Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea, 2010

The engine situation with two races to go

Your questionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea, 2010

Tom Hogan wrote in to ask:

I have been trying to get my head around the engine situation among the championship contenders. Sebastian Vettel?s Korean engine was on its third race, Mark Webber has (barely) used his last engine.

How many does Fernando Alonso have left as he blew a few in the beginning of the year?

On a personal note thank so much for all your work this year you have made following F1 in Australia far more enjoyable than ever.
Tom Hogan

First thing first: you can find an up-to-date list of how many new engines each driver has used on the statistics page here: New engines used.

Drivers can use up to eight engines in a season without a penalty. Once they use a ninth engine they get a ten-place penalty. All five championship contenders have used all eight of their new engines.

But, as Tom points out, Alonso hit the magic eight much earlier than the others:

Driver Round when first used eighth engine
Fernando Alonso Monza (round 14)
Lewis Hamilton Suzuka (16)
Jenson Button Suzuka (16)
Sebastian Vettel Suzuka (16)
Mark Webber Korea (17)

Remember that drivers can use their engines in any order and we don’t have a complete picture of who used which engine in which session (when asked for the data the FIA responded “This kind of information is confidential between each team and the FIA.”)

Therefore Alonso’s engine situation may not be that bad. Remember his engine that was replaced at Bahrain (along with Felipe Massa’s) was later used again in Shanghai. Alonso lost another engine at Malaysia.

Also keep in mind the following regulation ahead of the final race at Abu Dhabi next week:

If an engine is changed in accordance with Article 34.1 the engine which was replaced may not be used during any future qualifying session or race with the exception of the last Event of the Championship.
FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations Article 28.4 (e)

As for Sebastian Vettel, his Korean engine had also done race distances at Germany and Belgium (minus one lap) and the failure was traced to the con rod in the number four piston, according to Peter Windsor.

His Brazilian Grand Prix engine is the same one he used for the Monaco and Singapore Grands Prix – both circuits which do not stress engines too much (a lap of Singapore is 48% full throttle, Monaco 42%, Interlagos 63%).

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77 comments on “The engine situation with two races to go”

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  1. If an engine is changed in accordance with Article 34.1 the engine which was replaced may not be used during any future qualifying session or race with the exception of the last Event of the Championship.
    FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations Article 28.4 (e)

    …Why? This seems very arbitrary. What are the FIA trying to prevent with this? Am I missing something?

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      2nd November 2010, 22:09

      I think what this reg is trying to outlaw is the idea of the ‘qualifying engine’.
      Back in the Seventies and Eighties there were quali engines and super-sticky quali tyres which were put together to produce lunatic performance for a mere handfull of laps.
      This Regulation seems to seek to avoid the return of a quali engine, and to reinforce the idea of the engine that sets the qualifying time is the engine to be raced.
      In other words, it stops a team from having a ‘Wunder-Motor’ that guarantees them fastest time in practice and therefore at least fifth on the grid when they change back to ‘normal’ racing engine.
      However, for an infinitely more insightful explanation and several ideas of how to get around it – ask someone like Ross Brawn!

      1. Good point. I’m still unclear why it suddenly becomes OK to use them on the last race in the championship… and good idea, I may well make use of the BBC’s F1 forum and pester them for an answer…

  2. Surely this is only of passing interest these days. Twenty years ago we had the era of ‘hand-grenade’ engines that regulalry expired part way through the race, but over the past five to ten years, all the engines have been relatively bullet-proof.
    Such are the telemetry controls and observations, I cannot believe that Alonso’s progress to WDC will be thwarted by an engine that may or may not have done excellent service at this track or that track.

    1. Lol… tell that to Vettel…

      1. Yes, okay. You’re right! LOL.

      2. True lol, but remember he did say “relatively”!

  3. Hi Keith,

    Alonso did lose 2 engines earlier in the season (Malaysia race and China Practice) effectively since China Practice he has had 6 engines of which 1 by the time he took his 4th engine in Spain had quite a few miles on it. Effectively since those two early failures each engine has had to do 3 qualifications and races (not to mention practice sessions) where as other teams have only had to do this with a few engines over the course of a season.

