Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013

Why Vettel’s rivals may be disappointed in 2014

F1 historyPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013Rivals of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull are increasingly vesting their hopes in the 2014 engine rules shake-up as being their best chance of closing the performance gap.

“We will put all our effort and hopes into 2014, because starting from zero is our best opportunity to close the gap with all the top teams,” said Fernando Alonso after the Singapore Grand Prix.

But while F1’s periodic changes in the engine rules used to bring about major change in the competitive order, in recent years it hasn’t been the case.

Early years: New engines, new winners

1952-53: All change in the F2 interregnum

Alfa Romeo dominated the first two years of the world championship. But their withdrawal at the end of 1951 led several race organisers to change their events from Formula One rules to Formula Two, and the championship was therefore run to F2 rules in 1952 and 1953. That was followed by the introduction of a new Formula One in 1954.

Alfa’s departure made the emergence of a new winner in 1952 inevitable, but even so the scale of Ferrari’s dominance was remarkable. Alberto Ascari won nine races in a row at one point, a record which still stands.

The new F1 rules tempted Mercedes back in mid-1954. From that point they were the team to beat until they made an abrupt withdrawal at the end of 1955 following that year’s fatalities in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

1961: Ferrari capitalise on 1.5-litre switch

Phil Hill, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 1961Concern at rising speeds prompted the introduction of smaller 1.5-litre engines from 1961. While several of the British engine manufacturers opposed the move and tried to block it, Ferrari perfected their new V6 and dominated the season.

The drivers’ championship contest was an all-Ferrari affair, but was settled in tragic circumstances when Wolfgang von Trips was killed at Monza. Ferrari also won the recently-introduced constructors’ championship for the first time.

The only races they failed to win that year were in Monaco and Germany, both due to inspired drives by Stirling Moss, and in America, where they did not compete.

1966: Brabham benefits from return to power

Just two years after the 1.5-litre engines were introduced the Commission Sportive Internationale (fore-runner to the FIA) decided engine capacities would be doubled to three litres in 1966.

Once again the spoils went to the driver and team who had made the best preparations for the new rules. In this case they were one and the same: Jack Brabham won the title driving his own car, the first and only time anyone achieved the feat.

Brabham encouraged Australian automotive components manufacturer Repco to develop a V8 engine for the new formula. While Ferrari were disappointed by the power-to-weight ratio of their V12 and Lotus persevered with BRM’s monstrously heavy H16, Brabham reeled off four consecutive wins in the middle of the year to claim the title.

The modern era: Sustained dominance

1989: McLaren-Honda stay on top as turbo era ends

Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, McLaren, Montreal, 1989The new engine formula of 1966 also included a provision for turbocharged 1.5-litre engines. By the middle of the eighties these had become ubiquitous, but concerns about expense and safety had arisen.

For 1989 they were finally banned and a maximum capacity of 3.5 litres imposed. Not that it did anything to put the fearful combination of McLaren and Honda off their stride.

In the last year of the turbos they won all but one of the 16 races. In 1989 they won another ten races – a total which would have been even higher had Alain Prost not driven into team mate Ayrton Senna at Suzuka to take back the drivers’ championship.

1995: New engines no problem for Benetton

A cut in engine capacity was ordered for 1995 following the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola and other dangerous accidents during the season.

But that didn’t stop Michael Schumacher successfully defending his drivers’ title for Benetton. The team’s switch from Ford Cosworth V8 to Renault V10 power proved a wise one, as Renault’s engines won all bar one of the races in 1995.

Schumacher easily swept aside Damon Hill’s Renault-engined Williams while Benetton claimed their first constructors’ crown.

2006: Alonso champion again as V8 era begins

Fernando Alonso, Renault, Montreal, 2006Fernando Alonso ended Schumacher’s five-year dominance of the championship in 2005. His season-ending victory in China was also the last win for a V10 engine in F1, as a new V8 formula was mandated for the following year.

Renault were unfazed by the change. Alonso won first time out in their V8-engined car and by round nine Renault had chalked up seven victories already.

Only a late-season resurgence from Schumacher and Ferrari took the title down to the wire, though a Ferrari engine failure in Japan all but killed off Schumacher’s hopes of an eighth crown.

Over to you

Have the growing resources available to top F1 teams helped them stay dominant despite changes in the engine rules? Do you think Red Bull will stay on top next year?

Have your say in the comments.

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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari, Honda, Renault/LAT

115 comments on “Why Vettel’s rivals may be disappointed in 2014”

  1. But with their impending withdrawal at the end of 1951 the sport’s governing body chose to run the world championship to Formula Two rules

    Wasn’t it the other way ’round, Alfa didn’t have the money to produce a new car? I could be wrong though…

    1. It’s true that Alfa didn’t have money for a new car for 1952, so they announced their withdrawal before the end of the 1951 season. The FIA then realised that Ferrari would dominate 1952 under the then-current regulations with their closest competition being Maserati and the outdated Talbot-Lagos. Hence they switched to F2 regulations to expand the grid and hopefully stop Ferrari from dominating and look how that turned out!

      1. I was wrong indeed, thanks

      2. The Fia didn’t make those rules to stop Ferrari at all. Those rules Favorited Ferrari, talking about twisting things.

    2. @andae23 @anto Thanks guys I’ve revised that part to get the chronology right.

  2. People are expecting a overhaul of levels similar to 2009, forgetting that it was only caused by the ridiculously close 07 and 08 seasons, where Macca and Ferrari spent so much effort into out-doing one another that they put the 09 cars on the back burner.

