Lotus has become the latest team to confirm it only used a single Mercedes power unit throughout its pre-season testing.
Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff previously revealed his team used the same power unit over the course of the 12 days of testing, during which they covered 6,120 kilometres, more than any other team.
Now Lotus technical director Nick Chester has confirmed they also only used one engine. Lotus, which is using Mercedes power for the first time this year, completed 4,230 kilometres of testing.
Formula One engines will have to last longer than ever this year as drivers will only be allowed to use four power units per season. Each engine will therefore have to do a race mileage of over 1,500 kilometres – plus more for qualifying and practice.
“The power unit has strong performance and response and it’s extremely reliable – we’ve only used one unit throughout testing,” said Chester. “Its installation is nice which gives us some benefits, such as the way we’ve organised our cooling system.”
Renault has said one its power units completed “completed five grand prix cycles” during the tests at the Circuit de Catalunya. However McLaren’s Honda power unit only covered a total of 1,750 kilometres, and was changed more than once.
Chester admitted Lotus has taken a “conservative” route on cooling its Mercedes package ahead of the first race of the season.
“The area where we didn’t take too many risks was the engine installation,” he explained. “We wanted to be reasonably comfortable with cooling and we’ve been quite conservative ahead of Melbourne.”
“It’s been a challenge to fit the engine as the rear surface of the chassis is quite different and we had to do a lot of work to have a neat installation,” he added. “We’ve gone back to air to air charge air cooling because the packaging switch to Mercedes power on a short timeline meant we had to find a simple solution.”
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16 comments on “Lotus also used a single engine throughout testing”
4th March 2015, 9:32
Quite impressive to be honest, for both Mercedes and Lotus.
4th March 2015, 10:17
Isn’t practice excluded from the engine requirements? Teams could conceivably have “practice engines” to preserve the “race engines”. Or has that changed this year?
4th March 2015, 10:46
No. It was the set amount of engines for everything last year and its same for this year. What a lot of the teams did last year was use the older engines in practice later in the season and then changed them to the newer engines for Saturday.
4th March 2015, 11:35
@ironcito I think from memory that the engines have to come from the same allocation for practice, however later in the year they re-use engines which have already completed their race allocation during practice in order to conserve their remaining resources.
4th March 2015, 14:58
Ah. Thank you both for the clarification :-)
4th March 2015, 10:25
Ferrari and Renault must have just soiled their pants. They aren’t anywhere close on performance or reliability. This is biggest advantage held by any engine manufacturer over it’s rivals
4th March 2015, 10:33
Don’t remember any issues on PU front in the tests for Ferrari at least. Last season as well they were slow but reliably slow :)
Honda is the one most affected here. All others have a fair bit of running and an idea as to how their PU’s perform.
4th March 2015, 13:35
blame it on the rules, it was hard to expect ferrari, mercedes and renault to get it right straight out, mercedes did lucky for them, but the stupid homologation rules dont allow enough changes for anyone behind to catch up. it is not right for f1 to “lock in” an advantage. in all the other areas like aero at least development is allowed. and they have made it harder for competition this year with the 4 engines only ruling. WHY IS F1 SUPRESSING COMPETITION?? it really is a pretentious sport, and it is like they are rubbing that fact into our face as motorsport fans F1 does not deserve the “F1” moniker anymore, lets call it instead “”v6 hybrid with limited development open wheeler world series””
4th March 2015, 18:37
If you allow all out engine development then costs are going to go even more out of control than they already are, if that happens then engine costs will be passed onto the customers, which a team has no control over, They have to have an engine to be on the grid. They do have controls on how much they spend on aero development however, So while teams like Marussia knew where to find extra performance from the aero on the car they couldn’t because they budget wouldn’t allow, but there is no regulation that says they have to spend X on aero in a year. So therefore a smaller team can attempt at least to manage its own costs, History shows how successful or rather unsuccessful teams have been at this. Comparing engine and aero regulations is a non starter, unless you are in favor of the back and some parts of the middle grid disappearing from the grid completely, all so Ferrari & Red Bull can get some more power.
All engine manufactures have the same rules, the same amount of development tokens and the same time, There really isn’t a fairer way to handle it. If you turned up with a PU that isn’t as good as the others then bad luck, thats your problem. F1 doesn’t owe teams like Ferrari & Red Bull a top position on the grid, that for them to achieve themselves. Red Bull dont like it? Well find a new engine or build your own. If Ferrari doesn’t like it? Well do a better job next time around.
Yes good close racing is fun and exciting to watch, but there is nothing to say that is has to be teams with different engines, Why should seeing Merc & Williams or even Lotus battle it out for championship be any less entertaining than watching Merc , Red Bull & Ferrari battle it out.
It’s the top teams job to ensure they remain a top team, not the FIA’s.
5th March 2015, 20:50
If the engine manufactures want’s to spend money, who are we to stop them?
As long as they don’t pass on the expense to the teams.
6th March 2015, 10:47
But back in the real world they will pass those costs onto the teams. They aren’t going to swallow the costs themselves.
4th March 2015, 12:35
One thing that is not mentioned is that the 1 power unit they are talking about was refreshed between tests.
Thus they used one block and maybe head castings but how many of the other bits did they use?
One engine that has been reconditioned between tests is not the same as doing the combined mileage without replacing any components.
Tim Edwards (@timpey)
4th March 2015, 13:13
Exactly. Didn’t Toto say they changed some internals also?
4th March 2015, 13:45
Yeah, spark plugs, oil and…, can’t remember anything else…
4th March 2015, 15:14
and fuel, although they are working in using the same tank of fuel for the whole of testing next year :)
4th March 2015, 18:06
So how long until McLaren start picking up grid penalties? One major failure on a new-ish engine could really screw them over.
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