2014 rules to reinvigorate “sterile” engine technology

2014 F1 season

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Cosworth CA2010 engine

F1 team principals said the 2014 engine rules were designed to attract new car manufacturers to the sport and would make engine development important again.

Speaking at the FOTA Fans Forum at the McLaren Technology Centre, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said there was no interest among car manufacturers to enter F1 under the present engine rules.

“The new engine creates a fresh opportunity for manufactures to come in,” said Brawn.

He added: “I think one of the exciting things for the future is the engine are going to come back into the equation.

“The engines have been sterilised, in a way. They’re all very similar, they’re all homologated, no-one really talks about the engines any more.

“We want to get that back in because there’s a lot of exciting technology coming through with engines. I’m really excited that engines are now going to be part of the equation and not just the spacer between the chassis and the gearbox.

“They’re going to be an exciting bit that we can put back in and talk about and we can create relevance, again, for manufacturers and transport.”

Team will have to use 1.6-litre V6 engines from 2014. The FIA released further details of the units today, saying they would be limited to a maximum of 15,000rpm with direct fuel injection up to 500bar and a single turbocharger.

According to the FIA, five manufacturers were developing four-cylinder engines under the original regulations announced for 2013 – believed to be the four current F1 engine manufacturers plus Craig Pollock’s new company PURE.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the teams had pushed for a single engine formula to make it more attractive to engine manufacturers:

“I’ve certainly argued for diversity myself in the past but I think the danger is that automotive manufacturers become inhibited of entering the sport if there’s just too great a variety.

“Typically, the regulations, although they’re fixed, they in truth evolve. And what would happen if you had a range of engines, after a year probably it would be clear that either a V6 or a straight four or one solution was right. At which point, the manufacturer that’s developed the alternate configuration has to reinvest all that money.

“So I think it’s about reducing the risk so that in future we can have four or five automotive manufacturers in Formula 1 at any time. They’re always going to come in and out as it suits them and works for their marketing programme, but I think we’ve got to create an environment that is attractive to those companies being in Formula 1.”

Whitmarsh said it was important to keep F1 at the cutting edge of car design: “Formula 1 has to be the absolute pinnacle of motor sport.

“It’s the bit that differentiates it from the other branches of motorsport. We have to have that balance, all the time.

“We have to have the most advanced vehicles in the world, in motorsport. We have to balance and control performance – the circuits that we race on have to be safe.

“The technologies that we develop have to be relevant, they can’t be completely irrelevant. I think on too many occasions – and I’ve certainly been guilty of it – we’ve pursued things that we’ve found passionately interesting and exciting, but they really weren’t relevant to anyone else and I think people will question that.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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39 comments on “2014 rules to reinvigorate “sterile” engine technology”

  1. I wonder if teams will actually be able to develop engines

    1. This is a joke. Rules are killing F1!
      Let everyone develop their own engine!
      If Ferrari wants to go with a V12, and Renault with a V6 let them have it! And we will see who wins. Who cares for budget caps, I don’t because we all pay for this sport! Teams that don’t have money shouldn’t be in F1.
      Rule changes in 2005 were designed to destroy Ferrari domination. Now they are trying to stop Red Bull. Why?
      We are artificially trying to make this sport fun?! Is it crazy? Artificial engine boost (kers), artificial aerodynamics (DRS), lets bring robots in the sport, who cares about drivers,..

      1. Sush Meerkat
        30th June 2011, 22:26

        lets bring robots in the sport, who cares about drivers,..

        But then it’ll be an arms race for “who can build the best robot”

        1. I am just saying: Stop regulating! I lived in communism when i was little, and I can tell you F1 is more regulated than my country was!

      2. Because we want manufactures to get involved in F1. If you need a budget of a gazillion dollars and a staff of 3000 engineers to get into the sport no new manufactures will come to the sport. That is the problem with open regulations, they force the teams to spend incredible amounts of money on development. If a team builds a V10 and then after a season all teams who developed huge turbo four cylinder engines are getting the most power for the least fuel then they will have to design a whole new engine. That is double the cost just like that.
        Budget caps don’t matter to you, because you don’t have to pay! I agree that budget is boring, but we also want the sport to survive, and if the manufactures run away because of the costs then what are we left with?

        1. If only Ferrari, McLaren, RedBull, Mercedes, and Renault raced, that would be good enough for me to call it an F1 championship!
          Do you really think that Redbull is the best just by chance? No it is because they invested gazillion dollars in their team!

          If Enzo Ferrari was alive, he would step out of F1, and you know what they would beg him to come back!

          1. Yet only three of those make their own engine.
            If the costs of developing engines increased it is more likely that we would loose one of the existing engine manufactures, and most, if not all outside the sport would be too afraid to join, in case they got it wrong and had to start over again.
            The new V6 formula could bring a new engine manufacture, which would be a good thing for the sport.

