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F1 moves to set 'green' agenda

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Andrew Benson | 13:28 UK time, Saturday, 4 December 2010

The agreement for Formula 1 to switch to a new energy-efficient type of engine in 2013, exclusively revealed by BBC Sport, is the culmination of months of in-depth negotiations about one important aspect of the future of the sport.

Increasing F1's sustainability was a key aim of both Jean Todt - the president of governing body the FIA - and the Formula 1 teams through their umbrella organisation Fota, and this move certainly makes a statement about that.

By replacing the current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8 engines with 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbos with energy recovery and fuel restrictions, F1 has deliberately mirrored the way road-car manufacturers are taking the cars we all drive on the road.

Fossil fuel supplies are running out and there is an ever-increasing pressure on resources, but there is no realistic replacement in sight for the internal combustion engine for some time to come, despite the hopes for zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell engines, for example.

In those circumstances, car manufacturers have no choice but to produce ever-more efficient engines.

That is already happening with 'hybrid' cars such as the Toyota Prius and an increasing number of manufacturers rolling out energy-saving technologies across their ranges.

But the manufacturers involved in F1 hope that by adopting these technologies in a glamorous, high-profile activity they can speed up their adoption by making them 'sexy'.

So whereas now high-performance and fuel economy/efficiency are regarded among the wider public as pretty much mutually exclusive, F1 can prove otherwise and by extension help in dramatically reducing the carbon dioxide emissions produced by road cars in the future.

They will do this by producing new engines that reduce fuel consumption by as much as 50% while retaining the same power and keeping competition as close as it has been in 2010.

It is not all about philanthropy, though. Inevitably, there is self-interest involved too.

F1 is aware that it has an image for being profligate with resources. In an era when there is increasing pressure on energy supplies, it is nervous about its position as an activity that literally burns fossil fuels for fun.

By introducing these new rules, F1 is hoping it can go some way towards insulating itself against accusations that it is an irrelevant waste of resources.

It can counter any such claims by pointing out that the pursuit of the maximum possible power output for the minimum possible fuel consumption by some of the world's brightest engineers in the white-hot competition of F1 will lead to a much faster development of energy-efficient technologies.

These advances will thus transfer much more quickly to road cars than they would have done, thereby reducing global CO2 emissions quicker than if F1 had not bothered.

It is a noble idea and it sounds like a no-brainer - and regular readers of this blog may remember that I wrote about the likelihood of these rules as long ago as April - but there have over the past few months been serious doubts about whether they would be adopted in 2013, as was originally the plan.

That is because as F1's power-brokers began to discuss the idea, economics and politics threatened to put the brakes on it.

The move was opposed for some time by Mercedes and Ferrari because they felt it did not make any sense to commit to spending millions designing a new type of engine at a time when the sport was trying to cut costs, and teams were facing problems finding sponsorship as the global economic crisis bit.

Ayrton Senna's Lotus and Nigel Mansell's Williams at the start of the 1986 Brazilian Grand Prix

F1 cars last used turbos in the '80s - they are coming back for 2013 in a very different form. Photo: Getty

Better, some felt, to delay such a big change by a year or two - or perhaps even five - and make some nods towards efficiency with the current engines, than embark on such a complex programme at such a difficult time.

How, these people argued, would they convince the boards of major car companies to spend anywhere between 50-100 million euros building new engines for F1 when the current ones worked perfectly well and all car manufacturers were struggling financially?

There were other objections, too.

The background to the talks was that the 2010 F1 season was developing as one of the greatest in the sport's history, with five drivers in three teams competing for the world championship.

All involved were painfully aware that it would be foolish to introduce a new regulation that put the closeness of competition at risk.

F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone put it this way to me when I spoke to him about the prospect of the new rules: "It's not necessary. We have a very good engine formula. Why should we change it to something that is going to cost millions of pounds and that nobody wants and that could end up with one manufacturer getting a big advantage?

"We don't need to do it; all the manufacturers are doing it (in their road cars) already."

At the same time, F1's senior figures were aware that while the current 2.4-litre V8 engines might appear to be wasteful, in actual fact they are more efficient in terms of specific fuel consumption - the amount of power produced per unit of fuel - than any road-car engine.

The counter-arguments to these objections were as follows:

  • Although the current F1 engines are cutting-edge in lots of ways, they will increasingly be regarded as out-of-time and irrelevant as car manufacturers move away from big-capacity normally aspirated engines and into smaller-capacity engines fitted with high-tech turbocharging and energy recovery. (Renault, for example, is predicting that by 2015 more than 75% of the engines it produces will be small-capacity turbos).
  • If F1 did not ensure it kept pace with the times, it would come under increasing scrutiny as the 21st century progressed.
  • One of the reasons teams are struggling to raise money is because some major companies - those to whom corporate social responsibility programmes are an important part of their business plan - are reluctant to get involved in F1 because of its wasteful image.

Nevertheless, even the most ardent proponents of the new rules recognised that those arguing against had a point - no one had an appetite to spend tens of millions of euros on a new F1 engine and no one wanted to wreck the on-track show.

As a result, I'm told, a series of checks and balances have been built into the new rules to ensure that the engine manufacturers cannot engage in a spending war and to prevent one of them gaining a significant performance advantage over the others.

It was also recognised that an F1 car had to remain what it is - super-fast, with a very powerful engine. So the new engines will produce about the same total power output, 750bhp, as the current ones.

How they do it, though, will be very different.

Only 600bhp of that will come from the 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine itself; the remainder will be generated by the energy recovery systems that will be integrated within it. Fuel consumption will be restricted both by limiting fuel flow and introducing a maximum capacity for races.

Current engines rev to 18,000rpm - a figure that has come down from more than 20,000rpm in recent years as the FIA has introduced limits as part of cost-saving moves. The new ones will not do more than 10,000rpm.

That in itself caused concern - believe it or not, there was disquiet that the new engines would not sound 'right', that they would be too quiet.

Anyone who has witnessed an F1 car at close quarters will be aware that they make a quite shattering noise - few things on this earth are louder.

Certainly, the new ones will sound different - and quieter - but whether that is better or worse depends on your point of view. It is almost certainly also a question that concerns the ardent F1 fans who live for the sport a lot more than it does the millions more who switch on their televisions every other weekend to watch a race.

It sounds almost surreal to think that this was a serious point of discussion among such serious-minded people, but I can assure you it was.

Whatever your take on it, though, the new engines have won the day, and their adoption will be announced sooner rather than later, even if it is not after the FIA World Council meeting on Friday 10 December, as I'm told it could well be.

This, though, is just the first of many sets of talks about the future of F1.

To come are negotiations over a new Concorde Agreement, the document that binds together the teams, the FIA and the Formula 1 Management (FOM) companies, represented by Ecclestone, and which runs out at the end of 2012.

The teams are pushing hard for their split of the sport's huge revenues to increase from 50% to 75%, and early indications are the FIA is also seeking a major shift in its relationship with FOM.

If talks over a new engine formula felt difficult and protracted, those over the new Concorde Agreement promise to be something else again.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I dont understand why the FIA had to go to green engines

    First the V12`S

    Then we had to go to the V10`S

    And the we had the V8`S

    And now we have the baby 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engines - in simple terms V4`S with a bit of Kers.

  • Comment number 2.

    The pollution from F1 cars is but a tiny fraction of the pollution caused by F1. Flying 24 cars and personnell around the world every fortnight, the pollution caused by 100,000 fans getting to the circuit where the race is every fortnight, the pollution companies like Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari etc create selling road cars off the back off their F1 teams. All these are surely much, much bigger polluters than a mere 24 cars going round a track a few times!

