The engine situation with two races to go

Your questions

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

  1. F1Fan said on 2nd November 2010, 15:52

    Keith, Alonso is going to use the Monza engine for the final 2 races, is my understanding. Shouldn’t this put him at a disadvantage in Abu Dabbi ? So if he takes it conservative in Brazil (which is an engine-taxing track), and say he gets 3rd place (presumably behind the 2 RBRs) then he will most likely have to win in Abu Dabbi w/ the same engine doing its 3rd race. Not ideal.

    • Only if it’s Webber doing the winning in Both Brazil and Abu Dhabi. If Vettel wins in Brazil, Alonso is fine coming in 3d in both races.

    • Actually the altitude of Interlagos puts less stress on the engines than usual.

  2. dianna said on 2nd November 2010, 16:23

    I would have more faith in the strength of a Ferrari engine than a RBR one.Vettel has blown up 2?

  3. Mr. Zing Zang said on 2nd November 2010, 17:25

    I praying and doing all sorts of rituals in hope that Alonso blows two engines in a row in these coming races.

  4. I am not getting one thing. Whay cant Alonso use the first engine which was changed in Barain in Brazil and Spa engine in Abu Dhabi ?
    How many races has his Spa engine done ?
    Has he really raced his last 4 races on the same engine ?

  5. Shimks said on 2nd November 2010, 21:36

    Although off-topic, I will give a strong nod to Tom Hogan’s last paragraph:

    You do an amazing job here, Keith. I love reading your and your colleagues’ insights. This is – by far – the most constructive F1 site I have come across. Watching F1 is more enjoyable now for me because I learn so much here.

    I’ll add an apology: I know I don’t have much to add, except the odd silly comment here and there. It’s just my cry for attention. So forgive the daftness – it’s just my character. :D

    Thanks also to everyone who else who adds their comments to articles. Amazing how much knowledge so many of you have.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd November 2010, 21:43

      the most constructive F1 site I have come across

      I think that’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever been paid – and everyone who comments here as well, by the way. Thanks!

    • Clockwork Kitty said on 2nd November 2010, 21:50

      Yup, this is mostly true. Still, there are too many comments of the “I hate such-and-such”, “I hope XX’s engine blows up” etc. variety. As I said earlier today, they should be fined for bringing the blog into disrepute.

      • its just pasionate supporters venting there agravation…this site wuld not be as good as it is without them….inbetween there ranting thay leave valid comments….so live with it

        • Yeah ,thats true. Even if some says one driver’s engine should blow and the other should crash, but they still want their fav driver to win and in turn they support F1 and are F1 lovers.
          Thank u guys.

      • I would say a 10 place grid penalty should be handed out. Although we need a veteran commenter to advise the stewards.

    • Tinothy Katz said on 2nd November 2010, 21:54

      Ditto, Shimks. This site is the most intelligent, informed and objective F1 resource I have ever come across.
      Keith, well done.

  6. Fergal said on 2nd November 2010, 21:44

    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?

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 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!

      • Fergal said on 2nd November 2010, 23:41

        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…

  7. Tinothy Katz said on 2nd November 2010, 21:46

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Omar Roncal said on 3rd November 2010, 2:14

    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

  11. YES YES YES YES YES said on 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

  12. FerrariBoy said on 3rd November 2010, 4:30

    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! :)

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

  14. 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???

  15. 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.

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