        2. Mads, there is no proof that F1 teams will leave if they have to spend money developing a car. When I first started watching F1 there was no on-car advertising, no international TV coverage and yet there was great variety in the engines and while some teams failed others stepped in to take their place. Today the income generated by F1 is huge, they are much better placed to spend money on development than they were in the sixties.When did you last see a destitute F1 team owner let alone Bernies enormous wealth made entirely by taking a big cut of the F1 revenue, in fact Bernie could give back enough money to develop an engine every year and still be one of the worlds richest men.

          1. There is a lot of proof that F1 teams will leave. Honda left because of economic circumstances, Toyota left because they were not having enough success to justify their expenditure. Same thing for BMW. True Honda and BMW still exist in a somewhat different form however F1 teams, and especially manufacturer teams, will leave if they can not justify the financial cost.

            The amount of money spent in real terms is far greater than it was back when Colin Chapman was developing cars. You need to make the sport sustainable otherwise you won’t have a sport at all. I agree that there is too much restriction. It is feeling a little bit too much like a spec series. I would give them a maximum engine displacement and fuel pressure and tell them to go for their lives.

            True Bernie could, and I think should, give more money back to the teams from generated revenue however we know that is unlikely to ever happen.As a result teams are going to have to find a way to pay for most of the development on their own. As a result I understand the justification for placing some restrictions upon engine development to stop it turning into a money pit.

          2. Eric, much of what you say is true and as you say the big manufacturers will leave if they cannot justify the cost, but how could they justify the cost with engine development frozen, I am sure a lot of what BMW learned making 24,000 rpm F1 engines has found its way into their latest M car motors and motorbike engines and that justified the expense even if the results didn’t.

          3. Maybe because the return comes in the form of brand promotion?

          4. Mads, there is no proof that F1 teams will leave if they have to spend money developing a car. When I first started watching F1 there was no on-car advertising, no international TV coverage and yet there was great variety in the engines and while some teams failed others stepped in to take their place

            When, the 60s?
            The sport is now highly technical and high professional, it has been ever since the tobacco and oil money came into the sport. With the tobacco money largely gone, advertising and the new commercial restraints make the era you speak of a thing of the past and not relevant today. Sad but true

          5. A LARGE part of the cost to the big teams is directly due to havign to invest several million dollars to get 1/10th of a second out of the car due to the insanely high amount of regulation within F1 today that restricts designs and technology. The materials they are allowed to use in the engine at this point are archaic compared to many $50k cars at this point, but they limit them out of safety (i.e. keeping speeds down) not cost. I think it would be much cheaper on the teams if the FIA would use the regulations to restrict the performance of the cars by restricting measurable outputs in the designs and if they need more money to do so, then they can just charge the teams a resonable rate every year to do the scruteneering. At this point, it would be MUCH better to let the teams have more technical freedom but limit things like how much fuel they can use during a race, higher crash test standards, lower minimum weights (which limits certain types of technology on the car or can effect set up –> see the first year of KERS for how effective this can be, this won’t effect safety if the crash test standards are kept in place), dynoing engines before the year starts and during 3-week breaks and placing restrictor plates in to enforce a maximum allowable power, require the teams to have a certain amount of drag at certain speeds to limit top speeds, etc. Not saying all of these would work well or are feasible, but if the FIA can pop in and inspect the cars during development or have their own wind tunnel(s) for scruttenering, then it should all be MUCH easier to regulate.

      3. It’s called progress. Do you think Formula 1 would’ve the pinnacle if it never evolved? I doubt it.

        Letting the teams develop their own engines free of regulation is the equivalent of giving football teams as many players as they want on the field. Sport needs rules.

        1. No its not, Letting the teams develop their own engines free of regulation is the equivalent of giving football teams the freedom to spend as much money on transfers as they like!

  2. Typically, the regulations, although they’re fixed, they in truth evolve. And what would happen if you had a range of engines, after a year probably it would be clear that either a V6 or a straight four or one solution was right. At which point, the manufacturer that’s developed the alternate configuration has to reinvest all that money.

    The obvious solution to that, to me, is to cap both the amount of fuel a team can use, and the amount that they are allowed to spend. I know the big teams want to be able to spend their way to the front of the grid rather than risk being outflanked by those who are actually cleverer despite having fewer resources, but hopefully the lessons of the last few years will show that a spending war is unsustainable in the long term.

    If F1 does not allow for competitive innovation of that kind, whatever engine formula the teams decide on, then it becomes nothing more than an expensive advertising platform. That is only ever going to support a limited number of manufacturers for the simple reason that they can’t all be winning all the time, and no one buys cars from a loser.

    1. I would probably cap kWh (to include loading the batteries up front) instead of amount of fuel.
      Otherwise I agree.

    2. Capping expenditure is almost impossible with big manufacturers involved, it’s not possible to differentiate on research for F1 and research for future road car engines.

      1. I agree. A team like Williams for instance no worries. A team like Ferrari or even Mclaren now that they are producing road cars would be very difficult to regulate.

  3. The engines have been sterilised, in a way.

    Does this mean the development of the new engines won’t be stopped? I’m not good in technology things, but I know engine development has been stopped for some years – will the V6s be kept the same from 2014 onwards or will the manufacturers be able to develop them further?

