2010: Battle of the engines?

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Recently F1 has been a series of short sprints and as engine power has been largely equalised and curbed, the relative performance of each manufacturer didn't really factor in the races.

The Mercedes engine for example was generally considered to be a good all rounder with good performance and average fuel consumption.
The Renault unit on the other hand, whilst possibly slightly down on power, apparently has far superior fuel consumption.
Ferrari is somewhere between the two so we've been led to believe.

The ratio of power to fuel consumption will have a far more critical impact in 2010 than in previous seasons.
As there is no refuelling, cars will now have to be designed to accommodate the largest fuel tank possible, based on the race which requires the most fuel.

So if we assume the Ferrari has "average" fuel consumption and requires say 300 litres for an entire race then the car will be designed around that.
The Mercedes engine on the other hand is apparently a bit thirstier so again let's just assume it's 10% which will mean a fuel cell of 330 litres.
Also for Renault, let's assume it uses 10% less fuel than the Ferrari and the fuel cell will be 270 litres.

As can be seen, the difference between the most fuel efficient engine and the least is 60 litres, which will have big implications on the design.
If the height of the fuel cell is kept the same then the wheelbase will have to be longer, thereby compromising the handling on tight, twisty sections.
On the other hand, if the length of the car is kept the same, the fuel cell will have to be taller which will mean the centre of gravity will be higher, again compromising handling when cornering.

In addition, more fuel means a heavier car which means slower lap times, increased braking distances, increased tyre wear, etc.

The only unknown so far is the Cosworth unit although most seem to think that although it will be able to match the power of the current manufacturers, it will be a lot thirstier due to the lack of development over the last few years and as such will require the largest fuel cell of all.
Surely too much of an issue to give any of the new teams a fighting chance?

The Renault powered Red Bull was extremely strong last year, easily able to match Brawn and their Mercedes power once the diffuser advantage had been removed.
That being the case, the odds surely favour Red Bull this season as they will have less design compromises to make and will require less fuel thereby maximising their chances of qualifying on the front row?

So whereas 2009 was battle of the diffusers, will 2010 be battle of the engines?

Note: Please don't focus on the figures, they have been used just to illustrate the point and bear no relation to actual capacity or fuel consumption.
If you're interested in actual data, Gavin from Making Up The Numbers has done some analysis here: 2009 In Review – Fuel Usage Data
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Peculiar when you go thorugh the figures that McLaren and Renault are both more efficient than the customer teams. McLaren by about 4% compared to Brawn & FI and Renault by 1.5% compared to Red Bull. A significant weight advantage.

Is this likely to be down to installation or cooling or aerodynamic efficiency? The Mclaren was supposed to generate less down force in the early part of the season; does this mean less drag and therefore greater fuel efficiency? I know the Brawn was a sort of "cut and shut" to fit the Mercedes engine so there must have been compromises but Force India always knew what they were using.

If it is down to cooling and/or installation presumably what ever McLaren knew last year Brawn/Mercedes will know this year which which, if McLaren get their chassis right, could make for some close tussles (or Mercedes romping off into the distance - any one for Schumie to win the first 6 races?)

edit: just re read the article and it mentions KERS being used by McLaren & Renault. Not sure where that takes us...
 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
FB said:
edit: just re read the article and it mentions KERS being used by McLaren & Renault. Not sure where that takes us...

On fuel economy, you mean? I've read it makes no difference, but before 2009 there was some discussion that it could. Not sure ; I'll read up

Also something that interests me, as you say, the customer teams are less efficient, will this change with Mercedes/McLaren next year?

If McLaren were Mercedes' "works" team in 2009, could they have had a slight bias towards them? Now that they see the remnants of BGP as their future, could that power shift to Mercedes' work team, and McLaren end up as a simple "customer"? If so, could this be beneficial for Mercedes, and negative for McLaren :dunno:
 

snowy

Champion Elect
I am pretty sure that whilst Mercedes engineers worked tirelessly to improve efficiency and driveability they did not do it without the input and guidance of McLaren's own technicians and race engineers. Even if it were only in respect to requests for specific tuning and exhaust characteristics this will have made a difference.

Did the customer teams even use the same oil!?
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I have always suspected that last years Red Bull had a slight packaging problem. Look at their engine attrition rate vs McLaren. It reminded me of the Lotus 78 with which Andretti won more races than anyone else, but did not win the WDC that year because of repeated engine failures. I expect Newey to have solved that problem this year, and I honestly expect them to have the best car.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Given the questionable status of the Renault team, I am not convinced of the wisdom of having chosen to continue with that propulsion in the Red Bull. I might have been tempted to take a chance with the Cosworth (but then, I am no Newey).
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Better a known unknown than an unknown unknown I would say. ;)

Besides, Renault have been in this position before in the mid 80's. If Red Bull are in with a shout of winning the title they will become the de facto works team, much in the same way as Lotus received more support than Renault in mid 80's when they used the Renault Turbo engine.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has warned that more manufacturers could leave Formula 1 if the FIA does not act on equalising engine performance.

Having pushed hard over the winter for the sport's governing body to ensure that the output of different engines in F1 was rebalanced, with his Renault power-unit believed to be behind the opposition, Horner fears that if the situation is left unchecked it could result in a single car maker dominating the season.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/81370

Surely that should read "single engine maker" but surely there are only 4 engine makers anyway?

Mercedes
Ferrari
Cosworth
Renault

I can't see any of them leaving any time soon
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
That sounds as daft as it's possible to sound.

The problem is this stupid engine freeze rule. Let engine builders design again.