    This season, however, Vettel and Red Bull have basically wrapped it up with 5-6 races to go, so they can focus on 2014.
    The only hope is that the Renault engine is poop.

    1. @alehud42 not only that. The engines might be very different but they have very strict limitations.

      I assume makign the chassis work well with the engine (specially the cooling bit which will be critical) is going to be the talking point. There are a lot of bits and pieces that have changed, and the engines is one of them. But there will be 3 suppliers, and it’s up to the chassis to make the difference again. At least between cars with the same engines.

      How long has Newey been around? more than 20 years. I suspect that he already knows how to be prepared for such change. AND they have this title in the bag…

      And also, we’ve seen Red Bull on the “backfoot” at the first couple of races but in a blink of an eye, they not only reacted and recovered, but they completely overturned the gap and stormed ahead.

      1. @fer-no65

        +1.

        IMHO their recent success is a combination of continuously building a competitive car to start the season and out-developing the rest of the field throughout the season. Their ability to improve the car during the season is fantastic. Red Bull was tremendously fast both at Spa and Monza and then that “soul destroying” performance in Singapore (in Seb’s hands :) to be fair )

    2. What about Ferrari in 2005 – completely dominant in 2004 and then rules change forbidding tyre changes and suddenly they aren’t even in the top three due to Bridgestones lagging behind Michelins.

      1. I guess that’s not an issue anymore since they will all be using the same tyres

        1. We’ll see how long it takes for another regulator to arise and change the rules so drastically against the Red Bulls that they’ll stop winning (for a while.)

    3. @alehud42

      I think Newey and his team won’t get it wrong. Even in 2009, they only missed it because of Brawn’s double difuser advantage in the first half of the season. However, I’d keep an eye in both Ferrari and Mercedes, the latter did impress me how they managed to become such a strong car when a year before they where well off the pace of rivals, and they have some talent in the kitchen and maybe building something that suits better Lewis driving style.

      1. Well said @jcost, Red Bull will likely be at the front of the running order again, pwrhaps even fastest.

        But last year McLaren built a faster car and they could do so again, and if Mercedes keeps it up they will be competing too, as will Ferrari and perhaps even Lotus (though right now they sound as if they have already given up and want the rest, or at least Ferrari, to follow ).

        Anyway, I’ll just hope competition keeps working at it and will result in a closer fight through the year.

  3. Nooooo!!!!

  4. As they say on financial websites, “past performance is not indicative of future performances. your investment may go down as well as up.”

    1989 and 1995 are really bad examples. McLaren sabotaged their 1990 efforts by concentrating on making one last final turbo push, while all the other teams were designing cars as a transition to the new 1990 rules. In 1995, Williams were still struggling with a horrible combination of having to relearn how conventional suspensions are designed and set up post active suspension ban plus with the death of Ayrton.

    There are plenty of articles out there that suggest as much. http://liam821.com/pix/info/HondaRA168EEngine.pdf is a good pdf on the engine of the time.

    1. And one cannot forget that in 1995, Benneton only avoided losing out by swaping to what turned out to be the winning engine.

    2. Heh, how about McLaren this year? At the end of last season they were among the quickest, if not the quickest, cars. And look where that got them.

      It’s impossible to make any predictions for next year. Although my feeling tells me the engines are probably not going to be the biggest impact. I’m sure each of the manufacturers will manage to produce a top notch engine.

      1. My point exactly. Although i’m expecting levelling of the field due to the effective banning of exhaust blown diffusers.

    3. Thanks for that link!

    4. I’m well aware past performance does not dictate what happens in the future but at the same time I think there is clearly a trend at work here. A lot of people are making an assumption about what is going to happen next year and I’ve seen the assumption been made in similar scenarios in years past and not be borne out.

      McLaren sabotaged their 1990 efforts by concentrating on making one last final turbo push

      In 1990 McLaren won the constructors’ championship and a McLaren driver won the drivers’ championship. And this was two years after the last season with turbo power. So I have no idea what your point is.

      1. The biggest mistake a lotof fans are making when harping on about the change of guard to me and I laugh at is the fact that nobody thinks other teams would produce a better car all they want is for redbull to produce a dud there by making thier hereos look good when the come to realise that Redbull out develops anybody in a season they would wake up and smell the coffee although it might be too late then!

    5. I would say the 1966 and Brabham story would be the one to give most hope to smaller budget teams, If memory serves me well Lotus were the dominant team in the pre 66 years, Brabhams (much derided) solution to the new engine formula was to simply take a GM alloy 3.5l V8, de-stroke it and fit custom OHC heads, the engine was down on power but up on driveability and reliability. A similar approach could well succeed next year if only the regulations allowed it, the sad reality is that as the allowed differences get ever smaller the gains become ever more important and expensive.
      Aero downforce/drag will no doubt have to be reduced to improve fuel economy but it is hard to see any team doing a better job of this than RBR who have demonstrated their mastery of this area in both high and low downforce set-up this year, but we can all live in hope of another team making a breakthrough next year.

    6. @full-throttle-f1 In absence of better information, men tend to paint the future based on past information, even in financial world most estimates are nothing but weighted averages from historical figures… So I kind get why @keithcollantine went that way but you have a point.

  5. Wonder why the 2009 shake-up was done so soon after 2006?

    1. Because the 2006 shake-up was only the change from V10 to V8. The 2009 one was a complete aero overhaul.

    2. They were dealing with different things. 2006 was about engines. 2009 was an attempt to cut the downforce generated by cars on the grounds that all the various vanes and winglets were making it too difficult for cars to follow one another, and hence overtake. Of course, teams merely recouped the downforce lost by exploiting the double diffuser loophole, but the intention was clear.

