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Power play over new F1 rules

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Andrew Benson | 10:45 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

A major revolution in Formula 1 engine and car design scheduled for the 2013 season is under threat.

The plan is to replace the current 2.4-litre V8 engines with 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbos fitted with extensive environmental technology and for the cars to be made more efficient.

The idea is to help popularise sustainable technologies, which are already being used in road cars, and therefore to insulate F1 from any accusations that it is profligate with resources. As a result, it is hoped F1 will become more attractive to other car companies.

Except that the changes, which we have discussed extensively on this blog over the last year or so, might not happen - at least not in two years' time.

They are already formally part of the regulations for 2013. But F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has recently given voice to a view within the sport that the changes should either be postponed or abandoned. And he has a powerful ally in the shape of Ferrari.

Publicly, Ecclestone's objections to the new engine focus on three fundamental areas:

  • Spectacle - he believes the new engines will sound flatter, quieter and less dramatic than the current ones, reducing an important part of the sport's appeal
  • Money - he is worried the sport cannot afford the cost of developing the engines, which will be between 40-100 million Euros (£36-89m) depending on which estimate you believe.
  • Ferrari - the Italian legend runs F1's most famous and therefore most important team and its views need to be taken seriously. It is opposed to the new engine formula because it feels it has no synergy with its road cars and because it feels there are cheaper and more effective ways of making F1 more fuel-efficient.

Ferrari is as aware of the need to market energy-efficient technologies as anyone. It is embracing environmental technology on its road cars - it has, for example, released a version of its California GT car with a version of the stop-start systems that are becoming increasingly common in road cars, and it has developed a hybrid version of its monster 599 supercar.

It has objected specifically to the size of the engine - why restrict it to four cylinders, president Luca di Montezemolo has asked, branding the current rule "pathetic"?

Felipe Massa's Ferrari suffers an engine problem during winter testing

Will Ferrari's opposition mean the 2013 engine changes go up in smoke? Photo: Getty

Ferrari is also pushing to ensure the 2013 chassis rules reflect its belief that the importance of aerodynamics is out of all proportion in F1. It wants them to be reined in so other aspects such as the mechanical and suspension set-up have more relevance, as is the case with road cars

But it is not just Ecclestone and Ferrari. Although the teams approved these rules, which they worked on with Jean Todt, president of governing body the FIA, other team principals have reservations, too.

One told me the arguments put forward for introducing the new engines do not stand up, in his view.

One of those arguments was that F1's use of increasingly outmoded engine technology was a barrier not only to attracting new sponsors of the kind that want to be associated with sustainability, but also to new car manufacturers entering the sport.

The engine change was proposed after German giant Volkswagen Audi indicated that it could be interested in F1 if the engine formula mirrored the future direction of road cars.

Doubters point out that not only have no new sponsors obviously been attracted, but that VW has since decided not to enter F1 for the foreseeable future.

As a result, the critics say, all the new rules will do is increase the cost for the existing participants. That is a major concern at a time when, according to one team boss, "there are a few teams on the breadline".

Equally, it seems that, among the current engine manufacturers, not only Ferrari is getting cold feet.

Mercedes would prefer not to change the rules; it is concerned about the expense and questions whether it is necessary, although I understand it has told fellow stakeholders it will go along with what everyone else agrees. Independent Cosworth is said to be not that keen either, although it told BBC Sport it was "neutral" and dismissed suggestions that it could not afford to build the engines. Only Renault will publicly say it is in favour.

The environmental argument is getting a bit of kicking, too.

The emissions created by an entire season of F1 races are less than those produced by one Boeing 747 flying to Japan. Road car manufacturers are already developing these engines. So why, some say, is F1 bothering? F1, the argument goes, should be about escapism, and the sport should be focusing on delivering more races like the recent thrilling Chinese Grand Prix.

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So why not abandon or postpone the plan? Well, it is not as simple as that.

Renault's backing is rooted in marketing - it does not, unlike Mercedes and Ferrari, run its own F1 team and, unlike Cosworth, racing engines are not its core business.

Renault's F1 managing director Jean-Francois Caubet says the fact the sport is changing to a new more sustainable engine formula is one of three reasons for staying involved.

"The proposed rules are road-relevant and completely in line with Renault's road car strategy," he says. "We have already started design concepts on the 2013 engine, as this dovetails with our plans in road cars."

The French company plans for such engines - let's call them small capacity turbo-hybrid - to make up at least 70% of its road-car portfolio by 2015. It accepts the new F1 rules will cost money, but believes that is a price worth paying.

Caubet says Renault's presence in F1 is not "dependent on any future engine regulations", but does add the company is "very supportive of any regulations that make F1 more relevant to the overall aims of the Renault group".

Equally, proponents of the new engines point out that it is unfair to say no new manufacturers or sponsors have come in as a result of the new rules.

The change is still two years away, so how is it possible to know whether new sponsors will be attracted?

And just because no new car manufacturers have entered yet does not mean they will not. VW got cold feet, it is believed, because F1 took so long to agree the rules. Either way, the only sure thing is that new companies will not enter F1 if the engine rules stay the same.

As for Ecclestone, cynics in F1 - and there are many - believe his objections are at least as much about a couple of other issues he has not mentioned publicly.

One is that he and Todt simply do not get along. As someone who knows Ecclestone well said: "He's against it because Todt is for it."

FIA president Jean Todt and F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone

Todt and Ecclestone do not see eye to eye on the new rules. Photo: Getty

There is also the fact that the sport's stakeholders are embarking on what will be tough and protracted negotiations aimed at extending the Concorde Agreement, the document that binds together the teams, the FIA and the commercial rights holders.

Ecclestone - representing the commercial rights holders, CVC - knows that both the teams and the FIA are unhappy with their financial arrangements and are asking for an improvement.

The teams are a potentially major headache for him. Currently, they get 47% of F1's revenues divided between them - and they are angling for as much as 80%. The teams are united under the umbrella group Fota, and have resisted all attempts to break them up over the last few years. Some believe Ecclestone sees the argument over engines as a chance to annex Ferrari and split Fota.

Of Ecclestone's public concerns, the least plausible is over the sound of the engines.

F1 used 1.5-litre turbo engines - and a formula restricting fuel usage, which is also part of the new rules - in the mid-1980s. Far from driving fans away, this is looked back on as one of the most exciting eras in the sport's history.

Insiders point out that only a handful of die-hard aficionados care about the sound of the engines - and that these people will watch anyway. The wider TV audience - which is of far more critical importance to the financial health of the sport - would probably not even notice the difference.

Equally, even if the sound of the engines is a concern, this can be addressed at least to some degree by tuning the exhaust.

As for affordability, the argument that the smaller teams will not be able to afford the new engines is easy to resolve - the manufacturers simply have to agree not to pass on the cost of development, and to keep the sale price of the engines the same as it is now.

In such situations, F1 usually finds a compromise - although that would mean Todt being seen to publicly back down, which is far from an easy sell when this is the first big change in F1 rules under his presidency.

But what would the compromise be?

An influential figure has recently proposed that the new rules could be postponed for a year until 2014. This would coincide with the fact that Pirelli's contract as tyre supplier runs out at the end of 2013 and allow the planned change of wheel-rim diameter from 13 to 15 inches to coincide with the new chassis rules, on which the wheel change has a significant impact.

Perhaps the current engines could be retained but with their Kers systems increased in power, and used to promote efficiency - such as running the cars purely on electric power in the pit lane. Perhaps a fuel restriction - part of the new rules anyway - could be introduced but not the new engines. Or a combination of some or all of the above.

The problem is that while all these arguments are going on, 2013 is getting ever closer, and engines have a long lead time. Manufacturers have already started work on the new designs, because that's what the rules say will be required.

Insiders say that, realistically, any decision will have to be made by the end of the summer. Any longer than that, and any objections will be academic - enough money will have been spent on the new engines that they might as well be adopted.

