V before the big Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi the engines were counted at Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. Lewis Hamilton drove an engine in the last race that was only one race old. Mark Webber's Abu Dhabi engine was behind Singapore and Suzuka - a total of 952 kilometers. It was the one with the highest horsepower of the entire Red Bull range of 16 engines.
Fresh final engines for Alonso and Vettel
Fernando Alonso cooked on the back burner in Friday training with ancient engines. In Brazil, he gave the rest to a 2,400-kilometer unit in the first practice session. The Ferrari V8 for the finale only had one race on the clock. All speculations that Alonso could fly around the ears because of the engine shortage in the Ferrari camp at the final of the eight-cylinder were completely unfounded. Ferrari had consciously saved an engine with little mileage for the last race and used the Friday engines to the limit.
Sebastian Vettel had to make do with the Monza /Singapore engine after his engine breakdown in Korea in Brazil. 'A lame dog. It has spread down in performance,' complained the German. It was still enough to win. In Abu Dhabi, Vettel got the most virgin Renault V8 from his contingent. He only had the Japanese GP and the Friday practice session in Brazil on his résumé. Made a total of 673 kilometers.
Connecting rod damage due to rain races in Spa
Renault only released the engine after an extensive damage analysis. First, the cause of the connecting rod damage had to be found in Korea, which turned out to be difficult because Vettel stayed on the gas until everything was shortened. Nevertheless, after a short time it was clear that the connecting rod of the fourth cylinder was causing the drama. Renault engineers were perplexed because they assumed they had solved the connecting rod disease that had puzzled them for a year and a half.
Defective connecting rods killed Vettel in 2009 in Monte Carlo and Istanbul and Webber in 2010 in Sepang and Istanbul a total of four Friday engines. 'With the permission of the FIA, we were allowed to improve the connecting rod,' reveals Renault technician Fabrice Lom. 'There has been no more trouble since the Canadian GP. And then that.'
Red Bull changes engine plan before Korea
The engine specialists dissected every kilometer that the damaged one based on the data lists Enginewas in operation before the GP Korea. They found that the connecting rod in the fourth cylinder broke apart for another reason. The engine was driven at only 14,000 rpm for a long period in the wet race at Spa. 'We came into a speed range that was harder than full throttle for the connecting rods because of resonance. We had a similar scenario in Korea,' explained Lom.
Sometimes world championships depend on little things. As auto motor und sport reports in its most recent issue (25/2010, in stores since November 18), Vettel would have become world champion much earlier and without a tremendous match if Renault had adhered to its original engine plan and not rescheduled at short notice before the Korean GP. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reveals: 'We changed the engine distribution for the last three races because the analysis of the engine planned for Korea had raised doubts. Seb was actually supposed to drive the Suzuka engine in Korea. He would have the race with that won. '
Suzuka engine would also have survived Korea
Vettel adds:' This engine was not pre-damaged like the Spa model that was then used in Korea. So it would have survived the race. ' But would not Vettel then have met fate at the final in Abu Dhabi? It was precisely that Hockenheim /Spa engine that was originally supposed to do its job in the last race. Renault would have gone into the decisive Grand Prix just as unsuspectingly because the causes of the early defect on the connecting rod were only recognized after the burst.
Vettel contradicts: 'It is true that this engine was pre-stressed by driving for a long time in the specific speed range. It only failed in Korea because the weather there was again similar to that in Spa, and therefore also comparable operating conditions It didn't rain in Abu Dhabi, and the type of track we would not have reached this speed range. '
Too much lead in the engine oil
But why was the Suzuka engine held back at all? After all, Vettel rushed to victory with this eight-cylinder at the Japanese GP. After the race, the Renault engineers found a lead content in the oil samples that was too high, which indicated material abrasion. Exactly this engine was in perfect health.
Renault used it for the test during Friday practice in Brazil, found no other abnormalities and gave the unit the green light for use in the final. The winning engine from Suzuka also won in Abu Dhabi and made Vettel the champion.
Vettel's World Cup secret, part 3: Read on Saturday how McLaren failed to steal important points from Vettel to win the title