No new engines left for Alonso while championship leader Webber has two

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2010

Heading into the final five races Fernando Alonso is at a disadvantage with his engines.

He has no new engines left to use this season, while all his title rivals have at least one and Mark Webber has two.

How will this affect the championship battle? See below for data on the teams’ engine use this year.

Each driver may use a maximum of eight engines during a season. They get a ten-place grid penalty the first time they use any further engines.

Teams use old race engines for practice running on Friday, so don’t be surprised if we see some of those going pop.

Alternatively teams may choose to limit the amount of practice they do. Remember how Sebastian Vettel missed almost all of first practice at Monza last year.

If a team considers it inevitable that they will have to use a ninth engine, they may choose to do so tactically. Better to take a ten-place grid drop at Interlagos or Yas Island than a track like Suzuka or Singapore where overtaking is more difficult.

And, as we saw with Pedro de la Rosa at Spa, if a driver has qualified at the back and has already used his eighth engine, they may take the opportunity to open up a ninth and take the grid penalty when it doesn’t matter.


Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will have to contest the all of the final five races with used engines.

The good news for them is that the next track on the calendar, Singapore, is the least-demanding in terms of engine use. It’s the only track on the calendar where the drivers are at full throttle for less than half of the lap (48%, according to Mercedes).

Ferrari have been a step behind their rivals on engine use for most of the season, after it changed the engines in both of its cars in Bahrain.

Those engines were examined and re-used in China. The team later made changes to its engines, with the permission of the FIA, and has had no apparent problems since introducing the revised versions in Spain.

Ferrari must have confidence in their remaining engines as they felt happy to use new ones for both of the last two races at power-hungry tracks.

However Alonso may have less total life in his remaining engines than Felipe Massa, following his engine failure in Malaysia. Ferrari said at the time:

Fernando?s engine suffered a structural failure, of a type we had never seen during the winter. We believe there was a role played by the unusual way in which the driver had to use the engine during the race, because of the gear selection problems he experienced right from the start.

Keep an eye on the Friday mileages to see if Ferrari shift more of the development work towards his team mate.


Red Bull have been more concerned with the performance of their Renault engines than reliability.

Some problems that were originally blamed on their engines later turned out to be weaknesses in other areas – such as Vettel’s brake sticking during the race at Monza.

Mark Webber has had a couple of stoppages during practice with apparent engine problems, in Istanbul and Monza.

But on the whole things are looking better for Red Bull than they did this time last year.

Webber, along with both drivers from the factory Renault team have managed to save two new engines so far.

This should give them the opportunity to turn the revs up in some of the later races. And, given how competitive the R30 has been, this could cause some headaches for the championship front-runners.


If you’re building an F1 car of your own then the engine you want to get your hands on is the Mercedes-Benz FO 108X.

McLaren, Force India and the works Mercedes team have made excellent use of their Brixworth-built V8s this year.

Indeed, the patterns of use between the six drivers who have them are near-identical. All six used a new engine for the first time at Monza last weekend, and all six still have one more fresh engine left.

The best of the ‘power tracks’ have been and gone this year. But there are still places where the Mercedes’ grunt will come to the aid of these teams – on the uphill climb from Juncao at Interlagos, through the final sector at Suzuka, and down the two long straights at Yas Island.

New engines used in 2010
New engines used in 2010

See here for a list of how many engines each driver has used this year: New engines used in 2010

Image ?? Ferrari spa

104 comments on “No new engines left for Alonso while championship leader Webber has two”

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  1. No, no no! That’s not the news I wanted to hear! Nevertheless, great graphs and article Keith.

    1. Yes, yes, yes! That’s definately the news i wanted to hear! Go Webber!

  2. Two points of note:

    a) Bring back the grenades
    b) I think Alonso should take the grid penalty at Singapore. He could start on the lesser superior tyres, make an early pitstop, and then have Massa crash very soon afterwards. Felipe is after all working for the team.

    Sorry couldn’t help myself.

    1. That was results baby, not Ferrari’s or Alonso’s.

    2. Well said….I love it….

    3. It might just work for them. Look at the carnage, if Massa does a press conference before the Singapore race where he announces he will not be driving after being “kindly asked” to do what is best for the team and now tells them to stick it up their … .

