Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2014

Vettel “very likely” to take engine penalty in USA

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2014In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel admits he is likely to take an engine change penalty in this weekend’s race.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Vettel to accept engine fate (Sky)

“It’s to be seen, we need to confirm, but yes we have to get an extra engine at some stage this year and it’s very, very likely for this weekend.”

Renault backs Ferrari on engine freeze (Autosport)

“Taffin does warn, however, that costs could rise dramatically if a manufacturer started running parallel development programmes on its engines.”

F1 legends blast Ecclestone’s double points system for Abu Dhabi race (Daily Mail)

Jackie Stewart: “I’m not a supporter. I don’t think they should be there. We have to keep it pure. I don’t think it’s going to add anything to the season.”

Mario Andretti: F1 may finally have found its US home in Austin (The Guardian)

“There’s talk about San Diego but it would be a temporary facility – and we’ve seen what that does. I’d like to see it, as a fan of the sport, but we’ve seen the project in New Jersey fall apart. When the cheque needed to arrive it got lost in the mail but more F1 action in America can only be a good thing.”

Fiat Chrysler to spin off Ferrari, issue $2.5 billion convertible bond (Reuters)

“Under the plan FCA said it will list a 10 percent stake in Ferrari in the United States and possibly in Europe through a public offer, hoping to complete the spin-off next year. The remaining 80 percent stake held by Fiat Chrysler will be distributed to FCA shareholders, including Fiat’s founding Agnelli family which controls 30 percent of FCA.”

The billionaires who could buy Ferrari (CNBC)

“Analysts estimate that Ferrari could be worth somewhere between $5 billion to $6 billion, so 10 percent could be valued at $500 million to $600 million. That’s a big investment. But for many of today’s multibillionaires, it’s literally driving around money—especially if they only buy a slice of the 10 percent.”

A crisis we all saw coming (MotorSport)

“Instead of spreading the pot so that even the smallest teams can have a viable business, the big teams would prefer to be rid of the smaller fry, thereby taking their meagre income and directing it at propping up facilities that are just too big, too costly.”

US Grand Prix Betting: Rosberg’s Title Chances Are Better Than They Look (Unibet)

My United States Grand Prix preview for Unibet.


Esteban Ocon, Ferrari, Fiorano, 2014

Having tested for Lotus last week European Formula Three champion Esteban Ocon tested a 2010-specification Ferrari F10 at Fiorano yesterday.

Ferrari Driver Academy chief Luca Baldisserri praised Ocon’s performance: “It’s always very exciting for we engineers to be there when a young driver gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula One car for the first time, because even if we are used to working with rookies, it’s a real surprise to see someone to take to the track, showing a level of professionalism as demonstrated by Esteban today.”

“Despite it being his first time in one of our cars, he tackled the test without making any mistakes and was quick right from the start.”


Comment of the day

We’ve had a crowd-funded driver and Brabham are trying to become the first crowd-funded team – but is this really the future for F1 funding?

I just do not get the crowdfunding. Fans are already paying high prices for tickets and (often) TV subscription. They should not fund teams or drivers. What’s next, fans paying Ecclestone’s hotel bill?

I do not believe that fan funding is a solution to F1’s problems. Three-car teams looks like a temporary solution as several teams would not be able to afford it and I am not sure if all the big teams would be happy about it. As far as I know, only Ferrari have been actively campaigning for third cars so far.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to L. Martins!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Giuseppe Farina, the first ever F1 drivers’ world champion, was born on this day in 1906.

Images © Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari

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Keith Collantine
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  • 62 comments on “Vettel “very likely” to take engine penalty in USA”

    1. The F10 looks amazing in this year’s livery!

      1. @toiago I thought the same, but I hate when they ruin the original livery.

        The F10 was a seriously good looking car in its own right. And it’s not like they changed sponsors in the meantime, they are all there.

      2. But you are no longer able to check it out at the supermarket?

      3. At least it hides the big ugly fin.

        I wonder if Ocon’s in contention for a third Ferrari. Jules Bianchi’s seat. Or would that be Marciello? or just Vettel joining the existing duo? They’d be the first team asked to provide a third car (then it’s Red Bull – according to a Radio Le Mans show I’m listening to at the moment)

      4. Yeah, I prefer the F10 in this year’s livery. It’s old livery was ruined by ugly Marlboro barcodes which made the car look like a toy.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      30th October 2014, 0:28

      Renault/Taffin makes the perfect point why the in-season freeze should not be lifted. He admits that “it could be costing a lot” if manufacturers run parallel development programmes (i.e. target at least 2 major upgrades per year). We’ve seen it in the past that if they have an option to get just the smallest performance improvement, then they will go for it. Irrelevant the ridiculous amounts of money they spend. And the show is unlikely to improve as all teams will do it; including the one that is already ahead.

