Mercedes change their tune and Rosberg’s engine.
TJ13 reported earlier this week that Mercedes intended to reuse Nico Rosbergs #3PU in Singapore, the one reported to have a “water leak” and was removed from the car before qualifying in Monza.
This power unit was the new spec engine with development tokens deployed. Rosberg qualified and raced with an engine that was nearing the end of its life, and unsurprisingly it went boom, for all the world to see.
TJ13 questioned Mercedes’ decision to reuse the new PU#3 and suggested given the ‘water’ and ‘head gasket’ issues, this was a risk for Nico.
Since then we’ve had a Toto Wolff ‘clarification’ on the issues with Nico’s PU#3, following the explanations given by Paddy Lowe, AND Andy Cowell.
But this ‘clarification’ told a whole different tale.
“It turns out it had nothing to do with the engine,” said Wolff. “It was a chassis component that we’ve had on the car for a long time. So with hindsight, it was perfectly ok to put the new engine in.”
So yesterday, Nico’s #3 PU was ‘perfectly OK’.
However, the question Toto’s comments raises is; if the chassis component that failed was not regularly changed out when the PU was, wouldn’t it have caused the same issue when they swapped back in Monza to the old unit?
The old unit chewed up its pistons in the Monza race, something the chassis is unlikely to be responsible for.
Anyway, the latest news from Mercedes is that Nico will NOT now PU#3 for qualifying and the race, but just for the practice sessions 1&2.
What on earth is going on at Mercedes?
The senior management cannot agree on their stories. They didn’t read the lap time data correctly in Monaco costing Lewis the race win, and there was dithering during the race in Monza too as they spent 5 laps deciding what to do following the FIA message to the team they were under investigation for a tyre pressure infringement.
The many headed hydra that is the Mercedes management stands in stark contrast to the leadership of Ross Brawn. Its simply a good thing their car is so superior to the rest of the field.
As TJ13 suggested previously, it is now almost certain Nico Rosberg will have to use a 5th ICE this year, forcing him to take a 10 place grid penalty at some point.
The TJ13 Chancery’s (check it out) estimations are that it will come as early as Sochi, as Nico’s performance there last year with the “magic tyres” proves he has the measure of the track, and is capable of overtaking.
Force India B-Spec ‘plus’ to arrive in Singapore
The much anticipated Force India B-spec car with all its gubbins is due to begin it’s testing in Singapore. Force India has been pedantic in bringing car updates this year, with of course budget being the major issue.
The most significant change the Silverstone based outfit have delivered this year was the unveiling of the unique “nostrils” nose at Silverstone, which given subsequent results has to be judged a success.
However, the team will be bringing a plethora of new parts during the practice sessions in Singapore, though how many of those parts make it into the race is anyones guess.
“We hope to have the whole package working in Singapore”, said Force India’s COO Otmar Szafnauer. “We can optimise anything. From then on, it’ll be little increments. We are looking at bringing something significant to Mexico if we can do it in time because it is Checo’s home race. We want to give him the best shot to be on the podium if we can but we’re not sure of the timing yet.”
Deputy team Principal and the man who really runs Force India, Bob Fernley adds: “I’m pleased. The progression has been continuous since Silverstone There have been no changes to the programme and the B-spec will be finished in Singapore. What we need to make sure is that we get the reliability We’ve had some DNFs recently so we need to get both cars in the points if we want to challenge for fifth.”
Force India are currently just 13 points ahead of Lotus, who have been hampered by Pastor Maldonado’s penchant to exit races early this year. He has scored just 12 points to Romain Grosjean’s 38 – and is proving the value of a pay driver with 10’s of millions may not in fact be worth the funds.
Global Auto manufacturers want nothing to do with F1.
Formula One has a problem and equally long term decisions to make.
The problem is many of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world are shunning the sport on the whole. Presently F1 has Renault, FCA, Mercedes and Honda as manufacturers who are committed to the sport.
Renault appear to be on the brink of bailing out. Honda’s new supremo has expressed his views on the lack of value he sees in F1 and when the deal with McLaren expires, the Japanese company could once again withdraw from the sport.
This leaves Mercedes and Ferrari (who are part of the FCA group).
So where are VW (Audi, Porsche), GM, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Peugeot and BMW?
What does all this say about the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’, that most of the top ten auto-manufacturers on the planet refuse to get involved in Formula One?
This week Harald Kruger, CEO of BMW, was asked about the prospect of BMW entering F1.
“No,” was his curt response. “Motor sport is part of the core brand of BMW, and the DTM is important for us.” He did concede, “I would not categorically rule out Le Mans.”
Kruger revealed BMW are currently examining at present a way to enter Formula E.
Toyota survived just 7 years in Formula One. They arrived in 2002, and announcing their abrupt withdrawal in 2009.
Peugeot similarly were involved in F1 for just 7 years in the sport from 1994-2000. They failed to win even one race, and then promptly sold off their engine division.
Honda most recently pulled out of F1 in 2008. The Japanese auto manufacturer had been predominantly involved in F1 since 1964, though heir most current foray with McLaren is going poorly enough that there is already speculation that the may cut their losses at any time.
U.S. based companies, GM and Ford, have shown Zero interest in F1, despite the fact that there is potential PR for the Americans in Eastern markets where F1 races.
Then again, the majority of GM’s world sales are delivered via the “Chevy” brand, which is not a name recognisable outsiode of the good old US of A.
Ford, with the surprise introduction of its new “GT” model, together with its race spec sister, have shown that Ford International racing tastes bend more toward Endurance and sports car racing.
Perhaps they learned their lesson in the 60’s.
While one can argue that the Cosworth Engine was a Ford, we all know that the Cosi had little or nothing to do with Ford by the time it was dominating F1. You could even call it ‘early badge engineering’.
Our own Matt Trumpets has strongly advocated that Kia to jump into F1, especially now that they are building a 1.6 turbo hybrid for mass market, the PR value could be immense. This is of course is not even a wild rumour, but just wishful thinking, but the prospect would be intriguing given that the Koreans have been beating the Japanese at their own game for nigh on a decade now in the reasonably-priced-but-not-total-junk car market.
And finally we have Audi. There have been stories suggesting the German marque is about to join F1 for years. The conclusion was this could not happen whilst there was a man standing in the way – Ferdinand Piech.
Piech consistently was a most vocal opponent to Audi being involved in Formula One, and he was not afraid to give his reason – Bernie Ecclestone.
So in April when Mr. Pieche was forced to step down, a whole new flood of speculation began about VAG group and F1.
This happened to coincide with the ever deepening rift at Red Bull/Renault, so all the ‘insiders’ were convinced Audi was about to join the game, as a partner of Red Bull.
Bernie even offered to “step down”, were he to be the barrier to Audi’s F1 entrance and feigned surprise when confronted with this information by Sky news just prior to Ferdinand leaving.
However, Bernie had read the tea leaves and knew this request would never be made and it was plain for all to see that Pieche’s day was over,
Simply, there is no F1 without cars with engines. The cigarette money is gone, and the liquor money could be next, and the power unit technology development costs are way too extravagant for an independent team to build a bespoke engine and gearbox for their car.
Formula 1 needs automobile manufacturers to invest in the sport, so it can stay alive
And when most of the top ten manufacturers refuse to give Formula One the time of day, it has to be time for a rethink.