    3. The aero on the 2008 cars was verging on the point of ridiculous. Winglets and fins everywhere.
      The 2009 rules trimmed the aero right down.

  6. Just out of interest…in the years that the engine changes cam in what other rules changed? I think from past experience one of the other changes for next year could turn into Red Bulls’ Achilies heel if Adrian Newey isn’t careful. Anything on the Red Bull that he sees as extra (such as KERS) seems to be packages and shrunk to within an inch, or past it, of it’s life resulting in some delicate systems. The failures of these new systems next year and onwards is going to have a far more significant effect then a simple KERS inconvenience.

    1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      25th September 2013, 13:58

      The two main things for anyone who isn’t a RedBull or Vettel fan to pin their hopes on are the eradication of exhaust-blowing and the possibility that Newey will underestimate the importance of the KERS, sorry ERS system and compromise it for the sake of aerodynamics.

      The on-throttle blown diffuser, which Red Bull pioneered and explored to the greatest extent was a fundamental reason for their success in 2010 and 2011 as has been the way they adapted to the 2012 exhaust positioning regulations. I was marshalling in the old pitlane at Silverstone in 2011 when off-throttle blowing was temporarily banned. During practice and qualifying every driver took copse in 6th gear, sometimes dropping to 5th if they ran over the kerbs too much on the exit of the corner. Meanwhile, Vettel was in a different gear every lap. Just during Q3, on his first flying lap he tried turning in in 7th before downshifting mid-corner then on his final flying lap he shifted down to 4th before turning-in. You could really see he was a lot more flummoxed by the sudden loss of downforce than any of the others.

      Introducing turbos will totally eradicate any use of exhaust gasses for aerodynamic gains. All of the energy in the high-speed exhaust gas flow is used by the turbo to compress air going into the engine. The waste exhaust flow coming out of the end of the exhaust has very little enery and is completely useless. Turbos will rule out one major source of Red Bull’s dominance.

      As for the hybrid motor ERS (Energy Recovery System), Newey himself has admitted that he originally underestimated the importance of KERS in 2011, approaching it as an afterthought and compromising cooling in order minimize the system’s affect on car packaging and subsequently aerodynamics. Even now we still regularly see the Red Bulls suffering KERS issues.

      Next year ERS will have a far greater effect on car performance that KERS currently has and will be an integral part of the powertrain. The balance between committing resources to development of aerodynamics and the powertrain will need to be re-addressed. Newey’s recent track record could suggest that Red Bull will over-commit on the aero side and compromise the powertrain too much.

      If either of the two issues do play out to such an extent, I’m sure Red Bull will still be competitive and regularly win races but just not be so dominant.

      1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
        25th September 2013, 14:59

        I don’t think the adoption of turbos is going to limit the aerodynamic use of exhaust gases as much as the requirement that there be only one central exhaust at the rear of the car. That far back I don’t imagine there is much you can do to exploit the exhaust.

        1. I don’t imagine

          Maybe Newey does imagine something . He always does :-P.

      2. I’m broadly in agreement with what you say, and managing traction without access to this year’s levels of downforce is going to be a very different problem to the one that Newey has excelled in solving under the current regulations.

        Similarly, balancing the different sources of energy is not something Red Bull have a competitive advantage in at present.

        Against that, cooling the various bits of the engine package is likely going to be a much bigger problem next year than this, and managing airflows without incurring drag penalities is an area of competitive advantage for them.

      3. And in addition, of course, Sebastian Vettel’s current unique driving style will not be possible next year.

      4. This is a good analysis, and good points are made. One of the biggest issues is that at RBR there will be continuity of leadership and an excellent design team. All others have been in a massive state of flux and panic; Ferrari, Mercedes, McClaren, Lotus, Williams, Sauber, have been scrambling to assemble and cobble together something to attempt to compete with RBR. Who amoung them might have a chance?

      5. Very interesting post (and article). I suspect Newey will not underestimate the importance of the ERS. It’s been a while since I reviewed the new rules, but it is my understanding that the ERS system will NOT be controlled by the driver directly, but instead will be pre-programmed. What an interesting era to be an aerodynamicist. (However the hell you spell it!) His analysis may actually dictate how and when ERS is used.

      6. As W says, it is not “energy” in exhaust gas that Newey exploits, it is the volume of gas that Newey is able to direct into what otherwise would be a low-pressure turbulent area. The new exhaust tip location is designed to prevent any use of exhaust gasses for aero-dynamic benefit.

  7. As I assume the cars will have to be re-designed, because no doubt the new engines will change the center of gravity and they will have a central exhaust so no sealing of the diffuser etc. I don’t think we can assume that Red Bull will have the best package, Adrian Newey isn’t known for producing race winners out of the box. But no doubt his cars will be there a few years later.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head. This is my prediction: Newey will certainly catch up through the season, but the star car from the start will be Ross Brawn’s Mercedes. In such situations, he is a master of finding that big advantage coming out a development that, although blatantly against the spirit of the regulations, can be proved to have strictly stuck to their letter – or so will the FIA say (he never loses there). He will then proceed to win six out of the first seven races of the season – their big advantage only being blunted by the time the circus come to Europe, when the other teams develop their own whatever that they thought was illegal, but turned out to be not. However, since his top driver is now Lewis, he will continue to be very competitive till the end of the year, winning the title in a much easier manner than it was the case in 2009.
      Remember- you heard it here first :)

      1. Remember- you heard it here first :)

        This isn’t even an accurate summary of the past, never mind the future.

