Lap times to fall in 2015 as F1 eyes 1,000bhp engines

2015 F1 season

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The biggest development in the technical rules for 2015 is, ironically, how little they have changed.

In recent years we have become accustomed to seeing F1 designers identify a new area of development and exploit it for a while, only for it to be outlawed by an off-season rules change.

But the general stability in the rules as F1 enters its second season with the V6 turbo hybrid engines means there is considerable scope for the teams to build much quicker cars. So how much will lap times fall in 2015?

How lap times changed in 2014

Smaller-capacity power units and new aerodynamic restrictions meant lap times rose significantly last year. As the chart below shows F1 cars were over 1.5 seconds slower per lap.

But how much slower they were varied considerably from track to track. For example the increase in lap times wasn’t nearly as high in Bahrain, but that was partly because Pirelli brought the soft tyre in 2014, whereas the previous year the medium was the softest compound available.

However there was also large differences at circuits were the softest tyre allocation was unchanged. At the Circuit de Catalunya lap times rose by over four-and-a-half seconds, while at Monza and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal the cars were only a few tenths of a second slower than they had been the year before. At the Circuit of the Americas they were slightly quicker.

The explanation for this variation in lap times has more to do with the configuration of the circuits. Monza and Montreal are power tracks, and the new engines consistently produced higher top speeds than were seen last year. However at tracks where downforce mattered more, such as in Spain, the performance gap widened:

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Data based on the quickest lap time seen all weekend at tracks which hosted races in 2013 and 2014. Ignored data for Interlagos (wet qualifying in 2013), Melbourne, Shanghai, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps (wet qualifying in 2014), and Sepang (wet qualifying in both years).

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Long-term trends in lap times

Judging how F1 lap times have changed over the years is tricky because Formula One tracks are often altered which makes past lap times unsuitable for comparison. And even if their configuration remains the same, resurfacing can lead to significant improvements in lap time, as happened in Brazil this year.

However a comparison of three different circuits, all of which have been unchanged for over a decade, reveals how successive changes in the regulations have halted F1’s periodic gains in lap times and even begun to reverse it.

For example, F1 cars now take almost five seconds longer to complete a lap of Monza than they did a decade ago. Since 2004 the V10 engines have been replaced with V8s and now the current V6s. And with the V8 engine specification being frozen for much of the time, the major gains in lap time came from aerodynamics.

FIA rule-tweaking – such as the banning of the the F-duct and exhaust-blown diffusers – kept lap times fairly stable at tracks like the Hungaroring at Sepang. But at Monza the cars generally kept getting slower.

There was already going to be a greater scope for engine development in 2015 and the FIA’s recent climbdown means Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari will also be able to introduce in-season upgrades. That should increase the change of us seeing considerably quicker laps at tracks like Monza.

The use of ‘designed to degrade’ tyres since 2011 has also slowed the cars in that time. But F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is bracing itself for a jump in performance from the cars this year.

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Fastest lap time set at each race weekend since the last significant change to the circuit layout.

Heading to 1,000bhp?

However that may no be enough for everyone. Last month Bernie Ecclestone indicated he wished to see F1 return to engine power outputs of up to 1,000bhp. This hasn’t been seen since the special qualifying engines used in the ‘turbo era’ of the eighties, although F1’s mid-2000s V10 units did exceed 900bhp.

Ecclestone’s words may have been inspired by a jealous glance in the direction of the World Endurance Championship, which last year was won by Toyota’s TS040 which used a V8 hybrid engine to produce 986bhp – hitting the milestone 1,000 mark when measured in PS.

But Formula One cars still lap significantly quicker than WEC machinery. Porsche’s pole position time for the round at Interlagos last year would have been 2.4s off the 107% time at the Brazilian Grand Prix three weeks earlier.

This serves to indicate how much of F1 car performance is still owed to the car’s aerodynamics, despite the many rules changed aimed at reining in the progress made by car designers.