      Then goes on to announce he will be driving with Renault next year, who had at least the courage to admit being in the wrong and throwing out the guys responsible and change their ways.

  3. Hopefully the new engine formula for 2013 will put an end to this long-life nonsense. I don’t want to see every driver going through four engines every weekend, but in my view seeing everybody running conservatively to preserve their engines – particularly as we approach the end of the season – takes a lot of the fun out of it.

    Particularly I hope that engine issues don’t force one of the championship leaders out of contention. That could blunt what would otherwise be a fascinating championship.

    1. Don’t get your hopes up. The new magic words for F1 are safe, durable and green. Using more engines is not durable and not green. But I agree it kills a bit of the excitement. Plus the grid penalties are stupid.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        18th September 2010, 12:53

        This is what the manufacturers want – for Formula 1 to be road-relevant. A cap on engine usage is how the FIA enforces it: high performance engines get longevity.

        If you’re going to have a set engine allocation, you need to have consequences for going over it. Otherwise, teams will just use nineteen engines in a season. And if those consequences should not take the shape of a grid penalty, how should they be delivered? A fine? Do you really think a hundred thousand dollars will stop the teams from simply replacing worn-out engines? Or how about ineligibility to score points? That would just make the racing pointless; no-one will race if there are no points at stake.

        A grid penalty is the easiest and the most efficient way to enforce the engine allocation. Yes, ten places is harsh, but the message is pretty clear: if you want to avoid a grid penalty, make your engines last. It’s not like the sport has become any less competitive because of it – last year, Jenson Button used the same engine to win at Bahrain, Barcelona and Monaco, the first time one engine won three straight races in the modern era of the sport.

        1. But is it really road-relevant? It’s only road relevant in a marketing sense. Look everybody our F1 cars with their turbo’s are winning, go buy our road going version of it (which actually has nothing to do with the F1 car but you don’t know that you stupid costumers). Everybody who knows a thing or two about cars know turbo’s can put out a lot of power, everyone also knows they have longevity. It’s nothing new. It’s just a cheap solution that keeps performance and cost levels equal for another 10 years till all road cars have electric motors and then F1 has to go all electric all of a sudden. Road-relevant for me would mean they impose a budget limit , a horsepower limit and an set amount of fuel everyone could use in 1 race. And how they propulse there cars? Teams could develop whatever they want for that. ferrari could develop the most fuel efficient v8 in the world because they have those in a lot of their road cars. Toyota could come back with an improved KERS system. Maybe someone would make the world first fully electric F1 car. They would all have the same power, but different strengths and weaknesses. Then F1 would be really road-relevant, instead of just marketing relevant. Plus it would reward creativity more.

          As for the second part of your comment, I can’t really argue with that, although I still disagree with the rule. I wish drivers wouldn’t be stopped and forced to save their car because they can’t use another engine without being punished. Or forced to take a grid penalty if their 8th engine blows up. It’s a 300 km sprint race, of which all 300 km should be asking a hundred percent of car and driver.

          1. yeah, also whats the point in trying to encourage engine longevity when there’s a freeze on engine development?

          2. Alex and most others, F1 will end up being like formula honda aka irl………… Please let them race and if they burn up engines so be it. Also, kers sucks in my opinion…….. this has nothing to do with racing, but it has everything to do with some green idea that most and I say most really do not give a squat about in a race car…….. race car. When the Japanese quit killing whales I will reconsider kers, maybe………. Thanks, R & R

        2. webber would have done 3 wins on the same engine if it wasn’t for vettel in turkey!!!!

          1. Prisoner Monkeys
            19th September 2010, 0:37

            That would only be impressive if it was the first time it happened. Button beat him to it by a whole year.

    2. I agree, really. Even if they increased it from 8 to 10 or 11 would be nice. The calendar keeps increasing but the limit does not – next years 20 races will be interesting on 8 engines.

      But ultimately I prefer the flexibility of giving them a number per season than the old “one race must last 2 consecutive events” thing.

      And at least it’s not MotoGP, where they have a similar engine limit except if you’re Suzuki where they just randomly let you have more anyway because you’re rubbish.