        Brawn didn’t find the big advantage in 2009, it was a group of Honda engineers who found it. Brawn also didn’t go against the spirit of the regulations since he told the working group that the rule changes wouldn’t work in cutting downforce because of this loophole and offered a chance to avoid the situation, they chose to assume that Honda had made a mistake with their numbers and Brawn quite rightly built a car to the rules.

        Mercedes could well come out on top, but I think that finding the “new big thing” will be something that huge numbers of engineers across all teams will be working to find and not just Brawn.

        I for one can’t wait to see what the engineers (including Brawn) and teams come up with.

      2. You have conveniently forgotten that 2 other teams also started 09 with double diffusers!

  8. Well I for one certainly hope so! I have faith that Ferrari will produce a cracker of a turbo engine and paired with ALO and RAI, it could be a scary combination!

  9. Old performance cannot serve as a base for future, and that’s for sure.
    2014 will be a ‘null’ year for some teams – especially those who are having bad packages. We shall see lots of reliability issues, lots of rule changes and lots of scandals – I bet any money on that. We can safely judge something after 2015 when the rules settle down.

    As for Vettel and RBR – their machine-like, precise way of working cannot be unlearned, and with no doubt they will be the team to beat. Still, until the very few races in the 2014 everything will be speculation.

    For the sake of shake-up: I really hope we are not going to see dominant wins like Singapore. The season is really over, when the only thing we talk about is some taxi-gate and booing.

  10. I think that if you want to know if RB is gonna dominate next year, we must check why they have been dominating the past 4 years.

    First, they have a perfect correlation between the simulations in the wind tunnel and the reality. That won’t change next year.

    Secondly, they’re the leaders in aeroelasticity and in controlling aerodynamic fluxes.

    Third, they understand completely the Coanda effect and they are quick to copy and improve others inventions.

    These three things will remain the same next year, so RB will definitely be a top 3 team next year.

  11. A healthy ‘engineering competition’ (as someone in the paddock calls F1, I can’t remember who) requires potential for innovation from anywhere, no matter what the budget. There has to be grounds to produce genuinely new design ideas and directions that are not the result of simply massive investment but sometimes require creative spark from a junior member in a design team (maybe at Caterham, who knows) getting paid £20k a year (as an analogy, this is also the case for natural evolution, whereby a small mutation in the genotype could cause a large change in phenotype). Likewise, the failure of Toyota and their massive budget was actually a success for F1 because it showed competition was to some extent healthy.

    Now, there are two ways of allowing for variation in F1 as far as I can see it:

    * The design window is made large and stays constant (the ‘golden era’ of F1).
    * The design window is small, but changes frequently year on year (the ‘golden era’ of F1 and today).

    The first of these is gone, with every F1 car looking more or less the same due to the technical regs and the homogenisation of design due to safety and cost (ahem) reasons. So we’re left with the second, and therefore I don’t buy that its a given Red Bull will be at the front next year. It really is the chance for someone to do something interesting, and that isn’t necessarily going to be found by Newey and his team. The lack of EBDs is going to affect Red Bull in my opinion. This may or may not be wishful thinking, but I’d like to think there are new people with new ideas since 2009 that can come up with some genuine innovations for 2014.

    The lack of RRA aside, although Fernandes bemoans the reg changes, its actually there best chance he has to make some progression. Without it 100% they’d stay at the back of the grid for the next 10 years!

  12. I’m hoping Team Brackley can get an early upper hand on the field like in 2009 (even though they were only aero changes). I’m expecting Red Bull up there as I just can’t imagine them not being! It’s all ifs and buts at the moment of course, but I think one team could dominate out of Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and perhaps McLaren.

    1. If there was real room for innovation I would include Williams in your list, unfortunately there is no room.

  13. If the rules were staying the same, Red Bull would win comfortably again. With the rules chaning, others at least start with a blank canvas and stand a chance of catching up.

    It’s the perfect time for Ricciardo to join Red Bull as it’s a fresh car rather than one developed over years to suit Seb so at least if Red Bull are dominant again, hopefully Ricciardo can do a better job than Webber.

  14. In a recent interview after Singapore GP, Adrian Newey said that all the parts they are bringing are relevant to next year’s car as well and that the 2014 car and the current car are like cousins in a way . Now , If that is not a warning , I don’t know what is .

    I sincerely hope either Ferrari or Mercedes or even Mclaren pull their socks up .

    1. @hamilfan

      What is dominant this year might not be so next year.

    2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      25th September 2013, 16:40

      @hamilfan Or he could just be playing mind games – you never know. And he had actually said that the present updates were cousins of sorts. Just mind games, these sort of things can bring the morale down severely in rival teams.

      1. @shreyasf1fan Possible . But I remember even Brawn was saying something to the tune of “we have to find updates that are somewhat closer to next years car ” or something . Now , about Ferrari ,is Rory Byre directly involved with the 2014 ferrari or is he kind of in the background ?

        I seriously hope RBR don’t dominate the flyaway races . My patience as it is , is running thin . I mean no insult to them , they are doing a fantastic job , but I am just bored of seeing the same guy win with very high margins.

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          25th September 2013, 20:25

          @hamilfan I am pretty sure the whole of the Ferrari staff, not just Rory Byrne, are dedicating 80%+ of their attention to their 2014 car, as are most teams. Frankly, RBR will almost certainly have a weak start next year (by their standards) – no more using the exhaust gases for speed advantages in corners, and Vettel will have to move out of his comfort zone too, given the very different way the RB10 will behave on track from the RB9. That applies to all drivers, but more so for Vettel.
          Yeah, I hope they stop dominating the way they are. Just imagine a Vettel-Alonso-Hamilton battle for the win. *sigh* But my bet is on Sebastian Vettel winning all remaining races this season.