How much quicker will F1 cars be this year? Here’s a reminder of the fastest lap set by an F1 car at every race weekend last year:

CircuitFastest lap of the weekendAverage speed (kph)
Red Bull Ring1’08.759226.495
Sochi Autodrom1’38.338214.269
Albert Park1’29.375213.603
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve1’14.874209.680
Bahrain International Circuit1’33.185209.081
Circuit of the Americas1’36.067206.593
Sepang International Circuit1’39.008201.547
Shanghai International Circuit1’38.315199.599
Yas Marina1’40.480198.989
Circuit de Catalunya1’25.232196.616

Over to you

How much faster will F1 cars be this year – and where will the gains come from? Do you think current F1 cars are quick enough?

Have your say in the comments.

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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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118 comments on “Lap times to fall in 2015 as F1 eyes 1,000bhp engines”

  1. On the subject of relative speeds between F1 and LMP1, let’s not forget that LMP1 cars produce more peak power from their power units but are overall a lot heavier: dry F1 car weight is around 700 kg with driver included, dry LMP1-H car weight is 870kg without driver, so F1 cars have a consistent 230+ kg weight advantage.

    1. I was going to make a similar post, I think it deserves a sentence in the article. LMP1 cars don’t really lose in the downforce category, they just produce it differently. It’s the weight issue that largely explains their slower lap times.

      1. I miss the days when F1 cars were 505kg and had 1400hp.

      2. Also, today all F1 engines sound the same, and there is not much point in getting excited over backmarkers.

        In the early 90’s almost all cars had a different engine. You’d want to see and hear a backmarker like Brabham (today’s Marussia, or a bit better) because it was the only car with a V12 Yamaha engine with 5 valves per cylinder. Or a Larousse (today’s Caterham) with a V12 Lamborghini engine.. All of these engines sounded different; The vicious mechanical snarl of the Honda V12, the low pitched muted Benetton Ford V8, the Ferrari V12’s which would echo off nearby mountains in Monaco, the singing ringing Honda V10’s, the brutal precision sound of the Renault V10.

        Today EVERY engine sounds EXACTLY the same.

        1. You’re right…there used to be so many different technologies at play, but to maintain a playing field such as that..the cost to the manufacturers would have been astronomical..its a nice thought though.

          WEC is interesting because of 3 different concepts competing for supremacy…the only problem is that the races are six hours long! Im drawn to WEC because of the technology, and theyve got a pretty solid grid of drivers to top. The only way that I would switch allegiance, or more like consider switching, if they bring Group C back…that was madness!!

    2. The other thing to consider is the WEC runs on tires that last more than 10 laps… but weight is still the major difference in the laptimes.

      1. Also if you think about it drivers have to avoid the slower cars they aren’t racing meaning they could never quite have a hot lap like they do in Formula One.
        If F1 contiues to go slow I may aswell stop watching and watch something better like WEC more or maybe DTM or something like that. (probably cheaper to watch aswell).

        1. Oh man! “If F1 gets slower, I’ll just have to go watch two even slower and duller series!” Classic! Seriously, of you are thinking of deserting F1 for DTM, you may be interested in my World Series of Paint Drying. All action guaranteed.

          1. It’s quite annoying how some supposed fans wish Formula 1 would resemble other series like WEC! If that’s what you like then just watch that. F1 is F1 period. It’s really pointless, like trying to make football and golf fit into the same rules just because they are both played using a ball!

    3. Weight/mass doesn’t really affect speed (top speed) although it certainly has a clear effect in cornering and acceleration (and deceleration, of course) and therefore laptime. *Peak power* (and gearing, rev limit and friction: drag and rolling resistance) governs *top speed*. All other things being equal, two cars with same peak power will achieve same top speed, even if one is much heavier (provided they have a long enough straight to achieve it on). And all other things being equal, for two cars with different peak power, the more powerful will achieve the higher top speed, even if it is much, much heavier (again, given a long enough straight). More torque is what gives you better acceleration, reaching top speed or the next braking point sooner. (However, in practice it does tend to be the case that engines with higher peak power have more torque across the rev range.)