So if Ecclestone and Ferrari are going to spike the 2013 engine rules, they are going to have to get on with it.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I want to see new engine rules because it should lead to more retirements due to mechanical failures. The current engines (like last year's Bridgestone tyres) are far too reliable.

  • Comment number 2.

    Leave the engines as they are, reducing the engine size can and probably will be the decline of F1 .

  • Comment number 3.

    Whenever there is a major change in the rules there is ALWAYS someone who says that it will be the death of F1. Changes to the rules are an inherent part of the sport and help to keep things fresh. They tend to shake up the field too, which can never be a bad thing.

  • Comment number 4.

    I find it funny that they are talking "environmental" changes that save a bit of fuel at the same time as developing tyres that only last a few laps and probably take more fuel to ship to the races than all the cars use put together! Me personally.. I wanna watch fast cars with big engines.. not a milkfloat race.

  • Comment number 5.

    It is not like a 2.4 litre V8 is big...most V8s on road cars are 4 to 6 litre. So really ignore the capacity as being a big draw. V8 sounds good, but these engines are so high revving to be like wasps. If you ignore the capacity, I would rather see turbo based engines than naturally aspirated engines in F1. I assume this may lead to a return to boost being manageable by the team/drivers. Also as "most" road cars today are 4 cylinder and "most" performance small cars are 4 cyl turbos, I do think this holds more relevance in terms of fuel economic performance. Can't say I care about F1 fuel economy, and I realise these will still be revving at 12k way above road cars, however when you consider Honda Civics 4 cyl revs happily around the 7-8k, not so irrelevant.

    As for sound/feel at the will find the 4 cylinders at lower revs will produce more feel, and a deeper engine note, which will also sound more powerful. Deeper sounds produce better reverberation and feel, think of your base speakers. Now people might try to retort to this with but it will be less sound because it is a smaller engine or less cylinders....nope. The amount of sound will relate to the amount of BHP more than capacity or cylinders. As the BHP will be about the same, and we will actually be getting additional sound from the turbos, and with the better carrying deeper acoustics you may find that track side sound and feel will be "better". Did anyone complain about the sound of the 1.5 turbo back in the 80s.....

    These will still be EXTREME engines, producing extreme power to weight, and with them their is more chance of something slipping into road car engines, as the last time F1 was turbo'ing away, there wasn't anything like the current level of computer management etc.

    I am all for it and believe most of the concerns to be nonsense.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well said sirrusty. As for the first comment of more retirements..... Madness. It's great watching a full grid of cars start a race and a full grid of cars finish. Especially when you are track side.

    I don't really like the sound of a 4 cylinder 1.6 engine, but I'm sure the clever engineers in Formula 1 will get it singing (howling hopefully). Whatever changes, it is always combated by the designers, so bring it on.

    As for eco-friendliness. Sport is escapism in any form. We have the eco card played to us in every other part of our life, so lets just put it away for the love of OUR sport. The eco footprint of Formula 1 is so tiny compared to most other industries out there.

    Oh. And a Formula 1 car should be loud. They can do what they like, but please please keep the noise.........

  • Comment number 7.

    If they change the engines to 1.6 turbo then I am afraid that the F1 sport as we know it dye. WRC will take over as the dominaint motorsport, bigger engines more noise. F1 has contributed to the development on so many safety features that we now take for granted on our cars we drive. This would be a backward step for the sport. You don't see the Dragsters cutting back on fuel, 11 gallons in 1/4 mile. Lets ask NASCAR to fuel save as well, we know what there answer would be. Bigger faster better I say. Go F1 Go.

  • Comment number 8.

    If I want road relevance, I’ll watch touring cars where the designs are directly applicable to actual road cars. Or, I’ll spectate down Oxford Street – plenty of road relevance there too. Formula 1’s current engines are unique jewels, the highly-strung screaming V8’s sound like no other type of engine, revving until 18,000 rpm put the current engine into an elite category. Anybody who has heard a current V8 or an old V10 will agree the scream they make is absolutely sensational. It’s a big part of what attracts me to F1.

    Sorry, but I don’t see four cylinder turbocharged cars are going to sound anywhere near as good. You can modify the exhausts as much as you want but they won’t make that high-pitched wail of the current engines. When more and more other motor racing series are adopting smaller turbocharged engines, which sound duller and mirror production cars, F1 needs to stay unique – not follow what others are doing.

    Formula One has totally different parameters to road cars, so let’s not pretend that F1 can somehow be “road relevant”. I like KERS, because the principle of recouping braking energy is efficient and makes the cars go faster. But, it doesn’t hinder the noise of the engines. Things like KERS are environmentally-related but actually enhance the spectacle of F1 – four cylinders washing machines will do the opposite.

  • Comment number 9.

    I say as long as the cars are still capable of doing 200mph+ and have the acceleration to boot, then who cares how big the engine is.

  • Comment number 10.

    I can clearly remember the heady days of the 1.5 litre turbo engines and the boredom provided by the teams running 3.5 litre V8s.
    The noise was incredible, the sudden acceleration as the turbos kicked in and the passing of other cars that didn't get on the revs quick enough.
    Absolutely brilliant and far better to the current scene. I'm not suprised Ferrari are against this change, they were a useless team until Brawn and Byrne became involved. The late '80s and turbos for Ferrari were all about unreliable engines and DNFs.

    We will probably see a change in drivers. The big men such as Keke Rosberg, Mansell, Prost, Piquet, Senna were needed to wrestle with the turbo cars. The schoolboys only started appearing when the V8s came in.

    Can't wait.

  • Comment number 11.

    I went to Silverstone 2008 & 2010. I was shocked how less impressive the 2010 cars sounded compared to the higher revving 2008 cars. It was like they were short-shifting. I was also at Monza in 1986: the height of the turbo era. That was good too!

  • Comment number 12.

    Heres a wacky idea to keep the environmentalists happy, why not force the teams to develop an electric car as well which could be run in a separate race before the main event.

  • Comment number 13.

    Can I just add to my last comment that I don't really care if the F1 technologies are relevant to road cars... maybe go watch touring cars for that.. F1 should be the worlds fastest race cars with completly rediculous expensive technologies that I will never need or be able to afford on my road-going kid-carrier. if you really have to make them more relevant to road cars maybe give f1 cars a minumum luggage capacity, cup holders and roofbars that have to be able to attach a standard surfboard or canoe for at least 20 laps of the race... NO

  • Comment number 14.

    Have no problem with small turbos and a bunch of gizmos, but let's not mandate 4pots - lets go back to a little variety, where some engines were better suited to some circuits / cars than others. That will allow Ferrari for instance to bring a v6 to the party and that's been used by them before in road cars. Honda could go completely barmy (like in their '60s GP bikes - 6 cyl 250!) and bring in a 1.6 v12!

    It should also mean it's harder for any 1 team to dominate and we might get some real racing instead of artificial generated overtaking.

  • Comment number 15.

    Bring it on I say as lets face it, the days of the big V8's on the road are gone except for the elite, so where is the relevance to the vast majority of cars anyway.

    I also think if 4 cylinder turbos are brought back, it allows greater freedom within the rules for overtaking. At the moment, it's only really the introduction of DRS that has allowed overtaking but, the options for smaller turbo engines are huge. You could have adjustable boost, you could have two turbos with one being used for overtaking only, you can keep KERS and have this as an extra boost..... the list can go on and on. It would also mean there could be less reliance on the aerodynamics of the car.

    This gets my vote as it should (if the rule makers allow) bring in a feast of options.

    Oh and one last thing..... however much I admire (ahem) Mr Ecclestone for what he has done for the sport, if he is against just because Todt is for it then he should be out of that position. There should be no place in sport of any kind for childish behaviour at any level. These people are supposed to be professionals and need to keep personalities out of it and do things for the good of the sport.

  • Comment number 16.

