rule’ instead of following the ‘limits of the rules’. F1 is, in part, about that: engineers pushing the limits (physical AND legal) to make the best car. If Renault and Honda has lost the train, it is their problem. Of course one can see it the other way around: Renault and Honda are trying to catch up by bending the rules a little… (and that’s also part of F1…)

  17. I like the idea on limiting the amount of fuel per race, that would also make F1 appear greener. This is probably the solution. Here are a few more I would also like to see.

    I think that they should do away with the rev limit all together. Let the teams take chances, maybe increase the severity of penalties for engine changes to deter teams from going too far. Say a point reduction for engine changes.

    I would rather see extremely limited areo and let teams work with suspension and horsepower. These two areas would seem to be the most road relevant areas of an F1 car.

    Teams are going to spend massive amounts of money as long as the reward is worth it (or not -24m a point Honda!?). Why not make them focus on areas gear-geeks like us are interested in.

  18. Why are we looking to change F1? We’ve just witnessed the one of, if not the greatest season in history. Why change it? Use other ways of cost cutting. You cant tell me that the only way is technical. Please leave it alone. Im so worried its not going to be the same with all these talks of aero packages, equalised motors and limited fuel.

    Please Max, do you best to leave F1 as it is. I can understand there is issues that need addressing to safeguard the future of the sport but surely there is other ways.
    Equalising is not what the fans want!

  19. Adam – “We”? Surely “they”?

  20. Defffinately NO

  21. The curent situation of unequal engines is the result of the anti-autosport freeze on engine development. Allow any development and manufactures will get their chance to equal their engines by innovation.

  22. Haas,I support Flavio and Ross Brawn on this issue. My argument is simple, what did the ‘Engine freeze’ mean? It was done for the teams to stop developing thier engine to cut costs (coz engine development took a huge chunk of money out of the F1 teams).

    Forgive me if I’m wrong here, but I thought the reason that the FIA introduced the engine freeze was so that people would spend their money and research into something else, ie. KERS

    I don’t think that any of the teams developed any component for reliabilty, and in it’s newest guise it developed less power, and Renault went from the mid of the grid to poles and front three rows, so I suspect that they did the same.

    I think really Flav is trying to buy time and establish the rules, as he did last year in the spying rows.

    Does anybody really think that Flav only found out about the McLaren information on his teams computers the week following McLarens ruling? His team had actually questioned the legitamacy of some of that years car- McLarens j damper, because Renault backroom staff couldn’t understand it.

  23. @ PinballLes

    I think the limiting of fuel is a great idea,I echo the the first paragraph of what Dan M said….but,I am not quite sure about the rev limiter thing Dan,seems to me that frying an engine undermines the purpose of trying to go green.(of course Formula 1 and GREEN are a contridiction in terms to begin with)

  24. I voted yes, though I felt the wording was loaded! What I feel is that teams should be given an equal opportunity to develop their engines before the start of next season. Then freeze them again (according to Mad Max’s wishes), and this time do it properly. If any team is left behind after that, well tough luck.

  25. Limiting the amount of fuel available to a car during a race will require the different team’s engineers to get smarter about creating high powered engines that are fuel efficient.

    The research and development required to create a high powered fuel efficient engine may require a fair chunk of cash to do, however by “forcing” the teams to engineer fuel efficient high performance engines, not only does it “look green”, it also has a major benefit to the actual road cars that the different manufacturers build and sell to us, the public. If the manufacturers can use the knowledge they gain by creating fuel efficient formula one engines, and apply it to the engines used in road cars, we can all start driving around in cars that use less fuel without compromising on power, which is good for our wallet, and kind of better for the environment at the same time.

    If I was in charge, I’d set one rule regarding engines – each car is allowed to use “x” number of litres of fuel per race, and forget about power limits, rev limits, engine size limits etc, and let the engineers get innovative and create a fuel efficient high powered engine.

  26. As no-one, not even Bernie or the FIA, know the exact recipe that makes F1 work as well as it does you would have thought that they’d bring any fundamental changes like this in slowly. In order to reduce the risk and resolve it if it fails (such as qualifying over the last 10 years).

    To level the aero, bring in KERS, allocate slicks, reduce costs AND limit the engine outputs all at once will make it easier for die-hard petrol-heads to walk away from the sport should it not work.

