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Extra engine for the final spurt: penalties for Renault and Mercedes?

Extra engine for the season's final spurt
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F ure for the engine manufacturers of Formula 1 it is one big task. Three combustion engines, turbocharger and MGU-H instead of four, two batteries, MGU-K and control units instead of four. If you want to comply with the rules, you need engines that last 7,000 kilometers and batteries that last 10,000 kilometers.

At the beginning of the year, Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda unanimously declared that the plan was with the contingent to make ends meet. Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell said at the presentation of the new car in February. 'A starting place penalty can cost you the world title.'

Now 5 races have gone into the country. The 4 car companies know the balance of power. Ferrari has a slight increase in performance in qualifying. Mercedes is a bit better in the race. Renault still has to catch up around 30 hp, Honda between 40 and 50 hp.

Some have to make up ground, others have to regain a lost lead. Do the situation in the World Championship and the findings from the first 5 Grands Prix make the engine managers rethink? Is it perhaps worth sacrificing starting positions in a race in order to get an additional development stage?

Hartley and Räikkönen already at the limit

The Honda engine in the Toro Rosso Brendon Hartley could no longer be saved after the training crash in Barcelona.

Of course, adherence to the plan also depends on how reliable it is Are drive units. So far, the FIA's inventory looks pretty virgin. But at the Spanish GP, the manufacturers already hit the ground running. Honda had to goAfter the Brendon Hartley crash, it was the second time that new components were installed in the number 28 Toro Rosso. The New Zealander is already at the limit and will hardly get through the season with the required number of units.

Kimi Räikkönen got the second set of engine, turbocharger and MGU-H after a defect. According to Ferrari, the removed engine can be returned to the pool. But the Iceman definitely has to do without the first expansion stage. There was also an alarm at Mercedes after an oil leak in Esteban Ocon's Force India. Fernando Alonso's McLaren got the second turbocharger installed.

Ferrari chief technology officer Mattia Binotto assured that they wanted to stick to the original development plan for as long as reliability allowed. “When you determine your development program, you don't look to others. We focus on developing our own drive as best we can. Experience shows that this gives the best results. We knew that we were only allowed to use 3 units, and that's what we focused our development on. That won't change because someone else forces us to. ”

Fourth motor only if necessary

They spoke in Barcelona Motor bosses Remi Taffin (Renault), Mattia Binotto (Ferrari), Andy Cowell (Mercedes) and Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda) about their plans.

Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe explained in a complicated manner that one would also like to get by with the prescribed units, but that was not easy because one was in the egg genen camp have already suffered some losses. We hear that Honda is more likely to pursue an aggressive development course after ensuring reliability, to catch up with the leaders and to prove to Red Bull how productive they are. And the more stages of development you have, the better that happens.

Renault and Mercedes leave it open as to whether they will change their original plan again. The clearest expression of Renault operations manager Remi Taffin. “We have everything when developing the enginedone to make sure we stay within the regulations. If that is compatible with our development goals, so will we. The longer you then race with this package, the more you have to take stock and see where you can still optimize. If that is possible with three units, we will do it with three units. If there is a chance of achieving more power with one step, the four of us add it. ”

Even Mercedes engine guru Cowell ultimately does not rule out a deviation from the plan. “As Mattia said, we also drive our own race. But in the course of a season you will always be confronted with surprises. Uncomfortable when you are damaged. It is gratifying when you discover that you can gain 10 kilowatts extra with a development. Then maybe at the end of the year you will make the decision to use a fourth engine. In principle, however, we want to adhere to the rules because using less hardware is also cheaper for us and our customers. ”


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