    To suggest that F1 is lagging behind in eco affairs is stupid. Do people not understand how efficient these guys make their engines, every ounce less of fuel they have to carry is celebrated. Over the years F1 has already done more for the enviroment than hybrids or such innovations will ever do (I'm not wishing to get into a debate about hybrid efficiency.) Over the years technology reducing fuel usage has filtered down from the top levels of motorsport where in depth research of optimising ignition temperatures, gearboxes, greater aerodynamic etc (ignoring the greater saftey that motorsport has given us) has made a difference to you and me, without motorsport we would be taliking about how great the latest eco car that does 30mpg. F1 can help the enviroment whichever engines it uses!

  • Comment number 17.

    Pathetic little boy racer turbo engines... I cannot believe formula 1 could even consider such a drastic change, when each team uses huge jumbo jets to transport there team to each race! Disgraceful, I want v10's back! I certainly won't be going to silverstone if these changes come into play, it's just going backwards and there is no real reason for the change, f1 is f1. It's not road car racing, it's about big loud, incredible machines that give fans a while new experience to motor racing, nothing sounds as incredible as 18k revs 200mph plus, and it's a huge drawing point to the sport, why make them sound worse? It's stupid and plenty of people will be very very annoyed.

  • Comment number 18.

    my personal view on it is that they should free up the engine regs and ditch the gimmicks (DRS KERS). The only engine regs there should be is something like no more than 3.5 litres for a normally aspirated and no more than 1.5 litres for a turbo and then add a fuel limit for a Grand Prix and the eco rubbish would be answered. All this would also cause more overtaking and differing stratigies because of all the different concepts, oh wait a minute that sounds familiar, 1980s but with a fuel limit. Anyway thats just my opinion on the matter.

  • Comment number 19.

    Is this, or is it not the pinnacle of motorsport? Why do we have to keep on changing in order to make things further adn further effcient etc?
    Lets face it, eventually everything pretty much levels out - changing from 3 litre cars to 2.4's hardly impacted speed and as we progress then the effcienancy also declines. Why not just go out and out and give, what most of us want in the main, a true example of the marriage of excellent design and engineering and breathtaking driving talent?

    The best way to reduce the impact of F1 would to make the calender follow the shortest routes around the globe - who cares if the weathers better at certain times etc - we all love a bit of rain during a race - start in asia, go round the back to the americas and back over to europe where most of the teams are based.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nice piece, Andrew.

    In my opinion, Ferrari are against the new rules because during the turbo-charged four-cylinder (and V6) period of the 1980s, they were a mid-field team at BEST, and were often towards the tail end of the grid. BMW, Porsche, Honda and Renault engines dominated during the turbo years.

    Was Ferrari technically clueless, or simply apathetic to turbo technology at the time? Perhaps both, and it looks as though the status quo at the Italian marque remains, hence their intimidation by the broaching of a turbo return.

  • Comment number 21.

    If eco is really a driving force, ditch all the non europe races and bring back the classic venues.

    BUT, turbo > N/A for racing.

  • Comment number 22.

    a good way to encourage efficiency would be for the cars weight limit to be unfuelled, then the more fuel a car needs to put in the tank, the heavier it'll be, and the slower it'll be, but the harder it'll be able to work the engine to maintain pace, you get strategy options, a drive for efficiency and more chances of a fast start being caught on a fuel saving mode while a car that started slow catches (similar to the situation with hamilton at china, only that was due to the tyres)

    aside from that, i like the idea of the 1.6 turbos, less fuel on board means better balance in the cars and less need for a huge front wing which ruins the cars ability to draft, this with the proposed changes to allow under floor aerodynamics should mean proper nose to tail racing!

    and the sound argument is almost out of the running now, as thanks to the new regs, exhaust design is really important to aero, which is why the renault sounds like a bass kazoo and the mclarens last year had a really peculiar sound at the end of the year, more variation is good!

  • Comment number 23.

    Is it just me who thinks that Formula One should be about a driver pushing the car to its limits and basically thrashing the hell out of it like the old days. These days it just seems to be about being careful not to destroy the tyres, make sure you dont blow too many engines, and dont be too heavy on the fuel. Its no longer about pushing the car to the its limits.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why does F1 need to be at all relevant to road cars? I've never understood this argument and if that is behind Todt's reasoning for the changes, he has no place at the head of the FIA.

    The whole point of F1 is that the engineering and mechanical genius that underpins the cars is simply not repeatable in road cars for years to come. In some cases, ever. That is how it should be. F1 is the fantasy that we all dream of. If you enjoy driving, you've pushed your car to it's limits and realised very rapidly that you're driving with about a 50th of the performance of an F1 car. For me that is deeply satisfying because the gulf remains. Why would I be interested in watching a bunch of cars that perform like high powered saloons? Oh yes, that will be Touring Cars - fine for one race, but dull as ditch-water for more than that.

    If the manufacturers are willing to continue spending the money they do because F1 still gets the sponsors, that is how it should be. Give us the ridiculous engines and aerodynamics please. The biggest environmental impact of F1 is not the cars. It is the spectators. 120,000 people travelling to races, all the food and drink that has to be delivered, manufactured. The cars are the stars and they have the least environmental impact. Let's stop trying to be all PC and just get on with racing please.

  • Comment number 25.

    Just leave F1 alone. to many rule changes, to many complicated matters going on, Its hard enough when you are a full on fan like me but how can new people follow the sport will new things such as KERS & DRS every season. We need faster & more powerful cars in F1 not the oppersite. Why are people going to watch F1 when they can buy a road car that gets to 200mph these days. F1 cars should be ferocious machines on the limit of technology. If they are less efficiant than road cars LET IT BE!!

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    1. At 12:04pm 28th Apr 2011, FishFingers wrote:
    I want to see new engine rules because it should lead to more retirements due to mechanical failures. The current engines (like last year's Bridgestone tyres) are far too reliable.



    Retirements due to engine failures are incredibly boring. I'm glad all the cars are staying in the races - means there is more action on the track. And engine failure only results in a puff of smoke and a car slowing down and pulling over.

    Quite why we need to see *more* of that, I don't know.

    Reliability of engines is very different to longevity of tyres. When tyres go off, they affect performance. When engines go off, then stop performance. There is excitement in seeing someone who has handled their tyres badly or got their strategy wrong struggling to find pace and defend his position.

    There is no excitement in cutting to a guy getting out of his car at the side of the track and then seeing a replay of the engine popping.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 8. At 12:39pm 28th Apr 2011, MercMobil1


    Well said!

  • Comment number 29.


    The WRC currently uses 1.6l 4 cylinder turbo engines which produce about 350bhp. I don't know about you but that sounds about half as powerful as the ~660bhp 4 pops being discussed by F1. I long for the days of turbos back in F1 having just about missed them the first time, I might draw the line at diesels but 4 pops can produce huge amounts of power and noise is all down to the exhausts/turbos and actually not much to do with the type of engine. Otherwise why not go back to the V12 days, those were mighty engines.

    A straight 6 might make better sense due to the natural balance of this engine but if they are only offering me straight 4s I'll still take them over the V8s. I never understood why the pinnacle of motorsport used such outmoded engines, naturally aspirated is only used on low end cars now everything else comes with a turbo, usually multiple or variable geometry as it gives you essentially free extra energy.

    I also think bringing in the ground effect floors and reducing the aero on the cars will make for more interesting racing. The cars will still be damn fast, if you want the absolute fastest cars why don't you just go back to CART or NASCAR and have your oval racing, they top out higher than F1 it's just that the F1 car can go round the corners much faster.

  • Comment number 30.

    To change the engines in F1 to more "environmentally friendly" engines is just a waste of time and money. Re the quote about the environmental impact in relation to a Boeing 747, shows exactly that time and effort spent is just proposterous. F1 is about sport and living dangerously and that little bit of escapism. Changing F1 engines is not going to right the worlds environmental issues, or make a big enough stab at it in doing so. Leave the engines as they are and change something else. Nothing is better than the sound and smell of a howling F1 car hurtling past at 180mph down hanger straight! Look at the bigger picture at the next Concorde meeting.

