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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:45 am 
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The biggest surprises for me this year is the massive variation between various cars on the 4 different tracks so far. We had the constant tussles between the Force India of The Hulk and Alonso' Ferrari in the first two races. Then the two Force Indias wiped the Bahrain track with both Ferraris. This time, the two FIndias were just average and Alonso was the best of the rest. And how can we forget McLaren's great start of the season, only to be nowhere since!

Also, up until this race, I had suspected that the Ferrari PU was the worst out of the three manufacturers, as we saw even the Toro Rossos outmuscle the Ferraris down the straights, etc. The Ferraris looked heavy and uncompetitive at the beginning of each race as they were swamped by everyone around them for the first few laps before they settled.

But in China, Fernando looked like he was driving the Ferrari of 2012, where he had good power at his disposal at the beginning of the race where he could aggressively attack, and also had good straight-line speed compared to previous races. We saw him pulling away from Vettel on the straights where the DNS should have negated any speed advantage, but it didn't.

I don't get to see the practice sessions here in Australia, so can anyone give an insight as to where Ferrari got its Mojo back? I'm aware that Bahrain was to be their worst track for the year and that the China track was to help mask their deficiencies, such as traction and top-speeds. So has there been a gain in power or has there just been an improvement across most key areas?

Also, has anyone got the top speeds reached by all the cars in the actual race? Formula1.com won't show the top speeds reached during the races.

Thanks in advance :)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:00 am 
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PU unit had issues. Maybe not hardware issues but more power delivery issues and how ICE and recovery systems worked and delivered power. Looks like Ferrari has sorted it somewhat. I believe there are still some gains to be made here over next few races.
But this weekend, Ferrari looked stable throughout the weekend right from FP1. I was preparing for another bad weekend. And then first time I saw Alonso doing laps in FP1 and immediately noticed he is not sliding around like he did in previous races. They never had outright pace of Mercedes, but car did not look handful for the first time this season. Specially on corner exit. Ferrari were sliding and twitching on power delivery before. They seems to have fixed that. At least to the point where Alonso can adapt his driving style to get decent result out of it in China.

Long way to go I am afraid, but it is definite sign of progress. I still think they will have to take a big gamble somewhere this season with the car and do or try something radical. If not for this year, then for next.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:19 am 
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This is one of the few tracks (two, I think?) that are front tire limited. The Ferrari is apparently better under those conditions.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:23 am 
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Many weeks ago Domenicali was asked about upgrades and when he expects Ferrari to have a good car. His answer was China.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:41 am 
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I bet they have turned up the boost on the engines and now they wont last the season but atleast they wont be embarrassed.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:44 am 
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It's the curse of Domenicali, its now finally over.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:04 am 
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smoothcrim wrote:
I bet they have turned up the boost on the engines and now they wont last the season but atleast they wont be embarrassed.


Sound romantic in theory, but you cannot up the boost without an extra supply of fuel; it's the limited fuel flows that capping the boost and ultimate HP. It's now just small variations in development that's making the differences ATM. The M/Benz cool turbo solution to reduce air intake temperature will take some clever counter developments to reel in their PU superiority - a big task but not impossible for the French and Italian engine manufacturers.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:16 am 
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ClubF1 wrote:
Also, up until this race, I had suspected that the Ferrari PU was the worst out of the three manufacturers, as we saw even the Toro Rossos outmuscle the Ferraris down the straights, etc.

What?

It's clearly Renault that is the worst, just look at pre-season drama (or how Vettel on fresh tires with DRS was slower than Alonso...). Ferrari is heavy, yes, but that's the only problem and it can be negated to an extent. Toro Rosso was faster merely due to having less aero, speed is easy to get on straights if you sacrifice corners.

ClubF1 wrote:
Sound romantic in theory, but you cannot up the boost without an extra supply of fuel; it's the limited fuel flows that capping the boost and ultimate HP.

