The question is:
“Is Engine Parity necessary for 2010?”
Here’s a nice little F1 Engine to drool over…
Well, my answer is yes, it is. Although I disagree with the current F1 rules which stifle most of the innovation and engineering excellence, the formula calls for a freeze on engine development, with a view to all engines being equal (and boringly reliable – when was the last engine blowup?)
Even though the engines are supposed to be within 2.5% of each other (according to James Allen’s blog), this still means a difference of 3 tenths of a second per lap – which is enough to make the difference between qualifying in Q3 or not making it out of Q1 on some tracks. Also, as aero is the only area of development open to the engineers, high downforce is a priority and therefore a strong engine is needed to overcome the drag from all the aero bits. In 2010, fuel economy and reliability will also be important factors to consider. Hopefully, when the new formula is announced for 2012 we can go back to proper engines and proper development…
So you can definitely see why engine parity is important – and at a time when maufacturers are in trouble and wondering what the relevance is to them to be in F1 these days, it is just another reason to keep them happy!
(Update: At the time of writing, I promised that an analysis on engine fuel efficiency was forthcoming as part of my season round up. I have now completed the post which can be found here. I hope you enjoy it ;) )