    1. Looks like it really might be something like having a yearly homogenised engine but allowing year to year updating or something. Very nice.

  4. This makes a lot of sense. Interesting what James Allen spoke of yesterday at the flying lap with Windsor, that compared to last year there are far more people having thoughts about more fuel efficiency technology in F1 as evidenced from the first Fan Forum and the one in Montreal.

  5. Well I hope they are right, they obviously understand my concerns and the concerns of other like minded fans but I can’t see how they will achieve these aims under the very tight restrictions of the rule as we know it.

  6. I guess what they mean is to cap the power, but leave everyone free to innovate on the efficiency side, which includes developing the various ERS (which I’d love to hear more about). If so, then I’m happy with this. Just stop raising the weight of the car too!

  7. Well I just read the FIA press release which is in Q&A form and there is now no mention of a fixed 750 hp combined output or a level playing field, the limiting factor appears to be the fuel delivery rate. It almost seems as if the FIA have been reading my posts, thanks Keith.

  8. This is great, even though the revs are still capped, the horsepower output of the engine remains unregulated, and there is going to be a technology race to improve efficiency!

    This engine revolution is a positive thing, the current rules have been in enforced stagnation for too long.

  9. If fuel flow is the limiting factor, along with an rpm limit, then the regulations are no bad thing IMO. And the sound won’t be any worse than the V6 turbo engines sounded back in 88.

    All those that think that the engine regulations should be opened up to allow a free-for-all, haven’t quite grasped the situation that F1 might find itself in if that were to happen. Thankfully, it won’t.

    1. Well its good enough for me, although I would have preferred more flexibility in format, a V4 might be tempting. But as long as the best engineers are allowed make the best engine then the manufacturers championship will be about more than just how fast you can change 4 tyres.

  10. BMW and Porsche(only started making V6s recently for Panamera and Cayenne models) don’t make V6s. They are know for their inline 6 cylinder engines. So these new rules may not attract them.

    On the other hand should be attractive to some Japanese car makers like Lexus(Toyota), Infiniti(Nissan) and most attractive to Honda who doesn’t make and believe in engine bigger than V6. Come on Honda it is time to come back. Honda is widely regarded as the company which makes the best engines(other is BMW).

    1. Porsche dont make inline 6, they make flat 6s(like a V6 with a 180 degree angle).

      I’m with you that we want Honda back in F1. Not sure why Nissan want to be in F1, their parent company(or is it sister company) Renault is already in it.

  11. That’s a great talking point for Brawn. At the end of the day, the engines have to be spec in construction and induction form because competitng for output or efficiency, or engine mass or CoG, is ruinous. It will be no less “sterile” if you are just changing the spec.

    Nonetheless, one possible benefit of a spec engine is opening up the energy recovery development. In 5-10 years, all major manufacturers in the sport will by putting some form of recovery system in most of their line-ups, at least as an option, including Ferrari. This is the aspect of F1 powertrain development that is “road-relevant.” It’s what is changing and what will be discussed in showrooms by buyers, not how “big” the engine is.

  12. For any mechanical or auto engineers out there, are new engines actually going to use less fuel? Downsized turbo engines use less fuel OK in normal traffic driving, but what about racing conditions where engines are always at full load with the turbos spinning at full boost? To me, it seems the only way cut fuel consumption 35% like they claim is to significantly reduce power.

    After all, Imprezas and Evos with their 2.0 litre turbo engines dont exactly sip fuel at full chat.

    1. For a start, the engines will probably produce less power than the current engines and rely more on KERS power. The engines will rev 3,000 rpm less than the current engines, and again, that saves fuel. The engines should also be more torquey than the current engines, which means that they won’t need to spend so much time at very high engine speeds.

      Remember also that an F1 car currently does around 4 mpg, so getting it to go nearer to 6 mpg is still going to make an Imprezza WRX STI look relatively economical by comparison.

      1. The engines will still run near the top of rpm range, this is where you develop max power after all. Look at Le mans, diesels and petrol prototype cars go to about the same distance on a full tank of fuel. OK, diesel tank is smaller but not by much(10% I think, maybe less) whereas in the real world with normal driving, they consume a lot less fuel.

        New f1 cars could well use less fuel on a EU combined cycle test, but what about at racing conditions at full load. Remember they are quoting smth like %35 less fuel.

        1. They do not rev as high, they have less cubic capacity, they recover energy via the turbo, and will have twice as much energy stored in the KERS. This is where the 35% comes from.

  13. At least its not a 4 cylinder

  14. So what horsepower will these engines be running?

    Last I heard was 600. But that was with 12,000rpm.

    With that increased 3,000rpm we should be looking at 700 atleast?

    1. 15,000 rpm 700+ kers

      1. AFAIK, there is no limit on horsepower. The limiting factors are the rev limit and fuel flow limit. So you have to make the most of both those things. Which means that the most efficient engine will be the best engine.

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