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

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

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

  1. 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.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th September 2010, 21:59

      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.

  2. 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.

    • Alex Bkk said on 19th September 2010, 0:47

      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.

      • ” 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.

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

    • Franton said on 18th September 2010, 17:15

      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.

      • demos12 said on 18th September 2010, 17:50

        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?

        • 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!

        • michael mair said on 18th September 2010, 19:44

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

          • HounslowBusGarage said on 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?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th September 2010, 23:39

            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?

          • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 19th September 2010, 7:45

            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

          • 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.

          • Why wouldnt VAG use Porsche branding?

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

  4. 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

        • 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.,,,,,

  5. 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.

  6. Sutil.M said on 18th September 2010, 20:52

    Great graphs Keith

  7. Sutil.M said on 18th September 2010, 20:52

    And nice article i fogot to mention bad luck for ferrari

  8. Sutil.M said on 18th September 2010, 20:59

    I bet you are REAAALLLYYY anoyed about that dayking.

    Will it affect his title race?

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    • ^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.

  11. Alex Bkk said on 19th September 2010, 1:34

    “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.

  12. 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… )

    • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 19th September 2010, 7:49

      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.

  13. Todfod (@todfod) said on 19th September 2010, 9:16

    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… :)

    • Burnout said on 19th September 2010, 11:52

      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)?

  14. Melchior (@melchior) said on 19th September 2010, 9:55

    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:)

  15. 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.

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