      Anybody can build a 1000bhp engine, but that is a long way from automatically resulting in good racing. Bernie is either living in the past or it’s more smoke and mirrors.

    4. Bernie, Jean and the rest of f1 fellows are trying their best to limit the technologies that are relevant to our daily automotive tech. They live in their own world. Tell them, try to make f1 as fast as possible but safe, and relate to tech that are reachable to common people. Otherwise, F1 would become more and more BORING. More guys are shifting to Indy & Nascar where overtaking is something normal, or else it woud be a parade of cars lining up from start to finish, BORINGGGG.

  2. 1000bhp should be helpful. F2004 is usually considered as the fastest F1 car ever as it holds many track records, but it is not the most sophisticated car in terms of aerodynamics. Powerful engine certainly played role in the speed of F2004. I don’t know how much post 2008 cars have downforce compared to F2004, though. Possibly 2008 Aero+V10 engine would be the fastest ever combination.

    1. It also lacked slick tyres and DRS. I’d imagine combining all those features would make for an excruciatingly quick car.

      1. Yes! without slick tyre. unbelievable.

    2. don’t forget the tyres – the insane corner speeds of 04 wouldn’t be possible with today’s Pirelli

    3. 2010 aero + v10.

    4. @eggry adrian newey said that 2011 produced the most downforce, based on lateral load at one of the corners at barcelona (5.5g!). that was at the height of the exhaust blown diffusers. power and weight from 2004 era would obviously beat that though.

      1. He actually said the rb6 was the max, it had the double diffuser f duct and blowing at the end.

      2. Pretty sure it was the 2010 car he was referring too, but yeah good point.

    5. The ultimate F1 car would have 1986 power, 1992 chassis and tires sizes, 1993 electronics and suspension technology, 2004 aero regulations and 2008 aero development.

      1. And modern turbos on those engines to reduce turbo lag.

  3. The unanswerable question – how much of the laptop drop was caused by the loss of the blown diffuser?

    1. @joew Did someone drop a laptop? I must have missed that. I’m guessing they didn’t have backups then!? Doh!

    2. @joew I’m guessing…zero? My laptop seems fine.

    3. Gargh, silly autocomplete. LapTIME :-p

    4. Williams’s is probably in the negative.

  4. The ultimate lap time, i.e. usually the fastest lap set in qualifying, has gone up about 5-7 percent in the last ten years. That’s a shame, but it is not an enormous difference. Racing can be very exciting, even when the velocities are not that high (as proven for instance by the Formula E race in Buenos Aires last weekend).

    The thing that really bugs me is the difference in ultimate lap time (the fastest lap of the weekend) and the fastest lap (fastest lap of the race). Ten years ago, this difference was very small, but nowadays there is a huge gap between the two. If you compare the fastest lap of 2014 with the fastest lap of 2004 for those three circuits, the differences are 8.4%, 8.6% and 9.3%.

    The main reason for that is the egg-shell Pirelli compound, introduced in 2011. The drivers could go much faster, but they are just destroying their tyres. It may provide ‘exciting’ races, but it just doesn’t feel exciting anymore. Just compare these onboards. F1 is trying to a) be safer and b) be more appealing to the TV audience, but with that I feel it has lost a bit of its old charm.

    1. @andae23 I think the Fastest-Ultimate lap thing may owe at least as much to the lack of refueeling.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard No: the fastest lap in 2014 was usually set right near the end, with relatively low fuel load and fresh rubber. I’d say the fuel load is pretty comparable, especially since the fuel consumption has gone down dramatically in ten years.