    The big question is – does F1 really need these sorts of changes? Based on this article in The Guardian, the need to reduce costs doesn’t wash with the teams.

  27. PinballLes –

    Limiting the amount of fuel available to a car during a race will require the different team’s engineers to get smarter about creating high powered engines that are fuel efficient.

    Lots of people have made that point and I’ve still not heard a good argument against it. Yes, it would open up engine development and increase costs, but it’s not as if KERS is inexpensive is it?

  28. Certainly NOT!

    I think they can just equalize engine geometrical measurements and weight. The power of the car now depends (and should not be equalized) on the efficiency of the manufacacturer’s design.

    If they are to equalize the power, i think it much is better to have a pedal-powered F1 car and strip the constructors title as well.

  29. AmericanTifosi
    12th November 2008, 4:33

    One problem with KERS that has been cited, besides the danger, is the weight. If KERS must be implemented (please, no) I propose that they lower the minimum weight of the cars. This would encourage the teams to design lighter gearboxes, engines, KERS systems, and a host of other things.
    Maybe this idea is rubbish, but I think that the weight restrictions are too limiting.

    And to get back on subject, standerdised F1 engines is a horrible idea and if it is passed, the best option would be all-out revolt.

  30. Thinking about it , specifying a maximum capacity of 2.4l is already a form of standardisation , so I say they should leave it at that , and with the 19000 RPM limit. If teams like Ferrari and McLaren are innovative enough to extricate more out of such a spec. engine than Renault and Honda , then it’s up to the latter to get off their tails and do some more development to catch up. A large part of F1 is all about continual development and must be left that way.

  31. I wonder if the rules could change to be more like those used at Le Mans:
    The races are run to a set time limit (set by the tv broadcasts and satellite time).
    The cars carry (or are only allowed) enough fuel to last that long.
    Therefore, the more efficient cars can go faster for longer. Which will also reflect the driver’s style and the efficiency of the pit crew.
    There ought to be enough technology about to use telementary to show the more efficient cars.
    And it will relate whats happening on the track to normal cars.
    And it will show a ‘green’ side to F1 as its about speed and efficiency together.
    And the engines themselves don’t have to have equal power etc.
    I know Le Mans has been doing this for years, but it would be a better show case in F1……

  32. As far as the history of F1 goes (more than 5 decades) “formula” (rules, limits) was changing ever since, so changes aren’t anything new. This decision is quite controversial, but maybe it’s really needed. If few teams will leave F1, because they simply don’t have enought money to keep up with leaders, than who will be left to fight? Car industry is quite in f-up situation right now (just lost my job because of it) and i just hope it will not influence F1.

  33. Brilliant debate as ever Keith.

    And you have it spot on ! Surely fuel consumption is the only thing that gets the attention of the average joe these days. ‘Wot does it do to the gallon ?’ And obscure and deeply complicated costs of F1 development are entirely lost on him. Get F1 sending a message that if your car is super fast but guzzles gas at won’t make the chequered flag ! It’s a nice simple ‘Red Top’ publicity cert. As for all other arguments,just read some of the text stevepCambsUK gives us. Jeez……

    Always remember that however complicated and watertight you think you’ve made the rules, within a couple of weeks of presenting them, a couple of brilliant young engineers will blow a hole in it ! It’s the name of the game.

    And one final point. Has anyone looked closely at relative qualifying time across the 2007/2008 seasons lately ? The top ten cars are so close to each other, it hurts. So we need to make cars MORE competitive ???

  34. If Max and Flavio keep this foolishness up, they might just get outpaced by NASCAR. Yes, I said it.

  35. Oops. I meant to vote no but my hand leapt out of its own accord and clicked on yes. My bad.

    To me, there appears to be very little difference between ‘equal’ engines and ‘standard’ engines.

  36. I say bring back the odd angled V engines of Renault, a very clever workaround to having less power, better wieght distribution.


  38. Max. Youre being an F1 dictator. Max, the Saddam Husein of F1.

  39. Rudy Van Goolen
    21st November 2008, 17:44

    the same engines would take out the soul of F1 Wat would a ferrari be whit a honda engine

  40. Same engines say Honda. Yeah right and that’s from a team that less than 1 month later pulls the pin…

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