Did you look at fuel usage last race? RB and Ferrari were using much more than Mercedes teams.

Quote:
It's now just small variations in development that's making the differences ATM. The M/Benz cool turbo solution to reduce air intake temperature will take some clever counter developments to reel in their PU superiority - a big task but not impossible for the French and Italian engine manufacturers.

Ferrari/Renault have to pull huge gains somewhere which might be impossible, Merc can just capitalize and look for small gains at their leisure. It's quite possible this will be much easier and they will gain compared to other two x(


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:30 am 
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Irbis wrote:
Did you look at fuel usage last race? RB and Ferrari were using much more than Mercedes teams.

Pretty sure everyone has been using more fuel than Merc all season long.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:17 pm 
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It seems like the Ferrari was best suited for the characteristics of the China track. Alonso admitted himself that he can't be too carried away with the results since they knew coming in that this would be a strong circuit for their car. It's unlikely that new parts would have made such a massive difference (and he didn't seem to think so from his interview).

Will be interesting to see how things progress but I have a feeling RBR will have the upperhand over Ferrari in the races coming up.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:31 pm 
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Actually, it was only one Ferrari-engined car that performed better than in the races before. The other ones were more or less where they always were: Räikkönen, the Saubers, the Marussias. Thus, China might be a driver-related exception rather than a general comeback of Ferrari's competitiveness.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:54 pm 
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nixxxon wrote:
It's the curse of Domenicali, its now finally over.

Bullshit. I know you're only joking (or I hope so), but before anyone agrees I'm going to call it out.

All upgrades planned for China were done under Domenicali, and the man himself said that's where he expected Ferrari to improve. Behold, the cursed one was right. Also, iirc, China was always a good track for Ferrari, and their philosophy to building cars suited that track.

Related, did Marco Mattiacci actually do anything this weekend? He seemed to just walk around with his clipboard. He's new to the job, he's had it literally a few days. This race might as well have been under Domenicali.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:19 pm 
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AngusWolfe wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
It's the curse of Domenicali, its now finally over.

Bullshit. I know you're only joking (or I hope so), but before anyone agrees I'm going to call it out.

All upgrades planned for China were done under Domenicali, and the man himself said that's where he expected Ferrari to improve. Behold, the cursed one was right. Also, iirc, China was always a good track for Ferrari, and their philosophy to building cars suited that track.

Related, did Marco Mattiacci actually do anything this weekend? He seemed to just walk around with his clipboard. He's new to the job, he's had it literally a few days. This race might as well have been under Domenicali.

Obviously I was joking. :) And obviously Mattiacci did nothing before the China race.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:20 pm 
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AngusWolfe wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
It's the curse of Domenicali, its now finally over.

Bullshit. I know you're only joking (or I hope so), but before anyone agrees I'm going to call it out.

All upgrades planned for China were done under Domenicali, and the man himself said that's where he expected Ferrari to improve. Behold, the cursed one was right. Also, iirc, China was always a good track for Ferrari, and their philosophy to building cars suited that track.

Related, did Marco Mattiacci actually do anything this weekend? He seemed to just walk around with his clipboard. He's new to the job, he's had it literally a few days. This race might as well have been under Domenicali.

just to reinforce that, Alonso agrees:

http://grandprix247.com/2014/04/21/alonso-i-think-this-podium-should-be-dedicated-to-stefano-domenicali/


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Paolo_Lasardi wrote:
Actually, it was only one Ferrari-engined car that performed better than in the races before. The other ones were more or less where they always were: Räikkönen, the Saubers, the Marussias. Thus, China might be a driver-related exception rather than a general comeback of Ferrari's competitiveness.

Well, they did make significant tangible improvement in the straights relative to others. Best speed trap placement Friday was 4th or 5th. Best in Bahrain was 13th.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:56 pm 
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Irbis wrote:
ClubF1 wrote:
Also, up until this race, I had suspected that the Ferrari PU was the worst out of the three manufacturers, as we saw even the Toro Rossos outmuscle the Ferraris down the straights, etc.

