The Cosworth CA2010 engines, being used for 5 teams this year
The FIA has decided that engine equalisation will not take place for 2010.
Engine equalisation is the process where all the different types of engines (4 of them next year) are balanced out in terms of performance, fuel consumption and reliabilty, by adding, removing, retuning and adjusting certain engine mechanics.
Engines in Formula 1 have been frozen (no development allowed) since 2008. However, teams were allowed to change parts of the engine for reliabilty reasons. But, some engines had a definitive power advantage, and Renault were left behind. The Mercedes engine, for example, is believed to produce 18bhp more than the Renault engine, which is worth around to 3 tenths of a second per lap.
However, this season there will be an even bigger problem with the engines – fuel consumption. The Renault engine, if filled with the same amount of fuel as the Mercedes engine, can do 3 more laps. Because refuelling is banned for next year, it means that Renault can save around 7kg in fuel, which is a massive advantage to have. The Ferrari engines are the most thirsty engines on track, and they will be hugely disadvantaged by this.
Cosworth, as we know, will be returning to supplying F1 engines for the first time since 2006. The FIA has allowed them to develop their engine, as long as it balances out against the other teams. It is apparent that the most important factor for the engines next year will be the fuel consumption. If Cosworth fail to get their engines up to scratch, it will severely damage the Williams, Lotus, Virgin, USF1 and Campos teams.
So, if engines remain around the same as they did last year, Red Bull will be at the biggest advantage here. Their Renault engine means they have 7kg extra in ballast to move around, meaning more flexibility in their chassis design. Provided that Adrian Newey can deliver the goods, they may well be the team to beat next year.