Ferrari warns 2014 fuel limit could spoil racing

2014 F1 season

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2013Ferrari’s head of engines Luca Marmorini says the team is concerned about the planned fuel flow limit which will come into force from next year.

The FIA confirmed on Thursday cars will have a maximum fuel limit of 100kg during races in 2014. Cars will also be limited to using no more than 100kg of fuel per hour and be fitted with an FIA fuel flow meter to ensure compliance.

“Ferrari feels this could be a danger,” said Marmorini. “We like Formula One to consider efficiency, but we don?t like Formula One to be a sport where you are cruising for 50% of the laps.”

Each manufacturer will only be allowed to homologate one engine design for 2014 to 2010. The FIA says changes will only be allowed “for installation, reliability or cost saving reasons”.

Marmorini expects the scope for alterations to the engine to decrease each year: “With a completely new power unit, some sort of development from the first to the second year has to be done.”

“The amount of modifications you can do will reduce each year, from a fair amount of modifications for the first year and then in the second and third years, the number of modifications will be reduced. By the third and fourth years we will come to a situation which is very similar to what we have right now.”

The maximum power units available per car during a season will decrease from eight to five, which Marmorini says will present a test of reliability:

“It will be difficult to run the season without issues, considering we are talking about four to five thousand kilometres per unit which is almost double what we are doing right now.”

Another challenge to keeping the unit reliable will be coping with the heat rejection of the turbocharger: “In most cases people will locate their turbos in the central rear part of the engine and therefore near the electronics and the temperatures can reach a 1,000C and that won?t be an easy matter to deal with. Managing temperatures will be one of the main areas we will have to work on.”

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88 comments on Ferrari warns 2014 fuel limit could spoil racing

  1. Traverse (@) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:46

    I agree with Ferrari. If the FIA want to be more fuel efficient and/or conserve money, they could reduce the number of practice sessions to 2 or reduce the length of races (fewer laps).

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:54

      It’s called fuel EFFICIENCY for a reason

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:55

      @hellotraverse I think the crucial question is how far designers will go in reducing the amount of drag their cars create so they aren’t being penalised on fuel use.

      There is obviously a temptation for designers to pile on as much downforce as possible (increasing drag and fuel consumption) because that’s they way you get lap time and pole position.

      But if a team takes that too far and has to spend half the race going slowly to save fuel (as Marmorini says) they may be incapable of keeping their rivals behind. Those rivals might have built more efficient cars with less downforce that can be driven flat-out for longer.

      So I think there is potential for some variety and unpredictability in the racing. But I also think there will be one combination of variables which works best and one team will hit upon it and probably have a significant advantage.

      • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:03

        You can still go for a high downforce design as long as the bulk of the downforce comes from the diffuser because that downforce or ground effect is virtually drag free. You can then use your wings to trim to the optimum. Red Bull should be in the box seats.

        • DaveD (@daved) said on 2nd July 2013, 20:40

          You’ve hit the nail on the head here! They keep forcing the teams to use a totally flat bottom and front and rear wings for 97% of the downforce. If you let them turn the car into an upside down “lifting body” then they could greatly reduce the wings and hence drag.
          The designers complain of how expensive it would be to re-design the floor…but they sure don’t seem to have any issues spending time and money on every millimeter of the rest of the car and incredible time/expense on the front wings and how they affect flow over the rest of the car….so I’m not buying that.
          They’re just afraid Adrian will kick their butt even worse if he’s given a free hand on aero on the entire car LOL

          The real advantage of doing this would be that passing could be easier. a lifting body is not nearly as susceptible to the airflow off the leading car as front wings are! We could actually have passing without having to resort to DRS!!!

        • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 3rd July 2013, 8:42

          I don’t think there is much scope for exhaust blown diffusers next year as i think the exhaust location is quite different

      • Manished said on 2nd July 2013, 12:04

        team often run the weekend with different engine map i think. Quali, race and wet.

      • Traverse (@) said on 2nd July 2013, 16:51

        The problem with the 2014 fuel regs is they will encourage the reduction of expansive innovation by concentrating the bulk of design on one aspect of the car’s performance. Teams will prioritise the development of component that increase the fuel efficiency, to the detriment of components and upgrades that improve raw speed, with the focus on winning at the slowest pace possibly – expect more races like the cruise-fest that was Monaco 2013 as the focus would be on endurance rather than out-right speed.