    2. @andae23 Honestly, I much prefer where we are now than where we were then (in terms of the tyres). Personally I think some of the greatest racing action we’ve ever seen in F1 has been in the last 4 years with the introduction of Pirelli. Whilst it is no longer constant qualifying laps during the race (or near to it) with drivers pushing constantly at 100% (or close to) lap after lap, I still much prefer this right now. I started watching at around that time 2001 to be exact and I almost stopped watching because I just couldn’t get into it. Luckily 2005 happened. Now 3 of my favourite seasons I’ve watched have come in the last 5 years in 2010, 2012 and 2014. These tyres bring an actual challenge to the drivers, needing to be more technical with their driving. With the huge amount of torque they have now, you know they are struggling. I love it. And now as the tyres aren’t too bad, they can push when they need to as well, just look at the Mercs in Bahrain. 2013 was too far, I don’t think anyone disagrees, the drivers were literally coasting around Monaco which was an absolutely travesty. I still think F1 needs to remove DRS, I think we’d still have had the racing we’d had this season. I love the tyres, but combined with DRS it sort of makes some of it feel pedestrian at some point.

      1. @philereid I agree that the racing is more entertaining than it was ten years ago. The tyres have changed the way drivers have to go about racing, and yes that is a challenge for them. But to be honest, I prefer the ‘go flat out and we’ll soon find out who is the quickest’ over ‘let’s see who can manage his tyres the best’, even if it means drivers end up further away from each other.

        Admittedly, 2004 wasn’t the ideal set of rules either. Maybe it’s fairer to compare 2014 with 2010, with the major differences that 2010 had durable Bridgestone tyres and no DRS. I loved the racing in 2010. Maybe the biggest complaint I have had for the past two years is that the racing is just so meaningless, a feeling I didn’t have in any season prior to that. It’s not something you can pinpoint, but the Pirelli tyres and the DRS just make Formula 1 so.. hollow. That’s why I’d prefer the boring old tyres over the Pirellis.

        1. @andae23 What I will say is even with all I’ve said, I think 2010, along with 2012, are my two favourite seasons. I think 2010 was definitely helped by a good championship, and it definitely had some fantastic racing with no DRS, Turkey and Canada to name two. However I feel a lot of the races were rain influenced to make them so good. China, Malaysia and Australia fall under that category. Eh, either way, it’s a shame there isn’t an F1 that suits everyone, that’d be great. I think removal of DRS would help to make the actual racing mean something though.

          1. Yup DRS + Pirelli is overkill

            I would like to see a Pirelli year without DRS.

          2. it’s a shame there isn’t an F1 that suits everyone

            @philereid That’s true, whatever will change about F1, there will always be plenty of grumpy grandpas, me included :)

        2. i agree. In-race battles rarely come down to which driver is best. It always comes down to which driver has the best tyres. It is a rather “hollow” experience knowing that even though you know that Driver A can probably out drive Driver B, he will undoubtedly be passed because he has driven 10 laps on his tyres as apposed to 3 on Driver B’s. I say bring back the fuel stops and do away with the self destructing tyres. It wont happen though, and i think that the racing is more “superficial”… For lack of a better term.

      2. @philereid, Sorry but I could not disagree more about the Pirellis.

    3. Which percentage applies to which race?

    4. The thing about those onboards is that Alonso is having to constantly fight the Ferrari going into, and out of, each corner.

  5. There is no point in saying “let’s have 1000bhp engines” without saying the benefits of doing such a thing. Bernie obviously wants to cars to be as loud and as fast as possible but that contradicts what the FIA have been trying to do over the years, which is slow the cars down.

    I’m not convinced the future vision of F1 should be formed from it’s past. Or for that matter, from the ghost of F1 past, Mr. E.

    With this in mind, surely the FIA will say, sure you can have these hugely powerful engines but we are going to alter the aero rules once again so that you don’t go any faster and hurt yourselves with these 1000bhp engines.

    On a side note, didn’t the FIA also start to slow cars down because they were starting to be able to go faster than tracks were designed to handle? I’m sure I heard that somewhere. If thats the case then surely it will get to the stage where either the cars have to be slower or we lose classic tracks from the calendar.

