Formula 1

Ferrari held back by heavier V6 engine

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In the battle for power and fuel consumption among the three engine suppliers, it appears weight could be the biggest factor holding Ferrari back.

That is the claim of Michael Schmidt, correspondent for Germany's Auto Sport und Motor, who believes the new Italian V6 units weigh 13 kilograms more than their Mercedes and Renault competitors.

The heavier-than-expected units are already causing issues for customers Marussia and Sauber but Schmidt adds even the works team have been caught out by the bulk.

Despite having campaigned for an increase of the minimum weight limit, which was already raised by 51kg to 691kg from the original 640kg from 2013 as well as having drivers slimming right down in a bid to get as close as possible to the new limit, it is believed Ferrari are struggling.

Fernando Alonso finished fifth in Melbourne, though was later promoted to fourth, and after the race had mixed feeling about his position.

"I have 12 points more than Vettel and Hamilton, which is a positive." the Spaniard said, "but I was missing 35 seconds to Rosberg.

"That must give us pause," added Alonso.

Indeed Ferrari's new Technical Chief James Allison admitted: "Our competitiveness was not acceptable in Melbourne."

However, putting the V6 onto a crash diet is much easier said than done, partly because of the complexity of the new units but also because of the current freeze on development with changes only allowed for reliability, safety and cost reasons.

According to Race Director Charlie Whiting all three suppliers have made applications for changes to be made.

"Ultimately, it's for us to decide," he told GMM.

As the current engine suppliers deal with the remaining teething problems the fourth engine supplier, coming to McLaren in 2015, are watching their every move.

According to Speed Week's Mattias Brunner, Yasuhisa Arai, the head of Honda's F1 project, and Kazu Sakurahara the Technical Chief of the Japanese carmaker's new foray back into the sport were in Melbourne watching proceedings unfold.

"It was the first of many visits this year," Brunner claimed as Honda look to be right with the three established engine suppliers when the return next year.

Arai is quoted as saying: "At the beginning (of the V6 programme) there were some difficulties, but at the moment we are quite satisfied with our level of development."

With the move from big V8's to smaller, more road relevant V6's luring Honda back into F1 for the first time since they pulled out after 2008, Arai insists there is more to Honda's return than just the new engine formula.

"There's no point in racing unless you win," he is quoted by Japan Today.

"That's why we teamed up with a winning team," Arai added, referring to McLaren, who in 2014 are spending their twentieth and last season with Mercedes power.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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