Lauda: Whoever has less failures this year will be World Champion

Niki Lauda worried about reliability

Niki Lauda worried about reliability

Reliability will be the key to unlocking this year’s Formula 1 championship, according to triple World Champion Niki Lauda and Ferrari technical director James Allison.

Lauda, the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team, also highlighted reliability on a visit to his former team for discussions with Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo about the sport in general.

“The combination of new car and installing the car and engine in a way that [means that] you are reliable, this is the biggest challenge,” he said. “Whoever has [the least] failures this year will be World Champion.”

James Allison with Fernando Alonso

James Allison with Fernando Alonso

In agreement is Allison who said that while the rate of development in aerodynamics during the course of the season would be steep, it would no longer be the dominant factor.

“The importance of aerodynamics to the championship is going to be at least as important as the differences in power levels between the various engine manufacturers,” Allison told the Ferrari website.

“However, if I had to choose the thing that was likely to be the dominant factor for the whole season, I would choose neither the level of power nor the aerodynamic development.

“I would say that this year reliability is going to be absolutely fundamental.”

Engine blow-ups were spectacuar in the first turbo era - Jacques Laffite suffers a failure during the 1986 British GP

Engine blow-ups were spectacular in the first turbo era – Jacques Laffite suffers a failure during the 1986 British GP

The new power unit, a V6 turbocharged engine with energy recovery systems, represents a huge challenge for engineers. Drivers are now limited to 100 kg of fuel in the race, instead of 140 kg, and are allocated five engines per year instead of eight.

Teams start pre-season testing in Jerez, southern Spain, on Tuesday although Mercedes completed 40 km on a filming day at Silverstone on Friday.

Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali expected the first test to be tough for everyone.

“The technical challenge is, as far as I can remember, the biggest one that we have seen in the last decade of F1,” he said. (Reuters)

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