  • Comment number 31.

    The proposed engine for 2013 would be restricted to 10,00 or 12,000 revs and fuel flow will also be restricted, this to most F1 fans is a step too far. If change is absolutely necessary by 2013, look at ways of saving more fuel by taking the limits off KERS.

    They can also introduce fuel quantity restrictions with the current engines, this would challenge the engine manufacturers to make their engines more efficient, lets not forget, the current engines are stuck in time, homologation they call it, there is no competition there to make efficiencies there.

    The tyres are going to change for 2014, why not take the time to listen and find a better compromise solution to this fuel starved engine currently proposed.

  • Comment number 32.

    Instead of restricting the engines to certain sizes or configurations if they're trying to be green why not specify a mpg figure they must hit....All teams are given a set amount of fuel for the race which they can use. If this was of a sufficiently small quantity the teams would be required to use there engineering excellence to develop high mpg engines of whatever format they like.

    Obviously the teams that can develop the fast and most powerful engines that meets the efficiency requirement will win races the teams that are to slow will lose the teams that are too optimistic will run out of fuel.

  • Comment number 33.

    There are a few things I'm curious about -

    If they really want to be eco-friendly then 1.6 litres is too big, why make them bigger than they were in the 80s? It would be much more road relevant to make them 1.2 litres!

    Also, back in the 80s the BMW engine (4 cycl 1.5 litres) was producing 1100 horsepower in qualifying, which was considered too much power back then, so how are they proposing to limit the power in qualifying?

    ...and if they are serious about being eco-friendly why not run the cars on bioethanol instead of the exotic petrol-based fuel that they use now?

    As for the sound...I'm too deafened by F1 cars to tell the difference!

  • Comment number 34.


    Not quite sure about your engineering logic in all of that.

    Engine sound is energy, or more particularly kinetic and/or potential energy lost during the act of creating a force (torque) and resulting in the vibration of the air molecules, so loud engines are producing and losing a lot of energy (ie inefficient).

    However in light of Renaults comments, F1 could go full hog and introduce compact 1200cc 4 cylinder turbo engines tranversely mounted and driving the front wheels through a manual 5 speed gearbox, the aerodynamics could be based on a closed cockpit design with 3 access points (doors), comprehensive crash/driver protection from front/side/rear, driver aides can include mp3,satnav,dsc,dsp,abs ... then they could then call it the Renault Clio or anyothercarmakersmallcompactvehicleforadvertising as that is what the 4 cylinder proposal is really about..

  • Comment number 35.

    Yes the environmental argument is rubbish and just shouldn't be levelled at F1 but so is believing that the current rules appeal to new engine suppliers. VW, Ford, BMW, Renault, Peugeot among others are embracing the smaller capacity, forced induction engines in their road cars. Saying "new teams will join" as quoted elsewhere here is over optimistic. Like it or not, without manufacturer support no one can afford to build an engine from scratch - even Cosworth's had roots in it's old program - so making the rules more attractive has got to be a priority.

    Whether this is the right way of doing it has yet to be seen!

    As to the standard of racing/spectacle there would be little to no difference. As pointed out, the 80's hold good memories for many F1 fans.

  • Comment number 36.

    @34 combustion engines will always produce a lot of noise, as the whole act of drawing in air, exploding it, and expelling the waste gasses, will produce the sound as you described, due to turbos allowing dramatically higher compression ratios, there will be less explosions per second (revs + cylinders) although the explosions will be more intense due to more fuel per explosion as the ratio of air to fuel will be very similar. Each cylinder will actually be a little larger also. The pitch of the engines will change, mostly due to revs. But due to similar BHP, ultimately it will be a very similar amount of BOOM, within the engine, seeing as both current and future turbos are trying to maximise the power from every drop of fuel used. So 700 BHP will sound like 700 BHP, eco or not. And you may find your average BHP across the power band is actually higher with a turbo, vs a N/A with similar peak BHP. I do disagree with fixed rev limiting, and BHP limits. There are other ways to make the engines come out at roughly your desired BHP, without fixing revs to certain numbers well within their technical limits.

  • Comment number 37.

    The horribly pious green movement will stop at nothing to push its agenda. Sadly that extends to F1. If you give them an inch with these current plans then soon they would demand more restrictions and before you know it F1 would no longer be F1.

    I can just imagine one day being reduced to a watching a spectacle where the cars reach speeds of no more than 150mph and emit sound not much greater than a Scalextric set.

  • Comment number 38.

    Although it is important that F1 move on in technology and try to make the sport 'greener', small engines!? Pfft... F1 + 1.6-litre 4 cylinder engines = metaphorical train wreck, I hope Bernie Ecclestone wons this argument.

  • Comment number 39.


  • Comment number 40.

    I've been following F1 for over 40 years and well remember an essay by the late and great L.J.K. Setright in which he proposed an energy efficiency formula. Any fuel could be used but the total amount of energy used in a race would be limited. He envisaged this would (i) promote efficiency; (ii) lead to the introduction of new technologies and different engine types, and (iii) enhance the racing. In over 40 years I've only been aware of Lotus' efforts with the gas turbine. Currently rules prohibit any innovation or developments in engine technology.

  • Comment number 41.

    The argument FOR the change seems to be rooted in PR - sending the "right message" - corporate image - the ACTUAL environmental benefits seem minimal, the technical benefits for road-cars too as they are already years ahead on this agenda. There is also the dichotomy of the FIA slashing costs then forcing the R&D costs of new engine tech.

    A compromise would be to push the fuel-efficieny rules further, maybe bi-annually, costs that would be shared between the engine manus and the fuel companies.

    It does though seem to be a question of "image"... and F1 seems to be doing OK still despite the global economy, probably because it sells best on its claims to be the best tech and racing on the planet - to use the "image-makers"-speak : its unique selling point. The FIA like to claim F1 serves a useful purpose - and it has and does with tech that becomes standard in roadcars. They try to push further though with "road safety" and "environment" issues, and this is where they go wrong. It's as if they're suggesting the huge global audience tunes in on a Sunday to pick up tips on safer driving and protecting the planet. Until such time that there is tangible evidence that the audience, sponsors, existing manufacturers are withdrawing soley because of the lack of green credentials, let's leave the rules alone.

  • Comment number 42.

    At 12:47pm 28th Apr 2011, Smoby221 wrote:
    Heres a wacky idea to keep the environmentalists happy, why not force the teams to develop an electric car as well which could be run in a separate race before the main event.

    That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, why would that please environmentalists if you were still going to have the main race anyways.

  • Comment number 43.

    If 6% of 700bhp is lost to the environment as sound it would be louder than if 3% of 700bhp was lost to the environment as sound - that is what I was trying to allude to.

    An engines sound has nothing to do with the engine per se, but more to do with its inefficiencies.

    Think my post was more of a rant that F1 is being hijacked by mass market car companies who want the glamour but not the grandeur.

  • Comment number 44.

    Changing the engine formual is a huge waste of money, so why do it?

    The fule saving argument doesn't stand up either, as it says in the article, one 747 flight to Japan produces more pollution than a whole season of F!.

    And how are F1 engines that only last a few hundred miles relevant to road cars anyway?

  • Comment number 45.

    I'd like to see the engines change just to show BE and Ferrari the FIA will not be intimidated!

  • Comment number 46.

    They've got to radically change the car designs. Not worried about the engine noise of the turbos, I desperately want to see the ugly front and rear wings done away with in favour of something more inviting. For me, we haven't seen great car designs since 2008. Since 09, they've been absolutely dreadful and I, for one, have so missed car launches because of these both plain and dreadful car designs.

  • Comment number 47.