  • Comment number 3.

    F1 is not a green sport and never will be - no motor sport is green in fact! If you want green, have pedal cars.

    I have no idea where these bizarre ideas come from but I don't rate my street car to and F1 team, they just aren't the same unless you can afford a BMW, Porsche or Ferrari (which do what 10 or so mile to the gallon)

    If the FIA and F1 are worried about spectators, they need to find ways of making it possible to overtake on crappy circuits. Get rid of aero packages that create dirty air and make sure ALL new circuits are designed with overtaking in mind.

  • Comment number 4.

    @ No 2 - touche!

    I never could work out why when mutliple races were being held on the same continent, they were not consecutive - the waste in transporting back and forth is unbelieveable

  • Comment number 5.

    Why not just introduce a fuel cap or other form of fuel limitation. You could then make the engines completely unrestricted (size, # of cylinders, blown/naturally aspirated etc...). Fuel efficiency would then become a priority. Moreover there is a chance that the races will get more interesting as dissimilar cars come up against each other (i.e. turbo-nutter job vs smooth and steady naturally aspirated could become a real option.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why not have a single 2 hour session on Friday and Qualifying as usual on Saturday and the all races have to do 68 laps,Surely this would benifit people like Fernando Alonso.

  • Comment number 7.

    I dont see the point tbh... Why do they want to improve efficiancy? The current V8s manage 750 odd HP out of 2.4 liters! Als, the noise will be deafened by the turbos, which will kill the incredible sound of a pack of f1 cars flying past, even on tv.

  • Comment number 8.

    who are these save the planet green peace people who have entered formula1. formula1 is all about glamour and money, and saving money in this way doesnt go along with the principles of formula1. i mean the refuelling ban and the saving the tyres already makes the sport a bit boring at times especially on tracks that are hard to overtake.
    now introducing these tiny engines with low revs is only going to make the cars slower and, as someone mentioned earlier, overtaking is already difficult so god knows what this will mean.
    i thought the problem was with mr mosley. but he was sacked, todt came in and it seems things are getting worse. at this rate formula1 is doomed. u can forget exciting races and wonderful hamilton overtakes. it will be like watching gp2 racing

  • Comment number 9.

    The next step with the 1600cc straight 4 will be / should be to fuel those ICEngines with economically produced hydrogen fuel and with a safe hydrogen fuel delivery/usage system. These hydrogen engines will have all the power as now (750bhp) but no CO2 by-product.
    F1 is about use of power and racing technique, not a need to produce CO2!
    Such F1 engine progress will help lead to new beliefs as in hydrogen can be a safe fuel thanks to modern technology and engineering (and nothing to do with 1930's airship technology!). It will be a totally safe fuel in those infrequent / inevitable dangerous F1 crashes by design and will be witnessed by hundreds of millions of TV viewers.
    Peugeot, BMW and Mercedes already have these ceramic-lined hydrogen engines to my knowledge - no doubt Renault and VW/Audi have done this work too.
    It is all part of a process, LewisWDC needs to smell the coffee, the unprecedented rise in CO2 in the atmosphere since the UK industrial revolution (+37%) needs to be dealt with (and not allowed to rise inexorably (commonsense??)), retaining massive energy within the troposphere where all the weather happens will have more and more side effects like bigger hurricanes, hotter oceans will evaporate more, the rain will fall more, salinity will change in the Artic, unpredictable winds and subsequent effects will occur, dry zones may well get dryer.

    Where shall the leadership come from (?), if not / why not F1 and FOTA (?) clearly in my opinion leadership will not be coming from the non-technical media-qualified self-interested "exhibitionist" politicians or their particular cronies (political party funding buddies). For example, the USA pays $44 trillion every month for crude oil, that is big business that not one of those politicians will stop; but what if an example can be shown of another way? KERS is good, a boost when you need it from time to time and power coming from braking energy; these things need to be made to happen, this is another way to "simple" engine capacity.

    Well done FOTA, I am afraid sixties man Bernie Ecclestone doesn't get it, will never get it! Good at marketing accepted, saving the planet - he has no idea - more V8s because they sound good - that is sniffing the gasoline. I love the sound of V8s and Mad Max and the last of the V8s was a great piece of entertainment - but 1600cc 750bhp H-engines will save us all, maybe a sound is something that has to change; dare to believe?

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm all for it if it brings more manufacturers back to the sport. The spectacle, I'm sure, won't necessarily decrease so I'm not sure what the complaints are about.

    Things have to change, and 2013 seems as good a time as any.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think the sounds issue is a bit of a mute point

  • Comment number 12.

    Wont this just make the cars slower? why dont they just cut it down to 18 cars? the 3 new teams this season are useless, torro rosso should go, red bull dont need two teams, surely that would cut just as much energy as using substandard cars?

  • Comment number 13.

    Just how can F1 go green? The only method anyone with the minimalist green credentials can square that circle is by the sport ceasing to exist.

  • Comment number 14.

    If the objective is to be (or to be seen to be) green, would not a simple maximum fuel limit be more effective and more sensible? A bigger, slower revving V8 can certainly be more efficient than a smaller turbocharged 4.

    Again, if the objective is just to stir things up a bit, provide some cheaper options and bring in other teams and manufacturers, then the free engine and limited fuel route offers a lot more exciting possibilities.

    Could go totally green and do F1 on bicycles.

  • Comment number 15.

    You're missing the point. The point being that this will aid in the development push of eco-friendly road cars as they will have the same basic engine layout. There is a wider scope than just the cars on the track.

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't know about other people. But the first time i witnessed an F1 car live at a Grand Prix when i was younger, the sheer noise of the car i found just fantastic and still find this one of the great things about going to a Grand Prix. The quieter engines i will find very disappointing.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well, my head may understand. However, I'm speaking from the heart and must emphasise that this is just an opinion, irrespective that it is incredibly strongly held one.

    From the heart - I feel that F1 should get rid of a lot of the restrictions in F1 so GP racing can ensure the greatest performance.

    OK, I accept that safety (long term) and money (under these financial circumstances) are good reasons for restrictions. I understand that the environment is important. However, I feel that F1 is too restricted and performance should not be compromised.

    When I heard that Turbos were coming back. I thought that the powers that be understood how what I consider to be the "die-hards" thought and felt. Now, I feel that not much has changed at all.

  • Comment number 18.

    Good stuff.

  • Comment number 19.

    A greener F1. How ridiculous.
    I can't believe anyone is so naive to think this is anything other than eco-hot air.
    The F1 circus continually circles the globe in team chartered jumbo jets.
    Someone please get a clue. This is idiotic. Reporting this as if it was a genuine effort to "go green".

  • Comment number 20.

    2. At 3:21pm on 04 Dec 2010, RobH wrote:
    The pollution from F1 cars is but a tiny fraction of the pollution caused by F1. Flying 24 cars and personnell around the world every fortnight, the pollution caused by 100,000 fans getting to the circuit where the race is every fortnight, the pollution companies like Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari etc create selling road cars off the back off their F1 teams. All these are surely much, much bigger polluters than a mere 24 cars going round a track a few times!

    Could you really have been any further from the point?

    How on earth do you read the article and think that this is what it's about? Did you even read it at all?

  • Comment number 21.

    Whoopee yet another nail in F1 s coffin ,1.3 litre engines what the hell next ,they are killing this sport ,This year ,No refueling what a teadious season ,I"m sorry ive been a follower for many years but its just getting worse ,as long as those who are in the money get their money sod the spectators.What the hell are they going to think of next,Wind up cars or solar power so they will only be able to race when the sun"s out . SORRY 1 P----D OF UED TO BE F1 WATCHER

  • Comment number 22.