      Somebody will have to pay for this. And that will undoubtedly be the smaller teams first, and we fans when we see an even smaller (more boring) grid.

      1. I think Renault or those running engine development there are confused. What is the purpose of an unfreeze if you don’t have the ability to design a fresh engine when you feel the current design has a limited potential. What do they really want or why are they lying to themselves.

      2. i think that much more money is spended in Aero than engine department. In fact, i FIA decided to freeze the aero developement in favor of hybrid engines developements and tyre, the F1 could became as road relevant thant some people claims the WEC is. So, in my opinion, they’re crying for the cost of the PU (wich is really road relevant) and they say nothing about the millions wasted inf winglets that cost millions and can enhance the performance in what? 0,1″? that’s where the cost saving messures should begin with

      3. I think Ferrari and Renault want to get green light to develop more areas than regulations allow, so I can’t see why it would not drive costs up…

        F1’s nature makes it virtually impossible to impose a strict cap, however, where it’s possible we should go for it and seems to me engine freeze is a good way. The trouble is, as we have seen, freezing engine development can hurt competition and, consequently, the show. Thus, maybe a relaxation of the rules should not be written off.

        We will never be able to level down the field because McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will never function on small teams budgets. Maybe engines should be subsidized by FOM to help team’s finances without hurting engine manufacturers…

    3. If Vettel skips qualifying, he should not be allowed to race by the Stewards. The right the stewards have to give someone a pass should not extend to those intentionally not participating.

      1. Hopefully the 107% rule will come into play.

        The only issue is that will leave a grand 17 cars competing. All we need is a pileup of four cars and a Maldonado of 2 cars and we will be left with 11 cars after the first two laps.

        1. @mtlracer @strontium I’m sure he will set fast enough times in practice with an old engine.

          PS. Even with 11 cars, I’m sure we still wouldn’t see all the overtaking that takes place..

          1. And with limits on the amount of units, like tyres, you will always get some restriction of running to get optimal race results. Hence ‘Q3 tyres’.

          2. But the reason stewards can do that is for situations like an accident at the end of practice and the team does not have time to rebuild the car in time to participate in the qualifying session.
            He just has to set a time in first part of qualifying that’s within 107% and I won’t have an issue (much).

            1. We have seen the stewards allow cars to race that have been excluded from qualifying, because of rule infringements e.g. being unable to provide a fuel sample, so it is not just for for mechanical problems or accident damage that can’t be fixed in time.
              Anyway it would be possible for a team to run an old engine on Friday and in P3 and then to change the engine before qualifying in which case they could say they were not able to complete the change in time to participate in Q1.

      2. Pointless. He could easily go out and easily set a 107% time in Q1 before going back into the pits. Nothing would have been achieved and he’d still have to start from the pit lane.

        Blame the rule, not the driver.

      3. i would like to see Vettel proving himself starting from the back and make his way to werever position Ricciardo is, and overtake him. That’s something i’ll be hoping for this race

        1. can’t be done without SC.

      4. @mtlracer

        If Vettel skips qualifying, he should not be allowed to race by the Stewards.

        If Vettel is going to have a full power unit replacement the rules mean he will start from the pit lane. The rules as they are written make it so there is no incentive for him to participate in qualifying: he’d just be wasting the life of his engine, tyres and other components.

        So it’s unrealistic for you to insist that he must and it would be wrong of the stewards to punish him for actions which are plainly a consequence of how the FIA has written the rule book.

        Besides which, the last thing F1 needs right now is even fewer competitors.

        1. So it’s unrealistic for you to insist that he must and it would be wrong of the stewards to punish him for actions which are plainly a consequence of how the FIA has written the rule book.

          I disagree.

          Although it has become less so, Qualifying is there for cars to qualify for the race, not just to set the grid order. If they do not set a lap within 107% they have not qualified, so should not be on the grid.

          I can understand giving special dispensation in special circumstances, but “I want to save the life of my engine” is not one of them. He should still have to set a time within 107% to qualify.

          1. @drmouse This is the rule that we are talking about:

            During Q1, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.

            If the rule book does consider “setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session” to be “exceptional circumstances” and does not expressly forbid the driver to skip Q1 because he wants to save the car then there is no reason to not allow him to race. (I think we can assume that Vettel will set a competitive time in one of the FP sessions.)