    Personally I think it's a good idea. Ferrari and Merc are against it because they sell large/premium cars Renault like the idea as they can use it to help sell Clio Sports.

    All this talk of F1 being the pinnacle because they use V8s is nonsense. F1 is the ultimate that can be achieved within the rules ie. no traction-control no ABS etc. This is just another parameter set to challenge the design teams and in reality no different to any other fundamental rule change.

    I know that F1 engines are high revving low short life units but there has to be more of a chance for the technologies to be beneficial to the cars we drive if the units are of a size that we can buy without punitive Road taxes.

    The racing will be exciting if cars are wheel to wheel as when they are on the huge modern tracks it is difficult to have any appreciation of speed in any event. Also if Ford can make a 1.4 Turbo Diesel Fiesta do over 100mph then I'm sure these F1 teams can get some pace out of a 1.6 Turbo unit.

  • Comment number 48.

    Turbo's like superchargers are history.

    Hybrids are not the answer either.

    Motor racing is about power and can never be green because the journey is not necessary.

    If it ain't broke you do't need to fix it!

  • Comment number 49.

    I could care less whether the engines were naturally aspirated, turbo charged, or ran on vegetable oil. I really dont care.

    All I want to see is good racing.

    The last time we had turbo's in F1, we had good racing.

    Even if we dont get turbo's and stick with the current formula, from what I've seen so far, the current formula provides good racing.

    So in closing, I dont see what the big deal is either way. Some people just always seem to need to something kick back against.

  • Comment number 50.

    You say F1 used 1.5 litre engines with turbos in the mid 1980's and this is ver true.
    but these engines were V8s with a huge rev ceiling that in the end produced almost 1200 bhp in qualifing trim.
    These will be 4 cylinders with a much lower rev ceiling.
    It will sound like a meeting of the local boy races saxos but with turbos bolted on and who wants to listen to that?

  • Comment number 51.

    "Why not reduce the length of a Grand Prix by 10% and save fuel that way? A Grand Prix is plenty long enough" - Martin Brundle.

    Formula One is one of just a handful of top class full throttle motorsports- it isnt going to cause global warming is it. Road Cars should be made greener, as there are billions of us who drive them. Formula One has twenty odd cars running for only half the year on average of every two to three weeks.

    Nonsense it is. Just race hard, fast, and of course, safely.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'd just like Superchargers. I just like them!

  • Comment number 53.

    if the F1 new "tiny terror" engines happen, if the rules go through I am personally going to hold "fuel burning parties" during each race where I set the TV up in the garden and burn the equivilent saving of fuel to keep warm whilst watching the race, therefore negating any reason to switch.. simplez.

  • Comment number 54.

    Perhaps we should do away with engines altogether and just have a big rubber band wound up at the start of each race attached to the wheels. They can have pit stops every few laps to wind up the rubber band with a big spoon. That would be nice and green.

  • Comment number 55.

    The biggest problem for me is the noise. As others have stated why limit the rules to 4 pots? A straight 5 or V6 are also viable in 1600 capacity as per the 1500 turbos in the 80's & would add some much needed aural variety...Add some popping, banging & return titanium skid plates & you are half way there...

    Give a set fuel limit as per the 80's turbo era & away you go....

    Maybe re-inventing the wheel but the 85 & 86 seasons really were superb. A formula that truly worked.

    Oh & the Ferrari V6 of the time was regularly quickest in a straight-line too. Technology & BHP were not their issues ;-)

  • Comment number 56.

    @43 unfortunately you will never see wasted energies of 6 to 3% from sound. Sound is a crucial factor in combustion engines as it is all about combustion and without sound proofing, there isn't really anything you can do about the core quantity of energy converting to sound/vibration etc, as the whole combustion process is about converting the fuel/air to movement which sound is a core part of due to the violence of the explosion, it really isn't an inefficiency of the engine as the whole combustion process involves it. All people can do with the sound element of an engine is manipulate or muffle it, but you can't explode fuel silently. Unless you are into the whole tree falls in the wood when no one is there. Obviously "if" they use x% less fuel then there will be less BANG, however I do feel the whole turbo element will counter that sound wise, and if they are pushing out similar BHP/torque you will get a similar level of sound, and may find the lower frequencies increase the feel of it.

    Any way, as they can do more with the sound/feel of the engine with the exhaust system than anything else, I don't think we should be that concerned about the capacity/performance shift, nor the sound, as anything pushing out 750BHP with now more torque than the current v8s, doing similar speeds, possibly more, will still work.

  • Comment number 57.

    the irony is that the entire man made climate change rubbish is a politically funded agenda, and its not actually real. however seeing as the BBC are massively involved in this agenda i doubt they wil publish this comment and continue to spew the most twisted propaganda on the planet.

  • Comment number 58.

    Why not make it so the cars have to have compromises, for example, take away the brake balance adjusters, etc. Surely that will create overtaking, it would certainly put more emphasis on driver skill anyway.

    I can't remember who said this, but I agree with you, adding such restrictions to the new regulations on engines will not create innovations, unless they are planning on relaxing the regulations at a later date. Why not give a set of targets like setting a maximum BHP figure, and capacity (for turbo-charged or naturally aspirated), but let the manufacturers decide how they achieve those figures. It is the ability to interpret rules in a different way that encourages innovations, not limiting everything. Limitations will produce a similar solution from all the manufacturers. They may have slightly different characteristics of course, but I doubt very much that these would be vast.

    Engines being changed to make F1 greener is really a bit of a pointless argument, as everyone has mentioned, so I'm not going to talk about it any more.

    Another thing I dont get, why have the only change once to defend an overtake rule? OK that will mean there are more overtakes. But doesn't it also make overtaking that little bit easier? I would prefer for the driver in front to be able to make it difficult for them to overtake rather than the lack of aero performance. Then it is a battle of the drivers, make it the drivers responsibility to do it safely. After all they are adults, and by the time they get to F1 you would have thought they would have enough racing experience in general to know what is sensible and what isn't.

    I think thats it, will right back if I think of anything else.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sadly ladies and gentlemen I think this entire discussion may be irrevelant.

    By 2013, I fear that the Sky Empire may well have done a deal with CVC and Bernie and few people will be able to afford to watch the races anyway.

    How better to kill the goose that laid the golden egg..........? This idea will be yet another way of finishing off something that has given billions of people fabulous (well, usually) entertainment for many years.

    Unlike the Sky Sports cornerstone of football, F1 participants do not use foul and abusive language on camera or in front of the fans, argue with the stewards and the fans of all teams can mix with each other at the circuit without the need for the vast police presence needed to minimise physical violence.

    Sky and F1 are about as suitable for each other as Formula One and 1.6 litre 4-cylinder "green" engines. Stop this madness now!

  • Comment number 60.

    Number 59, you are spot on, f1 should stay the same, v10's should come
    Back, and shorten each race 5-10 laps, and there you have a greener f1... Ish... Point is, it's 24 cars for an hour and a half every couple of weeks, I'm pretty sure there not the victims of 'global warming' it seems this is irrelevant, I want my son to know and love f1 how we all have, BBC broadcasting, v10 engines screaming at 18k rpm, and excellent commentey like Martin bundle etc, if sky gets rights to broadcast and it goes pay per view, f1 will be history, add these engine changes and the appeal is well untruly gone. Our children will never experience formula 1 racing. Real shame.

  • Comment number 61.

    I had to post Andrew as you have once again missed the point on the engine sound, like so many others. It's not the displacement (size) of the engine that is the issue but the number of cylinders. 80's turbo engines were V6's, no amount of exhaust tuning can cause an inline 4 to sound like a V6. The firing pulses on an I4 engine are separated and do not overlap like 6 or 8 cylinder engines and this is key to achieving that "howl" you mention.

    What I don't understand is why the engine displacement is only dropping to 1.6 litres. Getting 600bhp out of a 1.6 is easy, there are modified road cars that have achieved this.