    Alonso’s recent engine usuage:

    Engine 6: Germany, Hungary and Singapore
    Engine 7: Spa, Suzuka and Korea
    Engine 9: Monza (only Saturday and Sunday running)

    The issue for Ferrari is that this 8th engine has already completed the toughest GP in regards to engines on the calendar and now has to back up in a title fight at two more engine demanding circuits. Brazil should not be a problem however it would be worrying taking that same engine to Abu Dhabi running in temperatures of around 30-35 celcius with track temperatures much higher and facing the possibility of being stuck in dirty hot air for 309 km’s.

  4. Only Renault & some Cosworth drivers have some new engine left. The biggest question is how much good condition are or how much mileage is left for all those 8 engines that are been used so far.Mat be Vettel & Hamilton are in a better condition as they had more retirement then any other title contenders.

  5. It’s not “sportive” to wish Alonso blows his engines in the last 2 remaining sessions, as it is EDEFINITELY not sportive if he wins the championship by 7 points (the seven points Domenicalli made Massa give to Alonso as an early gift

    3rd November 2010, 4:01

    as far as I know, Alonso is a smooth operator along with Jenson when it comes to throttle control.

    What i don’t know is whether that’s enough to aid them both.

    And what I want is Alonso’s engine to blow up :) much like SCRIBE described

  7. Here some pretty reliable data on the Alonso’s first 4 races taken from the Autosport magazine.

    As for his last 3 engines (#6, #7 & #8), Ferrari are hoping to do all last 9 races of the season with these 3 angines. So far they are doing well…

    „Fernando Alonso won today’s Singapore Grand Prix using the same engine with which he raced in Germany and Hungary. It’s been a successful engine, scoring 68 out of a potential 75 points.

    That engine will now be used for Fridays for the remainder of the season.

    Despite having now used all his eight allocated engines, compared to his rivals Red Bull and McLaren who each have one fresh one to take, Alonso and Ferrari say that their running will not be compromised.

    He has two engines which have both done one race each – Spa and Monza. These will be used across the remaining four races.

    Ferrari say they are calm about the situation, given that the engine with which Alonso did his Friday running this weekend had covered over 2,500kms.“

    James Allen: „Ferrari told me on Sunday night that Alonso’s Singapore engine will be used again for Friday running. Spa and Monza engines with one race on them each will do the Sat/Sun for the remaining events“

    Cheers! :)

  8. Alonso fans .. Take heart from the fact that even new engines can blow up :)

  9. Can I just say, Hamilton should have the use of other engines which haven’t done the full race distance due to the DNF, especially the race at Sing when he crashed in 1FP & only got about 20min test time, didn’t have any FP or qually on the saturday & then DNF too, so doesn’t that give him a better chance with engines over the last 2 races???

    1. If he crashes again in Brazil, he should have a really good one for Abu Dhabi. :)

  10. I’ve done my research, here is a summary of which engine was used where for Alonso:

    #1: Did qualifying in Bahrain, was then assigned to practice sessions and expired in FP at China.
    #2: Did race at Bahrain and China
    #3: Australia and Malaysia (expired in the latter)
    #4: Spain, Monaco and Turkey
    #5: Canada, Europe and Great Britain
    #6: Germany, Hungary and Singapore
    #7: Belgium, Japan and Korea
    #8: Monza

    #8 will be used at Interlagos and Abu Dhabi. It’s not ideal to have the Monza engine do 3 races, but it should probably last, though they will have to manage it.

  11. keith, if you check out, it tells us which drivers have used which engines at which races

    1. No it doesn’t, it only shows where each engine was introduced.

      1. yes, but i would still expect Ferrari to try and keep running to a minimum / reduced power

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