            1. @girts

              OK, I hand’t seen the actual rule. That is certainly one interpretation of it, although I believe it is ambiguous. It could either be taken as “setting a fast enough lap time in FP is an exceptional circumstance”, or “an exceptional circumstance is required, the suitable lap time may be included in mitigating circumstances”. They will probably take it as the first.

              Personally, I believe the rule should be along the lines of:
              “Under exceptional circumstances, however, as long as a suitable lap time has been set during a free practice session or the team can otherwise show they are capable, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.”

              However, the rules are the rules, and I expect they will be read as “fast enough lap time is set in FP, so you qualify”.

            2. @girts – It’s that sentence though:

              Under exceptional circumstances however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.

              Not wanting to take life out of your engine isn’t an exceptional circumstance. It’s a choice. It also says the “stewards may permit” – not WILL permit.

              If they are going to allow Vettel to sit out and still qualify, the rules need to be changed so that they read:

              Any driver who fails to complete a lap within 107% of the fastest time set during qualifying, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race.

              There is no reason to make the rules more complicated then they need to be. The unwritten rule seems to be that if you a lap within 107% over the weekend, you’ll be allowed to race.

            3. * should have read:

              Any driver who over the course of the weekend, fails to complete a lap within 107% of the fastest time set during qualifying, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race.

            4. The intention of the rule is to stop cars racing that are so far off the pace of the rest of the field, or are so unprepared as to cause possible safety concerns.

              I think that the most recent occasion was the first race in 2012 when both HRTs were denied permission to race. HRT had missed all the pre-season tests, failed to set a suitable lap time in any of the practice sessions, and then both cars were more than 1.2 seconds slower than the 107% time in qualifying.

              I doubt that the FIA or the stewards want to reduce the field and stop a car that is quick enough from racing just because it didn’t set a time in qualifying. I would anyway expect that either Red Bull will check in advance, or that the FIA or stewards will notify the team if they object to the car not running in qualifying, in which case they can run a token lap in Q1 to set a time within 107% and then park the car.

            5. I doubt that the FIA or the stewards want to reduce the field and stop a car that is quick enough from racing just because it didn’t set a time in qualifying.

              They have already introduced rules to encourage people to take part in qualifying. They should continue to discourage people from missing any qualifying session they are eligible for.

              I really think that the rules should be implemented such that cars can only qualify using a non-qualifying time if there are truely exceptional circumstances. Choosing not to run just because you are starting from the pits is not an exceptional circumstance. They should have to complete a lap within 107% in qualifying to qualify.

        2. The rules as they are written make it so there is no incentive for him to participate in qualifyingApart from the rule that says you have to set a time in Q1 within 107% of the fastest time, in order to be allowed to participate in the race. Other than that it is at the discretion of the stewards – and if a driver has set no representative time in any practice session, there’s no reason why the stewards should grant him special dispensation to race.

          I agree that the last thing F1 needs is for the grid to become any smaller, but those are the rules.

          1. @red-andy

            the rule that says you have to set a time in Q1 within 107% of the fastest time

            That’s not exactly what the rule says. It says that drivers who take part in Q1 have to get within 107% but – and this is the important bit – there isn’t anything in the rules which compels drivers to participate in Q1 in the first place.

            Here’s what the rule says:

            During Q1, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.

            So Vettel would not be doing anything wrong by not participating in Q1. Given that, and there being no obvious reason why Vettel should fail to set a representative time in practice, I don’t see any problem with him not taking part in qualifying and then starting from the grid.

            But I do think the rules probably shouldn’t create an incentive for drivers in his situation to do just that.

        3. Doesn’t the ‘unused’ part of the penalty carry over to the next race? If so, by not running in qualifying Vettel would not ‘pay’ any of the penalty and it would all carry over to Brazil.

          1. @ians If you replace the entire power unit you don’t get a grid penalty, you start from the pits, so there’s nothing to roll over. Details here:


            It’s stuff like this which makes you appreciate how over-complicated the rules are…

      5. alonso didn’t qualify in 2010 monaco gp because he wrecked the car in fp3 and mechanics couldn’t fix it in time? should he not be allowed to race because he didn’t set 107%?

    4. In terms of double points not adding anything to the season, as far as I can see, all it has done is weaken 2 teams which were both already in a desperate situation.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        30th October 2014, 1:51

        @strontium, sorry not following.
        Can you please elaborate how Abu Dhoubli links to the demise of Catherham and Marussia?

        1. Simple. Sauber could benefit from the double points rule if they score points in Abu Dhabi to leapfrog Marussia in the WCC. All those millions lost will weaken Marussia even more. That said, I don’t see how it makes a difference to Caterham either.