    As a result of limiting only to 1.6 litres the new format must also limit rev limit to 12k rpm which will also kill that unique sound.

    Why don't they simply go further and limit displacement to 1 litre, go with a V6 format and keep the rev limit at the current 18k. I believe an engine of this format would have a characteristic howl, different to but certainly in keeping with, the current generation engines.

    I can't understand any argument over the engine sound being unimportant. I work in acoustics and quite simply the impact and importance of good sound, whether it's mechanically or electronically produced, can never be overlooked.

  • Comment number 62.

    I've heard the FIA's engine simulation sound, and apart from a difference in harmonics it still sounds like an F1 car.

    Besides F1 has to reposition itself or the green loonies will reposition F1 out of existence, Ferrari being stuck in the past with last centuries technology is typical, Montezemolo believes F1 fans spend Sunday afternoons at the beach, so quite frankly he's a bit of a liability when reasoned argument is needed.

  • Comment number 63.

    My veiw is I like the noise the speed as a F1 fan and a paying customer i dont believe following the green culture is good for the sport has any one been to china i have, i dont buy eco light bulbs etc theres no point by the time youve been in and out of a room the light still hasnt come on and if the sport continues to get greener ill stop paying to watch

  • Comment number 64.

    I do think it's important that F1 be relevant to road cars, since I believe it will make manufacturers more willing to get involved. I don't know how Mercedes can justify spending millions of Euro's on an F1 program when they get no technology back that's of any use.

    What I don't like though is the forced technology to make them relevant. Sure, it looks like smaller turbos are the way forwards, but it need not be the case. Clearly reduction of fuel use is going to have to happen in the years going forwards, so that's what they should mandate and leave the rest up to the engineers.

    They know how much fuel they are using at each circuit this year, so tell them that next year they will be allowed 10% less. The year after, another 10% will come off.

    Then we'll see the real geniuses in F1 come out. Sure a small turbo engine might be the solution, or a current engine with a massively improved KERS system (they would have to de-restrict that too). Or something else nobody has thought of.

    F1 back in it's heyday allowed true creative thinking. Nobody had imagined the idea of making the engine a fully stressed part of the chassis until Colin Champan figured it out, and fortunately the regulations were wide enough then to allow the DFV to come along. How much worse F1 would be now if the rules back in the 60's had been so restrictive on engine development that Cosworth wouldn't have been able to make that engine?

    There has not been any really creative thinking in F1 for years, probably not since the early 90's with all the electronic aids Williams came up with.

    F1 has been worse off for it.

  • Comment number 65.

    All they have to do to make F1 more environmentally friendly is to reduce the number of sets of tyres used in a weekend. Two or three tyre stops in a race that now lasts considerably less than two hours is just plain ridiculous, when road tyres last so much longer nowadays.

  • Comment number 66.

    Personally I don't care too much about the marketing 'green' aspect, but I'd love to see some opening of the rules to give scope for some difference between cars. Remember when you could argue whether V12, V8, V10 or a 4-cyl turbo was best. Can't we have some sensible equivalence rules that allow Renault to use a turbo 4 and Ferrari to use a V6, V8 or V12? While we're at it, how about electric drive true hybrid and why not a small turbine to drive the generator? What about forcing the cars to use an engine stop / start system during pit stops? - that would soon sort out the delay lag that means you can't get through traffic lights when you're behind one of these things.
    All these are relevant to modern car manufacture and could be argued to be environmentally friendly.
    The current rules are too restrictive - what really made the eighties interesting was when different designs suited different circuits.

    Regarding the noise, as an engineer I appreciate that a quieter engine means it's more efficient as less energy is wasted in making the noise so you get more power at the wheels for the same fuel burn - ask Peugeot or Audi. So long as there's some noise it works for me. I marvel at the endurance diesels rather than criticise them.

    F1 Kers is having a knock on effect on more general electric systems, particularly in the area of smaller supercapacitors (energy storage) and heat management of high power electronics. This will trickle down to road cars and elsewhere, but not tomorrow. I actually believe that unless F1 does move with the times it risks being marginalised. It should be cutting edge technology, not just constant development of the norm.

  • Comment number 67.

    If they implement the new engine rules the best sound we will get from a grand prix weekend will be if the safety car is deployed. ( unless Toyota sponsor the safety car and supply a Prius )

    Fans of F1 want to hear 24 V8's howling round the track because the noise is all part of the spectacle.

    The advances in technology developed in F1 used to be transmitted down to road cars now this seems to be in reverse, it wont be long before F1 is renamed the the F1 Prius cup and the BBC have to change their theme tune to " Ernie the fastest milk man in the west" LOL

  • Comment number 68.

    If you want to make engineers innovate you need to restrict resources, such a fuel but leave as much else as possible free of restrictions.

    In the case of Formula 1 they should just say all cars will start the race with X litres of fuel, it is up to you how big your engine is, how many cylinders there are or how many turbos or superchargers you have. You just need to do do average more than X mpg to finish.

  • Comment number 69.

    As a long time F1 fan and amateur racer I can say that for me, and many, many friends and race goers I know and meet, the size, make-up, and sound of the engine is not the be all and end all of making a race watchable or enjoyable. It just isn't. Seeing cars race, seeing them being driven to their limits, seeing the battles between the drivers is what matters. The sound of the engines is quite irrelevant indeed, as pointed out in the blog, the sound can be altered anyway by the exhaust. Since I started watching F1 the engine rules have changed many times and so has the sound of them. We've already been through the turbo era, the V10 era, and the V12 era. Have I stopped watching? No. Have people stopped attending F1 races? No. So if history proves that engine sound and noise hasn't affected F1's spectacle or commercial viability, why say that will be the case now? It's simply down to people not liking the idea of change.

  • Comment number 70.

    Well, here we go again! The one thing F1 can be relied on to do is to cause controversy! So if we have to be PC and go green lets do something different that is road relevant but good to watch and listen too! I would say again lets go 1.6 or 2.0 Wankel (rotary) engines maybe along the lines of the Mazda 787B of the 90's but run them on Hydrogen with Kerrs. They will make huge power with zero emissions and sound great! Will you back it Mr E?

  • Comment number 71.

    If you want VW Audi to get in the F1 game better make the new donkeys Diesel turbo's! Bet that has not been considered yet? Oh, and yes they do go just look at Audi in Sports cars! As they say a change is as good as a rest! But do we need a rest?

  • Comment number 72.

    Why not instead of a fixed engine, why not set a maximum power and revs and a minimum MPG for the engine and let the manufacturers have fun with it?

  • Comment number 73.

    My impression from this article is that its being mostly driven by renault who have an interest in driving their commercial profits up. I dont think F1 should be used by any one manufacturer as a test bed which this would be for them. We have already lost the magic of a screaming V10 and its audibly different on TV as well. Now they want to got to 4 pot 1.6 blown engines - that will sound terrible. Why should i pay to watch that when i can get the same from BTC series?

  • Comment number 74.

    Frankly F1 has become too safe. Sadly, if more drivers died in crashes more people would watch. Not a nice choice to have to make. But if nutters want to drive very fast then let the rest of us watch them depart this mortal coil and leave a lesson to the other would be-nutters. The world really would become a safer place.

  • Comment number 75.

    Gravity. It's everywhere. We have it in abundance. It's free and it keeps objects to the ground. Just put the cars on a hill and let gravity do the work. Whoever gets to the bottom first wins.
    It's certainly green, but it's most certainly not F1, and neither is fitting hairdryers to its cars. If F1 is going turbo, then do it properly, or just not bother at all.

  • Comment number 76.