          When did Ross Brawn say that? I tried googling but got nothing. Could you send me a link to the article or video mate?

          1. This might be the one..

            Brawn said ““There are areas of the 2013 car that we will continue to develop, almost until the end of season because they can follow on to 2014. If we look at suspension systems; we think fundamentally the tyres will be similar next year and therefore developing suspension systems is entirely relevant for next season.”

            http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2013/8/14867.html

          2. @shreyasf1fan

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5Bsu1ZZu48

            He says something about trying to find updates that are relevant to 2014 . But I think by the time he was saying it Red Bull already found it . Red Bull just have so much development and each and every update of them works well . I am amazed how they manage to do it . I mean ,It’s not a question of funds as the big three are close to level on that . It’s not because Ferrari and Mercedes guys just have a snooze in between weekends as the media make them out to be . What to say ? I am just amazed . BTW do Ferrari and Mercedes bring parts to every race ? I don’t think so . Maybe alternate races . But no one knows what RBR are doing ( If Ferrari bring a wing update , somehow we come to know of it ) . Maybe that is the pivotal point in their success .

  15. I think the change in the rules will certainly change the order in championship. It is not silly to hope that. And the rule changes does not include only engines, but other parts as well. While RBR had a solid bed to build their cars based on success and experience from previous years in this aero era, they will need to start a lot from scratch at the begging of 2014, so will have the others as well. Who will come on top? RBR might beat the others again, but is no indication that they will be on top because of these years cars, it will be an indication that they have done a better job again.
    Lets talk about engines. The most important thing seems to be that there will be some freedom at tuning these engines, so we may expect some changes during the year in regard to engine efficiency. Also, being new engines, I would be very surprised if we don’t see reliability failures next year. No matter how many thousands of hours these engines will do on the dyno, the real test will be the track.
    And then we have ERS, e complete new field to play with.
    And then the cut on the aero efficiency, like the diffuser and smaller wings.
    On the other hand, Ferrari for example has had continuous wind tunnel problems. They are using Cologne wind tunnel at the moment which logistically is very complicated and not efficient at all. But now they are set to use the new wind tunnel for 2014. Who knows, they might have got it right this time.

    So to summarize, I do expect changes next year. If RBR comes again on top, then they will prove that they do really have the best team at the moment, but not because of the current success.

  16. I get the feeling if McLaren & Ferrari don’t seriously contend for the championship next year, heads will roll. I think there is massive pressure on Whitmarsh and Domenicali to deliver the goods and it certainly makes it impossible to predict who will come out of the blocks fastest next season as Mercedes & Red Bull will no doubt build strong cars as well.

    Here’s hoping for a 2010 style 5-man battle for the championship next year.

    1. You are assuming there are better choices available. Who?

  17. Didn’t Vettel’s Toro Rosso at Monza 2008 still carry a V10? And that was just as important for that victory as Vettel’s talent, if not more?

    I seem to remember them and Super Aguri using old units with a rev limiter.

    So if I’m right, that would be the last win for a V10 engine in F1, not Alonso’s in 2005?

    1. No, they only used V10s in 2006. From 2007 on, Toro Rosso used Ferrari engines so there is no excuse in that regard.

    2. Toro Rosso only used the rev-limited V10s in 2006. Since 2007 they’ve been using Ferrari V8 units.

    3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      25th September 2013, 14:22

      No, Toro Rosso only used a rev-limited V10 in ’06 because of an agreement but in place when the team was Minardi because they couldn’t afford new engines. Vettel’s Toro Rosso was a Red Bull chassis with a Ferrari V8. Super Aguri always used an up-to-date Honda V8 and the previous year’s Honda chassis apart from in ’06 when they used a re-designed ’02 Arrows chassis bought from Minardi’s Paul Stoddart.

    4. Toro Rosso’s carried V10 engines only in 2006, limited to 16.000 rpms. After that everyone switched (mandatorily) to V8 engines.

    5. The three replies to the above are like 1997 Jerez qualifying all over again!!

    6. No no no.
      Torro Rosso used a V10 in 2006, but it was rev limited heavily compared to the V8’s, that the others were running.
      From 2007 they used Ferrari V8 engines.

  18. While It is true that the rules are changing and everybody is starting from the scratch, it is really hard to believe that everyone will produce a good car and Newey will design a Lemon. In fact with regulation changes in 2009, Newey had the best car off the block, if not for the the Brawn’s double diffuser loophole.

    The only question is- Will there be a loophole that certain team/engine maker will exploit that will leave Red Bull & Renault Pants down ? Otherwise it is quite predictable that red Bull will have a decent car in 2014, even if is not a dominating one.

  19. Great article @KeithCollantine.

    That engine change does not make much difference can also be aptly demonstrated by the experience of Honda / Brawn in 2008-09. The team fit in an entirely different engine in just 4 weeks with virtually no loss in performance.