    1. @woodyd91 The stated goal was not making the cars faster but making them harder to drive. That’s what 1000bhp engines are needed for. That will get them slightly faster but, without comparable increase in aero, not dangerously so. It will separate the men from the boys though so in that sense I’m all for it

    2. “so you don’t go any faster and hurt yourselves with these 100bhp engines”
      That’s the point right there isn’t it, F1 isn’t a sport for men anymore, it’s been made so easy for all the little boys. I agree with Niki Lauda on this one, f1 shouldn’t be so easy so as for scrawny little kids to be able to drive them no problem. It should be hard, it should be for real men, like it used to be.

      1. *1000bhp

  6. Pirelli is already whining so you know they are going to be using more conservative tyres this year….as they can’t build a better one that also has speed.
    I will never buy their tyres after what they’ve done in F1.

    1. Pirelli are doing what they were asked to do. I’d rather have Pirellis than the rock-hard Bridgestones that could go to the moon and back.

    2. You’ve got to feel for Pirelli when this is the typical assessment from the average joe on the street.

      Clearly people such as @DaveD here have no idea what is actually involved in Pirelli producing a specific range of compounds TO SPEC. With tyres that perform to almost perfectly predictable degradation and performance metrics.

      I know Pirelli will always be one of my top tyre choices and that before I consider their fantastic contribution to motorsport in general as well as being fundamental in F1.

      1. Pirelli initially stated that degrading tyres their idea for spicing things up. Only after they got picked did they suddenly switch to claim that FIA made them do that.

        Michelin proposed 18″ wheels and tyres that lasted longer so the teams would need less tyres over a weekend. Much like they do in Le Mans series.

        Why would that be their proposal if FIA had actually insisted that degrading tyres would have to be the norm? The biggest problem with the Michelin bid was that they wanted a ton of money for their services.

        Moreover, why were the teams still considering Michelin’s longer lasting tyres deal after Pirelli came with their degrading tyres deal if degrading tyres was mandated by FIA. It really all makes no sense.

        Well it does make sense, but only in the way that it’s all a lie and a political game to protect Pirelli from the backlash over their own proposal. The reality remains though, Pirelli were never forced to do that. It was their own proposal.

        1. @patrickl, Micehlin’s decision to promote an 18 inch tyre was, as they themselves fully admitted, ultimately being driven by marketing aims – most tyre manufacturers can charge a premium, and therefore make a far larger profit, on large diameter low profile tyres because of their image.

          There were also some rumours from industry watchers who suggested that another reason was because Michelin were trying to do things on the cheap by reusing the same production line for the WEC and F1 – a suspicion that only grew after the specifications that Michelin publicly pushed for became increasingly similar to the WEC specifications.

          However, when it became clear that the teams did not want to adopt a larger tyre – amid complaints that it would cost them a fortune to redesign the cars for a commercial end that only benefited Michelin – Michelin then deliberately put in an uncompetitive tender price in the knowledge that they would not be selected.

      2. @psynrg
        Degrading tyres are just bad for the Brand.

        Fun (spicing things up) in F1 can be derived from a number of areas without destroying any particular Brand.

    3. I have to agree with @jules-winfield. Pirelli are just making the tires that the FIA told them to make because a lot of fans and teams were complaining that the Bridgestones lasted forever. Also I haven’t seen any whining from Pirelli, just them saying that the cars are going to be faster this year.

    4. @daved They can (probably) but are asked not to.

    5. @daved, Consciously I understand that Pirelli are producing crap tyres because that’s what Bernie asked for, subconsciously however I know I regard Pirelli as substandard.

      1. @hohum
        Well put, and not as controversial as I said it. I must admit, that my comment was more acerbic than I originally intended because I was typing on my phone and the stupid autocorrect kept messing up what I was trying to say. By the time I was finished, my post was more terse and showed my irritation LOL

        But for me, the way that Pirelli handled things was as bad as the quality of the tyres themselves. Everyone makes mistakes, and has product recalls, etc. But when a company goes into denial and blames everyone around them and refuses to take responsibility, then I sure wouldn’t trust them to take care of any problems I run into on my car.

