Formula one, 2001 season German Grand Prix at Hockenheim: Who Gets Which Engine? the jpoc report

One of the most bizarre events in between the Silverstone and Hockenheim races was the satement by Renault engine wizard Jean-Jacques His. He blamed the poor performance of the Renault engine on the work of former members of the now defunct East German secret police, the Stasi. The story went that a third party paid the former Stasi operatives to hack into Renault's computers and steal secrets about the engine. This then was alleged to have caused Renault to change the design of the engine and these changes then caused the poor performance of the engine. What a load of tosh. First of all, if you were a rival and you wanted to gain access to the Renault computers, ex Stasi tyres are the last people that you would approach. They have no reputation in hacking circles and there are plenty of much better hackers around who are available for hire. Secondly, if your engine secrets were stolen, why would that make you change the design? There is no reason at all unless you had been caught developing an illegal engine. It can never be worse to have 800bhp and a reliable engine that your rivals know about than to have 750bhp from an unreliable but secret engine. To me it sounded like a lame excuse to avoid criticism from a poor choice to use the new engine before it was ready for the track.

Renault themselves subsequently started to backpedal on the claims but that didn't make them look any less foolish.

Discussion on the possibility of a reduction in engine capacity to restrain F1 power levels reached a semi official status with an announcement that the current regulations would not be changed until the end of the current Concorde agreement in 2007. The discussions were scheduled to resume at the end of the 2001 season.

Sauber agreed a three year deal with engine supplier Ferrari to allow the Swiss outfit to use the Italian customer engines until at least the end of the 2004 season. They were doing a good job, laying fourth in the constructors championship and they deserved the deal.

In the previous couple of years, there had been some touch and go moments for a number of teams regarding whether or not they could secure a supply of engines in the following year. These fears appeared to recede in 2001 as even Minardi appeared to have a number of options for their 2002 engine. Before Hockenheim all but Arrows, Minardi and Prost had announced their engine supply for 2002. For Arrows, a deal to run Ford Cosworth engines was done but not announced which left two teams trying to choose between five available engine deals. The remaining available engines were the Asiatech unit being used by Arrows in 2001, the Minardi developed former Cosworth customer engine and customer engine deals from Ferrari, Cosworth and Renault. There was also a further possibility of the old Brian Hart design which had been a dormant project for some years but which could have been dusted off if the money and need existed.


The whole 2001 season All the races and the behind the scenes games
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Who drives what?
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Circuit developments
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Business and politics
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Teams and personnel
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Setting the scene
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Practice and qualifying
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th The starting grid
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Race report
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Results
German GP at Hockenheim July 29th Championship standings after the race
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