Renault, Sepang, 2015

Disagreement over plan for fifth engine for 2015

2015 F1 season

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Renault, Sepang, 2015A move to increase the allocation of power units per driver this year from four to five looks set to fail due to disagreement over the detail of the regulations.

Teams will discuss the proposal at a meeting of the Formula One Strategy Group next week. While some are keen to see the limit restored to last year’s maximum of five power units, others feel an extra fifth engine should only be available for teams to use during practice sessions, to encourage teams to run more.

“The original reason that people talked about a fifth engine was because in this year when we first reduced it to four per year there was very little running on Fridays and it was seen that this was the explanation,” explained Mercedes executive director for technical Paddy Lowe.

“So the original reason it was agreed that we were looking to introduce a fifth engine was to improve the amount of running that was done on a Friday. So we would agree with it in that context, we’ll see what happens in the Strategy Group.”

McLaren’s Jonathan Neale is among those who wants to see the rule passed without restrictions. “I don’t know whether it will pass,” he said, “there are some conflicting views.”

“There was a certain degree of unanimous agreement amidst the teams in Malaysia. I think that position has changed a bit from what I pick up in paddock rumour at the moment. But what matters most is what case is put to the Strategy Group next week.

“I think that if it isn’t simple, if it goes to five engines with a thousand strings attached and complex other paraphernalia around it, I don’t think it will be go.

“We will obviously benefit from it because we’re in a situation where as a new entrant to the sport with Honda we would very much like that additional fifth engine. We think that would be fair for us.

“I’m pretty sure Renault would feel the same way: they’re investing in the sport, they’re a big organisation and it’s important for their brand as well that they have some degree of glide path. But it’s a fair race for everybody, I accept that: if it’s four, it’s four; if it’s five, it’s five.”

Ahead of this weekend’s race both Honda-powered drivers and all bar one of the Renault drivers have already used three internal combustion engines and some are on their third examples of other components as well. However only one of the eight Mercedes runners has moved on to a second example of more than one of their power unit components.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 24 comments on “Disagreement over plan for fifth engine for 2015”

    1. A move to increase the allocation of power units per driver this year from four to five looks set to fail due to disagreement over the detail of the regulations.

      Pretty much sums up the Strategy Group, doesn’t it? Making decisions with unanimous agreement sounds ideal, but in reality it means every team can veto whatever they don’t like. This system doesn’t work, there needs to be a leader with vision who can make these decisions on his own, with the teams only taking an advisory role.

      1. @andae23 Good point.

      2. Two things that go against your point @andae23:
        1. the Strategy group does NOT need unanimity.
        2. its clear that using an extra engine costs more money (bad for the smaller outfits) and it skews the balance in favour of Red Bull and McLaren, especially when these two are pushing for being able to use the 5th engine as just another engine.

        When the proposal first came up, it was proposed to give extra friday running. Not to make life easier for those with unreliable engines as such

        1. Good and relevant points!

      3. The strategy group was formed because the strong leader had the wrong vision.

    2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      8th May 2015, 21:54

      This is absurd. Common sense must surely prevail! Let them all have 5 engines for goodness sake!

      1. Force India and other teams can’t afford a fifth engine for goodness sake. Rules were layed out before the season started, simple as that.

      2. Those that need them will get their 5th. engine, and a grid penalty, it’s really the penalty we are talking about.

        1. lockup (@)
          9th May 2015, 0:55

          Yep @hohum. Maybe they should think about softening the penalty a bit.

          1. If they soften the penalty, we might find a situation that using a fresh engine could actually make be a strategic advantage. For example, if it was a 5 place grid penalty, those 5 places could easily be made up in a race due to a frsh engine advantage.

            They should just keep it simple. Implement penalty on the use of the 6th engine.

            1. lockup (@)
              9th May 2015, 9:37

              Agreed, this is why I said think about softening the penalty a bit @todfod.

              I don’t think we can call the current penalty system simple, and allowing a 5th engine has its ramifications too.

