Engine homologation is now a reality in F1
There's not much to say about the British Grand Prix, so I'll continue with the usual technical/political wrangling sideshow...
Last week saw negotion between the FIA and the engine manufacturers over the introduction of engine homologation come to an end without any compromise being reached. As a result the FIA will press ahead with a three year freeze on engine specifications from 2008 to 2010 inclusive. The really strange thing about these plans though is that the FIA has set a deadline of about now for manufacturer's to supply them with a spec engine that they will make all their engines the same as for those three seasons starting 2008. Engine manufacturers then have to decide whether to continue developing their current engines throughout 2006 and 2007, knowing that they will have to revert to a mid-2006 specification from 2008, or fall behind others that do so while they save their money.
I have no idea what the FIA's rationale is for this. Why not have them submit their spec engine one month prior to the start of the 2008 season, or bring forward the homologation period to the 2007 season? The former was proposed and passed by the new Sporting Working Group which can pass resolutions by a simple majority. They also proposed that the whole homologation idea be scrapped. In any case the FIA rejected both decisions even though the majority of teams agreed to them, because they did not fit in with the rules framework everyone had already signed up to for 2008 onwards.
I've written before about how engine homologation is not the best idea for the sport. I don't think it makes sense to have seven or eight different manufacturers making engines to almost exactly the same specification with the same power outputs but with different designs and using the most expensive materials and manufacturing techniques available. The high-tech nature of F1 engines only makes sense when the manufacturers are actively competing against each other to develop the most powerful engine possible within the rules. If this is no longer the case you might as well have everyone run the same spec engine, make it to a simpler lower-cost design and save even more money. All the current auto-manufacturers currently in F1 have their own cars and with Petronas no longer sponsoring the Ferrari engines that were in the back of the Sauber until this year, there are no engine-badging deals currently active either. Therefore nobody has anything to lose from the introduction of a spec engine versus Max's homologation plan.
Having said that, I have to say I back the FIA versus the manufacturers on this issue. If the relevant parties view a spec engine as unacceptable for F1, the current homologation plan is the only other route to save serious money. Spending as much as $100M a year (according to Max's sources) to find the tiny increments in performance that are possible under the current rules seems mad. Especially as the engine plays such a small part in the performance of a modern F1 car. The homologation plan doesn't do anything about the cost of actually manufacturing the engines the teams will use in race weekends and test days, but it does provide a huge incentive to not burn hundreds of engines on the dynos in developing new designs.
The manufacturer's counter-proposals were to allow development of certain components within the engine from year to year. It's pretty obvious that teams with money to burn would just spend it on developing smaller and small parts of the engine as the rules restrict them. It wouldn't reduce costs except for those that were happy to fall behind (albeit by a small amount) those that continued to spend $100M a year.
The indenpendant teams that are left in F1 and those that considered joining for 2008 expect the FIA to provide a situation where they can buy a supply of competitive engines without blowing half their budget. In recent years teams had to make a decision whereby they would spend a realistic amount of money on engines and get something that was rather less than competitive (the route taken by Minardi), or blow their wad on a super engine and suffer potential bankrupcy as a result (Prost GP). At least with the FIA's new rules, indepedant teams now only have to worry about competing on aero and dynamic fronts.
IF I WANT TO WATCH SPEC RACING I’LL WATCH IROC. DON’T STIFFLE INGENUITY AND ORIGINALITY. AND TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS AND GET RID OF MAX MOSLEY AND BERNIE.
VICTOR HARBORD () - 25 06 06 - 18:58
to whom it may concern what i wont to know is with no turbo charges etc how do they get the engine to rev at 18000 rpm
a normal engine with conrod bearing shells and mains would melt.
regards soglaw F1 rules
soglaw () (URL) - 02 07 06 - 20:32