    I have followed F1 through the good and the bad and I can see this being like a lot of the other "bad ideas" that have changed the sport over the years. The thought of dropping F1 engines to a lowly 1.6 does seem to be little excessive. Surely a 1.8 or 2.0 engine would have been a better measure, or like mentioned above, one that limits consumption or fuel flow.
    What I will say though is that I don't see this as being another reason for lack of overtaking. Hamilton, Webber, Vettel and even the Banzai moves of Kobyashi proved that there is still plenty of space for overtaking in F1 - It just boils down to the guts and determination of the driver.

    I only hope that they reset the best circuit lap times when they introduce the new engines so we don't see the depressing comparisons of times that are 7-8 seconds quicker a few years back...

  • Comment number 23.

    Why all the complaints about these 1.6l turbo engines? I don't remember people moaning too much about the 1.5l turbo engines (albeit V6s) of the 1980s.

  • Comment number 24.

    Personally i cant see the problem with the turbo idea and the lack of sound the WRC cars make a huge row with there anti lag systems im sure F1 will have something like that ? and if they could convince Mazda to enter a quad rotor 1.6! if anyone remembers the sound of the 787 at le mans !!

  • Comment number 25.


    Here we go again, 4 cylinder turbos, they sound flat, does anybody remember the last turbo era, the BMW four cylinder was likened to a wet "rasberry". The turbo absorbs much of the sound.

    Come back the V10 and 12s.

  • Comment number 26.

    If F1 insists on deliberately limiting the speed and technological capability of the cars, it will become about as relevant as chariot racing.

  • Comment number 27.

    If the local boyracers can make a 1.1 Corsa sound like WW2, I'm sure F1 engineers could do the same with a 1.6 turbo! F1 has to get real and could do itself big favours by showing what efficient technology can do. Keep a tight rein on fuel allowance and change the aerodynamics for better overtaking. I think most fans want good, competitive racing not simply big capacities and ear-shattering noise! Bernie needs to change his mindset, or better still go away and spend some of his money on a new wig and stop the godfather approach.

  • Comment number 28.

    The next time you are going to a rock concert, check out the carbon footprint of the gig? It never can be eco friendly, just as feeding your pets on tofu won't work. there are certain things in life which are done for the shear excitement and seen as a luxury. If F1 is a luxury the planet can no longer afford, get rid of it, but please don't insult our intelligence in trying to pretend it has any green credentials.

  • Comment number 29.

    Whilst the over the top spending had to be curbed, there has to be a line drawn between cost cutting and sporting competition. The racing lacks impetus at the moment let alone when there will be turbo powered cars that are ensured to be within 10hp of each other.

    Also, the green motive is nonsense. How will F1 insulate itself from 'green' criticism when someone can quite easily point out that the F1 circus flies to 20 different races on 5 continents from March to November?

    It's like hearing U2 preach about global warming at a gig whilst using three jumbo jets to transport their equipment all over the globe.

  • Comment number 30.

    So here is the thing.
    Hydrogen octane number is > 130 but with very low MON number, Hydrogen does not fit well into the normal definitions of octane number. It has a very high RON and a low MON, so that it has low knock resistance in practice, due to its low ignition energy (primarily due to its low dissociation energy) and extremely high flame speed. this is rocket fuel guys.
    Now once Hydrogen is mastered (I have seen it already experimentally) and the power is worked up in a simpler engine e.g. say 4 cylinders then the skill will be moving back to up the v8s.
    This road map is about leadership and trickledown to the planet, then by the way the oil reserves will be extended so the planes keep flying longer so F1 lives forever and the green thing is solved too.
    Big picture guys, or is the consensus of the commentary in this blog to do nothing, seems like FOTA get it, luckily for the grandchildren to come.

  • Comment number 31.

    Green Formula 1? There's as much point in that as a Tour de France of three laps on a BMX track. The origin of Grand Prix racing was a 200 mile sprint with the best equipment available. No enforced pit stops or gimmicks. Engine capacity was introduced when it was realised that there was no ceiling to size. I once saw a 29 litre Railton in a Formula Libre event. Now look at where we are so far. Heaven knows what silly ideas will emerge under the green banner.

  • Comment number 32.

    who would have ever thought of a diesel car wining le mans !!!
    diesel f1 car now that would be cool and green , maybe skoda could join f1 then.

  • Comment number 33.

    I can totally understand why F1 would feel they need to improve their image in this way. Like others, i just feel it is possibly the wrong time in regard to engine development in the current economic conditions.

    As a foot note, i really hope they are able to make these engines sound as they should. Personally, my heart would sink if they lost their unique magical wail. My annual trip to Silverstone would not be the same without that magical experience.

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry, there is nothing "Cool" about diesel or Skoda.

  • Comment number 35.


    And, increasingly, there's nothing cool about the profligacy of F1, either.

    If they don't make a very visible and easy to understand effort to show they are aware of the larger issues, the series will be without major sponsorship revenue as investing in the sport will become an unfashionable and toxic proposition.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think that a fuel cap is the obvious choice, don't want all that precious petrol sloshing over the track

  • Comment number 37.

    Don't be scared guys! Formula 1 lives purely from its excitement and they wouldn't do this if the excitement of the sport would be jeopardised.

    I'm a big F1 fan - I loved it when they were V12s, I loved the V10s, the V8s and I'm sure I will still love this sport when they drive a turbo charged V4!

    After all, it is somewhat of a no-brainer - the sport has to develop with the times and when you get the same amount of horse power out of a 1.6 litre V4 but only use half the fuel, why wouldn't you?

    Also,by having this restriction on fuel efficiency, those F1 engineers will massively contribute to the next generation of engines and at the same time make sure that they remain unbelievably FAST and POWERFUL :))

  • Comment number 38.

    This whole thing is preposterous. Formula 1 is not a green sport, by its very nature. If you want eco-friendly competition, watch cycling. If the F1 brass are really concerned about the environment there is a great deal more they could do than further cheapening the spectacle. F1 is about sportsmen pushing to the limits of endurance and ability.

    By the way, a thought occurs: over the past few years we've had new tracks in China, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and South Korea, and there are more on the way in India, the USA and Russia. What environmental effect are these going to have? Not just in terms of their existence, but in terms of their use? As was pointed out, hundreds of thousands of fans turn out to these events from all across the world and the calendar does zigzag somewhat nonsensically across the globe. Instead of reinventing the wheel, how about refining the tools first?

  • Comment number 39.

    and for 2017, we shall be using smart car engines in our f1 cars, in order to promote sub-1000cc engines all across the world.f1 is about showing speed, they already have the most efficient engines, i don't see why they should use 4 cylinders.thats what the touring car championships are for.

  • Comment number 40.

    bye bye F1 :-(

    to those saying that it's ok as we should be looking at things for road cars is folly and not what F1 has ever been about....

    F1 has always been about making the very best machines that the technology of the time will allow, think of the BRM H16 or the McLaren MP4/4... it's about astonishing engineering not eco driven cost friendly humdrum - how many champs are shuddering in their graves right now

  • Comment number 41.

    The real question is, "what is the point of F1" and in reality entertainment etc have always been debateable, even for an enthusiast.

    The real answer is, that F1 is the driving force behind development of road cars. Pretty much every development in motorcars (with the exception of 4x4) has been developed via F1. The likes of KERS and smaller engines will help increase efficiency. At present we as a society need to focus on improving efficiency, at least until we can develop an alternative and this development seems ideal.

