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. Great graphs Keith

  2. And nice article i fogot to mention bad luck for ferrari

  3. I bet you are REAAALLLYYY anoyed about that dayking.

    Will it affect his title race?

  4. Engine durability is and should be part of the game. If F1 is used as the lab to develop better tech for the road, rules regarding # of engines used should stay in F1. This is in par with F1 apparent decision to lower cc and rev in the near future, in addition to introducing “green” solutions like KERS. Therefore, I think those hoping to see the limitations on engine # / calendar disappearing, they will be disappointed. Now, I have no saying re the specific # of engines that should be allowed BUT it should be a “happy medium” = stress the importance of durability but do not compromise the fun of the game. thanks + F1 forever!

  5. I bet alonso is gonna win 2 of the next 3 races,while the present 2 title leaders aren’t gonna finish in 2 of those 3.

    1. ^I bet alonso is gonna win 2 of the next 3 races^
      ha ha…..alonso fans are really crazy……if he wants to win he needs massa to crash or wants to back up or he will do some idiotic things in race and gets a penalty and shouts in radio why hamilton won or how webber is 2nd and cries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!poor guy.

      1. There is only one crazy person here… and that you Rayan !

  6. “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.”

    Ouch! I just reread Sporting Regulation 28.4 again. I don’t know how I got it so wrong as to think it was a 5 space grid penalty for each engine over 8.

    Thanks for the correction Keith.

  7. i dont think its an issue at all;

    8 engines, 17 races…

    that means, one engine has to do three race weekends…

    and if one can, all 8 could…

    so, ferrari haven’t had a problem in a while, and once they fixed that small gremlin they were having, they have said they’re confident their engines can run 1200 km’s + (four race weekends… so… )

    1. yes, but the Ferrari engines have either blown up or already clocked up 1 or 2 race weekends. This puts Mark in the better position as he has 2 engines that have never been raced to do two race weekends each, simple. and the rest of his engines obviously are in good shape to have lasted so long, personally I think RBR will stick an new engine in at Singapore to try and extend the lead and then depending on the points either stick one in at Korea or Japan.

  8. I have a gut feeling that Fernando’s title hopes will come to an end with an engine failure.. either at Suzuka or Interlagos. Dont forget you heard it first… :)

    1. It’d be almost poetic if it happened in Suzuka. That’s where it all went wrong for Michael in ’06. And in a very roundabout way, isn’t he the driver Alonso is looking to replace (as a team leader they can build around)?

  9. I was wondering if Ferrari had been doing some surreptitious engine development work preseason and got caught out reliability wise.I don’t recall such engine problems for them last season.
    On another note,Robert Kubica ran the last 4 races on one engine.Not bad:)

    1. Edit:or perhaps used engines

  10. Extra races and still the allocation of 8?

    I’m a fan of the cap on engines, but I don’t like the idea of a WDC contender losing out because his engine gave up on him in the crucial stages. To quote Tolkien, spreading 8 over the course of the season is a bit like scraping butter over too much bread. An allocation of 10 is still a nod to the greener side of things, while allowing just that extra bit of flexibility for teams. A dying engine does not add to the spectacle, unless you hate the driver who suffers for it.

  11. Kubica used the same engine in 4 consecutive races.
    Britain, HUngary, Belgium and Monza. Incredible.

    Howcome his engine dint fail ?

    1. Or it might not be the same engine but some other engine from the previous races.

      1. 4 Consecutive races without taking a new engine.I immediately thought 4 races on the same engine,but maybe not.
        As you say maybe 2nd hand engine/engines from previous races.
        The Renault engine seems to be reasonably reliable.(I hope i don’t put the mocker on anyone)Kubica has run 3 consecutive races on old engines and Webber has run 3 consecutive races on old engines on 2 separate occasions.I also note that Petrov has only taken 6 new engines this season thus far.
        A very interesting graph.

    2. Those 4 races aren’t consecutive…what about Germany??

      1. I may have got it wrong. It should be germany instead of Britain.

  12. Keith, do you have access to the data about the actual mileage each driver has done on each engine?

    Since Jenson has had 2 DNF’s this year that should help his engine life out (as neither was due to an engine failure – in fact Monaco was to prevent one after the bung was left in) and Lewis also only made it a few corners in Monza…

    1. Afraid not. The teams wouldn’t want to release that information and I don’t believe the FIA do. If anyone has seen it, do say!

  13. Thats the best news i’ve heard all year!

  14. great article Keith, very interesting

  15. the worst possible news I wanted to hear….nevertheless very interesting

  16. how many races had button’s engine at monaco done ?
    the team said that it wasn’t damaged , but if it was ,say , on it’s third race it won’t help him

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