        And as @patrickl said, I think Pirelli was complicit in the original goal of making the tyres degrade more anyway. And even if they are able to blame all of that on Bernie, what company deliberately goes into a project knowing their goal is to make a sub-standard product? I’d have told Bernie “NO” even if he asked for it. How could you possibly come out with a positive result for your image doing something like that?

        1. Pirelli road car tyres are brilliant, they are among the best tyres you can buy for your road car. I always thought only casual fans would actually think there is any consistency between a race tyre and a road tyre from any series or any manufacturer, let alone f1 with it’s open aim to have tyres that degrade quickly.

          Try buying top of the range bridgestone of Michelin tyres for your car, then when they need replacing, Buy some top of the range Pirellis. If you are a weekend track day kind of person, as I am, you will be surprised just how much better pirellis top end tyres are.

          1. *of

            I’ll also add, Yokohamas are the only tyres I have used that are as good as pirellis. On my current car I have tried the top sports tyre from Bridgestone, Hankook, Michelin, Yokohama, and Pirelli. I intend to try more too, but I do really like the pirelli and yokohamas

          2. Well Mike I understand your POV but it really only means that the Pirellis suited your car and driving style best and unless you are talking comparative lap times that can be very subjective also.

  7. Just give them around 200 kg of fuel and remove the fuel flow restriction. Magic will happen.

    1. @robo Then the cars will actually be slower, you know that right? And even if the max capacity fuel mass was 200kg, why would the teams agree. It would mean making a fuel tank that it 2 times larger than now, not to mention that the cars will be 6-8 seconds slower at the start of the race, and also the heavier cars will mean that the tyres wear out even faster.

      1. Sorry, I forgot bigger rear tires. Ok, 150 kg will be alright, because it’s… hybrid. With such amount of torque, this things will blast the damn track. Horsepower is just important when it comes to the top speed.
        Where from the speed comes tell me, please? Sorry, but there’s not very much sense in going back to atmospheric V10. Modern turbo is a win-win situation. But right now it’s strangled by the regulations.
        To see these cars going seriously faster, FIA should bring back the old aero. F1 is not about top speed actually, it’s about cornering speed.

    2. Don’t forget that during the V8 era, with much larger fuel tanks, teams almost never started the race with a full tank of fuel. Even if the fuel tanks were unlimited, there would still be an element of fuel economy because the teams would do the maths to make the cars as light as possible for the start of the race, while accepting there would be some fuel-saving later on.

      1. The difference between atmospheric engines and turbos, is that usually for NAE it takes more RPM to produce more output (to a certain degree), but if you take the turbo, the amount of possible fuel injected into the engine is almost unlimited, comparing to atmos, and the amount of torque on the low RPMs is crazy. So I don’t think we’ll see a fuel-saving if we have such an engine.
        Of course weight is a very big issue, but turbo is different kind of animal and teams can play with it.

  8. Do we actually know how powerful the current engines become?

    I know they wanted a formula of something like 600bhp ICE plus 150bhp ERS for a total of around 750bhp – but while ERS power is likely pretty much face value, due to regulations, I think that the relatively loose regs around the ICE make the 600bhp target something like a wild guess.

    1. @atticus-2 I’ve heard some suggestions that the Mercedes ICE is producing around 650bhp & that with ERS thrown in its getting pretty close to 800bhp.

      1. @gt-racer Hm, thanks. That’s exactly what we should be looking at – I mean suggestions, as official data is likely something of a Scotch mist, lol.

        As we are hearing rumours that Mercedes might go up in the range of 50bhp this year (the story should be on AMuS), that would put us up to something around 700+150=850.

        1. The Merc PU is already producing close to 850 hp.

          1. Could you quote a source, please?

    2. Source for my comment on the Merc PU already producing more than 850 hp:

  9. F1 cars currently have a better power-to-weight ratio than the LMP1-H Toyota TS040 if my maths is correct. However, if the rumours are to be believed, Nissan is going to change that this year with their car which may well have 1550bhp. I’m all for 1000bhp+ turbo F1 monsters at the end of the day provided the racing doesn’t suffer as a result, especially as the P1 cars are only going to get quicker and quicker, especially with big names being attracted and with fewer restrictions in that category and IndyCars will be quicker this year with the aero kits as well.