          1. Not really. If a Sauber finishes 10th in Abu Dhabi, they’ll score 2 points, which would put them level on points with Marussia, but Marussia would take 9th place because Bianchi’s Monaco result would be better than Sauber’s best finish.

            If a Sauber finishes 9th, they’ll take four points and 9th place in the WCC, but even if the Abu Dhabi points were “undoubled,” they’d finish ahead of Marussia anyway because Sauber’s best non-points finish (11th) is better than Marussia’s (13th).

            1. The explanation for introducing double points was to maintain competitiveness in the drivers championship for longer in the season. However it strikes me that if double points had been in place in the final grand prix of last season, all that would’ve happened would have been Sebastian Vetter would’ve won the championship by an even bigger margin.

              This season it has only served to allow journalists to pretend that Daniel Riccardo has some semblance of a chance of winning the WDC for longer.

              Double points only exacerbates existing problems that cause lack of competitiveness, rather than solving them

        2. @coldfly basically, while it has not been the direct hit, it has put more pressure on the teams to go and race there, thus making their situation even more desperate.

    5. In other news…asphalt run off has been replaced by gravel at T10 for this weekend as requested by the FIM, maybe (hopefully) this is the downfall of the tarmac run offs?

      1. What’s the FIM got to do with this weekend?! Are they filling the back of the grid with bikes? (and I’ve read ideas that are more stupid than that recently)

        1. They can’t convert gravel to tarmac that quickly, so there has to be a balance between the two sports. In fact I think they should pool their resources on this front and create a unified technical team to create balanced tracks. Moto GP is now having to rip up all the astroturf run off because it flips the bikes and turns minor low side accidents into dangerous high sides especially when wet.

          Since there is a huge cross over in tracks these days it can only be sensible. (This season theres been Moto GP at Sepang, Silverstone, Austin and Cataluyna. Theres also plenty of junior series racing at more of the tracks that the bikes race on)

    6. Double points is just another thing that is killing F1 by the second! That’s not the only thing as well, there are many more!!!!

    7. Double points is another stupid Bernie idea. He must go now of formula 1 world. He is killing the sport.

      1. Is there any “Bernie Out” petition?

    8. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      30th October 2014, 6:37

      It’s perplexing how out of touch the powers-that-be in F1 are with the fanbase, considering that it’s fan involvement – through television viewership, trackside presence, and eyeballs for sponsors – that allows them to rake in the revenue in the first place. Introducing misguided attempts to “improve the show” that incur backlash (like double points), poorly-organised races in far-flung locations at the expense of venues that have genuine demand (the loss-making enterprises of the Korean and Indian GPs), and allowing smaller teams to drop out (Marussia and Caterham already, Sauber and Force India allegedly next in line), only diminishes viewer interest in the sport, and by extension hurts everyone involved.

      I can only imagine that, somehow, the gains of accepting petrodollars in exchange for race hosting rights and twisted regulations would outweigh the lowered revenue from a shrinking fanbase. I’m not sure what else besides profit potential would force these decisions. Yet such a short-run cash grab is ultimately unsustainable. A sport cannot survive for long if no one really wants to watch it. At the rate that the powers-that-be are pushing away existing fans, and failing to attract new ones thanks to convoluted rules and a poor reputation in the media, one really has cause for concern.

      1. F1 is too sterile.

      2. @bobthevulcan, Unfortunately it is the way of the world, call it marketing to monetise the value of a brand or call it asset stripping, it happens all the time, it’s all about short term gains and moving on when the goose dies.

    9. I am hoping this season would end up to be a total fiasco. Why? It would force individuals in power to properly review the state F1 is in now and i could have a proper laugh. There are several events that would help to achieve this.

      1.Rosberg wins the championship with double points in abu dhabi because of Hamilton dnf. I would prefer maldonado crashing in to him while overlapping.
      3.Marussia, Caterham and some other team declaring withdrawal from F1. More the merrier.
      4.Another lawsuit against Bernie. Sexual harassment lawsuit would be perfect but tax evasion, fraud and bribery suits him better.
      5.Only drs passes for the rest of the season.
      6.Mercedes wins remaining races leading everyone else by over a lap.
      7.4/5 of the grid gets engine related penalties for abu dhabi so nobody has any glue what is going on.
      8.Half of the teams run out of fuel in abu dhabi and massive civil unrest due to slave workers there.

      I am sure i missed something feel free to contribute.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        30th October 2014, 12:58

        @alipappa for sure you missed number 2!!!

        1. uups. Ok
          2. New race is announced. Street track race will be held in Pyongyang North-Korea. Track will be designed by Herman Tilke and Kim-Jong Un himself.

    10. Just came across film of Bianchi’s crash.
      it is truly terrifying. I’m honest to god amazed he wasn’t dead at the scene.