What?

It's clearly Renault that is the worst, just look at pre-season drama (or how Vettel on fresh tires with DRS was slower than Alonso...). Ferrari is heavy, yes, but that's the only problem and it can be negated to an extent. Toro Rosso was faster merely due to having less aero, speed is easy to get on straights if you sacrifice corners.

ClubF1 wrote:
Sound romantic in theory, but you cannot up the boost without an extra supply of fuel; it's the limited fuel flows that capping the boost and ultimate HP.

Did you look at fuel usage last race? RB and Ferrari were using much more than Mercedes teams.

Quote:
It's now just small variations in development that's making the differences ATM. The M/Benz cool turbo solution to reduce air intake temperature will take some clever counter developments to reel in their PU superiority - a big task but not impossible for the French and Italian engine manufacturers.

Ferrari/Renault have to pull huge gains somewhere which might be impossible, Merc can just capitalize and look for small gains at their leisure. It's quite possible this will be much easier and they will gain compared to other two x(


"Did you look at fuel usage last race? RB and Ferrari were using much more than Mercedes teams."

What kind of an answer is that? You're on a different wavelength: Hamilton was all on his own - had he been in the pack like Nico, then we would have seen more consumption. The smidgen extra fuel used by the Italo/French engines were not for extra power but to due to their deficiencies. They would certainly use extra fuel if they were allowed as to use extra boost, but we all know what would happen as a result :) In correcting my statement: I would say MBz is either using slightly more boost due to their clever system or just minimising their aero drag by being able to use smaller intercoolers, but for the same boost as the other engines, including the teams using the MBz engines. So it's been said that the MBz team has maximised their installation, which has only given them the benefit of the 'remote air compressor from the turbine' system - the other MBz engined teams did not design around this feature, hence they've been easily beaten by Ferrari and Renault engined cars.

It's not impossible - nothing sits still in F1; MBz is not smug as some on this site - they know they don't have it in the bag. If they don't develop from this point, then they could lose the championship such is the rate of improvements to be seen from the top teams. These cars are still in prototype stage having so much to be gained, as not all areas are maxed out as in the past 6 years.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Well, I think it's called "steep learning curve" and it happens in many aspects of life.

At the beginning of a completely new situation for everybody, teams start to discover things that they hadn't even thought of and they can make important progress in little time, which makes the pecking continuosly change. As time passes and the teams know better their cars, less and less important progress are likely to be found and improvements come mainly from small details, hence the relative speed of teams becomes more stable.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:56 am 
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What Mattiacci was doing is what any new manager does in his position. Start separating the wheat from the chaff. Or make the crew think that's what you are doing. Hence the clipboard. You can bet that if anyone at Maranello was in a comfort zone or phoning it in last week they aren't this week.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:18 am 
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That steroid is called Fernando Alonso


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:56 am 
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The steroid is called Shell. That's the rumour, anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:22 am 
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Zoue wrote:
AngusWolfe wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
It's the curse of Domenicali, its now finally over.

Bullshit. I know you're only joking (or I hope so), but before anyone agrees I'm going to call it out.

All upgrades planned for China were done under Domenicali, and the man himself said that's where he expected Ferrari to improve. Behold, the cursed one was right. Also, iirc, China was always a good track for Ferrari, and their philosophy to building cars suited that track.

