Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014

Mercedes have the edge on reliability – Rosberg

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014In the round-up: Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes are doing better than other teams in making the new engines reliable.


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W05 must be ‘bulletproof’ (Sky)

“There are problems arising here and there, which is normal, but I think in comparison to other teams we are in a good position with reliability but we need to be 100% bulletproof by the time we reach Melbourne, which is a massive challenge.”

Renault says engine deadline no worry (Autosport)

Renault head of trackside operations Remi Taffin: “We will be applying for our Melbourne spec tomorrow, and we will be delivering all the specs and all the documents that we need to.”

Cosworth seeks return to IndyCar, possible one for F1 (NBC)

Cosworth Automotive CEO Hal Reisiger: “Absolutely we would [want to supply F1 engines again], I think that we provide a very cost-effective solution for people to be on the grid. We have the ability to excel from a performance standpoint. Decisions take place fairly frequently; it’s a matter of whether or not it makes sense for teams, OEMs and/or Cosworth. We’d look forward to the right opportunity if we could find the right collaboration.”

Daniel Ricciardo Q&A: Red Bull can still start season in style (F1)

“It’s just testing so there is no such thing as back marker and front runner. Mercedes is probably the team that is consistently at the front right now, but the rest is pretty unknown.”

‘I’ve seen worse winters’ – Raikkonen (ESPN)

“I’ve seen much worse winters [of testing] than this one so I’m not worried about it, we would like to keep putting more mileage on the car.”

Feb 28th is lock down day for F1 engines, but will Renault be able to lobby for changes? (James Allen on F1)

“It’s likely with such a complex new technology that all three manufacturers will take the opportunity to apply for reliability fixes, even the ones that are covering thousands of kilometres at the moment.”


Comment of the day

@Robbie is unhappy with the timing of the United States Grand Prix and this year’s second NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway:

I have followed NASCAR for years, although never on the edge of my seat like with F1. That’s not to say I have seen every race over the years by any stretch, but I’ve at a minimum seen many races every season for years now, and have at least kept up with the race results and the standings when I do miss a race. I’ve always struggled with giving up a nice sunny Sunday afternoon to stay inside. And thanks to having the ability now to digitally record races, I generally record the races and usually succeed in not hearing the results until I watch it on Sunday evening and fast forward through the myriad of commercials and cautions. I watch four hours of coverage in about an hour and a half.

That said, for me it is a no-brainer that I will be watching the US GP, but I do think the scheduling overlap is ridiculous, and it is not the point that F1 is an international series, and NASCAR a domestic one in the US. The point for me is that the effort to bolster F1 in the US takes a hit from having this easily avoided scheduling overlap and makes no sense to me. I thought garbage like double points was meant to capture viewership until the end of the season, and now it turns out Bernie Ecclestone is not that interested in viewership after all. Get rid of double points then, if that is the case. Go back to a, hopefully, better product to enthral the viewers…smoke and mirrors, and then measures to scupper the smoke and mirrors with stupid scheduling, isn’t cutting it.

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48 comments on “Mercedes have the edge on reliability – Rosberg”

  1. Kimi says: “I’ve seen much worse winters [of testing] than this one so I’m not worried about it, we would like to keep putting more mileage on the car.”

    Great, so now we know that the F14T is better than the MP4-18 was. That’s a relief.

    1. Reading the article Kimi gives very little away. I have no idea if that’s just Kimi being Kimi, or he knows not to give anything away, or that Ferrari are hiding where they truly feel – which wouldn’t be good, considering how confident Mercedes are these days. I’m still worried that we’re leaping from one domination – Seb and Red Bull, to another with Mercedes.

      1. The only thing i know is that Ferrari don’t hide pace so ferrari is reliable but slow.

        1. Haven’t Lauda (or someone else) said back in january/begging of febr. that just reliability alone will win you the championship…??

          1. Yes. The big gun in Mercedes said that reliability is key.

            Dont think Lauda was praising Ferrari in that statement

    2. Well, I am annoyed by the fact that Kimi constantly gets problems with this car. He is very positive in his commentaries but I am concerned if he has enough time to adjust his driving to the Ferrari car.
      It feels like Ferrari is tasting (or testing) 2 different cars.