      I honestly wish I didn’t watch it.

    11. I feel, Formula1 is a high investment, low return and to be run with absolute efficiency sort of business. Anyone not doing the same is destined to fall. People with true racing passion, efficient resource allocation and a lot of money can only be here. Budget cap and regulation as a measure to cut cost will dilute the whole concept of pinnacle of motorsport. If we call it pinnacle of motorsport, then it is going to be costly for the teams to race. Research and innovation in technology is not cheap and can cost a lot, a lot. Researchers spend lifetime and millions in grants and funds in universities on creating and implementing theoretical concepts only discover what does not work. Few people who do get success sometimes go on to become Google, Oracle or Microsoft.
      Prize money distribution is a tricky thing, as a viewer/fan/spectator it is not so easy to comprehend who spends how much and where.
      I do not buy the concept that it is difficult to do business for a new team. It is being said new teams cannot be competitive, I disagree. RedBull is a new team, took 5 years to get the right people in right places, had the money and patience, had a plan and spent resources wisely and the results are in front of us. Caterham promoters felt more like businessmen and less like racers. I believe the promoters were simply wanting to make money or experiment in F1 for short term but had no real passion for racing. I think the prize money is skewed towards older established teams to exactly discourage this behavior.

      1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        30th October 2014, 15:13

        I don’t entirely agree that new teams can become competitive so easily. For example, while I do not dispute that Red Bull has always been a well-run outfit, they had the significant advantage of taking over resources like design IP and personnel from the old Stewart/Jaguar outfit, as opposed to virtually starting from scratch like Marussia and Caterham did. If the high-cost environment of modern F1 persists, the budget required to assemble a competitive team might well become too exorbitant to allow entries even by those with racing passion. By all means, the “pinnacle of motorsport” should have some barriers to entry, but care must be taken not to set those barriers impossibly high.

        1. Okay, I rephrase the last para. It is difficult for new team but not impossible. As a team promoter it still needs to commit significant investment with short term and long term goals. secondly as much as it test the limits of the car, F1 also tests the limits of promoters with money. It is a high investment high risk game. Very few have the passion, patience and money to be here.

    12. F1 is paying the price for ignoring the fans. Enjoy these next three races everyone, they may be the last.

    13. Just a question, guys.

      If Vettel is indeed to start from the pit lane, he’d have to work his way through the pack and, considering his gearing is not adaptable to higher top speeds anymore (as it was in Abu Dhabi 2012), is it realistic Red Bull is just going to start him with a medium downforce rear wing, or is he just going to get stuck with the usually uncompetitive top speed of the RB10?

    14. If some of the teams were to run a third car (obviously not all teams will be able to afford a third car), the constructors championship might be split into one for teams with to cars and one for teams with three cars.

      1. Teams with more than 2 car is not a new concept and has been there for the better part of the history. That time constructors championship counted points from all the cars entered. A team with more cars finishing generally was ahead in the constructors championship.

    15. Thanks for the COTD @KeithCollantine, it was a nice suprise! I think it is just a small part of a wider discussion.

      I enjoyed reading the MotorSport article because it describes the root problem, namely, that entrepreneurs like Jonathan Palmer, who are passionate about racing, know it and could afford to start an F1 team, still do not do that because they cannot “work out how to make a viable business out of F1”. It is sad to see Marussia and Caterham disappear but the real problem is that there is no one to take their place. Haas’ project might look promising but he still has a long way to go.

      We often (rightly) condemn Ecclestone’s opinions but I believe that he often just says what a lot of others think. For instance, principals of the big teams say that they are not happy to see the small teams go bankrupt but the big teams actually have contributed to the demise of HRT, Caterham and Marussia.

      While you cannot blame Red Bull and Ferrari for protecting their own interests, you can blame them for short-term thinking, which makes the sport unsustainable and could hurt the big teams themselves after all.

    16. @keithcollantine

      From the Unibet article: “When Hamilton has won, [Rosberg] has usually been able to limit the damage by coming in second. And when Hamilton has suffered some kind of misfortune, Rosberg has more often than not inflicted maximum damage.” – I don’t this is an accurate depiction of what has happened.

      Hamilton retired in Australia, Canada, and Belgium, and had significant issues in Hungary and Germany qualifying. Rosberg won two. He had 2 seconds and a fourth, which is 27pts on the table. In Rosberg’s two retirements, Hamilton won, which puts them square on number of wins when other retires. While Hamilton has had more issues, the only reason Rosberg doesn’t have the lead is because he hasn’t maximised his points when Hamilton has had issues.

    Comments are closed.