        All of this “let’s save the planet” nonsense is taking over rational thought, which (the majority of the time) results in silly decisions being made without the overall effects being fully considered. We’ve moved from V12’s to V8’s, next year it’ll be 1.6 litre V6 engines – maybe one day we’ll have a 0 litre V-nothing and drivers will push their cars around the track, that’ll be the height of fuel efficiency! :)

        Don’t get me wrong, I respect the drive for improved efficiency (even if the word is now getting on my man-boobs!), I just don’t want it to become the main focus of what is the premier racing formula. For me, speed must be paramount! Besides, there are plenty of other aspects of F1 that could be reined in a bit to save money, such as not forcing race tracks that have perfectly sufficient pit/paddock facilities to rebuilt at a ridiculous cost, a cost that is then passed down to the good old F1 racegoer (I’m looking at you Silverstone!).

    • ^Mo^ said on 2nd July 2013, 12:12

      @hellotraverse Instead of complaining, Ferrari could also see this as a challenge to make the most fuel efficient engine. Anyone can create an engine that outputs a ginormous amount of BHP, but it’s a great challenge to do so while still maintaining fuel efficiency. Formula 1 prides itself to be the pinnacle of motorsport; well, let’s see it happen then.

      • Velocityboy (@velocityboy) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:25

        Yes but his point is you don’t get there right out of the box. It’s an iterative process where you start with something then continually improve it until you get where you want to be, but the rules will not permit that process.

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:47

          @velocityboy True, it takes time to develop, but the maximum fuel rate is the target they need to hit. There’s no minimum power spec; they will simply have to build an engine which gives the maximum power you can reasonably get from that fuel flow limit with the added technology. I mean, that’s the challenge isn’t it. There’s no point in building an engine that can run at 800bhp but only for ten laps then needs to be turned down to 500 to make sure you don’t run out of fuel. You’re better off building something with an average amount of power, that’ll allow the driver to actually drive as hard as they can in the race.

          I agree that it’s stupid not to allow continual development, but then you’ll just end up with scary sums of money being spent by the top people, and everyone else being disadvantaged. That’s why they stopped it in the first place. Plus let’s face it, these engines have been on the cards for several years already. If the teams and Ecclestone could have stopped their pathetic little squabbles and thought about the bigger picture,t hey could have got the engine formula set years ago, giving them plenty of time to develop the technology to a mature level before it ever hit the race track. The fact they haven’t is simply a result of their own inability to come to an agreement. As usual in F1…

      • ducatiusa (@ducatiusa) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:41

        Unfortunately the pinnacle of Motorsport usually come with the best performances best drivers and best tracks, in the case of the NEW f1 those factors are slowly but surely disappearing so the SHOW can be more accessible to new markets and SALE more stuff…. Long gone are the days of different engines configurations and when be a good driver would still guarantee you a seat. Let s race a bunch of hybrids a bit slower…. Would it still be fun?

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 3rd July 2013, 7:10

      @hellotraverse You miss the point entirely.

      If the FIA want to be more fuel efficient and/or conserve money, they could reduce the number of practice sessions to 2 or reduce the length of races (fewer laps).

      The point isn’t to just burn less fuel during the race. The point is to create an engineering challenge for the teams and for the engine providers. The point is to open the door for new, innovative ideas. To shift the focus from aero development to other areas.

      I think guys at Ferrari know that their argument is bogus. Racing and fuel efficiency are not mutually exclusive, and it might be the key to some new, exciting and road relevant technologies. They know the amount of fuel and they know their job. That job is to create a racing car, not a cruiser. To create a car that goes around the track as fast as possible. We will only see cars “cruising 50% of the time” if teams fail, and if they fail they’ll become back-markers. That’s what they’re afraid of. Personally, I love this uncertainty.

  2. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:49

    Each manufacturer will only be allowed to homologate one engine design for 2014 to 2010.

    What exactly are the rules on engine development, are no changes for performance reasons allowed after the first race of 2014? And with fuel economy playing a crucial role, what about developments that makes the engine more efficient?

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:51

    Isn’t it more to do with the maximum fuel flow limit, that will force teams to run very lean for a significant proportion of each race?

  4. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:56

    Or the drivers could pedal the cars like kiddie karts.

    Bring back the racing!!

  5. Matthijs (@matthijs) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:58

    Setting the engines on a very lean mix does imply drivers cruising around. They can very well still be racing and pushing, even though his engine is turned down.