    From my personal perspective F1 is justifiable because it drives the development of new technology, its only when it doesn't that we have a problem.

  • Comment number 42.

    do people honestly think this is about the pollution caused by f1 cars, do you even read the article? its about the influence f1 can have on the motorworld as a whole ,because if they don't do something soon to try and influence more economical cars and just keep their head in the sand like people here have suggested then then there wont be any motorsport around for much longer let alone f1!

  • Comment number 43.

    hydrogen fuel cells and f1 cars, hmmm not sure how that will work. crash into a barrier at 200mph and bang there goes a mini atomic bomb.

    of course oil is nit going to last forever and current wells have about 40 years of life left at current usage. but there are vast untapped fields around the world that were uneconomical to produce from as oil prices were too low add to that fields yet to be located (nort pole, falklands and in many countries who choose not to explore inland near populated areas) the issue of oil running out is not an issue in the near future.

    why there is pressure on f1 I have no idea, people talk about it's excess but when you look at it's percent compared to global consumption there isn't even a figure low enough to calculate it.

    technology will advance and we will find a natural replacement just like we found oil to replace steam, but push it ahead of it's time and that's when disasters will occur.

  • Comment number 44.

    "40. At 02:30am on 05 Dec 2010, freakytonsils wrote:

    bye bye F1 :-(

    to those saying that it's ok as we should be looking at things for road cars is folly and not what F1 has ever been about....

    F1 has always been about making the very best machines that the technology of the time will allow, think of the BRM H16 or the McLaren MP4/4... it's about astonishing engineering not eco driven cost friendly humdrum - how many champs are shuddering in their graves right now"

    Or the Tyrell 6 wheeler.

    Completely agree with your point though.

    Those who are saying F1 drives the car manufacturers developments, is trying to be green due to lack of resources etc. are blind to what F1 used to be - the pinnacle of technology.

    It's only because car manufacturers have become heavily involved in the last 15-20 or so years that F1 has been driving their development, prior to that we saw some proper innovation and technology (Williams FW14b anyone?), not driven by car manufacturers trying to con people into buying their latest products.

    As a lifelong F1 fan I personally cannot believe they are doing this to a series that was once great. F1 will go the way of Champcar if it isn't careful, and this is a step towards that.

  • Comment number 45.

    Ok so a lot of the people here whose POV is that F1 has always been associated with glamour and expense without little regard for anyone outside the paddock, you are I'm afraid to say, a dying breed of F1 fan, I agree that traditionalism and nostalgia play a huge part of F1 as I object to F1's global expansion to new circuits where crowds are low but government funding is beyond what the national GDP can afford. BUT in terms of the machines driving around these circuits, F1 has always been the pinnacle of finding absolute pwefection from the rules set out, be it engines, aero, fuel capacity etc. so for the teams and manufacturers the reality is that they will adapt and sure someone will probably find that extra 2% for a season, but as seen with Brawn/Mercedes with the biggest rule changes for years, they found the advantage, seized their moment and are now going backwards as everyone else is doing what they did but better second time round.

    As for thoss saying the global image of F1 need not care, you need go look to all the pressure from NGO's & governments and international bodies for the big push on making the world a better place as we try to climb from the recession, it is a no brainer for the pinnacle of motorsport to allow manufacturers to show off their ingenuity in fuel efficiency and whilst number 2 said that F1's biggest burner is the freight & organisation of getting teams, drivers and fans to the track, in fact the same amount of fuel used by the entire grid for all 19 races this season is the same used to fly a 747 from Heathrow to Tokyo! However when people watch the sport and consider the economics, a lot will be thonking, god i bet the MPG of those cars is low! So for the teams to have yo fit these engines is a great time for them to stand up and say, look, a fuel efficient/hybrid engine can be used to generate speeds of 300 KPH! It just looks so much more attractive for fans considering their next motoring purchase.

    So for the traditionalists who think a big engine is at the heart of the sport, consider how many F1 developments now make up the basis of modern road cars:
    Crash cage
    Impact reduction
    KERS (hybrid dynamo)
    Traction control
    Paddle gearshift
    Power steering
    Smart fuels
    Roll bars
    Electronic throttle mapping

    The list goes on and on, so think about it before deciding that you won't like the new 'green' F1, we all know F1 can never be 100% green, but as the premier brand of motorsport it cannot survive with larger engines while all manufacturers are developing fuel efficient engines and seeking new fuel resources.

  • Comment number 46.

    This must be the best path to prove the contribution that F1 makes to engine technology.

    The challenges faced by road car manufacturers are being embraced. The implications of rev limits are probably larger than alternative fuels and KERS. Basic: high revs lead to short stroke design parameters. These short stroke engines may bypass the challenges of road car technology, but will inevitably lead to problems with longevity - the stresses within a short stroke engine are disproportionally large to those of a longer stroke. We may see F1 engines capable of many more races.

    In this context it would be great to see NO equalisation regulations until the design race is near completion. A "risk and reward" policy adopted where the more innovative designs are rewarded by an apparently impossible 3 engines per team per annum, with smaller penalties for greater usage.

    I for one am totally in admiration of the policy makers' decision.

  • Comment number 47.

    Right so lets examine your list then livpoksoc and see just how much F1 has contributed to modern road cars -

    ABS - Used in the early 90's but then banned in the mid 90's. Yeah real big development. It was actually developed initially by Chrysler for their 1971 Imperial.
    KERS (hybrid dynamo) - KERS was not an F1 development in the grand scheme of things, just the way the energy recovery system was implemented. And even before F1 were using it in 2009, Peugeot ran a Le Man Prototype with a KERS system in 2008.
    Traction control - 1971 Buick introduced MaxTrac, which used an early computer system to detect rear wheel spin and modulate engine power to those wheels to provide the most traction. Again banned in F1 because it made the cars too easy to drive. So the development of this was nothing to do with F1.
    Paddle gearshift - The majority of cars do not have this system, only the more high end luxury models. Minor impact on modern road cars.
    Power steering - Again banned in F1, and it was initially developed in the 50's by Chrysler.
    Smart fuels - Le Mans 24hr and LMS teams contribute more to smart fuels and fuel efficiency than F1 does.

    So just how many of those things were F1 developments?

    F1 can survive with a decent sized engine in it's cars if it stops trying to act as an advertising medium for the car companies. KERS was only brought into the sport, sorry business, due to pressure from the car companies who are desperately trying to flog it in their road cars.

  • Comment number 48.

    9. At 4:14pm on 04 Dec 2010, uberyacht wrote:

    Uberyacht, thank you for putting some sense onto this discussion. At 45 years old, I am a life-long fan of F1 and genuine 'petrol head', but, we must all realise that although the media will jump-on the C02 debate, the issue here should not be purely 'Green-Driven'. All, we should remember that F1 has always been the pinacle of technological development, and therefore, why not a hydrogen-powered F1 unit that can produce 750bhp?

    Technically, the majority of F1/motorsport fans know that this is not rocket-science to achieve. And for sure, the primary polution within the F1 circus does not come from the cars; it us as fans and the enormous polution produced by each F1 team as they travel internationally from one country to another.

    The otherside as to why petroleum is still the base fuel for F1 is politics. Politics from the fuel producers, politics from the car manufacturers, and of course, politics from within FIA and Ecclestone's organisation.

    We should all take the approach of supporting F1's technical achievements and future technical developments. Oddly, one point that no-one has yet to write on this blog is the by-product of hydrogen; what is emmitted from the exhaust? Water! Therefore, hydrogen-powered F1 cars will have some remarkable characteristics including environmentally responsible engines, 750+bhp retained power, plus, maybe we'll have slighty wetter circuits which would all go to make up for far more interesting racing.