      1. Of course I mean “one engine must last 2 consecutive events” :-D

      2. Is that so? That’s funny.

        1. The rule for MOTO GP is if the team hasn’t one a race in the dry in the last 18 monthes then they are allowed 3 extra engines for the season.

    3. WHAT? Having to balance performance with engine durability, makes it MORE interesting, not less.

      The element of which engine supplier makes the most durable engines is also cool.

    4. Ah but it will not be much different in 2013. Only they will have less engine units and possibly a fuel limit as well.

  4. If Alonso has any sort of engine failure at any time for the rest of the season that’s pretty much it for him. We’ll see now, this is where Ferrari as the Manufacturer not as the Scuderia can really come into play.

    Still, I’d be fairly confident that they won’t have any engine issues. They’ve still got a decent pool of engines to use.

    1. On top of that they were allowed to upgrade their engine to fix reliability problems. Their engines could be the most reliable now.

  5. hmmmm Suzuka & Interlagos could be pivotal weekends with this information in mind….. :) – watch this space !

  6. Prisoner Monkeys
    18th September 2010, 12:34

    Ah, poetic justice. My favourite kind.

    1. Dont count your chickens until they hatch.

      1. Do you genuinely believe Alonso can still win the championship whilst doing five races on a used engine? And with most of those engines having already done two or three races?

        1. Well, the Spa and Monza engines were only used for one week-end. Let’s assume each one will at least last for one more GP. That leaves us with three more GPs to go. I think they are probably going to use a different used engine every time. Then don’t forget that, except Malaysia, Ferrari engines proved to be quite reliable so far.

          1. In the Ferrari’s at least!!

  7. Great Article Kieth, finally i can read F1fanatic after almost a month in Halifax, which is a good place expect for some minor things (yeah im talking about you Earl!). But you never know maybe Alonso can use Massa’s engine, or better yet his car…. its possible

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      18th September 2010, 12:46

      Actually, the rules forbid drivers swapping engines and/or cars. It’s like drivers using tyres that are not their own – Force India accidentally put Liuzzi’s tyres on Sutil (and vice versa) at Hockenheim, and they were forced to pit the drivers straight away to swtich them back. Even then, they got hit with a fine for it. If Alonso used one of Massa’s engines, it would be counted as one outside of his allocation and he’d get a ten-place grid penalty regardless … if the FIA didn’t just disqualify him outright. At least he’d have a chance at some points with a grid penalty. One failure to score (whether through DNF, disqualification or simply failing to place in the top ten) kills his championship, especially if one of the other four wins the race because then he needs two race wins from four races just to draw level with them, assuming the other four don’t score in those two races.

      Better to take the ten-place penalty than to do something stupid with Massa’s engines.

      1. You on a roll of great comments ^^
        If you don’t get the next COTD I’ll fall off my chair.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          18th September 2010, 13:42

          My plan for the year is to walk away with the most COTDs of the year. So far I’ve had three or four … but I’m not winning.

        2. Agreed, nice posts Prisoner Monkeys!

      2. Do u really think Ferrari is that stupid to think something like this. They are the oldest and most successful team in F1 history.

      3. What you say makes sense, but for one thing: what about Sakon Yamamoto? He has swapped cars! He drove 1 race in place of Senna, and since then has driven races in place of Chandahok. How exactly was his engine allocation worked out? And does that provide a loop-hole for one of the other teams?

        1. The race with Senna’s car was counted towards that car/drivers engine limit and the other ones are with the other car.

          In a way you are right though, what is the difference if Alonso and Massa swap cars?

          How ist the “car” defined, as it certainly is not by chassis, as those get changed more often and are switched between drivers (Webber now using Vettels etc.).

          Is it clearly defined an how. Could you have a look at that Keith?

          1. It’s probably defined by which car carries which number. Say engines with serial numbers so-and-so are allotted to car number X. That would seem the most logical system to me.

            And if the FIA already have a list of which engine numbers go with which car number they can do a surprise check anytime to confirm.

            Of course I might be completely wrong, but that how I think it works

  8. Man, Alonso’s gear problem in Malaysia is what made that race memorable for me. Such a shame it caused his engine to blow in what would have been a well-deserved finish!

    Also, we seem to have missed Cosworth in the list? hehe

    1. oh my bad, we’re referring to the title contenders here!