  2. That Mercedes is great to look. Best looking car of the year for me.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      28th February 2014, 0:34

      for me two. and the lotus i think is also cool. all the others with the “fingers” in the front and the vacuum cleaner are ugly. id also include the rb in the cool ones…

    2. What about the mclaren in another silver scheme, other than the one they presented at the launch?

  3. So is today “Lock down day…Fixed for the season!” or just “Melbourne spec”, for the engines?
    I believe the Renault boffin more out of those two.

    1. No, James Allen’s article is right.

      The engine has to be homologated for the season and a spec-unit delivered to the FIA for spot comparison – if they believe a manufacturer has delivered a massive performance update through continued development of the engine, they can pull a team into parc ferme immediately and demand to see the engine. If, through comparison with the spec unit, there are undocumented improvements, the teams/manufacturer will receive sanctions.

      ‘Melbourne-spec’ is a way of saying ‘for the start of the season’. Changes can still be made to the engine for reliability and/or safety reasons, with written permission from the other manufacturers and provided it doesn’t expressly lead to a performance benefit. Also, this doesn’t cover circuit-specific engine mapping (which is restricted through different means).

      1. I don’t think that the other manufacturers actually get to veto changes, although they do get to see and comment on them. The FIA gets the final say.

  4. I don’t think it’s right to say, as asserted in the COTD, that a scheduling conflict between the US GP and NASCAR is “easily avoided”.

    NASCAR has a race on almost every weekend from mid February to mid November.

    Looking at October and November, there are NASCAR races on 5, 11, 19, 26 October and 2, 9 and 16 November 2014. Abu Dhabi has no doubt paid to be the final race, so what to do? Have the US GP on 23 November and extend the F1 season into December, and give the teams even less of an off-season, all to ensure that one grand prix doesn’t have a scheduling conflict with a domestic series?

    I’m happy to criticize Bernie and do so regularly, but he’s right on this occasion. F1 is an international series which faces logistical issues that domestic series don’t have to worry about.

    In a perfect world the US GP wouldn’t conflict with another major sporting event in that country, but reality dictates it just won’t happen.

    1. I think it’s more that NASCAR’s event happens to be a few hundred miles away, rather than it just happens to be a motorsports event on the same day.

    2. @tdog Like you said, it would be almost impossible to hold the USGP on a weekend that doesn’t also feature a Nascar race. Last year, for instance, the GP was run on the same day as the Nascar race in Miami. No big issues there, other than a small live TV overlap. The problem this year is that the two venues are only a couple hundred miles apart, and there will surely be some (minor) competition for actual attendees. I’m pretty sure that Nascar locks in their race dates before F1 does, but logistically speaking, it would have probably been simpler for Nascar to flip the Dallas and Phoenix dates. The two series aren’t really competing for much of their audience, but next year it would still make sense for the GP and the Nascar race to be separated by more than a 3 hour drive.

      1. @keithcollantine Thanks for CotD. I hear you folks on the difficulty with scheduling, but I just think there could have been more effort put in to avoid this. Perhaps even from both sides. Perhaps as @schooner points out NASCAR could have flipped their dates then, if there had been communication and BE had respectfully explained that he had no option and would love it if anything could be done from the other side.

        I wonder now about hotel room availability in the area, and then there’s the question of timing. Has anyone tried to ensure that at least the F1 race starts early enough, even by an hour, such that it’s pretty much over when the NASCAR race starts.

        It’s not just about ticket sales for the US GP. It’s about TV time too. And I’m not sure BE should just be resigning himself to accept that ‘most fans are either for F1 or for NASCAR’. They’re also race fans, and BE knows it’s always been a challenge breaking into the US market.

        1. @robbie NASCAR isn’t an FIA licensed motorsport is it? In the end I think Bernie has nothing to say about NASCAR. I think it is also quite possible the NASCAR organisers think of themselves big enough to not care about F1.

          1. I don’t disagree with what you are saying but I think a bit more cooperation could have occurred. Or a hint of it. Not saying I would expect Nascar to be the ones to pick up the phone.

        2. I wonder now about hotel room availability in the area

          Aren’t they still several hundred miles apart?

  5. To the COTD, imagine if this year attendance and ratings on the USGP are way down, Bernie will say it’s because there’s double points only in the last race not the last three, and will promptly fight to change it… again.

