We discussed the concept of engine homologation and the regulations surrounding the notion of a engine specification “freeze” in performance and development earlier this week and one of the keys is the notion of “reliability upgrades”. Engine manufacturers are allowed to make upgrades to their engine for reliability purposes and at the end of the year, they will be allowed to make a certain amount of performance upgrades as well.
The process of making reliability upgrades is through application to the FIA and according to FIA technical director, Charlie Whiting, all three of the engine manufacturers in Formula 1 have already applied:
“They’ve all done already. We’ve had requests from everybody to change bits of the car on the engine for reliability reasons,” Whiting said.
“Ultimately, it’s for us to decide. But we do it in consultation with the other engine manufacturers – and everyone has so far actually done that in the two weeks that the engines have actually been homologated.”
The engines were homologated in February 28th but it seems that reliability upgrades have already been requested from Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault. It is one element of Formula 1 that has historically gone under the radar but with the raft of changes for 2014, it will be interesting to see how many changes each manufacturer makes to their homologated engine this season.