F1: Ferrari joins Honda, Renault in anticipating engine penalties

Mercedes looks set to be the only manufacturer on the grid that will reach the checkered flag this year on the long-life engine rules.

So tough has the 'four engines' rule been to returning Honda, that the FIA agreed to let any new engine manufacturers in F1 enjoy an extra engine per driver in future.

And the rule was applied retroactively for McLaren's struggling Japanese supplier.

"The decision encourages new power unit suppliers to enter Formula One," said Honda's Yasuhisa Arai.

"So I want to say that I appreciate all of the teams and the power unit suppliers for supporting that direction, which is good for the team and driver.

"But it also means Honda is not where we want to be in terms of reliability," Arai added.

Indeed, he acknowledged: "Unfortunately we will have more penalties during the coming months, but you will also see big improvements from both sides -- chassis and power unit."

Also unreliable in 2015, meanwhile, is Renault.

Daniel Ricciardo, for example, is already onto his fifth engine of the season, having served penalties for having it installed.

At the same time, Renault's premier partner Red Bull is waiting for a much-needed engine performance upgrade to arrive for Sochi in October -- which will trigger more penalties.

Team boss Christian Horner said: "Only time will tell as to whether we can get to Sochi or not without incurring another penalty before introducing the upgraded unit."

Even Ferrari, who is biting the heels of pacesetters Mercedes this year on the 'power unit' front, will nonetheless likely be taking penalties this year for using a fifth engine.

Italy's Autosprint reports that a scheduled upgrade for the Ferrari unit will debut at Monza, costing the Maranello marquee two performance 'tokens.'

That, however, will be the fourth and last scheduled engine for Sebastian Vettel, even though Ferrari will still have five tokens up its sleeve in 2015.

So, Autosprint claims, a fifth engine - carrying penalties - will be ready by the end of October, arriving either for Austin or Mexico.

Ferrari's technical boss James Allison, however, has hinted that Ferrari's push for progress is more important than the prospect of penalties this season.

"We can be satisfied that we have taken a significant step forward so far this season," he told Auto Motor und Sport as Vettel entered the summer break with victory in Hungary.

German Vettel, however, has played down his title chances, and now Allison adds: "We still have a lot to do before we have a car of which everyone can be proud.

"We are still not able to fight for the world championships, but we are realistic and bear in mind where we came from," he said.

Finally, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says the long-life engine rules are among his least favorite things about the sport today.

"Imagine the poor driver, he's going to get fourth position on the grid, and because he's changed his engine or his gearbox he goes back 10 places," he told Spain's Movistar F1.

"It's all, in my opinion, completely wrong," said Ecclestone.