    1. This is assuming Bernie isn’t languishing in a gulag come November…

  6. you know through the season you will have a few reliability issues that you will sort with the normal rules – fair and equitable rules

    The fact that this is the second time before the start of the season that Remi Taffin is highlighting the point of fair and equitable rule which in my opinion shows it all. I don’t have a problem if Renault or any other manufacturer requests a permission from the FIA to improve its engine reliability within this rule but the problem is that when a manufacturer requests this permission to improve the performance of its engine under reliability issues which what Renault have done in the past and probably will do in the future. BTW i expect the RBR drivers to moan about reliability at every occasion after the start of the season if things will not go their ways

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Just like the tires last season, Newey and the boys will target a chance to improve the engine. They will plaster it as a “reliability” issue, but without a doubt will gain performance from the changes that occur as a result.

      1. Isnt it obvious if a tyre can’t withstand the load put into it (eg Silverstone 2013) or if an engine/ERS unit fails for a team? I would think the FIA is able to discern whether Renault have a real reliability issue or a huge engine performance deficit… with a view to letting them make changes to their engine after the design is frozen.

        1. It’s less about whether or not the FIA can truly discern the need for them to make changes for the sake of reliability; it’s more about whether or not they won’t hunt for performance gains while shoring up their reliability issues. Renault have done this before, lobbying for changes in the name of reliability alone & all of a sudden being way more powerful than they ever were. Bernie basically helped RBR buy their way out of FOTA, & him “coincidentally” announcing this ridiculous double points rule just when said team find themselves in trouble… well, let’s just say I won’t be surprised if they find a lot more “assistance” forthcoming.

      2. The FIA are obliged under the sporting regs, which are written to require the homologation, to mandate that any improvements to the engines aren’t expressly on performance grounds. Yes, if by the engine running reliably, means the cars drive faster because they’re not stuck at 75% power lest they explode, then it’s a murky definition of a ‘performance gain’.

        Renault will submit their spec-unit to the FIA today. If they’re stupid enough to run up against the sporting regs, then I don’t know what can save them if caught, even with backroom politicking.

  7. Just a random thought on the Cosworth story. Surely they could make a new regs V-6 power unit given time, investment and the collaboration they seek. I wonder what the possibility would be to offer a normally aspirated 4 cylinder motor that would be required to meet the same fuel regs into the mix. This could encourage different options toward the same goal of conservation. Just an idea…

    1. @bullmello, Shriek! Blasphemy! a different design would bankrupt the world bank and lead to the collapse of civilisation.

      1. @hohum – LOL

        I guess if Bernie, Red Bull and Ferrari don’t want it, it don’t matter anyway…

        1. A normally aspirated four cylinder engine wouldn’t be able to compete with the volumetric efficiency of a turbocharged engine – even if the regulations allowed it, I suspect that it wouldn’t be competitive enough for any team to want to use one anyway.

          Besides, just because you have the option to design a different engine doesn’t mean that the option would be taken up by anybody anyway – most of the time you end up with extremely rapid technological convergence towards a standard solution anyway.
          For example, back in the 1980’s there was nothing to stop a manufacturer going for a different design and yet Honda, Renault, Ferrari, Cosworth, TAG-Porsche and Motori Moderni all designed relatively similar V6 twin turbo engines.

          About the only reasonably successful alternative during that era was the BMW four cylinder engine, and Paul Rosch has publicly stated that he didn’t want to use a four cylinder design after 1983 – he wanted to get rid of the M12 and replace it with a custom designed twin turbo V6 engine, which was clearly a superior design, but BMW refused to allocate enough funding for a new engine to be developed.

  8. “Renault say engine deadline no worry”! I’m struggling to understand the cool and chillaxed attitude of Renault while it’s plain to see they won’t finish in Oz. Yes from a political angle they have to stay calm and focused, but these answers show them in a bad light.

    1. I think Renault would be happy for all of their cars to actually ‘start’ the race in Melbourne. I think all manufacturers are expecting a decent amount of attrition.

  9. I´m gonna laugh so hard if MERC blows up in the first race or doesn´t end the race now!

    I hate cockiness!!

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      28th February 2014, 4:08

      Nothing about the Mercedes article is cocky. They recognise that they’re ahead of the field in terms of reliability (and most probably pace as well) so far.

      But they also say that they’re not assuming that they’re going to be completely “bullet proof” come the first race. These engines are so complex that I’ll be amazed if any team is completely reliable when the lights go out in Melbourne.