    Personally, I can't get enough of the sound of F1 V8's [or the sound of a BRM V16 @ Goodwood!!], yet we must all support F1 with its' continuous development which must include hydrogen-powered engines. In fact, I can't wait to have 250-300bhp hydrogen-driven power in my daily road car; so please bring-it-on you hydrogen engineers!!

  • Comment number 49.

    "hydrogen fuel cells and f1 cars, hmmm not sure how that will work. crash into a barrier at 200mph and bang there goes a mini atomic bomb."

    Congratulations; you just ensured the Earth will keep spinning a little longer by making hundreds of nuclear physicists spin in their graves ;) At worst, it'd cause a fireball followed by a bit of a puddle, but it's not like we see explosions when F1 cars crash anyway.

    I find it kind of funny reading all the comments about how F1 is about "the best technology available" and then going on to bemoan the downgrading and efficiency. Surely the best technology is the one that makes the best use of the materials available - and as those materials run out, surely the best technology will need make them last longer? As the blog points out, once this technology picks up, it'll trickle down into road-cars too, so you'll be able to get twice as much mileage out of the same volume of fuel. Hooray for reduced cost of living!

    "Bigger, faster, louder" isn't always an improvement - sometimes "smaller, faster, sleeker" is the way to go. The fact that the cars will go 'brrrrrrm' instead of 'BRRRRRRM!' is an aesthetic downside (I will agree with that), but can we honestly say this year's championship would've been any more exciting with the volume up even louder?

  • Comment number 50.

    "48. At 11:20am on 05 Dec 2010, v8250 wrote:

    The otherside as to why petroleum is still the base fuel for F1 is politics. Politics from the fuel producers, politics from the car manufacturers, and of course, politics from within FIA and Ecclestone's organisation."

    And politics is also why we have KERS being introduced, and "green" engines. They tried this turbo thing during the 80's btw, when there was also a recession on. And then the turbo was banned in 1989 when things started picking up.

    I say leave the politics and green BS out of the equation and let the designers like Newey decide what they want to do, design cars that are the pinnacle of motorsports technology not some idea of what we as individuals should be using in our road cars. Instead of having the car industry tell them what they should be using.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm an avowed petrolhead but as a petroleum geologist and ecoperson I have felt for some time that something needed to be done along these lines. Its a step in the right direction and I would like to see future developments in F1 where the amount of fuel used during a weekend was strictly limited. Teams could decide how to build (and drive) their cars in order to get to the winning post first using only the regulation ration of fuel, tyres etc in the most efficient way.

  • Comment number 52.

    These changes will bring in an era of economy runs, blown up engines in every race...they may need to re think the max 8 engines rule !! Isn't restricting the manufacturers to 4 cylinders counter productive? As for the sound of the cars...wasp inside a coke can...well no one complained when silent deisel cars hit Le Mans...I guess these new era Turbos won't even be throwing sheets of flame ala the BMW/Honda/Renault turbos of bygone days...F1 dumbing down

  • Comment number 53.

    "51. At 11:59am on 05 Dec 2010, GeoffG wrote:

    I'm an avowed petrolhead but as a petroleum geologist and ecoperson I have felt for some time that something needed to be done along these lines."

    As an ecomentalist shouldn't you be more concerned about the pollution that countries such as China, the US and co. put out, rather than the minuscule contribution a motorsports series makes to "global warming"?

    If you want to see teams run economy drives then go watch the Le Man 24hr. Economy and sub 2hr sprint racing at the highest possible speed does not go together. And with people like yourself forcing such measures upon F1 your only damaging it, not helping it.

    Soon enough the races will be so boring that F1 will have no fans left.

  • Comment number 54.

    I remember the first time I saw modern F1 cars close up. I was impressed by the way the cars looked, the cornering speed, acceleration and extreme braking - but what really blew me away was the sheer noise of the cars. Not just the scream when the engine is at max revs but that electrifying crackle you get when they're changing down into a corner. Remember the hair on the back of my neck standing up.

    Ok, whatever they do I'll probably still watch on TV but F1 wont be F1 for me without that sound. A large part of the spectacle and atmosphere at a GP is generated by the engine noise so by all means look to be greener but don't mess with what makes F1 such stunning spectacle!

  • Comment number 55.

    I knew this would attract a lot of tutting and cursing among people, especially on the BBC forums. All big changes do.

    But, despite flying all around the globe clocking up a vast amount of choking air miles, these changes need to be done. If that's what the big wigs, world leaders, sports leaders, sponsors and the general public want, then I'm all for it. It would be foolish to let our great sport be compromised by sticking in the past and not moving on.

    As a true F1 fan, I fully believe the spectacle we crave will not be lost at all.

  • Comment number 56.

    Just to throw another spanner in the works.

    Have they considered the costs to the teams?? There will be costs for the Engine Supplier, but the teams will have to design a complete new chassis and a new development race will begin. Weight/balance/aerodynamics/materials and others will be a constant development while chasing the perfect car. A smaller engine & less fuel is a designers dream, but where will it stop.

    The smaller low budget teams will have no chance of progressing. Things now are settled, the changes don't benefit anything or anyone. I think Hydrogen power should be integrated now in addition to KERS and then in a few years a full change over to it.

    For the overtaking aspect, new engines will be smaller, engine covers will be smaller, rear wings will be more efficient and causing more dirty air. It may make overtaking worse than it is now.

  • Comment number 57.

    ubcool wrote: do people honestly think this is about the pollution caused by f1 cars, do you even read the article? its about the influence f1 can have on the motorworld as a whole ,because if they don't do something soon to try and influence more economical cars and just keep their head in the sand like people here have suggested then then there wont be any motorsport around for much longer let alone f1!

    This is all about getting sponsorship for F1, nothing more. F1 continually hears that auto manufacturers and others will not engage in the sport because there main target and drive is green / economy orientated. What ever F1 comes up with, it is only a fraction of what it can achieve by it ceasing to exist. This is a battle F1 can never win, with appeasement just losing the fans you already have, not tapping into a new base. The very nature of F1 is all about acceleration, both +ve and -ve. The technology developed here is of minimal value for the general auto industry, who can achieve their goals at a fraction of the cost F1 waste in his effort. The only form of competition here that is of any development value are fuel economy races, but who would want to watch those as an alternative?

    F1 is one of life's exciting luxury's, which will stand or fall based upon that level of excitement and the ability of the economics to justify it's existence.

  • Comment number 58.

    Changing engine regulation often make F1 car more expensive. Why do not they go to Electric motor F1 car or Hybrid engine F1 car rather than still petrol powered engine if they want to go green? Climate changing main factor is possibly cause by deforestation rather than emission by car and power station. However, I do not want to argue with Green peoples. If Formula One wants to go Green way and then they should think about Electric motor F1 or Hybrid F1 car because Electric motor F1 car will eliminate noise pollution as well as carbon pollution. Now Moto GP is more exciting than Formula one.
    Small engine to out put enormous horse power will create engine reliable problem too. Also engine need to use more expensive material. I do not think cost will be cheaper to produce 1.6 Ltr 4 Cylinders Turbo Engine. I want to see Hybrid Engine Power F1 car if it must be greener Engine F1 car. Now Mercedes is acquiring Hybrid Technology from Toyota and I do not see impossible to have Hybrid Engine power F1 car in future.

  • Comment number 59.

    These hydrogen engines will have all the power as now (750bhp) but no CO2 by-product.