    • Matthijs (@matthijs) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:59

      - their engines are -

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:54

      @matthijs – it all depends. If the engines simply get turned down, it could add extra strategic elements into the race. I know that teams already have systems that can monitor revs to work out what other teams are doing with engines so the FIA should make this something that is visable to spectators via the on-screen graphics.

      If it’s just a case of the drivers having to lift and any information on engine setting hidden, we’ll just be looking at cars and drivers operating at 50% for most of the race and I can’t see how that ties in with what F1 is all about.

  6. Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 2nd July 2013, 11:59

    Ferrari make a fair point here to be honest. I think the added efficiency of the new engines in terms of reduced capacity plus turbos and ERS is a sensible progressive idea, and one that has encouraged a huge name back to the sport in the form of Honda. But the idea of the drivers running at 50% of the engines output for half the race to meet the fuel restrictions runs very close to the coasting around we’ve seen on this years troublesome tyres from Pirelli. I think the efficiency savings would be great enough with the factors above; but give the engines enough fuel to run at least to the levels they currently are.
    Fuel saving, and turbo boost for that matter, are not new in F1, but if there is a situation where drivers aren’t pushing we have evidence from this season, it leaves the drivers, teams, commentators and fans all unhappy with the results.

  7. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:02

    While it presents a huge engineering challenge for the teams, I can’t help by but feel that Formula 1 regulations coming into place for 2014 are too radically different and too restrictive, to the detriment of the sport.

  8. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:02

    If they tyres for next year are as fragile as this year’s, coupled with the increased need for fuel efficiency, as well as longer lifespan for the engines, we could have a season where drivers are creeping around in high speed Fabrege eggs. Could we see the end of each race be reduced to a procession as all drivers will need to nurse their tyres while also saving fuel? Hardly the pinnacle of motorsport if this is its future.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:32

      Tyres most likely wont be anywhere near as fragile as they have been this year, as Hembery said in one of the Friday press conferences (cant remember which race’s). They don’t know how the new cars will be in terms of degradation and stuff so they (whoever the supplier is next year) will almost certainly have to take a conservative approach as the compounds will have to be decided by September if I recall correctly and they simply don’t have enough data.

      On the other hand, in the light of recent events and discussion I wouldn’t be surprised if they would be going into more conservative direction next year either way.

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 2nd July 2013, 13:03

        @tmekt – after this season, Pirelli will make Bridgestone look like huge risk takers! Pirelli’s reputation is in tatters because they followed FIA instructions to make less durable tyres but weren’t allowed the time to test them. Obviously following that, they have made several bad calls that have made everything worse but the initial situation was at best, not entirely their own fault!

        I wouldnt’ expect more than 2 stops at any race next year and a much more conservative tyre structure which will eliminate tyre faliures.

        I can’t think of a single reason why Pirelli would take any risks and create a tyre that won’t last atleast half a race distance.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 2nd July 2013, 16:10

        Yeah, I guess considering the events of last weekend there will be a push for longer lasting, more conservative tyres. I wouldn’t be at all surprised however to see Bernie or some other entity controlling the sport to demand that Pirelli take another swing at artifically degrading tyres somewhere down the line so as to improve/spice up the “show”.

        All I want is the best drivers in bleeding-edge machinery, without contrived gimmicks or restraints. The tyres of the past few seasons I’ll accept as almost necessary, as could DRS in moderation. I just fear the pendulum on all of this may swing too far and really damage the sport.

  9. Chrisr said on 2nd July 2013, 12:09

    If they’re only allowed 5 engines per season I can already see by that by race 6 or 7 every team will be getting a grid penalty for using more than 5 engines. So how is that a saving?

  10. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:22

    Formula 1 will rule itself into extinction – mark my words. This is a supposed to be a sport for God’s sake; not a R&D exercise for manufacturing companies.
    WHY do F1 engines have to be relevant to road cars? Drag racers are NOT relevant to road car, nor are rally cars (though they are “based” on them). Why the need to drive fuel efficiency in a sport that is based on racing? And is is limiting fuel use the best way to achieve this? Or course max rpm WILL suffer, speed WILL down. The fuel deficit will have to cost something.
    Is this madness or what? Do you see sprinters trying to conserve the most enegy whilst running as fast as they can in order to break a world record?? Or tennis players attempting to use the least energy expenditure to serve up an ace? Even boxers are vehemently criticised when they dance around not fighting as they try to conserve enegy. A sport is supposed to test limits, and bring out extraodinary performances. This TAKES energy, and attempting to conserve this energy simply undermines the original goal. Madness.