      1. Mark only scored nothing once this year, statistically he will retire in one of the last races.

        1. Oh right, because when I flip a coin and get a head, then statistically I *know* I’ll get a tail next time.

        2. That’s not right. Statistics do not work that way.

  9. Its not as bad as it seems…ferrari have managed to use a single engine over 3 weekends.with that in mind ,the brand new engines that they have used in the past 2 races still have 2 races each left in them plus the engine used in germany has 1 race still left in it bringing the total to 5 races.let the games begin…FORZA THE SCUDERIA

    1. But it will be a bit tight if they suffer problems with any of those units. I think it is a serious disadvantage to Alonso and an advantage for Webber in the WDC battle.

    2. spa engine didn get a full run???ferrari have trick or up their sleves

  10. While I am for the 8-engine rule, I don’t like that rule to dictate driver strategies at the ‘business end’ of the championship, especially, such a close one.

    Formula One should replicate the strategy used by FIFA for Football world cups with regards to yellow cards. FIFA, at the end of the quarter finals, issues penalties to whoever who has accumulated two yellows till then, and nullifies the yellows of all those who have just 1 yellow.

    Thus, in the semi-finals, no player is worried about getting a yellow as he knows he won’t be missing the final. It allows all teams to play at full potential.

    F1 should allow 6 engines to be used till the 16th round. Then allow everyone a 7th engine at the 17th round, and a 8th engine at the 19th and final round.

    1. I was wondering about something similar earlier in the day, after I posted my initial comments above. Another way to do it would be to divide the season in half (20 races next year makes it easier). Allow 4 or 5 engines for the first ten races, then another 4 or 5 for the last ten. Wouldn’t solve the issue of conservatism towards the end of the season completely, but it might improve the situation a bit.

  11. I think Kubica is looking handy for a win in these last few races you know. If he times it wisely, he can be on a fresh engine while everyone else is managing themselves for the title on two race, maybe even three race, old engines. Couple that with Renault’s aero development pace and the rumours of Kimi coming back, I think that Robert may just have the extra motivation and extra performance to sneak 25 points somewhere. I’d love to see it!

  12. Webber commented last year that the Renault engine keeps it’s power level high even when there is a lot of mileage on the engine. This meant that they can use the engines longer, although they then are more prone to blowing up.

    Which was exactly what we saw, a lot of engines blowing up during practice.

    They had only one engine blow up during a race (Vettel in Valencia)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Horner actually was happy with their engine blow ups in practice since he likes to play the underdog.

    The STR drivers were obliged to run their Ferrari engines to a very high mileage on friday. They were complaining about a severe performance drop off. So much so that their friday work was useless because when they bolted on a fresh engine for saturday, the car behaved very different.

    In the end I don’t think the situation for Alonso is that dire. He got a new engine on saturday for Spa and another new one on saturday for Monza. These 2 engines should be able to do 6 races and so far they only have done 2 (out of 7).

    1. Your right Patrickl, even Ted Kravitz mentioned the Renault Engines seem to open up after several hundred kilometres and get more power, the trade off is they chew themselves to pieces.

      Which is funny since Webber, Kubica and Petrov still have plenty of engines this year.

      All in all I think the Renault engine is pretty tasty this year, good drive ability, mechanical traction and it seems to be the strongest at EBD.

  13. Excellent article Keith. Webber seems to have advantages all over the place, fresh engines and remaining circuits suiting the RBR. But something tells me we are going right down to the last turn at Interlagos (again) to decide the WDC. I think Vettel will win in Singapore and from there we will have the current 5 drivers within just a few points among them all.

    1. The season ends in Abu Dhabi, not in Interlagos.

  14. After a team uses an engine will they take it apart and clean the whole thing and stuff, or is it sealed?

  15. Lewis also has one extra engine (’cause he didn’t use it in Italy).

    1. He used it in qually, ans Saturday practice. Other drivers have had DNFs too (e.g. Button in Monaco)

  16. Funny Vettel got a new chassis and new engine at Istambul!

    Renault have always done good in Singapore. Appart from the crash-gate, Alonso was surprisingly fast that weekend in 2008. And in 2009, with that horrible R29, he got a podium.

