Thursday, January 29, 2015


We've read so many predictions and wish lists for 2015. usually those are from armchair pundits who have an outside knowldge of F1, maybe years of viewing experience. But it could never compare to actual F1 people in the industry who work on cars and teams day and night. James Allen has exclusive access to these people and I'm just so thankful that he shares these insider insights with us. So for those who missed it, here is a reproduction of one such insight.

Original article can be found HERE.

Over the last few days we have previewed the new F1 season, highlighting what could be the big talking points of the year.

Today it’s the turn of JA on F1 technical adviser Dominic Harlow (below), formerly chief operations engineer at Force India, to run his eye over the areas for fans to focus on in 2015.

We are always trying to bring the fans closer to the sport and here Dom goes behind the scenes to look at the key areas the engineers will be working on and therefore the things that will decide the outcomes of races and the championship.

Engine battle becomes increasingly intense

Things are likely to continue where they left off last season with engines as probably the most high profile differentiator. Honda have joined F1 after a break of 6 years which is a huge challenge in itself let alone with the leap in technology since that time. Renault and Ferrari are looking to catch up but Mercedes won’t stand still. One fewer Power Units per driver and one more Race mean even more pressure. Lotus and Mclaren are two very interesting barometers of PU performance.

Control systems move into the mainstream as a performance differentiator

The work going on behind the scenes in 2014 to optimise the control systems and the way they interact with the new Power Unit was quite well hidden and poorly understood. Yet it contributed a lot to race outcomes last year. The regulations allow a good deal more freedom than in the past and the torque management of the PU and the way this is done both by the team and the driver is an increasingly active battlefield. This contributes significantly to overtaking, among other things.

The points on the track where the driver changes his torque map in qualifying, or the areas where the MGU-K de-rates or charges the battery on power in the Race whilst not exposing him to the risk of an overtake all need to be carefully chosen and programmed.

Aero development rate just as fast as 2014 if not faster

There were a huge number of unknowns when the teams developed their 2014 cars, and inevitably some incorrect assumptions or less than optimal simulations. With a year’s worth of data the aero development rate will probably accelerate in the short term.

All the usual areas like front wing, brake ducts, diffuser especially around the rear tyres and in the center and cooling should evolve rapidly and we might expect top speeds to increase slightly further as teams seek to save more fuel to feed the more powerful engines.

What Pirelli do next – a golden opportunity existing based on 2014

Pirelli need to improve the super-soft tyre from 2014 but with that done could then use tyre choice based on last year’s experience, a step softer or a step harder, but with the same 4 tyres, to generate some great tactical races.

Innovation – The next Mass Damper, Front Wheel Disc, Double Diffuser, F-Duct, EBD, FRIC

Almost every year there is a disruptive technology of some kind which comes along and is (although perhaps occasionally overrated) an important performance differentiator. It would be great if 2015 could generate another such innovation and to see what that might be.

Virtual Safety Car in action and it’s effect on strategy

There are a number of changes to the Sporting Regulations aimed at improving safety, but the Virtual Safety Car which is similar to a ‘Full Course Yellow’ concept will inevitably have some strategic consequences in Races and with it being new for all involved it will be fascinating to see the winners and losers and how teams adapt.

Original article can be found HERE.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Lewis Hamilton fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The 2015 power unit homologation saga has taken an unnecessary and complicated twist recently. We all know this is due to the FIA and Bernie's love for making things more complicated than they already are. Honda which has entered back the sport and who has had a 1 year learning curve was denied freedom to evolve their engine for 2015 but now the FIA has agreed to allow Honda to develop its power unit in 2015 in line with rival manufacturers.

Previously, the Japanese manufacturer, which returns to F1 with McLaren this season, looked set to lose out as it was treated as a new manufacturer and thereby subject to 2014 homologation regulations. Ferrari and Renault, seizing on a loophole in the regulations, were able to put the FIA into a position whereby homologation was allowed to continue in to the season whereas in 2014 there was clear cut off date (28 February).

However, as a new manufacturer entering the sport, Honda was deemed as being subject to the 2014 regulations, a move the Japanese giant saw as leaving it at a distinct disadvantage. Concerned at the situation, representatives from Honda met with the FIA earlier this week and having considered the matter Charlie Whiting has now given the Japanese manufacturer the all-clear and will be allowed to make a certain number of modifications in order to maintain a degree of competitiveness in line with its three rivals.

Charlie Whiting's justification:
"As each of the four 2015 manufacturers will have an homologated power unit at the start of the season, we believe it would be fair to ensure that each of them enjoys equal opportunities for upgrades during the season. We will therefore allow the new manufacturer to use the same number of tokens that the other three manufacturers have available to them, taken as an average of the three.
For example, if the three 2014 manufacturers have eight, seven and five unused tokens respectively at the start of the season, then the new manufacturer will be allowed to use six during the season (the average rounded down to the nearest whole number)."
Under the complicated system, the manufacturers have 32 tokens (in total) to use this season, decreasing to 25 in 2016 and 20 in 2017. The move will frustrate Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault who had argued that when they homologated their units in 2014 there was no benchmark, whereas Honda has now had a full season in which to observe the successes and pitfalls of its rivals. With no apparent time limit set on when the tokens must be used by it is likely that development will take place over the course of the season rather than before Melbourne or even the start of the European season.