  20. I’m not sure if this is applicable. OK, comparing the 2014 shift in regulations is all very well, but you have to be sure you’re comparing apples with apples. All we really know about F1 in 2014+ era is that initially at least it’ll be an engine formula. Guaranteed – one engine will hit the track in Melbourne and be marginally more competitive than the others. That essentially gives Red Bull a one in three chance of being the fastest team in 2014. However, it’s not as simple as that. The odds are further stacked against Red Bull by the fact that Ferrari and Mercedes, who build their engines “in-house”, can integrate engine characteristics with chassis more intimately. Mercedes were also the manufacturer who pushed the engine change which infers a certain confidence. OK, if Renault build a decent engine there is nothing stopping Vettel doing the “full Schumi” and waltzing to his fifth consecutive title, but right now the smart money is not with Red Bull. Although it’s sheer speculation, I would wager that Ferrari, with their new technical team and V6 “culture” (the Ferrari V6 in the Lancia Stratos is one of my favourite engines ever, which is completely irrelevant but proves that a V6 powered car can still get a petrolhead excited), are the favourites, although you could quite easily point at the progress seen between the W03 and the W04 and say that the technical momentum is with Mercedes. Whatever, all I do know is that history, in this instance at least, can do little to help us ascertain who will be the ones to beat in 2014.

    1. Mercedes were also the manufacturer who pushed the engine change which infers a certain confidence.

      Maybe they pushed for V6 but:

      Caubet also confirms that Renault threatened to pull out of F1 altogether if the new generation 2014 engine wasn’t introduced, “We pushed the FIA to conclude on new regulation – concluded in June. Either the new regulation is clear and we will stay in F1 or we keep the same engine and Renault will stop,” he said. 


      Quote from 2011.

      1. from James Allen blog

    2. Integration of the chassis and engine is overrated. Remember 2009. Brawn fit a brand new Mercedes engine on a chassis that was integrated with the Honda engine

    3. Nissan/infinity/renault also build a pretty handy V6 turbo in the Skyline GT.

  21. Is it true that there are rumours going round that Ferrari are supposedly behind both Mercedes and Renault in their powertrain development for next season? Ted Kravitz made a comment in a video on the Sky F1 website in which he said they are. Since then I have been trying to find information to back this up but I can’t find any.

    1. @geemac There was a rumour that Ferrari had enquired with the FIA about raising the fuel limit from 100kg to 110kg, which would suggest they’re having difficulty meeting the proposed limits. But I’d take that with a whopping great pinch of salt.

      1. Thanks, due care and caution will be taken!

    2. @geemac There is also a rumor during Hungary grand prix, in which Pirelli met with teams to discuss the size of the tires for 2014. Mercedes was one asking for larger tires because their engines were producing more power. The rumor came from Pirelli who stated that they had seen the sheets of power output and Mercedes had 100hp more than the others. 100hp is huge, so I don’t believe it.

      1. Wasn’t it 100hp more than Pirelli had expected rather than 100hp more than the other engines? Which means that Ferrari and Renault could also have more than Pirelli expected.

        In the end, with the fuel flow restriction, it is all about producing an as-efficient engine as possible, as this will result in maximum power. Since engine manufacturers have for decades optimised engines for efficiency when it comes to road cars (well, maybe not Ferrari), I can’t see them coming up suddenly with engines that have much different power output. Sure, marginal differences matter in F1, but if it is only a marginal weakness in the engine, this can be compensated elsewhere.

        I think more important will be the integration of the ERS into the package. Hybrid is much newer technology and I am not sure to what extent hybrid road car knowledge will be useful for F1.

      2. That was roughly the figure that Kravitz touted and it sounded like it was far to big to be true, but I suppose only time will tell. If they were down by that much there would be little point in them turning up! Back in the mid nineties people would often say “engine X is way more powerful than engine Y” because there was a 10 of 15 bhp difference between them. I seriously doubt that Ferrari, the sport’s most successful team, will be 100 bhp down on Renault and Mercedes.

        1. @mike-dee @geemac If I remember it correctly, someone from Pirelli said that ” a certain manufacturer has 100hp more than others, but not willing to say who was it”. This started the rumor because on the other hand it was known that Mercedes asked for larger tires. But as I said, I don’t believe it. It is a huge huge difference. If such difference would be true, Mercedes wouldn’t even bother to participate on Saturday qualifying :)

    3. Rumors say that the Mercedes engine will be the most powerful, Renault will be the most efficient and the Ferrari…
      Who knows, maybe it will be the most reliable? if that’s the case then it has the same chances to win the championship as the others.

      1. @mantresx With a fixed maximum fuel flow I would expect one engine to be the most powerful and the most efficient at the same time.

        1. Maybe they were referring to the energy recovery systems?
          In any case you make a good point, power and efficiency are more directly related thanks to the flow limit than in the past.

  22. Wouldnt it be cool if some engine manufacturers get it right and some dont? we might see different philosophies where one team – like Red Bull for example – have the highest downforce but a weaker engine. So they focus on cornering speeds. Whereas someone like Mercedes who create a more powerful engine and more efficient ERS would have much better acceleration and top speed. We could see something like we did back in the old days of the BTCC where there were American muscle cars with powerful engines and small Minis who were faster in the corners. The racing was fantastic.

    Hopefully the engine regulations leave some room for innovation. I haven’t read them but it sounds like they will be very restrictive.

    Nevertheless, I’m glad that SOMETHING is changing. I dread to think how many “fingers” we would see from Seb if the rules stayed the way they are for another several years. *Shudder*

    1. But then with a strong engine they wouldn’t need to worry so much about aero efficiency as a car with lower power. So in your scenario, Merc could end with MORE downforce then the others and maintain a competitive straight line speed.
      In BTCC the powerful cars weighed more and handled worse then the light and nimble, but sluggish, small cars.
      That is not going to be the case in F1 where weight and so on is the same. Unless the powerful engine has massive drive-ability issues, which could make the handling unpredictable, and therefore get a little bit of the 60-70’s BTCC effect.