    Wonder why, really. Maybe the engine works a lot better at night, when there’s less pressure, cooler temperatures and so on. Maybe it gains a lot more than other engines?.

    I’d say 1-2-3 Renault next race. A bit like Monaco, really.

    1. Temps at Singapore at night are higher than some courses during the day. I think it may have more to do with the course suiting Alonso, rigging the race in ’08, and a bit of luck in ’09. That said, the R30 looks like it could make Renault even stronger this year at Singapore.

  17. Will ALonso be able to use the same engine that failed in Malaysia by repairing it?

    Ferrari are struggling, I wonder whether they may be power trouble in the end like Brazil & Abu Dhabi. Mercedes looks the safest among them.

    1. No, the engines are sealed by F1 and no moving parts may be replaced. If the seal is broken by someone other than the F1A then it’s ouch ouch ouch! for the offending party.

      1. ” The team later made changes to its engines, with the permission of the FIA”

        So can’t they take the permission & then make some changes.

  18. I’m surprised no team has used a diesel engine, are there rules against it?

    1. No point in F1 where power rules. Diesels only come in handy for things like Le Mans 24hr race where stopping in the pits for fuel less times helps a lot.

      1. but surely, since diesel is 20-40% more fuel efficient than petrol, at tracks like monaco & hungary it would make more of a difference due to the large decrease in weight?

        1. diesel engines are way heavier than petrol ones…

          even with the fuel weight difference, the power and the engine weight are far better in petrol engines…

          so no, in short term! unless someone brings a radical design of some sort!

        2. cant develope the power without a turbo, (not allowed)

          1. HounslowBusGarage
            18th September 2010, 23:14

            Come 2013, it may be a different question. With 4 oor 6 cylinder turbo engines, plus an overall increase in minimum weight, there may be a place for a diesel on the grid.
            Could this be the opportunity that Audi are waiting for?

          2. VAG have been sitting in on the FIA future powertrain discussions. But would they use the Audi brand or something more prestige like Bentley, Bugatti or Lamborghini?

          3. I think VW will enter, the only question is what name they will enter under, if diesel is allowed then I believe they will use the AUDI moniker, if not then it will be Bugatti or Lamborghini. I don’t think Bentley will be used as the name connotation is with big heavy vehicles.

            And another factor regarding the name is who VAG want to target, is it Mercedes or Ferrari this will contribute to whether they use AUDI or Lamborghini

          4. If VW AG gets to buy Lancia like they were rumoured to be having a go at, it might even be the brand they’ll use for a shot at F1.

            I would prefer Lamborghini though, that marque has something to set right after their largely unsuccessfull end in the 90s.

          5. Why wouldnt VAG use Porsche branding?

    2. I think the rules that they need to use Gasoline engine.

  19. Ferrari can always take a cue from Red BUll from 2009 where Vettel was in similar situation. He did a little running in Practices but went on to win Abu Dhabi GP.
    Massa will do the maximum running in practices and all is not lost for ALonso.
    He should try to gain maximum points in the next 2-3 races coz if he doesnt score many in these, there is no point saving the engines (used ones)for final races.
    Give his maxiumum in next 2-3 races and see where he stands.

    1. gill…. you always want alonso to come and cooly win…it will not happen…as u say they cant sacrifice massa….as alonso needs him in some way or the other

      1. Thats wat I said Rayan, Alonso needs Massa to do more of the running in practices. Since Alonso is my fav. driver, I want him to win and thats not wrong.
        If you dont want Alonso to win , its right on ur part.
        But the suggestion I gave here are as doable and practical as it goes.

        1. no i mean…if massa uses his engines more in practice as u say ,his engine may blow up in race…which doesnt help alonso
          example if in singapore alonso wins and massa is in 2nd not allowing web or ham to 2nd is nice for alo and ferrari..rather a engine blow up.,,,,,

  20. Well, if anything, you gotta feel bad for Nick Heidfeld. Returning to F1 directly on engine allocations must be absolutely… dreadful, considering that he’s trying to make an impression for a 2011 drive.

    1. It’s not that bad for him. Pedro dl Rosa already took the 9th engine and penalty in Spa, so now he is more or less free to use the engines as needed.

      1. Is there not a 10place drop for each additional engine though?

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