    How do you think the hydrogen is produced? A lot of energy is required to produce hydrogen, so not as clean a fuel as people would believe.

  • Comment number 60.

    F1 can take a major step in changing it's super rich, wasteful image by stopping the ridiculous and, to me, abhorrent spectacle of grown men prancing around spraying very expensive bottles of champagne all over the place.

  • Comment number 61.

    Phil, I understand when you say making Hydrogen is a drain on current sources, but my point behind it is to make the oil people invest more in it. Creating stationary power (electricity is use to make Hydrogen on a large scale) naturally is easy by wind, sea & solar for instance, but putting that energy to use in everyday life using just batteries in a car is not possible, people want to be able to travel more than 100 miles without having to wait 24 hours to do the next 100 miles!

    Most of the critics who are against using Hydrogen use the excuse of "people only commute 30/40 miles a day", a true statement, but its not just about everyday people driving, we have to think about trucks, taxis and any sales person who want to see the customers.

    Its a good opportunity for F1 to lead the way, all these brilliant minds who work for the teams are driven by success and using F1 to prove such fuel is safe and effective would get everyone moving in the right direction.

    Wow....I never thought of myself as a green kind of guy???

  • Comment number 62.

    To be honest im just happy that we will see the end of those horrible sounding V8s we have had to put up with for the last 5 years. Time will tell if the new ones sound any better, I am optimistically hoping that they will sound like the 80s turbos.... il keep dreaming.

    However to be doing this in the name of green-ness is silly, how about they stick to 18 races instead of 20 (too much IMO) that will save more so called "carbon footprint" than any efficency savings in the race car engines.

    I once read that the transport of all the teams to ONE long haul race emits more CO2 than the testing and racing of the F1 cars does for the whole season, whether thats true or not I dont know, but the amount of CO2 an f1 car emits is surely a drop in the ocean compared to everything else associated with F1 (transport of teams, fans and powering facilities, especially Singapore).

    It is a good idea technologically though as it will advance the progress that road car manufacturers are making with hybrid technologies etc, i for one would love to have a big red button on my steering wheel that says KERS on it...

  • Comment number 63.

    Jesus Christ. Some people just won't be happy until there's no fun left in the world other than what they tell us we allowed to enjoy...sickening.

    In the decades to come, the science that exists today proving that global warming is caused by that huge ball of exploding hydrogen in the sky is going to make an awful lot of sandal wearing, lentil munchers look very stupid indeed.

    And...I for one will be wanting all of my business, travel, car and personal tax reimbursed accordingly.

    As for all of the fun I will have missed out on because of this puritanical nonsense...well that's gone for good, I guess.

  • Comment number 64.

    In the 80s, 1.5 litre turbo engines had 1000bhp, now the new 1.6 litre turbo engines will only have 600bhp. No progress there then. They should easily manage 1500-2000bhp which would be awesome.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think the people making this decision are aware that reducing the size of the engines isn't going to make F1 that much greener. However, as with most things environmental and political, its all about public perception...sadly.

    If The Powers That Be REALLY wanted to make F1 greener, they'd ferry all their personnel around the world in hydrogen-powered buses and use ships / ferries and rail, where possible, to move their equipment, instead of aircraft.

    There will be a limit to how fuel-efficient you can make a fossil-fuel burning engine and I would imagine we're quite close to that limit now. I can't see any hugely significant improvements that will come to road cars as a result of this policy.

    With hydrogen and battery-powered vehicles beginning to be a practical alternative to pertrol and diesel...and presuming they are adopted on a global scale over the next 20-30 years, restricting the engines used in motorsports is going to be pretty pointless...a drop in the ocean, as it were.

    In summary, a stupid and pointless exercise, done almost entirely for image and political reasons than for any real benefit to the sport.

  • Comment number 66.

    If F1 want to be greener and be more fuel efficient, why don't they go diesel? Audi have been very successful using diesel engines at Le Mans for a few years now, so it's performance in racing is proven.

    To make it greener still, why not use bio diesel, so there is no use of fossil fuels at all?

  • Comment number 67.

    Mr absitomen , i am with you 100%. We've all been taken for a ride for far too long & its aways been my belief that the Sun is simply getting hotter & Governments have collectively used this as the biggest money making machine of all time.

    There are an evergrowing amount of scientists disagreeing with current thinking regarding Co2. FACT

  • Comment number 68.

    @DRFC Ash:

    Most biodiesel used at the moment is actually a blend of between 5 and 20% vegetable oil / alcohol and ordinary diesel. To run on a completely diesel-free fuel, the engines would have to be redesigned.

    Running normal engines on 100% bio-fuel causes damage to the cylinders and other components over time. Still I'm sure the F1 boffins would be able to figure out a solution.

  • Comment number 69.

    I don't know why so many people are so negative about this. I bet the engineers in the pit-lane are all very happy with the new proposals. F1 is about innovative solutions but these innovations only come about when the regulations are changed. Without regulation changes the teams that have the largest budgets end up predictably at the front. With dramatic regulation changes there is the opportunity to think differently to the other teams to solve the challenges that you are faced with. We saw Brawn achieve this brilliantly with their double diffuser that stole a march on the rest of the field a couple of years ago. Red Bull took a completely different approach but their blown exhaust diffuser is now the must have for F1. McLaren's F-duct was also a wonderful idea that transformed their car into one that was fighting at the front until the other teams had copied the approach.
    I for one am really excited to see what the engineers can come up with. F1 must be at the forefront of technology in the world for it to remain exciting for us viewers. If it also helps promote more fuel efficient engines for road cars how can that possibly be a bad thing.

  • Comment number 70.

    Andrew Benson

    The fact you are questioning the seriousness & validity of the debate regarding the noise/loudness of the new engines just simply highlights how short sighted even the supposedly informed can be.

    F1 engines are the most brutal sounding engines found in motor racing. F1 is supposed to embody this 'brutality' yet you are mocking questions raised about one of the most amazing senses you experience when track-side during an F 1 race meeting.

    Hearing an F1 car for the first time stunned me. I could not believe a car could sound like that..I was hooked.

    The shrill of an f1 car at the volume level they currently at is synonymous with the sport. I dont mind less revs but I do mind less volume.

    I hope the powers that be recognise fans feedback and do not listen to people like you Andrew.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ Murray (64) - totally agree with you. 1000HP should be a target - simply reduce rear upper-body downforce & allow more ground effect - plus larger wheels/tyres. Easy really.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ UBCOOL (42)- you have no idea about supposed global warming do you? Its just a load of rubbish to publicise that cars are the biggest contributory factor - these car companies want more money etc so this is their way of getting it...Human (obviously including cars/planes/F1 etc) contribution to CO2 pollution is a p*ss in the wind compared to methane from livestock or an eruption from a large volcano (including undersea ones)...F1 will not be stopped - people like you just scaremonger to make money out of people.

    As for global warming - forget it... what's really going on is COOLING!

  • Comment number 73.

    What Formula 1 needs to do to prove that it's conservation minded is not to allow the teams to use seven sets of tyres per car per Grand Prix weekend. With an ever increasing number of teams, and an ever increasing number of races, 7 times 4 equals 28 tyres per car per weekend is just ridiculous. Also using 60 megawatts of street lights for night races is just ridiculous.

  • Comment number 74.

    For those who say that the new engine will make the cars slower, just remember that they are saving about 80kg of fuel. Per lap over a race, that means that they should be about 0.8s faster if they had the same power as the 2.4 litre engines, and I doubt the loss in power would be that great. All in all, the speeds should remain similar, if not slightly faster.

  • Comment number 75.