Could you imagine a football boss saying "the transfer window has closed, it's not fair, my team isn't as good as Man Utd, I demand that the FA equalise the teams by letting us have Wayne Rooney".

It was posted in one of the threads that we should return to the days of a maximum engine capacity and leave it at that. If you want a 2.6 V16 then have one. If you fancy a rotery ****el style engine fill your boots.

Let builders build again.
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
cider_and_toast said:
It was posted in one of the threads that we should return to the days of a maximum engine capacity and leave it at that. If you want a 2.6 V16 then have one. If you fancy a rotery ****el style engine fill your boots.

Now I don't think the greener F1 bosses would like that :D
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
True. So what you do is return to the old turbo era rules.

Here's a standard "fill in the figure" litre tank, your engine must be a max 2.6 litre capacity. The rest is up to you. If you design a thirsty engine then you're going to run out of fuel a few laps from the end. Tough luck.

That way F1 can say it's keeping it green by limiting the amount of fuel the cars can use forcing efficiency but the designers still have a free hand to extract the most amount of power using any ideas from the given available fuel. Oooh I've just thought, some of what they find could have some uses in modern road cars. Now wouldn't that be useful.

Nah, on second thoughts let's just limit every avaiable avenue of development by freezing inovation for years at a time. Far more effective.

:givemestrength:
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Reports are emerging that the Ferrari engine is a bit thirstier than the Renault and therefore both Ferrari's were 10kg heavier at the start of the Bahrain GP than the Red Bulls.

I'd have to do some sums but would this suggest that the Ferrari is a bit quicker (fuel adjusted) than the Red Bull?

Interestingly the same article suggests that the Ferrari unit is the thirstiest on the grid.
I would have thought that would have been the Cosworth.

http://www.planet-f1.com/news/3213/6033653/-Thirsty-F10-Lost-10s-To-RB6-
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
I read a similar story, I think it was Lenny Kravitz's BBC blog*, saying that the disadvantage (to Ferrari) on lap 1 was 0.4s, reducing to 0.2s around halfway, and obviously negligible difference, come the last few laps when both cars would be light on fuel.

If only Renault could build proper spark plugs; if Alonso was truthful <stop sniggering at the back,> in saying he was waiting for the last 10 laps before attempting to pass Vettel, we may well have been deprived of a cracking end to Sunday. Fingers crossed, anyway.


*Note to self: Read the link first, dummy! :whistle:
 

snowy

Champion Elect
There is no doubt in my mind had Vettel not had the problem and had Hamilton not got stuck behind Rosberg we would have had a very interesting if not exhilarating final few laps. Our whole universe could have been so different! In fact I'm going to track down the universe where that happened and move there because I think F1 in this is going to turn to dung. :thinking:

I read a similar story, I think it was Lenny Kravitz's BBC blog, saying that the disadvantage (to Ferrari) on lap 1 was 0.4s, reducing to 0.2s around halfway, and obviously negligible difference, come the last few laps when both cars would be light on fuel.

I thought I read it there and not at PlanetF1, indeed if he is the source then it is BS. :bored:
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Muddytalker said:
If only Renault could build proper spark plugs; if Alonso was truthful <stop sniggering at the back,> in saying he was waiting for the last 10 laps before attempting to pass Vettel, we may well have been deprived of a cracking end to Sunday. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Fernando's fastest lap was very fast compared to everybody else and would have sent a shiver down Sebastian's spine when he looked at the timing data after the race...
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Something that's been bugging me for a while now is Renault's (and Red Bull's) continuous claims that their engine is down on power as they claim they are the only ones who abided by the engine freeze.

Now I might be wrong but aren't Red Bull, powered by Renault engines no less, leading the Drivers' and Constructors' championships?

We have heard Christian Horner several times this year complain that it's unfair that they have an under-powered engine but do they really?

Ferrari were able to make changes on reliability grounds earlier this year and if I remember correctly, Renault also did some work on their engine so is this just a case of Renault trying their hand, or are they really down on power compared to the rest?

The engine regulations are fairly strict but even so there are still differences.

So are Renault correct in their claims?
Does anyone have any links to actual power output and fuel consumption data?

Sam Michael of Williams seems to think Renault are having us on, stating that Renault's claim that they are down on power is "just bullshit".

http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=42116
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
Is it at all possible that an engine which is a few horsepower down on another, if it has better torque and delivers its power more smoothly, might actually be better round a circuit, apart from the out-and-out 'Power' circuits like Monza? Or is power always the be-all and end-all?

In any case, I'm sure that once a certain level is reached, small differences in power output are dwarfed by chassis variations when it comes to overall car performance. Do we actually know what horsepower figures are claimed by the various F1 engine manufacturers?

As can be seen with Williams versus the new teams, who all use the Cosworth engine, there are big differences in overall performance which cannot be attributed to engine power.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
This one is a real hornets nest.Some believe that outright power is the be all and end all of performance.
Others believe that torque is a major factor.
I am of the school who believe that that an engine with slightly less outright power and more torque is the best overall characteristics across all tracks. It will lose out on the outright fastest tracks ie Monza Spa but over the entire season will prove to be the best "package".
Top speed has relatively little to do with lap times.Lap times are more dependent on cornering speeds and an engine with better torque can cope with very high downforce better than a very high power engine with less torque.
Essentially increased torque is trade off between absolute power or torque.An engine with more torque will be far more "driveable" than an engine with absolute power.This debate has been carried on for years between engine tuners.
In my own racing career (not F1) but saloon cars and other open wheel series I adopted the policy many years ago of sacrificing absolute power and in my experience a very limited power band for an engine with more torque and driveability.
Whether or not this anything to do with F1 I have no idea.
 
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