  23. I think more than the V8 to V6 change, the rule limiting the maximum fuel in the car will have a higher impact next year.
    I think because of that low limit, cars will be driving at much less speed than the theoretical highest possible. So even if Mercedes is producing an extra 100 HP (as the rumor goes) if they are burning more fuel doing so, it will amount to nothing.

    Renault have currently the most fuel efficient engine. So may be they will still be the most fuel efficient next year.

  24. The more important point -which is missing from the article- is the definitive end of EBD. It is estimated that it grants about 2 seconds or more per lap, and Vettel won’t have it next season. The exhaust has to exit behind the rear axle line and 550 mm above the reference plane, so goodbye EBD (and Red Bull/ Vettel dominance). Vettel will probably fare better than he did at the start of 2012, but I’ll be impressed if he manages to stay ahead of the likes of Alonso and Hamilton.

    1. In 2014 Red Bull will reveal the new improved “Vettel 4T” with built-in EBD feature.

    2. Vettel will probably fare better than he did at the start of 2012

      Five races into the 2012 season Vettel was leading the WDC. If he fares better than he did at the start of 2012 I suspect you’re not going to like it.

      1. If he fares better than he did at the start of 2012 I suspect @shrieker ‘s not going to like it.

        +1 @jonsan , and the only point where he lost any real ground was Valencia, which was not to do with Vettel struggling.

        1. I can count more than 1 occasion where he failed to make it into q3. That not struggling eh. Ok. At one point they even changed the exhausts on the car, and Vettel was dominating again only when the blowing effect was perfected past mid season. There is no shame in saying Vettel benefited the most from the use of EBD, it’s what grants him dominance and Newey has a big contribution in it. Why is it wrong to say he won’t be dominating next year when it’s taken away ? Should I be ashamed, go sit in the corner and cry for saying it ? (which is the truth by the way)

          1. @shrieker

            I can count more than 1 occasion where he failed to make it into q3

            Because you can count two occasions where he didn’t make Q3, in 20 races?

            There’s nothing wrong in thinking someone may struggle, but as @jonsan pointed out, SV led the championship after 5 races (and remained within a few points of the lead until losing out in Valencia), before coming back again late season.

          2. In 2012 McLaren, Ferrari and Sauber already had “coanda”/ramp exhaust when they presented their cars. Red Bull didn’t. They developed their ramp exhaust during the season. They were behind the field in that area but they eventually caught up. So everyone will lose EBD next season :)

  25. Reading the comments, a lot of people don’t seem to be aware that the EBD was banned from the end of 2011 onwards. So expecting changes from the elimination of the EBD next year is a mistake. I also see some claims that Newey invented the EBD, or that Brawn did, or Honda in 2009. In fact it’s first use in F1 was back in 1983 on the Renault Re40.

    The reliability of the new engines will probably be the biggest factor next year. At least at the start of the season one of them is likely to prove more troublesome than the others, so by midway through all the cars with that engine will be out of the running. The short term result of the engine changes is likely to be increased dominance by one team over the rest. It’s hard to predict who that one team will be, but there’s about a 30% chance it will be RBR.

    1. that the EBD was banned from the end of 2011 onwards

      Wasn’t it only the off-throttle blowing that was banned? At the same time, the rules changed to make on-throttle blowing more difficult, but using the Coanda effect, the teams still managed.

      1. Wasn’t it only the off-throttle blowing that was banned?

        No. Both hot and cold blowing is currently banned. Teams tried different things to get similar results, but they are no longer blowing the diffuser. They are using “the Coanda effect” to get downforce, which is just a fancy way of saying they are using aerodynamics.

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      25th September 2013, 19:41

      Whatever rule changes regarding engine mapping which were supposed to eliminate off-throttle exhaust blowing haven’t completely worked. All the cars are still doing it to but to a lesser extent than in 2011, it’s particularly audible from the Caterhams if you’ve been to or are going to a race this year.

      1. Blowing the diffuser is not something which can be detected by ear. The changes eliminating blown diffusers went far beyond engine mapping and include rules governing the physical location and directionality of the exhaust outlets.

        Teams have done things to try to simulate the results of blown diffusers, but they’re not actually blowing the diffuser

        1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
          25th September 2013, 22:29

          I’m not talking about the diffuser. Since the regulation changes in 2012 the area which is ‘blown’ is the gap between the inside of the rear wheel and the lower section of the rear wing end plate, where the little rear wheel mounted ‘cascade’ wings are located.

          Off-throttle blowing basically involves the throttle being open even though the driver’s foot is off the pedal. The fuel/air mixture goes into the engine only rather than being ignited at the start of the power stroke as happens during normal on-throttle operation, the air/fuel mix is ignited at the start of the exhaust stroke, just as the exhaust valve begins to open. All of the energy generated by combustion is expelled through the exhaust pipe rather than moving the piston.

          That’s why you can clearly hear a distinctive rasping noise coming from the cars under braking and mid-corner, especially from the Caterhams. Watch some of the recent fan videos compiled on this website, you can clearly hear it.

          1. That’s a different subject. I said that EBD’s were banned, which they are, and that many people seem unaware of this, which they do. As for off-throttle non-diffuser blowing you describe, that is banned as well, so if you think somebody is doing it you should contact Charlie. Though I suppose he doesn’t care much what Caterham are up to.

    3. EBDs will die next year because the exhaust exits behind the diffuser and nearly 2 feet above it. In 2012/13 rules were brought in to “ban” them, however solutions like coanda exhausts gained back most of the losses.