Annual Power Unit Homologation

Function Function Details Token Value
15 16 17 18 '19/
Upper/lower crankcase Cylinder bore spacing, deck height, bank stagger. 2 X X X X X
Upper/lower crankcase All dimensions including Cylinder bore position relative to legality volume, water core. 3
Cylinder Head Except modifications linked to subsequent modifications. 2

Combustion All parts of parts defining combustion. Included: Ports, Piston crown, Combustion chamber, Valves geometry, timing, lift, injector nozzle, coils, spark plug Excluded: Valves position. 3

Valves axis position Includes angle but excludes axial displacement 2

Valves drive From valve to camshaft lobe. Position and Geometry. Exhaust and Inlet. Including valve return function inside the head. 2

Valve drive - Camshafts From camshaft lobe to gear train. Geometry except lift profile. Includes damping systems linked to camshaft. Exhaust and Inlet. 1
Valve drive Gear train down to crankshaft gear included. Position and Geometry. Includes dampers. 2
Covers Covers closing the areas in contact with engine oil Cam covers, Cam-timing covers… 1
Crankshaft Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter. 2 X X X X X
Crankshaft Except Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter. Includes Crankshaft bearings. 2

Con rods Including small and big end bearings. 2

Pistons Including bearings and pin. Excluding crown. 2

Air valve system Including compressor, air pressure regulation devices. 1 X X X X X
Ancillaries drive From ancillary to power source. Includes position of the ancillaries as far as drive is concerned. 3
Oil pressure pumps Including filter. Excluding internal if no impact on body. 1

Oil scavenge systems Any scavenging system. 1

Oil recuperation Oil/air separator, Oil tank, catch tank. 1

Engine Water pumps Include power unit mounted water pipes. 1

Injection system PU mounted fuel system components: (e.g. High Pressure fuel hose, fuel rail, fuel injectors, accumulators). Excluding injector nozzle. 2

Inlet system Plenum and associated actuators. Excluding pressure charging, trumpets and throttle associated parts and actuators. 1

Inlet system Trumpets and associated parts and actuators. 1

Inlet system Throttles and associated parts and actuators. 1

Pressure charging From compressor inlet to compressor outlet. 2

Pressure charging From turbine inlet to turbine outlet. 2

Pressure charging From Engine exhaust flanges to turbine inlet. 1

Pressure charging External actuators linked to Pressure charging. 1

Electrical system Engine mounted electrical components (e.g. wiring loom within legality volume, sensors, alternator). Excluding actuators, ignition coils and spark plugs. 1

Ignition system Ignition coils, driver box. 1

Lubrication All parts in which circulates oil under pressure (Oil pump gears, channels, piping, jets) and not mentioned elsewhere in the table. 1

Friction coatings

Sliding or rotating seals

MGU-H Complete. All internals including bearings, casing… 2

MGU-H Position, Transmission. 2

MGU-H Power electronics. 1

MGU-K Complete. All internals including bearings, casing… 2

MGU-K Position, Transmission. 2

MGU-K Power electronics. 1

ERS Wiring loom. 1

ES Cells (Article 5.4.3). 2


ERS - Cooling/lubrication Cooling/Lubrication systems (Including ES jackets, pipes, pumps, actuators). 1


Note: X = No modifying/development allowed

Details 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total of weighted items 66 66 66 66 66 66
Total of weighted modifiable items 61 51 51 43 3 3
Quota of total weighted items allowed for modifications 32 25 20 15 3 3
% of modifications allowed vs. complete weighted PU 48 38 30 23 5 5
Total of frozen items 5 15 15 23 63 63
% PU being frozen 8 23 23 35 95 95

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Lewis Hamilton fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The FIA has published an updated entry list for next year's Formula 1 season and Manor and Caterham remain on it while Lotus are now also "subject to confirmation". The initial list was revealed last month with Manor, who competed as Marussia this year, and Caterham also "subject to confirmation" after the two teams went into administration last season.

Marussia have already ceased trading with many of its assets auctioned a few weeks ago, but Caterham are still hoping to find a buyer and compete in the 2015 Championship. One tweak to the list sees Lotus' status changed despite the team already confirming Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado for next year with Mercedes their new engine supplier.

The numbers of the drivers who will be on the grid have also been revealed with defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton keeping number 44.

2015 Entry List

Mercedes (Engine: Mercedes)

44. Lewis Hamilton
6. Nico Rosberg

Red Bull Racing (Renault)
3. Daniel Ricciardo
26. Daniil Kvyat

Williams (Mercedes)
19. Felipe Massa
77. Valtteri Bottas

Scuderia Ferrari (Ferrari)
5. Sebastian Vettel
7. Kimi Raikkonen

McLaren (Honda)
14. Fernando Alonso
22. Jenson Button

Force India F1 Team (Mercedes)
27. Nico Hulkenberg
11. Sergio Perez

Scuderia Toro Rosso (Renault)
33. Max Verstappen
55. Carlos Sainz Jr.

Lotus F1 Team (Mercedes)*
8. Romain Grosjean
13. Pastor Maldonado

Sauber F1 Team (Ferrari)
9. Marcus Ericsson
12. Felipe Nasr

Manor F1 Team (Ferrari)*

CF1 Caterham F1 Team (Renault)*

*Subject to confirmation

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Valteri Bottas fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.