Related, did Marco Mattiacci actually do anything this weekend? He seemed to just walk around with his clipboard. He's new to the job, he's had it literally a few days. This race might as well have been under Domenicali.

just to reinforce that, Alonso agrees:

http://grandprix247.com/2014/04/21/alonso-i-think-this-podium-should-be-dedicated-to-stefano-domenicali/


He in fact says that all updates until July will be the result of SD's work. Mattiacci is just learning right now. He might even have to learn F1 first before he learns the Ferrari F1 team.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:25 am 
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We can't read too much into the early season results. Especially this year when such volatile changes have taken place. Teams can still unlock a lot of potential speed in a given race weekend, so large swings in power balance are to be expected. At least until we get to Spain in three weeks.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:53 am 
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F1zen wrote:
The steroid is called Shell. That's the rumour, anyway.

it is most likely true...Newey said fuel characteristic can bring out lots of performance and there is a documentary showing Shell making special fuel for Ferrari...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:15 am 
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Quote:
The steroid is called Shell. That's the rumour, anyway.

The performance due to the oil/gas is minimum...Ferrari won arround 20 hp for this GP but no one knows exacly how...maybe its due to the new engine software.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:25 am 
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dogboy wrote:
Quote:
The steroid is called Shell. That's the rumour, anyway.

The performance due to the oil/gas is minimum...Ferrari won arround 20 hp for this GP but no one knows exacly how...maybe its due to the new engine software.


Helmut thinks it was the fuel. He's saying it could bring 3 tenths when Red Bull get a new formula. That's a pretty serious gain.

http://www.f1zone.net/news/new-fuel-cou ... rko/31906/


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:27 pm 
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F1zen wrote:
dogboy wrote:
Quote:
The steroid is called Shell. That's the rumour, anyway.

The performance due to the oil/gas is minimum...Ferrari won arround 20 hp for this GP but no one knows exacly how...maybe its due to the new engine software.


Helmut thinks it was the fuel. He's saying it could bring 3 tenths when Red Bull get a new formula. That's a pretty serious gain.

http://www.f1zone.net/news/new-fuel-cou ... rko/31906/


Thanks for that link, F1Zen. I know there's limitations on fuel blends, such as the additives/chemicals used, etc. So maybe they're reducing the density of the fuels for the same BTUs/energy output. In doing so, they could increase the amount of fuel in their tanks; not by weight, but by litres, which would go undetected if the sensors are measuring flow by weight and not by litres. If this is all true and gets out of hand as it did with the rocket fuel blends of the '80s, then they may well have to introduce a single supply of fuel for the whole grid.

Details from the link:

"Marko thinks Ferrari sped up thanks to a new blend of Shell fuel.
"We are also hoping to soon get a fuel that is more efficient," Marko said earlier this week, amid reports Red Bull's current Total fuel may be damaging the mandatory fuel flow sensors.
Marko has now told Germany's Bild newspaper: "Ferrari made a clear leap forwards in China. They have a new fuel. And we'll have some new fuel soon as well.
"Maybe we will have it at the next race in Spain," he revealed, amid engine supplier Renault's obvious horse power disadvantage early in 2014.
"The new petrol will bring us two, maybe even three tenths," added Marko. "So that we can have at least a chance of overtaking Ferrari.
"On Sunday (in China), our drivers could have done whatever they wanted, but they could not have passed Alonso," he said."

http://www.f1zone.net/news/new-fuel-cou ... rko/31906/

Edit: the engine guys use many instruments to analyse the parameters of their competitors' engines, such as sound spectrum decoders to find out what RPMs, gear ratios, firing orders, they're using, etc. And I think they've been sampling the exhaust gases from other teams for a long time as well, maybe for a few decades or more. Fuel blends would be the main focus, but also the fuel mixtures would also be of benefit for development. Where they put such sensors I don't know; I've always suspected and heard that it was trackside. But maybe now the tips of the cars have some sort of sampling device - possibly just for collection of gases or even more. Sounds far fetched, but look at what devices can be attached to an iPhone that can do incredible tasks right now.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:54 pm 
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Could the fuel thing also have something to do with how Mercedes are so conservative on it? Do Petronas supply fuel to any other teams?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:35 am 
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ClubF1 wrote:
smoothcrim wrote:
I bet they have turned up the boost on the engines and now they wont last the season but atleast they wont be embarrassed.