      3. @peppermint-lemon And who’s going to pay for that 5th engine?

        As they discussed during Sky’s coverage earlier on Lotus, Force India, Williams & Manor would struggle to afford the extra cost a 5th engine would bring.

        Also remember that it was the teams & the engine suppliers who voted for & agreed upon the current restrictions & everyone’s budget’s were set according to that.

        1. @rogera, I should think that every extra engine will be paid for by the builders, who supplied engines that were “not fit for purpose” ie. the 4 engines supplied did not last as long they were supposed to. If you bought a car with a 100,000 mile warranty you would not expect to pay for a new engine after only 60,000 miles.

          1. @hohum You could make the engine manufacturer’s pay, But then there making a financial loss which could hurt future engine development.

            You could argue the engines are ‘not fit for purpose’, But thats just the nature of the sport & the same could be said for any other area of the car.

          2. Yeah? But it seems like Mercedes and Ferrari did a good enough job. So why would they need to pay for their customers’ engine? Because if Renault is gonna pay for a 5th engine, surely other customers deserve the same thing.

      4. Why? The rules say four engines, and it is up to each driver to drive to achieve that. If a driver decides to not drive to achieve that, then that is their choice, but they should accept the consequences.
        What about the drivers who did choose to preserve the life of their engine? They will have scored lower points and had lower starting grid places for these first few races because of their choice to think several races ahead, when being careful should reward them.

        1. You highlight all that is going wrong in F1, save engines, save tyres, save fuel. In the 1950’s we had reliability trials that did that, but it was a little longer than 300 KM. they circumnavigated Australia.

          1. I think I highlight what is right with F1: There is more to being an F1 driver than driving as fast as the you can make the car go.
            Some years ago the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the time was Lennox Lewis, and after fighting one David Tua from New Zealand, said “You don’t come into the ring with the World Champion with a right hook and a funny haircut”. I don’t know what he meant, but to me he was saying there is a level of excellence expected if you want to contest with the World Champion, and if you don’t have that level of excellence then you shouldn’t be there.
            The same applies in F1: If you don’t have the skill level to be an F1 champion, then maybe you should not be there. There are other levels of motor racing where people can go to hone their skills in preparation to become an F1 driver. While there are many skills expected, many of which I am sure I have never thought about, one of the skills expected, and the one that is essential to this discussion, is to drive so the engine will last “the distance”, i.e. it will last until the end of the 5th race. If you can’t do that then you it is arguable you should not be in F1.
            Here we have a case where some drivers chose to care for the life of their engine, and accepted lesser initial results in turn for a longer engine life, and the expectation of getting good results in their 5th race, while others chose to “flog” their engine for short term gain, knowing they would have to accept poor results at subsequent races, e.g. retirement in their 5th race. If a driver didn’t know this then why are they in F1? They should have worked this out in a lower grade of motor racing.

    3. Lotus and Williams (IIRC both are part of the Strategy Group) are not going to want to give any help to their rivals at McLaren, RB and Toro Rosso. And a fifth engine would most likely help those latter three teams more than it would Lotus or Williams.

      1. And FI is wary of the cost as well as seeing the same advantages to these teams that might be their direct competitors for points

      2. Lotus isnt part of the SG this season Force India is. Doesnt change the logic of how FI would vote.

    4. Perhaps Mercedes changes their view in response to Ferrari closer threat than before.

      1. But from what I read, it is the Mercedes customers mainly who have strong doubts, and Ferrari also seems to not see a big need (and why would they). Mercedes themselves keep saying they aren’t against it (no majority: safe to say that ;)

    5. A 5th engine clearly isn’t going to help Red Bull or McLaren, it just postpone the enevitable grid penalty by one race, or even one session!

      The one thing Force India, Williams and Lotus are missing, it could help them later on in the season against McLaren and Red Bull if they are close in the championship.

      How much is 5th in the constructors championship worth over 7th? More than the million or so for the extra engine.

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