Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014

Ferrari can make big gains despite engine freeze

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014Ferrari can make significant progress with the design of their power unit for next year despite the limits on development imposed by the rules, according to technical director James Allison.

Depending how the figures are interpreted, as little as 48% of the current designs can be changed for next year. But Allison says that leaves plenty of opportunities to improve their power unit.

“It’s true you can’t change every part of the engine, but the regulations say the majority of parts that can make a difference in terms of performance on the engine are still free,” he said.

“The 48% is not a binding figure and can be misleading compared to what are the real opportunities to improve the power output of the power unit. The way is completely open when it comes to the rules. In fact, our problem is not the rules, it’s the time needed to close such a big gap.

“Therefore we must make the most of every available minute from now to the final moment before the homologation date, which is 28 February 2015.”

For the second season with the hybrid V6 turbos teams will face the first in a series of escalating restrictions on how much development they can do. Elements of the crankshaft, crank case and air valve system will be frozen in specification.

Progressively tighter restrictions on engine development will be imposed in 2016, 2018 and 2019 – by which time almost the entire engine specification will be fixed.

Ferrari are the only one of the three engine manufacturers in F1 who are yet to win a race using the new engines. Allison said the power shortfall was their biggest deficit to Mercedes, but they were also lacking downforce as well.

“It’s not just the engine which has to improve, the chassis needs to also,” he added, “as does the suspension and every part of the car”.

“I don’t know if we can close the gap in just one year. We are trying, but as [team principal Marco] Mattiacci said, we are also looking at the medium to long-term future, not just the short term. He wants to get this team back to being ahead of all the rest and to have it stay there for many years.

“Having said that, we are working as hard as possible for next year, to have a much more competitive car. At the same time however, we are establishing the basis to make Ferrari the benchmark team in Formula One.”

2014 F1 season

Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo