Looking into the F1 Crevasse

burning car

It has been a crazy couple of days in Formula 1, lets do a quick recap of recent events:

  1. Pirelli and the WMSC have announced changes in the regulations regarding how drivers are allowed to use their tyres over a race weekend, in addition to adding a new ultra soft compound that has only had 2 days of testing.
  2. The WMSC has announced in season engine development will continue on through to end of the current contracts (2020).
  3. The WMSC confirms 20 races for 2016, with a tentative hold on 21 (Austin) If Austin is confirmed by the start of the Australian GP “event”,  all teams will be allowed to use 5 Power Units, as opposed to 4, regardless whether a race is cancelled after that point or not. (sporting regulations, 23.4 (c).
  4. The WMSC states that teams may “re-homologate” any PU that had been homologated from 2014 on, though what “re-homologate” exactly mean has not been defined.
  5. The WMSC has opened the door for Ferrari to supply 5 teams with PU’s, including themselves (one of which is a year old design).
  6. Tag Heuer has announced a split with Mclaren, and a new partnership with Red Bull.
  7. Renault has announced that they have officially signed the paperwork, moving forward their purchase of Lotus (we do not know what the PU in the Renault will be named, nor do we yet know if the team will be allowed to change their name to Renault for 2016).
  8. Red Bull has announced that they are staying in F1, utilizing a Renault PU, that is in a technical partnership with Illmor. This PU will be called a “TAG HEUER
  9. Toro Rosso have announced that they will be running a 2015 Ferrari Power Unit in 2016, and will keep both Carlos Sainz, and Max Verstappen as their drivers.
  10. Vijay Mallya may lose control of Force India to Diageo, after having been declared a “willful defaulter” by the Indian government (they have also confiscated one of his planes, his villa and Goa and a whole other pile of Indian based assets worth millions).

That’s more F1 news at one time than I can ever remember happening, and shines a light on just how bad things are at the moment.

The whole purpose of the 2014 regulation changes, including the lock-out of in-season development, was to reduce costs, and keep manufacturers from giving their customers different specifications of their Power Unit. Well that is all completely out the window now!

Much like this year, where both Mercedes and Ferrari were supplying their customers with less developed Power Units, the next 4 years will be the same. In fact, it opens the door for the manufacturers to base the spec PU they supply to a customer to be dependent on the price they pay. This isn’t a 2 tier formula, but a 4 tier formula. It basically ensures a customer will NEVER be able to compete with a manufacturer (Dennis has his faults but he saw it coming).

The new tyre regulations are a mess, so much so that even the drivers are having a tough time comprehending what they mean. While the intention may have been to give teams more freedom in their pit strategy, without giving Pirelli proper testing time to develop the tyres, the so called “cliff” that they are expected to build in to the compounds will not be known until the season actually starts, which is too late.

As I have said before, the reason auto manufacturers are not lining up to enter the ‘Pinnacle of Motorsport’ has little to do with the lack of performance we see in the Renault and Honda PUs, but more to do with the lack of stability in the sport as a whole. What company in their right mind would invest hundreds of millions of currency units into a racing program, only to have the powers that be change the rules a few weeks/months later?

Sure, you can blame this on democracy, as Bernie has, or you can blame this on the teams and their self-serving interests, but the truth is this is the system that Bernie created. It was set up this way because he made a side deal with Red Bull several years ago, essentially destroying the Concorde agreement and disbanding FOTA.

While Bernie has been openly telling the world that the sport is for sale, again, who would want to buy it? Viewership is in decline, free to air TV is nearly gone, circuit owners are unable to pay their bills, and the contracts that exist with the TV broadcasters prevent the series owners from taking advantage of the endless possibilities of the internet. Add to it, that anyone who so much as mentions the phrase ‘formula 1’ is likely to be sued by Bernie, and we have a disaster waiting to happen.

What does the TJ13 Jury think? Can F1 be saved? Can the owners, promoters, teams, and broadcasters, come together and make the necessary changes to stabilize the sport, or do we need to start over?

Some say the only way forward from here is down, into the crevasse. It must all fall apart before it can be rebuilt, and step one is to throw Bernie down a hole and burn the rest of it to the ground.

But who is capable of taking over from Bernie? Is there a person on this planet with the skills, authority, and drive to save the sport we love?

And what of Jean Todt? His absence, as well as the debacle in Brazil, where he all but ignored the tragedy in Paris to further his own agenda, is not the type of leader the FIA needs. It appears his personal aspirations to be crowned le President  has taken priority over not only Formula 1 but all FIA series and even the safety of their participants. The accident and subsequent death of Jules Bianchi, followed this year by Alonso’s strange and unexplained impact into a wall, should have been more than enough for the teams to start questioning the safety of their drivers. Yet nothing has come of it.

How many people have to die and how many teams must we loose before the pitchforks come out?

49 responses to “Looking into the F1 Crevasse

  1. A bit about everything but still nothing about Renault engine developed by ilmor/RBR. as I said on here, Renault can use ilmor, RBR cannot, but only pay for him.
    And FERRARI supplying five teams?

    • There is not going to be a RBR PU or even a Renault PU with a separated development path, atleast not for 2016. Ilmor will help as a consultant to Renault, and RBR gets the same PU as the Renault works team. I think TJ13 made a big mistake with his claims. Nothing gets heavier punished then an unthrustworthy source.

      And Ferrari will supply 4 teams: itself, HAAS, Sauber and Toro Rosso. Manor will get Mercedes supply.

        • “Marko added that Red Bull will receive the same Renault engine as the factory team.

          “I’m glad that Renault has finally decided to take over Lotus and remain in Formula 1,” he said.

          “We will get the same Renault power units as the factory team. Mario Illien, with his company Ilmor, will work as a consultant with Renault to develop the engine. Renault asked him to do that.”

          Plus now that red bull will be running Honda PU’s in 2017 why would they spend money to help Renault?

    • Whats to know about Renault\ilmor, He;s under subcontract to Renault at viry and Renault will use the development path that was commissioned by RBR\ilmor. The 2016 Ren\ilmor engine will have 32 tokens for next year and the base for that, one would assume will be the d-spec engine used in brazil but with the ilmor upgrades added so maybe on par with the power output of 2015 Ferrari engine maybe. That engine and any further spec Ren\Ilmor ICE will be supplied to RBR and badged RBR-TAG for 1 year only

      CA has openly admitted in interview that the F1 division had NO solutions on how to move forward performance wise and will take ANY outside help it can get.

        • I know what kind of argument you are trying to make for that in favour, but the argument against is what the current situation is: Everything from the original PU is Renault’s IP, and all developments after that have been put on under the name of Renault. It is impossible to quantify RBR’s influence into a certain percentage of IP. Officially and realistically, Renault owns 100% of the current IP, and the same will be true next year. Ilmor will be “working for and under” Renault, meaning their role is limited to consultancy, which does not grant IP.

          I disagree when somebody wants to make a case RBR has legally any right on the IP of the Renault PU. I understand the reasoning, but I disagree. Somers made a good article on it, but he made a fatal error when stating that FIA would allow a dual programme. What he failed to realise, is that would also open the way for the other manufacturers to pull of the exact same thing, with the sole goal for those others to have more ways to develop. That’s not a price the FIA will want to pay.

          I’m afraid you will have to accept it: atleast for 2016, RBR will not have its own PU. And I do not believe they can develop separately from the Renault PU further into the future. I hope you can get free from the intellectual stubborness and realise this.

          • I think you should read the recent WMSC regulations on PU’s for 2016. They allows a PU to be homologated and then developed in different directions.

          • Given your comments are merely deductive and have no basis in original information, I’ll forgive you your indulgence. The announcements made by Renault and Red Bull were never going to embarrass Renault. As has been proven by TJ13 readers digging up RB planning applications, there is a new RB facility very sensitive to noise emissions and with a basement digging up the plans for RB’s new faciltiy – their capacity to develop F1 PU’s is in place.

            Further, don’t RBR why just take another Renault PU lock stock and barrel after all they’ve been through – given RB have lost 50% of Infiniti/Total revenue because they did not just continue with the previous contract.

            You should question why something has changed – and RB didn’t just continue as before.

            The reason is not merely some defensive position from Renault to stop them being slagged off. And Nobody believes TAG Heuer are providing the power unit.

            Finally, you may prefer to go read the F1 section on the BBC – as it appears anything not confirmed chapter and verse can never be true. Also Lewis ‘writes’ a column there each week, which is totally believable.

          • TJ, they allow only for a previous year PU to be rehomologated. There’s not even a loophole to use that PU for a separated development path.

            I think it’s quite clear why RBR continued with Renault: there was no other option. All the others PUBLICLY declined they were willing to supply RBR, while also confirming there were talks. It was either quiting, or staying put, under worse financial terms yes.

            If you want to talk about no basis in original informations and being merely deductive, then you are out of luck: not once have you presented one piece of information that shows a reliable sign that they are building their own PU. The same with the building they are constructing: what makes you think they are building this as a workspace for developing PUs? For all you and me know, it could be a mere workshop for building bodywork components. A company in an industry zone near my place, is building a noise-cancelling building too. They are building boilers.

            Everything you presented is merely deductive. I really don’t like to sound belittling, but you should refrain from that doing yourself ;). For the record, I’m talking about next year, 2016. What happens in 2017, is something I will leave in the middle.

          • Isn’t the soundproofing for a music recording studio, to lure away from Mercedes a certain BBC columnist?

          • Let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt here and rank the order or possibilities from most innocent to most nefarious….

            1) TJ13 really do have an insider that was perhaps ‘using’ TJ13 to drive media and spin in away beneficial to the backroom negotiations RB were partaking in. TJ13 would at this point be quite innocent of being set up by someone.

            2) TJ13 have an insider, knew the plot, and played along to again create distraction and spin for RB’s backroom negotiations. This would make them guilty, but seeing as I love RB and am slightly jealous they have an insider like that… I can forgive them.

            3) No insider, just a highly tuned guess, and designed completely to generate CLICKS. Seeing as there is a pattern of this type of behavior in TJ13’s past, we’re getting closer to pure internet evil…

            anything of #3 or even worse (i’ll let you fill in the blanks) would be quite a disappointment wouldnt it? Perhaps a mass exodus is due?

            I know another F1 website that has already broke the news about RB’s 2017 honda PU – they might be a bit more worthy of our advertisement clicks.

            gonna censor this Tj13?

  2. It is all being started again – look at the Electric racing series is coming up while F1 goes down and out with Bernie’s demise – it’ll transition in a few years as the way of the world is going electric road cars. F1 will be like F5000 is now in 10 yrs

    • So a motorsport that isnt yet able to make a profit, has very little TV ratings, is going to make another sitting at the top of the public’s perception, tossing off $400 million+/year in profit, and another $1 billion+ to it’s participants? Mhmm….

    • F1 will become fully electric before it FE takes top spot… or the two merge.

      All F1 fans should rejoice in this however. A fully electric F1 will be more competitive and faster than the F1 of today. It will also be much easier for the powers that be to pull on a few levers to keep the racing close and equal.

  3. judging from the article it certainly appears that the manufacturers have come out of all this in an even stronger position than ever. the ‘new’ engine by the FIA would’ve had performance ‘equivalency’ potential. now we have ‘re homologated’ engines that are simply old and outdated with no ‘equivalency’ potential as otherwise they would not be ‘old and outdated’.? how silly is all this?

  4. These new and mighty powers that Bernie and Todt have been bestowed… could they use them to force the introduction of their planned twin turbo engine?

  5. yesterday Bernie told German newspaper handelsbbatt “we have to change the rules for the introduction to a cheap alternative engine”. he says he still wants to push with plans for an independent engine for 2017 despite the idea having been rejected by FI commission.

  6. “What does the TJ13 Jury think? Can F1 be saved?”

    The label “F1” will be around for many years to come. So in that sense, yes, “F1” can and will be saved.

    However, to use the inverse of a known saying, at some stage “F1” no longer smells like a duck, no longer walks like a duck, no longer quacks like a duck… and therefore is no longer a duck – even if it keeps the “duck” label.

    I’ve not watched four-wheeled Grand Prix racing for two years. We’ve had accidental flashes of it, but in the main, we’re watching mini-WEC. I’d rather just watch proper-WEC.

    I’m aware that F1 has had tyre management, fuel management, heat engine management before – but never in such extreme ways and never all in concert at the same time. Combine that with the ridiculous new PU energy operations guide, almost zero testing, and things like DRS etc… well it’s too far for a Grand Prix style racing aficionado.

    It’s not the domination that’s the issue. F1’s most popular eras were through dominant periods for a team.

  7. There is no way that RBR will have their own PU in 2016, neither as a whole nor in part, pays for the development most probable, but all developments will belong to Renault, that is why I said that Renault can use illien but red bull cannot.
    “Lewis writes a column there (bbc) each week, which is totally believable” that he writes a column weekly for bbc is believable, but who is going to believe what a certified with a pedigree liar says?.

  8. People are not watching it because they know who will be on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd steps of the podium before the race begins. The rules don’t allow anyone to catch up!!

      • The engines have been homologated so teams are limited to what they can do to improve them using the token system. As Renault proved with their latest updated engine, using 11 tokens didn’t even make a dent into the huge Mercedes advantage.

  9. Very true.
    Bernie is ready for the hospice.
    Todt just looks to get medals and titles with his huge ego.
    Total lack of leadership.

  10. “That’s more F1 news at one time than I can ever remember happening, and shines a light on just how bad things are at the moment.”….
    You made 10 points, one is about a large auto maker making a long-term investment in F1, while saving a historic team from liquidation, two points confirm two teams have powertrains and will race next season, one point shows a long-time F1 sponsor increasing it’s investment in F1, two points speak of rule changes meant to improve the championship, one shows an expansion of the calendar, and one explains how a shameful team owner is on his way out of the sport.

    Yup, so much bad news in a week…. The chicken little prophecies are past wearing thin.

    I wish this site would can the grudge based reporting and stick to reporting the scoops and news stories others didn’t like it use to.

  11. I have always been 1 to peruse through just about every F1 content I can and refrain from posting any comment whatsoever… Having said that, after weeks even months of reading and following this whole saga unfold in regard to Renault & RBR, my interpretation of the reports and statements of the last week would be this…
    Illmor was brought in by RBR with the intent to provide Renault with a different option/avenue of progressing the lemon that was the Renault ICE. 100% at the cost of RBR I might add. Renault being either too proud or stupid to allow any assistance in design albeit 1 that pointed out and rectified flaws within just solely the Renault PU’s top end alone to the tune of reportedly 4% (30hp). Fast forward to this last week and now Renault have admitted the mistakes made and have now agreed to take on illmor albeit as a direct sub contractor/advisor to the boys in Viry.
    Now the argument for IP would stem from the fact that Renault are happy to “source outside help” and want to use the Illmor mods which low and behold RBR paid for. To help offset this I would imagine that some sort of deal was done between both parties that, from renaults part might have seen them happy to continue to supply RBR and quite possibly at a slightly reduced cost. From RBR perspective they get what they want as far as they get an on par spec ICE from Renault and their man continues to develope in the future but now at the expense of Renault.
    As far as the WMSC’s re-homologation ruling goes, I would think that would pertain to as far as RBR is concerned the rest of the PU components aside from the ICE, which they are now quite free to develop as they see fit and totally independent of Renault in their little “skunkworks” building. I often think that people tend to get the 5 aspects of the PU mixed up into 1. RBR do not and never will wish to become an ICE manufacturer the expense for the return is useless to them.
    Furthermore as far as RBR are concerned beyond next season (2016) if the Renault/Illmor ICE goes in the right direction then they may well extend a contract with Renault…. If not they now have the tooling to make and adapt any of their own 4 other PU components to another manufacturers ICE or even to sell them to other teams should they prove overly successful, so other customer teams can also jump on the re homologation bandwagon should their budgets see fit…..
    Of course without being a works team or manufacturer RBR need to continue to find ways to stay competitive with the big boys and this is it. It all about the ROI….
    Well played RBR I say…
    Of course there are many other subtle nuances to all of this but on face value, this Is the my quick blow over and that’s how I’ve read the writing on the wall… so I don’t at all think TJ13 got it wrong I just don’t think people see the bigger picture….

    • You seriously misjudged how all of the power unit elements combine to create the power train. The key to this is in the software, which Renault are responsible for. There simply is not scope for Red Bull to rewrite according to their own modifications.

      Red Bull have repeatedly told us they don’t want to be an engine manufacturer – and in the current engine formula it is not realistic to separately develop ERS or turbo elements without also having similar capabilities in relation to internal combustion elements!

      • Yet by working hand in hand with their inside man Mario Illen this may yet be possible… On a bigger picture we are talking about RB technologies not just RBR itself. If what you were claiming was true then I suppose there is equally a lack of scope for RBT to be out there pouring millions into sailing boat development…. Never underestimate what lies behind that “bigger picture”? RB are a corporate money making machine that will put its finger into any pie it can turn into a trick to make $$$$

  12. And I forgot to mention TAG will be picking up the tab for RBR’s development of the 4 other components

  13. Perhaps F1 should be renamed FWB: Formula Wee Bernie. Item 8 sounds like disinformatzia, wrapped in smoke and mirrors, told by an unnamed source of a suspicious nature. Still, we have much to argue about and imprecations of stupidity and dishonesty to toss about with abandon over the next few months; what MORE do we need?

  14. stepping back a bit for a objective POV… are the WMSC “rulings” actually legally binding? or are they categorized as “suggestions”.

    I don’t like any of these words (from the press release) “mandate…to make recommendations and decisions”. “Mr Todt and Mr Ecclestone expressed their intention to establish conclusions on these matters by 31 January, 2016.”

    Super vague and non-binding in my opinion.

  15. What are the four components that are being talked about on here?.
    The facts so far after one of the biggest U-TURNS in F1 history shows that RBR will be powered by a Renault engine in 2016, all developments allowed as per the FIA regulations will belong to Renault, regardless of who carries the bill. from 2017 it will either be another Renault engine for RBR or the independent engine they Bernie and Totd are still pushing for, as all other three engine suppliers already made it clear that they don’t want to have anything to do with them.

    • RBR can develop the MGU-K, MGU-H, Turbo Charger and compressor (Honeywell builds the Ferrari Turbo Charger), it’s possible they could use a different combustion chamber to Renault on the ICE, lubricants, fuel and the software side of things are also up for grabs. You have to get all of the PU parts working together in harmony with each other to get fast lap times. It’s where Renault and Honda have struggled. I think people haven’t grasped the nature of these PU’s yet from a purely technical point of view. They are vastly complex and those of us who are nerds about the technology are not that surprised by the struggles most of the manufacturers have had. Mercedes spent the money, apparently made a change midway through the development process and ended up with the best PU on the grid. I’m sure the full tale of the Mercedes PU will emerge at some point.

      People place too much importance on the ICE, it’s nothing if the rest of the PU parts don’t work properly as Honda experienced this season.

      • The six components that makes-up the power unit has to be supplied to an engine customer team by the engine manufacturer. and only one type/design of engine can be homologated and customer teams cannot homologate anything pertaining to the power unit. if Ilomr is paid by the red bullies it does not change the fact that he role will be that of a consultant to Renault. nothing more nothing less.

        • The power unit is being badged tag heuer, so with some of the usual wheeling and dealing seen in F1, Red Bull will get around that particular problem. If they haven’t already.

        • I think you will find that Illmor will be now working direct for Renault at Viry as they have already stated

  16. @ sunny stivala the individual components that go together to make a PU are

    ICE (internal combustion engine)
    MGU-H (motor generator unit – heat)
    MGU-K (motor generator unit – kinetic)
    ES (energy store)
    CE (control electrics)

    Now RBR can control development of the last 5 mentioned all but the ICE
    I know I mentioned 4 previously…. (Had a bit of a brain snap, forgot and left out counting the CE) 😩😔

    • Cash, The six individual components that makes-up the Renault sports F1 power unit including the power unit manufactured and build by Renault and supplied to the red bullies will belong to Renault, only the watches stickers stuck on the valve covers will belong to the red bullies,

      • Guess that’s just how you interpreted the new rules @sunny stivala
        What exactly do you think re-homologation of previous seasons PU means??? And if every customer has to use pre determined works pu specs and components, why have they added this new clause??

        • As the regulations stands, and unless they are rewritten every customer team can only run/use what is supplied by the engine manufacturer, they cannot supply anything themselves, and here I am talking about any of the 6 components that makes-up the PU, The red bullies already tried circumnavigate the rules with their (ERS system) and got all the others Renault customers in a lot of problems before they were forced back to use the Renault system.

  17. i haven’t read through all the comments here but I have just encountered Mark Hughes’ latest piece on the Great F1 Engine Mystery in Motor Sport.
    This sounds to me like an extremely plausible description of what’s been going on behind the scenes. It’s not clear to me how this relates to the Great Red Bull Tag Renault Ilmor Mystery however. But it does feel better sourced and more coherent than anything I’ve read here.

  18. There’s an idea; why don’t we just put crampons on the wheels? Lots of grip. OT, but we are finally getting a bit of snow here and the alpine is calling. Really, just suggesting there are other things in life, like actually doing stuff, than F1; time to put a little risk in your life and get outside. Still, the politics this year are especially interesting.

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