    I don't see any problem with this move to be honest. Those attending Formula One for the glamour of the events probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway - I wouldn't be surprised if some didn't know about the switch to V8s in 2006 - and I'd say the technology going into creating a 1.6l turbocharged engine which generates 600bhp is going to be pretty cutting-edge. Creating a KERS system which is running constantly and generates some 150bhp is also going to require some pretty clever thinking, and I think the engineers will be quite happy to have the room to demonstrate such thinking rather than being pigeon-holed by the current regulations. I'm quite looking forward to seeing a modern-day equivalent of the 1980s turbo cars, and certainly do not share Bernie's view that this is a bad idea.

  • Comment number 76.

    The very idea of F1 is to have the fastest cars on earth race each other around difficult race tracks to see whose car & driver is the best. Why would we want to put them inc ars that are slower than many road models? Now is not the time to change to Prius type vehicles. When they are the norm yes but not now. It would turn F1 into a joke.

  • Comment number 77.

    How childish that we want to restrict the development of incredible new technology because it won't sound so pretty...

  • Comment number 78.

    Surely this will make overtaking and slip streaming harder? All this season the commentators kept saying that drivers were bouncing off the rev limiter when slip streaming. With even lower revving of the engines the will be bouncing off even more.

  • Comment number 79.

    Yes it's higher powered but listen to this BMW turbocharged 1.5L in-line 4 cylinder engine not sounding too shabby...

  • Comment number 80.

    And another thing - I wonder if the new rules will prevent some of the KERS energy being used to run an e-turbo - where you have an electric motor that spins up the compressor to minimise lag..? Very slick...

  • Comment number 81.

    A 1.6 liter Turbo, limited to 10k rpm, sounds very much like souped up family sedan. To achieve anything like the performance levels of the current engines, then surely the teams would have manufacture brand new engines of esoteric and very expensive materials. For that small an engine to survive the distance of an average F1 track, whilst at the same time as saving lots of fuel. Then it would need to be half the weight at least of a current 1.6l Turbo performance road car, whilst using half the fuel and going twice as fast!!! The internal combustion has it's limitations, it's either fast and thirsty or slow and frugal. The only way that this can become a reality is that the teams as a whole will have to spend billions of dollars in R&D, manufacturing and developing new engine casing materials. In the process creating more carbon emissions from various supplier factories etc etc.
    Secondly why do they keep harping on about kers it's an antique. It was developed and mas produced on road going vehicles from 1906 by Louis Antoine Krieger (1868-1951) use google for lots of sources. Best known vehicle was for Senator George P. Wetmore of Rhode Island. The term regenerative braking is exactly the same as kers, it doesn't actually have to brake just slow down, store electrical energy, use stored energy for bursts of speed, sound familiar? It has been perfected used and dropped so many times over the years by many different automotive companies around the world. Mainly through cost and lack of efficiency. It would have been perfect on fully electic vehicles such as the one by Louis Antoine Krieger. Why wasn't it universally adopted? It was cheaper to drill, refine oil and build highly inefficient IC engines. If the Motor Manufacturers involved in F1 and the FIA really want to make an effort in reducing the carbon footprint of the sport then work with the many companies already producing very very fast electric cars and develop them so they last the distance. Otherwise stop playing at being eco friendly and potentially ruining a sport that in itself has little or no effect on the worlds carbon emissions, rather as someone said near the beginning of the comments, to paraphrase: it is the associated travelling of the teams, fans and transporting around the world the F1 circus. Leave the cars alone or tweak them somewhat, instead concentrate how they can more efficiently make F1 as a whole work. One continent at a time, would be my first suggestion: one intercontinental flight and then several road trips.
    Sorry for the essay but sometimes I wonder who on earth comes up with such stupid ideas on how to make the sport less and less interesting.

  • Comment number 82.

    It looks like political expediency at best, and ignorance of motor sport fans wishes at worst. I expect by far the majority who pay lots of money to attend an F1 event will be left dissapointed by the lack of drama a 1600cc turbo will provide at 10000rpm - by example listen to a palmer audi or a GP3 car for that matter. F1 is meant to be a crushingly big assault on the senses - nothing was better than the 3.5 V10's howling past at 19000rpm, thunderous and awesome is the name of the game in this very limited esoteric best of the best formula. As Bernie rightly points out, small capacity turbos are being perfectly well developed by the manufacturers thank you.

  • Comment number 83.

    Why are so many people wailing about this being a step backwards? Peak output will be the really simple terms...the cars will still go as fast as they do now, just a little quieter.

    What's the big deal?

  • Comment number 84.

    "11. At 4:50pm on 04 Dec 2010, Lewis Standing wrote:

    I think the sounds issue is a bit of a mute point"

    Mute/moot pun I take it.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ dyrewolfe

    This is true. biodiesel does cause damage to engines over time. However, the short lifespan of a F1 engine would negate this.

    An engine used in a road car is expected to do at least 100,000 miles, whereas a formula One engine does maybe 1,000 at most.

    But then if the boffins design an engine that runs on 100% biodiesel that is more robust, then this will quickly filter through to road cars.

    Another fuel that could be used is ethanol. It's used in Cart racing in the US, and is green.

  • Comment number 86.

    I know the idea here is that F1 will lead the way, but i think it is us that should be looking to be more efficient, not F1.
    Horses were a good mode of transport, until a better one came along - now they are used as a good sport (in other peoples opinions). Petrol engines are a good form of transport, and i would rather kick some scientists into gear and invent the next solution (easier said than done, i know) - if we want to speed them up i think we should give all fuel to F1 and other motorSPORTS to use as they see fit. Petrol engines should now be a sport/hobby not a daily tool to get you to work faster.

  • Comment number 87.

    Fuel restrictions, horsepower limited, four cylinder, 10000 rev limit, sounds more like Formula 2. This is the death of Formula 1 as we know it. Formula 1 should be 6, 8 or 12 cylinders and at least 18000 revs. The excitement you feel when you here these engines is like nothing else. These new cars will be nothing more than glorified go karts. If they are moving away from the big engines they should just swap to completely electric, something totally different. You should have to be a Legend in your own lifetime to drive an F1 car not an overpaid self important glorified go kart driver. These new cars will be as dull as dishwater and the drivers will be the same.

  • Comment number 88.

    The fact that the FIA has made the main motorsport it controls - WTCC, WRC and F1 all switch to 1.6 litre turbos does beg the question if the FIA have done a backroom deal with one or more engine manufacturers, either to encourage them into F1 (VW Group?), or to encourage them to stay (Renault?).
    However, the concerns from Mercedes and Ferrari are understandable, as it can be seen as a move to actively discourage them from F1, and any motorsport at all.
    Is the FIA playing out some vendetta against the powerful factions who have a stake in F1, or are they pandering to the needs of their fravourite manufacturers?
    The new engines are being citied in WRC and WTCC as a way to bring efficiency and economy into racing, with the advantage that the rules already make the cars fairly similar to the ones in the showrooms (what else could have enticed BMW back into WRC?). But, given how much power is needed for F1, and that KERS will have to be added as well, the engines in the F1 cars will bear no relation to a 'normal' engine at all, in fact they will be more similar to bike engines - perhaps Yamaha and Suzuki should take note!
    The other concern is the way the FIA says things like this are going to encourage more manufacturers into the sport, but then baulks at the prospect of more powerful lobbying from them once they are involved and realise just how bady organised the FIA is.
    I also have to agree with the comments above about the whole 'green' issue of the F1 'show'. If the FIA wants the teams to be leaner and greener, shouldn't it be leading the way and showing them how its to be done, with a hybrid Safety Car, electric Official Cars, a solar powered Motorhome, and just fewer 'officials' at every race? And the same goes for FOM as well. Lets see some real leadership for once and not just management by decree.....

  • Comment number 89.

    I agree entirely with uberyacht this the way forward in F1.There is no place in this world any more for gas guzzlers.

  • Comment number 90.

    Andrew, talking about the noise the cars make, you say : "It sounds almost surreal to think that this was a serious point of discussion among such serious-minded people, but I can assure you it was."

    But in the the intro to your blog you also say "Formula 1 has had me in its spell for most of my life".

    Both these things cannot be true !

  • Comment number 91.

    Surely as everyone knows the World is Coming To An End in 2012 so the whole debate is mute!? LOL :)

  • Comment number 92.

    I find myself torn on this issue. On the one hand, the F1 purist in me agrees with other posts that this is a bad move as F1 should all be about power and pushing the limits of technology. Also, I totaly agree that the amount of CO2 emmisions that 24 F1 cars put out accross the course of a season is minimal compared to 1 jumbo jet on a trans alantic flight.

    However, it all comes down to perception. As pointed out in Andrews blog, for people who do not follow F1 regularly they see it as a waste of precious resources and therefore F1 needs to be seen to demostrate that it is relevant in the 21st century. The world has evolved through the decades and thus F1 needs to evolve along with it or risk being labelled a dinasour.

    We have seen in the past engine capacity changed and we have all felt (me included)that it will reduce the spectacle as it should be all about going as fast as possible but these new technologies will provide engineers a great opportunity to make these regulations work and still provide a thrilling spectacle that we all crave. Lets not forget that inovative design is all part of the F1 DNA and I'm sure we will come to appreciate the changes in time.

  • Comment number 93.

    What an absolute disaster for the sport. I am still personally dismayed with the 2.4L V8's when comparing them to the 2003/4 3L V10'S.

    You only have to visit youtube to see what I mean. The amazing noise those cars made make today's cars seem serene. One can only imagine what a 1.6L V4 will be like.

    The 'assault on the senses' as an earlier poster put is what F1 is all about.

    The noise levels, top speeds, acceleration are the key contributors to the drama which is what hooks fans in the first place to motor sport.

    Being eco-friendly in motor sport is surely a contradiction in terms!

    Less races (20 next year!!!) will do more for the environment than ripping the soul out of the sport.

    This move is the equivalent to football matches being played in front of empty stadiums. Without the atmosphere the product isn't the same.

    BIG mistake.

  • Comment number 94.

    I find it a little annoying that the so called ‘F1 purist’ are slating the move so quickly before really understanding what will happen. F1 has never been about providing the most POWER, as red bull proved this year. Its about putting together a number of elements and providing the quickest car overall. The best engineers are in this sport and this will provide engineers a new challenge and levelling the playing field again. This isn’t exactly the first time we have seen a reduction in power, cars used to be at 1000bhp. While power may reduce, there will always be new ways of finding the extra speed. we have seen the cars drop from V12, to V10 then to V8 and still providing quick cars, and the same I have no doubt will be the same with 1.6l turbos. Give it a few weeks into a season with these cars and most of us wouldn’t notice (as I am sure they will enhance the noise that so many on here want).

    This has to be the way forward, this will be the only way for the sport to continue with the climate being the number 1 issue around the world. This will safe guard investment in F1 that will keep the sport moving, while pushing through new technologies that will be seen in our cars in the future.

    To say F1 is dead beggars belief, its just a new way of thinking, and as long as we have great drivers and speed, it will continue to be F1

  • Comment number 95.

    The nay-sayers remind me of the ridicule aimed at Renault in '77 when they started the turbo thing in the first place. Personally, I think this is a great idea. I've thought for years that F1 should lead the way with fuel-efficient engine design, although I had thought they might do so by progressively reducing the fuel allowance for the races and leaving the technical design to the engine makers.

    I'm delighted that turbo engines are making a comeback because technically they are interesting devices. If we think back to 1988, McLaren and Honda were doing things with a turbo that no-one thought possible: remember that before the season started there was expected to be parity between them and the normally-aspirated brigade?! So I'm looking forward to seeing a grid full of cars with these new engines, though perhaps they should allow an overlap period for lesser teams to run detuned atmospheric engines.

  • Comment number 96.

    First things first, finally F1 has recognised that the sport needs to continuously develop in line with road car manufacturers in order to maintain (and hopefully increase) the level of support offered from factories like Renault and Mercedes - without whom this years championship couldnt have happened - look at who they supplied with motors if you dont believe me!. There arent that many cars available with 2.4 litre V8's anymore, no one can afford the fuel costs associated!!. Although i dont think this is the best way to reduce the carbon footprint of the championship its certainly one way to do it, i would have to agree with previous comments about races on the same continent following on from one another to reduce travelling expenses for all the teams and to improve the efficiency of the championship as a whole. This is something the almighty Bernie has to look at - he cant keep dragging the whole circus around the globe week in and week out simply because of agreeing certain times with certain circuits - the circuit owners will fall into line if they dont want to lose F1 and if they dont there are plenty of circuits who will!! Who knows, we might even see more wet races this way which always provides more entertaining racing!!

    Finally, for those of you worried about the noise from a 1.6 litre turbo not being upto snuff as opposed to 2.4 litre V8 - go back and check out footage from the eighties on youtube - try listening to Senna blasting his Mclaren round Monace in 1988 with a 1.5 litre turbo Honda engine, then tell me they dont sound just as good!

  • Comment number 97.

    I can't see a problem with this. I remember when we went from 3.5 litre engines (and remember, Ferrari had V12s) in the mid-90s to 3 litre V10 - "oh", how the naysayers cried, "this is not F1", but we had some good races. Similarly, when we went to 2.4l V8s, "there will be no spectacle" - 2010 was a better-than-average season.

    Whilst most people would (arguably) be able to tell the difference in sound between a 3.5l V12 and a 2.4l V8 when driven next to each other, the fact of the matter is no-one actually remembers the sound of the engines when summing up the season. I remember this year fondly for the close action and overtaking and not because of the noise.

    For the record, the noise of the telly is a pale imitation of the *REAL* sound of an F1 car. And they *ALWAYS* sound awesome, no matter what engine they've got in them.

    All this ruling means is that Blue Chip corporate types will pay for 24 big kids to play with their toys. Woohoo!

  • Comment number 98.

    @96 - basically what I was saying, just you sent it before I finished mine :-)

  • Comment number 99.

    @98 sorry man - fastest fingers first - nice to know im not the only one who thinks this way though

  • Comment number 100.

    @ #69 Paul:

    I think the reason so many people are being negative about this is because of the reasons behind the changes. They are doing this in an attempt to change the public perception that F1 is wasteful.

    Given the failry enlightened and eco-conscious times we live in, I think most people will be able to spot the biggest environmental impact from F1 comes from moving all the equipment and personnel around the world...not the cars themselves.

    Its just a cheap publicity stunt - thats all.

    While I'm sure the new engine regs will be an interesting technical challenge for the designers, they're not going to improve the sport as a spectacle, unlike say a major overhaul of the aero regs would.

    As for the feeding of new technical developments into road cars, I would just repeat my previous statement, that in terms of engine / propulsion technology, hydrogen and electric powered cars are already available. All we need is the infrastructure in place, (pumps and recharge stations) to make them practical to use anywhere.

    The only practical reasons I can see for this move are those put forward by #96 - to make the sport more commercially attractive to more road car manufacturers and engine suppliers. Fuel costs may be a factor, but I would've thought they are a small fraction of any team's total budget.


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