      I’m not a betting man, but if I were to place bets on the winner of the AUS GP, then Lewis and Nico have to be at the top of the list, and it’s not even close.

      They’re just stating facts about themselves not being cocky.

      1. Maybe MERC is not being cocky, but Nico sure is. He should learn a thing or two from Lewis!! Now Lewis´ approach is totally different, yet knowing that they seems to have the better engine, he is playing down the “favorite” label! That to me is humility!
        I would not stand Britney winning the title! I hope Lewis sets him straight!

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          28th February 2014, 5:34

          I also hope Lewis wins convincingly, but I still don’t think Nico is being cocky at all. Lol

        2. a) “He should learn a thing or two from Lewis!!” – I would refrain from that if I was Nico.
          b) Refer to any one quote from the interview that was cocky.

          1. @reg Indeed, in fact Nico isn’t much quoted in the article. But I find the article title as well as the round-up title quite misleading.
            Globally, the Mercedes engine has more mileage than any other and has proven to be more reliable. But when one talks about teams, I think Ferrari has shown equal reliability.
            Maybe speed is more a concern, but we still don’t know if this is really an advantage from a fuel consumption point of view.

          2. @reg

            I would refrain from that if I was Nico.

            Really?? Last time I checked, Lewis was a 1 time WDC…. I think Lewis might know a thing or two.

  10. By Kimi saying he has seen worse winters, I assume he is looking up and down the pit lane at the Renault teams.

  11. kind of an exciting season is ahead of us – even though the Merc teams look like a favourite you can’t really say for sure how the season will unfold. Right now I perceive everything as so random that I wouldn’t put my money on anyone to win Melbourne let alone the championship.

  12. Jonathan Sarginson
    28th February 2014, 10:16

    Love to see another British engine manufacter (Cosworth) in F1…we already have Ilmor (sorry, Mercedes) in a Honda (sorry, Mercedes) chassis…bring it on, Cossie!

  13. This is just a little something to ponder: Cosworth engines return to F1 in 2016. Infiniti’s contract as Red Bull’s title sponsor isn’t renewed and Red Bull also cut their ties with Renault. Red Bull then go back to their routes as Ford’s works team, renamed perhaps to, say, Ford Red Bull Racing.

    Mind, I’ve seen a Red Bull-Honda rumour due to their bases’ close proximity in Milton Keynes, so my little theory could be dismissed rather quickly!

    Whatever happens, the more engine suppliers the better for me, so their return would be good news. I like to see some variety. Perhaps around 2016-18 we’ll see the additions of BMW and/or Volkswagen.

    1. Ford sold Cosworth in 2004 actually!
      The Honda engine is right now, and will be for the near future, an unknown quantity. They could have all the problems Renault are facing, or none. Time will tell.
      However f I was at RBR, I’d be looking at the quickest route to Mercedes power…

      1. The Mercedes route doesn’t convince me though. Red Bull will still be a big team whether this year is a disaster or not, and I don’t expect they’ll want to play second fiddle to Mercedes AMG. The same could be said for Honda as McLaren will be their works team, not Red Bull.

        That’s why I think if the Renault relationship breaks down (no pun intended!) they’ll look for works engine deal, e.g. with Ford, BMW.

  14. Jonathan Sarginson
    28th February 2014, 11:14

    Another possibility for Red Bull is Nissan (ie Infinity) engines; after all Renault and Nissan are in bed together, yes?

    1. Which means that there’s no reason to switch- Renault make F1 engines already, so why would their partner Nissan bother? Maybe some time in the future the Renault engines will be re-branded as Nissan, but I doubt Nissan will start separately making their own.

  15. I guess that the sole purpose of Bernie’s scheduling conflict between the US GP and NASCAR is just showing off “mine is bigger than yours” thing. If he is a true professional he (or his team of employees) would check 100 times sport, political, musical… or what ever events that are generally important locally and try to avoid the clash. If he respects the fans at all. Of course I’m one of those who thinks that double points Abu Dhabi is the most stupid thing to do. I would like to point out something else regarding the excitement while watching F1. I think that with all this video technology the TV viewers lost the reality while watching the race. I mean of course the picture quality is better and bla bla…but I kind of miss the shaky picture that brings the speed and the excitement closer to the fans. To show you what I meant

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