Sound romantic in theory, but you cannot up the boost without an extra supply of fuel; it's the limited fuel flows that capping the boost and ultimate HP. It's now just small variations in development that's making the differences ATM. The M/Benz cool turbo solution to reduce air intake temperature will take some clever counter developments to reel in their PU superiority - a big task but not impossible for the French and Italian engine manufacturers.


While I'm not stating this is what Ferrari did, you can indeed increase boost pressure without a corresponding increase in fuel, providing one was running rich to begin with. The result would be running more lean AFR (perhaps significantly so). In fact, more often than not, the more lean an engine runs (especially those which are turbocharged), the more efficient it is as producing power, just before it goes "bang". The edge between a safe AFR and meltdown is generally where the most power is made. The challenge is, running too lean can result in engine killing knock / detonation. That being said, it's not improbable for boost to be increased by 1 PSI or so without a noticeable increase in fuel. Not something most would recommend, but certainly doable.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:56 am 
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AngusWolfe wrote:
Could the fuel thing also have something to do with how Mercedes are so conservative on it? Do Petronas supply fuel to any other teams?


I would think it is a combination of both the Mercedes PU and the fuel itself. There were other races such as Malaysia where Williams was as good as or better than the Mercs in terms of fuel usage. It looks like the Renault engines are quite thirsty at least on the Red Bulls.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:26 am 
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Blloydtbird wrote:
ClubF1 wrote:
smoothcrim wrote:
I bet they have turned up the boost on the engines and now they wont last the season but atleast they wont be embarrassed.


Sound romantic in theory, but you cannot up the boost without an extra supply of fuel; it's the limited fuel flows that capping the boost and ultimate HP. It's now just small variations in development that's making the differences ATM. The M/Benz cool turbo solution to reduce air intake temperature will take some clever counter developments to reel in their PU superiority - a big task but not impossible for the French and Italian engine manufacturers.


While I'm not stating this is what Ferrari did, you can indeed increase boost pressure without a corresponding increase in fuel, providing one was running rich to begin with. The result would be running more lean AFR (perhaps significantly so). In fact, more often than not, the more lean an engine runs (especially those which are turbocharged), the more efficient it is as producing power, just before it goes "bang". The edge between a safe AFR and meltdown is generally where the most power is made. The challenge is, running too lean can result in engine killing knock / detonation. That being said, it's not improbable for boost to be increased by 1 PSI or so without a noticeable increase in fuel. Not something most would recommend, but certainly doable.


Sounds pretty much spot-on, with varying other factors playing in the mix, such as air-charge temps, cylinder temperatures, static compression ratios, and not to forget ignition timing. The last two have to be lower than non-turbo engines to enable turbo boost without risk of detonation. However, engineers are getting clever at combustion technology where compression ratios are creeping upwards for the same boost levels - the result: more boost and/or output for the same fuel. As stated before, I've always felt that M/Benz and Renault were superior to Ferrari when it came combustion technology, and I was anticipating the Red engines to suffer from higher fuel consumption for the same power outputs as the others. But considering that we have had 3 different engines built from scratch using state of the art virgin technology, that the end results are impressively close. Note: the superiority shown by the Silver Arrows contradicts that, but we all know it's not just due to their engine.

I had a technical bulletin a few years ago from within the auto-trade, where Mercedes Benz were experimenting with compression ignition systems for petrol/gasoline engines. For those who don't know what that means, it's when the engine does not need spark plugs, as in a Diesel engine. I know their current F1 engines use spark plugs due to what happened to Lewis at Albert Park. But I would not be surprised if they are using some kind of hyper-combustion cycle during low/part throttle situations to significantly increase efficiency and reduce consumption to reserve more fuel for full-power situations. If you've ever noticed that the M/Benz engines sound gruff in comparison to the sweet sounding Renaults or the yowling Ferrari engines, then maybe that it's down to their cutting-edge combustion technology coming into play.

Food for thought :)


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