Is the 8 engine rule good for F1?


Staff Member
Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull's owner, has blamed the poor reliability of the Renault engine as the reason for his teams failure to challenge for the 2009 WCC.

It is increasingly likely that one or both of the Red Bull drivers will suffer 10 place grid drop penalties due to exceeding their allocation of 8 engines.

In addition, Red Bull have stated that their practice and qualifying sessions for the last few races have been compromised as they are nursing the few remaining engines they have left.

Is the 8 engine rule good for F1?
Should it be right that racing is compromised due to an arbitrary limit placed on a component?
It's not as if the number chosen makes much sense. There are 17 races this year so the limit should be 9 which would mean each engine having to do 2 races.
Next year when the number of races is increased to 19, the engine limit will remain the same so even more teams could be affected.

The rule was brought in for good reasons, to reduce costs.
However, if that is at the expense of racing and competition then surely it needs to be reviewed?

Surely no-one wants to see a WCC or WDC won by default?
If Brawn-Mercedes can keep 8 engines for a season, say, I have no sympathy for those that cannot since they have failed to show a similar level of consistency.

If you cannot produce components that last for long enough as per the rules, you will not deserve to win the Championship.
My take on this is that all teams are inb the same boat. If you get supplied a rubbish part, then that is a problem with the people you are doing business with. If it is the way you are using that part (which is what seems to be the problem [Renault aren't habving these issues]), then that is also your own problem.

I actually think the engine freeze is a good idea, it makes the manufacturers think more on their designs and helps engine life in road cars (be it through use of lubricants/fuel/parts etc). This is really where F1 needs to be looking if it wants to try to keep the manufacturers.

Even within Red bull, it seems it is only one driver having the issues. If it is the way he treats the car, then perhaps he needs to change the way he drives slightly (This has been said about other drivers, but it seems no one is saying it about Vettel).
I take the point that all teams and drivers are in the same situation but it will still be a shame for the sport if a team or driver wins the WCC or WDC by default purely because of penalties.

I can't really think of any other way to do it though.
If the grid drops are replaced with financial penalties then that goes against the point of it and the richer teams will be able to absorb the cost anyway.

Oh well.

Perhaps a single engine supplier is the answer ;)
Brogan said:
Perhaps a single engine supplier is the answer ;)

That's a gunpowder/match comment if ever I saw one! Anyway, Red Bull have found a convenient scapegoat in Renault when Vettel's crashes or Webber's poor qualifying performance and dodgy pitstops could be blamed!
Restricting engine numbers does potentially compromise a drivers ability to challenge for the title and doesn't seem true to the sport. From my perspective one engine per weekend seemed like a good compromise between cost and racing. If you can't make an engine last one weekend (even if your name is Vettel) then you don't deserve to win anything. And one race compromised by an engine blow up shouldn't destroy a drivers season.

BTW, any news on Red Bull's attempt to subvert the rules by taking two new engines in Malayasia, thus only coping for one 10 place grid drop?
I'm not sure Red Bull are subverting the rules by taking two new engines to Malaysia, rather working within them. You got 8 engines, use them when and where you wish and face the consequences if engine #9 is used.

It may confuse the data as we understand it as to who has how many engines left, but when have they ever wanted to let us into the loop? (I'm expecting Bernie to shut the site down any time now!)
If Red Bull carry out what they suggested then it will be another instance of something that is within the rules but not within the spirit of the rules.

If the FIA want to stop it, they can simply publish a clarification can't they?

This article in F1-Live is quite timely: Engine 'de-freeze' possible at end of 2009

Rival F1 engine manufacturers could be permitted to catch up with the sport's pacesetter Mercedes.

It is clear that Mercedes, supplier of the McLaren, Brawn and Force India teams, possesses what is currently the best engine in the field.
Renault was permitted by the FIA last winter to catch up with the engine pace, and it is now believed that it is the Toyota V8 on the bottom of the pile.
So once again we end up with a fudged situation - a freeze that isn't a freeze for Renault 1 year, then Toyota the next and so on...
This is why the whole freeze thing is absurd. I don't really have a problem with the 8 engine rule because it's all part of the cost cutting drive and if it wasn't a rule here it would be applied somewhere else. Yes it promotes teams pulling out of a race instead of pushing on so that they can save the engine (BMW this weekend?) and yes it means that teams run with lower revs and have to be more conservative but it could be worse.

As for the engine freeze, Why oh Why? The trouble is, is that it's always going to favour the teams that are on top at the time. Imagine if engine development was frozen for 3 years in 1996 or 1988?

Let the engine makers have un-restricted development but at the same time enforce a maximum price for customer engine deals. That way it's up to the engine manufacturer if they wan't to spend hundreds of millions on development they will only get back what they can sell. The works team would have the same engine as the customer and therefore the benifit of any development wouldn't be restricted to just one team.

What's the difference between a team spending millions on a never ending stream of Aero parts that seem to pop up on the cars at every race but a ban on engine development? Each team has to develop and pay for it's own aero research which must cost a fortune but the cost of engine development is carried by the maker not the customer team. By introducing a fixed price the smaller teams could still afford the engine and remain isolated from development costs while the engine builder would have the choice of how much they wished to spend on engines.

The number of engines per season could still remain in place so that you start with 8 and if a new engine upgrade is brought in then it replaces one of your unused engines. If all your engines have been used then no new upgrades can be brought in. That way those cheeky blighters don't get the advantage of an all new engine replacing one that has completed a race but not blown up.

Not sure this is the right thread for this but the FIA have issued a statement about engines.

Following suggestions that there is a differential between the performance of engines used in Formula One, the World Motor Sport Council has decided that should this be the case, and should the teams wish to eliminate this performance differential, they may be allowed to do so by reducing the performance of the more powerful engines. However, no engine upgrades will be allowed.
So are we to presume McLaren/Brawn/Force India and whoever else goes with Mercedes are going to have performance restrictions placed on their engines?
This is proof if ever it was needed that freezing doesn't work.
the World Motor Sport Council has decided that should this be the case, and should the teams wish to eliminate this performance differential, they may be allowed to do so by reducing the performance of the more powerful engines.

Perhaps at the begining of the year, when it was obvious the Brawn chassis/aero package was streets ahead of everyone else's, the FIA should have broken bits off the Brawn car to make it go slower. :givemestrength:
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