    Good morning,

    1.5 litre 4 cylinder engines for F1, why not go the whole hog are have Go Karts?
    There has been reference to the 1.5 litre era of years past, it was exciting, the reason, no restriction was put on power output.
    It is a fair bet should the 1.5 litre engine be approved there will be a max power limit.
    As for the sound, the turbo will absorb a percentage of the sound, by definition a 4 will never sound as good as a 6 or 8 cylinder.
    My own wish is for an engine size increase to 3.5 litre, no limit on the number of cylinders, no turbo, that will sort the men from the boys.
    Get rid of the wings, we will see some true GP racing.
    I suppose I can dream.

  • Comment number 77.

    David P:
    'Big men'? 'Prost'? Did you ever see him?

    F1 engines have been many things over its history: 2.5 litre, 1.5, 3.0 (1.5 supercharged allowed), 1.5 turbos dominant, 3.5 v8, v10 and v12, 3.0 v10, 2.4 v8. - we speak as if the current V8s are 'true f1'- no, they are simply today's f1. I think the sounds were more spectacular in the 89-early 90's era when you had 3.5 litre v8, v10 and v12 engines, reving lower than now but sounding fantastic.
    However I'm sure the new engines would sound different, but still great in their own way.

  • Comment number 78.

    The Chequered Flag: Latest on the future of #Bahrain GP and McLaren's Jenson Button:

  • Comment number 79.

    The engine size issue is very much a matter of personal opinion, and there will probably be as many views on it as people expressing opinions. For what it's worth, my own view is a V format adds a bit of glamour: I'd go for 2 litre V6's with power controlled by a limit on the allowed amount of boost.

    Personally, I was much more excited by the fact that the new rules were to greatly reduce the size of front aerofoils, making it possible for cars to run close together again at long last. This isn't getting a mention just now. I hope it's still in the mix.

  • Comment number 80.

    For me the problem is not engine size but Fuel type.

    1.6 Turbo inline @ 10,000 RPM? To me this is screaming Diesel!

    Ferrari would never accept a Diesel engined car, it is so far from their DNA! I mean they've used small capacity Turbos before and they've been very happy with them! I mean they Built the F40 with Twin Turbo's for Pete's Sake!

    What do you guys think?

  • Comment number 81.

    Does the motor sport watching public wants F1 cars more like road cars?

    So whats to be new in F1 - headlights and indicators, spare wheel and jack, dangly furry object on mirror, more than one seat, toolbox - oh, I am sorry, we used to have many of those things back in the early days when the driver carried a mechanic to fix the car on the road or to fix a punctured tyre with patches, tyre levers and a foot pump. The real races were the likes of the Mille Miglia - a test of REAL cars and REAL driving skills.

    The craziest idea I ever heard was to suggest watering the track - whats comes after that - mandatory oil spills on corners and braking areas, holding the races in the late afternnon so the drivers have to race blindly into the setting sun, nails and objects lying on a track with potholes?

    It has turned from the premier motor sport to a Mickey Mouse affair of city street tracks where the man in front is a moving roadblock, no-one able to overtake excepty by sheer idiocy or the other drivers bad judgement. Get back to real circuits and races of a minimum of two hours. - with drivers who have stamina and cars that are not flakey to the point of being incapable of lasting more than an hour.

    I used to go to watch F1 - not any more, the allure that was Hill, Surtees and Clark is not there now.

  • Comment number 82.

    This is a joke. how is making the car more efficent in anyway going to offset the enviromental impact of transporting the cars, F1 teams, drivers and spectators around the world for the different races. Lets put this into to a little bit more context and look at the bigger issue before changing the engines in the cars.

  • Comment number 83.

    In response to comment 80, nobody has ever suggested that the proposed new engine configuration will be diesel-powered. 10,000 rpm would be a rather optimistic amount of RPM's for diesel engine's, due to the high compression ratio of diesel motors - even the V12 diesels that race in Le Mans only rev until 6,000 rpm - and diesel road cars barley do a maximum of 5,000 rpm.

    That's not to say I'm defending the four cylinder turbocharged washing machine, but nobody has ever suggested that the 2013 motor will be diesel-powered - and the amount of RPM's is the biggest clue.

  • Comment number 84.

    BREAKING NEWS: Following a visit to the future I can confirm that F1 and Mario Cart become indistiguishable from 2015 onwards... power-up boxes appear on the track and everything. Massa gets his own back on rubens with a red shell to the back of the head.

  • Comment number 85.

    @MercMobil1, Thanks for your insight, although call me a conspiracy theorist I'm just not convinced.. (although I must agree with what you are saying about the Diesel units rev ceiling...)

    A big reason for the engine rule changes were because of VW group being interested in the sport, and in my mind that would mean Audi (although Lambo would be a lot more FUN!) and Audi is winning big in the Le mans series with Diesels..

    But what would be very cool is if FIA just simply stated that engines shouldn't be allowed above a certain ammount Bhp but how each team comes to that figure is completely up to them! We'd have it all! Audi in brilliant TDi engines, Ferrari in (relatively) big capacity V8 or V12 petrol units and then the likes of Renault in fantastic small capacity Turbo petrol units!

    Now that is a formula 1 I'd love to watch!

    On the other hand we are being treated to some great racing at the moment, so maybe I shouldn't be too greedy.

  • Comment number 86.

    Thinking about my previous post, setting a Bhp ceiling ain't a great idea at all, but I still think that having different engine and fuel types would be a great idea. If anything I believe it would bring great technical innovation.

    So I'm thinking the engine types would have to be sorted by capacity.

    Have a great weekend all

  • Comment number 87.

    I don't oppose the changes necessarily, but saying that they are there to be more eco-friendly is simply idiotic. F1 is not just a fantastic racing series, it's a testbed for design engineering, and has led to some fantastic advances in automotive technology. The moment you start encumbering the cars with rules which cause a decrease in both performance and audience interest without giving a valid justification (and eco-friendliness, while a wonderful generic buzzword, is totally unjustifiable outside the touchy-feely press statement world when applied to motor racing), you've put the first nail in the coffin of a unique and valuable institution.
    Let's push these changes back to '14 at the earliest - 2114. :-)

  • Comment number 88.

    Hi Khatmandu,

    Regarding your Screaming diesel comment, I suspect getting a diesel to rev at 10,000rpm would not be feasible, very little time for the fuel to ignite, 5,000rpm appears to be the most productive max revs for a diesel, a diesel has better torque than a petrol engine hence the diesels cars at Le Mans, they have much better acceleration than their petrol engined cousins.
    I was talking to a driver who has just qualified at Le Mans last weekend, he had 312kph on the straight, the Audi was no faster, just got there so much quicker and at much lower revs, he lapped in 3.45, the Audi in 3.27.
    Should you be correct in your assumptions the sound track of a diesel is very muted compared to a petrol engine.
    Ecclestone knows the sound track of a GP car is a big draw, were that to disappear so would the petrol heads among the crowd.
    Le Mans is different, many of those going to the track never see the race, they go for the parties.
    I go every year, I meet up with a group of guys, they bring a blow up swimming pool, shower, tables, chairs, food and most important beer, they never see 1 minute of track action from Wednesday until 16.00hours the following Sunday.
    Le Mans will never die, F1 will if the FIA are not careful.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ khatmandu461, comment 85, it’s certainly true that the VW Group have made comments about being interested in Formula One. But I doubt that the proposed engine configuration change has specifically come about to attract VW, but more automotive group’s in general.

    I don’t think that VW are serious about making engines for F1 though, they’ve made a few associated comments about their requirements about entering in F1 – but the sport cannot be tailored for one car company to increase the number of engine suppliers in the sport.

    But really, I think this year proves that F1 has been so exciting and unpredictable this year – that the sport doesn’t need an explosion of engine manufactures like we had in the early 2000’s. F1 was at the mercy of major car manufactures and eventually that failed. When I’m watching a Grand Prix, I want to talk about the racing on the track; not how many different engine configurations’ there are, how road relevant the engines are, or, how many engine suppliers there are. All those new engine suppliers had no impact whatsoever on the show in the early 2000’s, and costs just soared.

  • Comment number 90.