  11. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:34

    The answer really lies in a well engineered cars running a very highly developed adaptive engine management system. The drivers could easily be able to push the car flat out, while the engine management is carefully metering the ERS, turbo, and fuel use to give the maximum efficiency, while operating within the maximum fuel flow parameters. If the technology is doing all of that behind the scenes, then it doesn’t matter one bit to the spectator who will simply see a car being pushed flat out. It doesn’t imply lift and coast, it simply means that the engines won’t be operating at peak power for the whole race. But then, they don’t at the moment anyway, it’s just that because the engine management is currently very basic, in order to save fuel they have to ask the driver to drive around the problem, rather than letting the management sort it out.

    And of course, an engine management system like that would be directly applicable to road cars, so the scope for development is massive.

  12. Baremans (@baremans) said on 2nd July 2013, 12:53

    Cars aren’t running at 100% all the time now either.
    But, to be able to assess this message from Ferrari, we’d need to know the points from Honda, Mercedes and Renault as well. If they don’t share this comment, it could be Ferrari that’s in trouble.
    But on the other hand, this message could well be an attempt to make the other engine suppliers show their hand by commenting on it.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 2nd July 2013, 16:12

      If they don’t share this comment, it could be Ferrari that’s in trouble.

      That’s exactly what I thought at first, to be honest I don’t think next year we will see a 2011-style domination from one team, but I do expect an engine to be uncompetitive compared with the other two.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd July 2013, 18:11

      Exactly, Ferrari are worried about this yet were defending the decision to retain these tyres which definitely don’t allow drivers to push for the race distance? Hypocrites.

  13. Ron Mon (@henslayer) said on 2nd July 2013, 13:01

    The amount of fuel used by the cars on track is a drop in the bucket compared to what it takes to get the teams to and from the venues. Aircraft, motor homes, trucks, etc. use vastly more fuel than the race cars. This is all sleight of hand to distract attention from reality.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 2nd July 2013, 13:07


      I really don’t understand why people make comments like this. The push for greener engines has nothing to do with making the sport of F1 less demanding of the world’s resources. It’s about driving forward technology. Motorsport has always been the place from which development leaks down to road cars. Some of the technology required to make these engines work literally didn’t exist when the engine formula was proposed, and yet the technology which has been developed can be used by auto manufacturers the world over to improve the efficiency of their engines. It’s about F1 reclaiming its spot as the pinnacle of engineering excellence, and getting away from an engine formula which is decades out of date. Yes, aircraft, motor homes, trucks, etc, use vastly more fuel than the race cars. But thanks to the technology being developed in F1 right now, all of those modes of transport can become more efficient in the future. Because nowhere outside of motorsport is there the resource, the engineering talent, and the sheer desire to push the envelope as far as it can possibly go.

      • Postreader said on 2nd July 2013, 17:42


        There’s a name for what you’re looking for – pixie dust. It’s a bit too much, naive even, to expect any meaningful breakthrough on combustion engines 130 years after they came into existence simply because a single sport have to go around with less fuel flow. Specially with all the electronics modern engines have also to power… hell, subcompact cars from 50 years ago are matched by today’s offerings on fuel consumption. The only thing I could think of is lighter, more resistant materials – but then again, cars are getting heavier.

      • Ron Mon (@henslayer) said on 2nd July 2013, 19:58

        Oh really? Then why are they going to freeze development of the new engines (phased in over time of course)? If they had true interest in innovation the teams would be free to make their power trains better year on year as long as they stayed within the rules. This is just lip service from a bunch of people that ride around in supercharged V12 Bentley limousines.

  14. F1 goes from bad to worse. My heart is in GP2

  15. Dizzy said on 2nd July 2013, 13:06

    I know its a different formula, But back in the 80s when the Group C regulations were introduced for the World Sportscar Championship which included fuel usage restrictions a lot of people were calling it the death of sportscar racing & that drivers woudl have to run slowly watching fuel all race.

    However Group C ended up becoming the most popular era for sportscar racing & it was when the regulations changed to 3.5ltr N/A V10 engine’s with no fuel restrictions that it began to decline.

    Pretty sure the Indycar’s also have fuel flow restrictions this year & that hasn’t hurt the racing at all, Its better than its ever been.

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