  26. Hell no! F1 2014 Championship ‘MUST’ be different…

  27. if rumors are right merc might give a good fight or even dominate, everyone agrees most recent engine change in 2006 is not really a engine formula change, it just V10 with 2 cylinders cut-off, unlike in 2014, where there is whole lots of changes and more complicated. But ferrari are known for their engines unfortunately not for efficiency, fingers crossed redbull domination ends next year :S

  28. I think that it would be a fool’s bet to assume that Red Bull will fall of the grid next season because of the rule changes. If Red Bull is good at anything (which obviously they are good at quite a few things) it’s exploiting the rules. Hat’s off to them this season, and I can’t wait for next season, too!

  29. Correct me if I’m wrong but won’t the new aerodynamic restrictions implemented play as a disadvantage to Red Bull and Newey?

    1. Newey seems to get more out a restriction than anybody when it comes to aero. Restrictions play into the masters hands.

  30. Interesting list, Keith, thumbs up.

    However, I think that only 1989, of the more recent examples, stacks up to the 2014 overhaul.

    For 1995, only engine capacity was changed, form 3.5 to 3.0 litres. Engine architecture remained the same, hence Renault’s continued domination.

    For 2006, it was more of the same, in a way, since a 3.0 V10 engine reduced by 2 cylinders gets you a 2.4 V8, so, again, no major change in engine architecture… hence Renault’s continued domination.

    (See the pattern, by the way? You could argue that, from the outset of the 3.5 litre era, Renault has more or less dominated F1 racing throughout the current season, because the basic lay-out of the engine — fixed capacity, later fixed number of cylinders, and fixed V-angle — have remained more or less the same.)

    For 1989, engine architecture was changed dramatically, from 1.5 litre turbos — I don’t think number of cylinders were mandated, so there were, IIRC, I4s and V6s — or (the almost non-existant) 3.0 litre atmos, to 3.5 litre atmospheric engines only.

    The same goes for 2014, just vice-versa: it’s a major engine architecture change, and perhaps an even bigger change, since we’re actually talking about new power train regulations.

    So, while Honda and McLaren continued to dominate from 1988 over to 1989, despite running different engine architecture, that’s only one example from 25 years ago, while other examples — 1952, 1954, 1961 and 1966 — though ancient, point in the opposite direction, and indicate that Renault and Red Bull will not be able to maintain their position.

    I for one would welcome change at the head of the pack, although I’d be even more happy with healthy competition between engine manufacturers.

  31. I strongly believe that Ferrari and especialy mercs will be up there with RB next season… The technical crew has been greatly reinforced in both teams

  32. Wont mean much which engine is in which car, those engines will be close anyway.

    The Tires will dictate no racing bar the first two laps and the last two, everything in the middle is just preserving tires where engine power doesn’t mean much,

  33. If thier rivals are giving up, all that will do is allow Red Bull carte` blanche to spend just as much time on thier 2014 package as anyone else …

  34. Red Bull for ever.

  35. one big question, what if ayrton senna started his career with either williams or mclaren or even lotus if not for those teams wanted local drivers, he would have had even more success in WCC, like vettel from his second season he has had a competitive car…big question!!

  36. I must respectfully disagree with you on this one Keith. Previous iterations dealt with an engine change whereas now we are talking about a completely different type of powertrain. You get an extra 120kW of boost for up to 33 seconds a lap PLUS you get turbos PLUS you have to decide where to use the extra energy and when. Do you spin up the turbo faster with the extra energy? Do you put it directly back into the drive train as KERS does today? On which turns? How much in each part of the track? And a different track map for each race! Oh wait, do you have enough fuel to run that strategy you were just planning? When do you conserve? Where? It’s going to make the random tire degradation this year look like a cake walk. Oh, and those tires will probably still be there adding their little drama as well.

    I think next year is going to be a total role of the dice because no matter how much you simulate it, it’s going to be a LOT of real world learning and ANYONE could get it all wrong. Adrian is a genius, but he’s an aero genius.

    This is going to be about the drive train, conserving fuel and a LOT of guess work the first year. I think it’s going to be fascinating to watch and I’m looking forward to it more than I have in years! This is the kind of challenge I want to see the best minds in motor sport tackle!!!

  37. The optimist Mclaren fan in me wants to believe that they were using this car as a test bed for 2014, where they will put all focus, and will re emerge as true contenders. The pessimist in me feels that the team lost focus, doesn’t have a leading driver that can help push engineers further, and is lacking genuine talent in the factory.

    As for Red Bull, I genuinely don’t see them losing top 3 status. The team is the same, the lead driver the same, everyone seems happy there, team spirit is great- Vettel’s comments as well as the speed of pit stops- so, either they get numbed by their success, or they will certainly keep winning.

    Ferrari will be the most interesting to see. Two World Champions battling it out, two very different personalities. Its Hollywood movie material.

    Mercedes? They have the biggest investment in F1, both in development and in personnel- How many technical directors did they hired?- But the key here is do any of those 2 drivers have what it takes to be “team leaders”, “World Champions”? Lewis is a world champion, true, but does he have what it takes to at least be on the same level of commitment of a Alonso or Vettel? There lies the key for Mercedes.

    Last but not least, would love to see Ross Brawn at Williams again. Formula 1 needs a strong Williams team. And I think its about time we get a new, up and coming talent in the field: Its time to bring Da Costa and Magnussen up. Da Costa is having lots of technical issues, but like he showed last week, he can beat his generation best in racing. Magnussen vs Da Costa seems like a rivalry in the making for the future of the sport…

  38. Good article, 2014 is not only an engine season nevertheless I’m sure vettels driving style paired with skills of rbr and Renault and the economic strangelhold they’ve got in f1 should guarantee their brand will win again

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