    I read this article and felt like commenting ... then looked down the page and there were more than 80 so i stopped reading at about comment 23! I realise no one will probably read this and most of what i have to say will have already been said but here goes.

    1. F1 will never be a road racing series. Anyone who is concerned about whether the rules should or shouldn't be more relevant for the development of road cars should realise that F1 will always be an 'extreme' interpretation of these intentions. In my view, the philosophy behind the rules is to recognise the role that F1 has (and should continue to play) in the development of "automotive technology". In the past, F1 has always been responsible for development of road cars in some way or another but just in a less direct and obvious way;

    2. Some people are going overboard on whether the proposed rules are suitable. Will the engines sound quieter? Will performance suffer? Are the changes necessary? etc etc. F1 hardly ever does anything for "necessity". Even though it is correct to challenge and refine the rules so that those directly involved are in agreement, the result is likely to lead to further innovation. F1 will always value creativity and innovation over necessity - all the engineers in each team focus on the how far they can push the limit of the rules so no matter what changes are made we will always see a creative drive for improvement.

    3. Money - this is ultimately what everything comes down to. Some say the rules may lead to the death of F1. The only thing that will lead to the death of F1 is a lack of money - whether this comes from commercial revenue (i.e sponsors and television) or unsustainable costs. The rules should absolutely account for this in the forward planning of F1 for the next decade. In reality, F1 will always respond to the demands of sponsors and the viewing public as they simply cannot afford for the sport to become less popular. But equally spending must not be allowed to become unsustainable.

    Lets not kid ourselves, if the new rules are accepted, we are still likely to see designs which will lead to cars that are close to or surpass the performance of current cars. When you think about all the rule changes in the last few years, yet the cars have generally become quicker (tyres aside), F1 has an incredible pace of development. At the same time, the powers that be in F1 must ensure that a balance is struck between keeping the technology and performance in F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport whilst recognising the need to be more sustainable.

    As for the specific rules, 1.5 ltr turbo can be made to be as fast as you like, but at what cost? If the point is to save costs or make the sport more profitable/sustainable then I reserve judgement. Make the sport more aerodynamic or put more focus on mechanical innovation? These are questions best answered by the teams but with the long term view of the sport in mind. As for me (the enraptured viewing audience), F1 must learn the the positive lessons from the changes they have introduced which for me has made me look forward to racing every week!

  • Comment number 91.

    Comment 88, @ Ken Westmoreland: "Le Mans is different, many of those going to the track never see the race, they go for the parties. I go every year, I meet up with a group of guys, they bring a blow up swimming pool, shower, tables, chairs, food and most important beer, they never see 1 minute of track action from Wednesday until 16.00hours the following Sunday. Le Mans will never die, F1 will if the FIA are not careful."

    I can see how the social aspect is appealing for some, but it's not important for me, the actual on-track product should be the sole focus. Races like the Chinese GP is what motor racing should be about, that race would have made be cheer in the crowd if I were there. The product of Le Mans is very boring for me with the massive gap's between cars even in the same categories.

  • Comment number 92.

    Making F1 use smaller engines because it is in line with current environmentalism is like asking Federer, Nadal el al to play with wooden raquets because of the current economic crisis - it doesn't make any sense. F1 should be seen as the pinnacle of motorsport, not an exercise in chasing green technology...

  • Comment number 93.

    Really, we have reached a limit point with what unrestricted technology can give us. Either the cars become too fast for most circuits or they begin to employ technologies that hardly even make them automobiles anymore.

    The only choice is to tweak the rules to try to find a competitive balance whilst still favouring teams that produce and perform better.

    I see it as a choice: I like removing engine limitations and instead limiting total energy available as fuel, but more likely we will see engines that level the playing field somewhat while still allowing for some actual racing to occur.

    The option with unlimited engine development would lead to very few teams, I fear, so if we are going for some kind of equality, those who make the engines very much get to have their say. If it's the turbos, great. I mean, these are still going to be ridiculously fast cars, right?

    And kudos to the idea of shortest trips between venues if they really want to be green.

  • Comment number 94.

    Yeah, ferrari has a start/stop system on their road car. Maybe they can introduce traffic lights then...

  • Comment number 95.

    Most of the posters here are (as usual) missing the point entirely.

    To those saying that most F1 fans want the bigger engines, no, they don't, neither do they want the smaller engines. In fact most F1 fans are not egg-head tech boys who know the ins and outs of the engines in the first place. Most F1 fans do not care about V4, V6, V8, Turbos, Diesels, Hybrids or whether a car has a top speed of 150, 200 or 500 MPH. What most fans want to see are cars capable of driving within close proximity of each other while being wrung to the edge of their capability and stability. Provided the charateristics of the car are adjusted so that this happens it doesn't matter to the spectacle of it what size engines are used at all (within reason of course).

    Now onto the REAL reason for the changes, which Andrew actually highlighted but most of you have ignored. The changes are being introduced so that the engines in F1 are more relevent to those in road cars, not for the sake of relevence but for the sake of allowing road developers to synergise developments of both, thus reducing the cost of extra development for F1. Most manufacturers already have good experience at working with 1.6 V4 and turbos, they can theoretically take that experience and roll it into an F1 program much easier and likewise any improvements made for F1 can potentially be rolled bak into productions cars. It is no surprise that Renault (F1's only general use road car manufacturer at the moment) is in favour of this route. Ferarri and McLaren are of course sportscar manufacturers so it doesn't suit them as well, a point made by Ferrari. Mercedes find themselves somewhere in the middle, their core product is the larger engine but they do have a growing share of the market in the smaller car sector.

    Bring it to the point where suppliers can actually put an F1 engine out there for a sensible price rather than the current astronomical one and you will see more variation and hence better racing.

  • Comment number 96.

    F1 shouldn't just reflect road car strategy it should lead the technology.

    They should go the whole way and make F1 all-electric.

    Teams who could find new ways to make batteries more efficient and reduce weight would benefit by winning races.

    The public would then benefit from their advances.

    All this putting KERS on and reducing engine sizes is just window dressing.

  • Comment number 97.

    Don’t see why going to more efficient turbo charged engines is a bad thing. It is more relevant to road cars, may be some of us will benefit from some of the technology that’s bound to come out of them. Engines will produce more power at lower rpm and possibly at lower combustion pressure too, so should theoretically be more reliable. 80’s turbocharged machines proved to be excellent spectacles. Some reliability issues with the turbo technology in those days which I am sure have mostly been overcome now. Proposed engines for 2013 won’t be that different to the 1.5liter turbo charged ones from 80’s with the exception of using lighter materials for cold sections of the engines and pneumatic technology so the cost of developments sounds a little inflated. I fail to see the argument for not introducing them, other than Ferrari not wanting to do it because perhaps they don’t know how to and of course Ecclestone with some weird financial reason!

  • Comment number 98.

    I want to see engine rules too. Because, they are appropriate for this more than everything. I hope, formula will come back to old days...

  • Comment number 99.

    Why not say to the teams have any engine you like that suits your car but it must achive a set MPG and be no more than 1000 BHP?

  • Comment number 100.

    @ hackerjack, comment 95. I agree about casual viewers and the general public not caring what engine configuration is used. However, what I believe what the public does notice, is the high-pitched wail of these current screaming V8’s with the amount of racket they produce. Bernie said it himself about a month ago, that government officials and even casual female viewers tell him that the noise of the cars is amazing. So the noise is something that the lay person, not just racing enthusiasts do remember.

    As for F1 engines providing a test bed for production engines. It sounds great in theory, with more and more petrol production cars becoming turbocharged, but in practice I’m doubtful. The parameters of an F1 engine and a road car are so different; I don’t see how any technical synergy can be gained. For example, there are no environmental constraints on F1 engines like there are on road car motors. Put it simply, car makers would only be able to make marketing claims about their road cars using the same sort of engine as their F1 cars, in terms of RPM – which they cannot do now.


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