    1. In 3-4 years time, I’d love to see a race against a then-current Formula 1 and a then-current LMP1.

      Does anyone know about the restrictions on Formula E, will they be lifted/changed? I’m guessing not, as it’s on street circuits..

    2. @craig-o – 1550bhp? Where have you seen that?

      1. According to Jalopnik it could have close to 2000… make of that what you will.

        1. @toiago @jackysteeg I’ve seen a few people throw the 1550 number around as well as the 2000 one. The latter seems somewhat unrealistic however.

          1. I have to agree that the claimed power figures sound rather suspect at this stage.

            The power figure Mike over at Mulsanne Corner (where Jalopnik are getting their figures from) suggests for the petrol engine – about 600bhp – does not sound unreasonable given that it would be comparable to the other manufacturers (Toyota claim 513bhp from their V8, and Porsche have cited a figure of “over 500bhp”).

            Now, if the peak power of the engine is that high, that would mean that the hybrid power system is having to produce around 1400bhp to get the car to that peak power, or about 1MW.

            The sort of energy flows that you are going to be dealing with there, not just in terms of extracting that energy but also managing to recharge the system, are substantial – Toyota had enough problems with managing barely a third of that, whilst neither Porsche nor Audi can get remotely close to that.

            I’d be impressed if Nissan can manage to match Toyota’s efforts given that Toyota’s system has been under development for years – bear in mind that Toyota’s unit was actually originally designed for the TF109, and has been under continuous development since then – but managing to produce three times as much power as Toyota’s system in your first year in the WEC? Sounds a bit too good to be true to me.

  10. I have mixed feelings about this. The onboards kindly linked by @andae23 certainly are an eye opener. I remember though, that despite the fact that the cars back in 2004 we insanely awesome, the racing was often really dull, with little or no overtaking on the track. To balance that out, I still get chills remembering what the V10 cars were like live, at Spa, for example.

    I think this is why I keep coming back to my opinion that f1 is now a TV sport. Often the races recently have been great, but at the track the cars are dull.

  11. i’m unclear about the scenario these 1k bhp engines would create. Could such an engine be used simultaneously with a turbo? What bhp are the cars running atm?

    I’d like to see refuelling reintroduced, along with higher fuel flow and capacity, more design freedom. A redesigned DRS system would be nice, I don’t want another season of 1 dimension passes. Sometimes DRS is good because it bring a driver closer to the other to initiate a pass in the next few corners, or starts some real good battles.

    1. @frankjaeger

      Refueling was a large part of why the racing back in the early 2000’s was so dull though, as more often than not the cars just followed each other until the pit stops. it also resulted in the farcical ‘fuel-corrected qualifying’ fiasco.

      I agree about DRS and fuel-flow limits.

      1. Hmmm I was too young to appreciate F1 back then. It seems like a really interesting concept that would breed loads of different intertwinging strategies. Some start with virtually any on board, tear up the field, take the lead and extend their lead until they pit.

        Maybe instead it produced similar similar and strategies which would make it pretty redundant.

        DRS should next on their list to put a red line through @paulguitar

        1. Yep, what often happened was that we had really dull processions since it was common practice to wait for a pitstop to attempt to pass, and sometimes literally the only position changed throughout a whole race distance occurred through pitstops @frankjaeger

          The ultimate farce though, was ‘fuel-corrected’ qualifying. You are indeed fortunate to have been young enough to have missed this! What happened was that drivers had to qualify with the fuel load they would be using for their first stint, which meant we never really had any idea of who had produced a great lap until Saturday evening, when the FIA released the fuel weight each car had been carrying during quiali……..

          I still can’t believe that actually happened, but it really did……….

          1. Hahahaha how unnecessary! Reminds me of the current reg where drivers who qualify to Q3 must use the same tyres they set their time on. It’s so strange when you think about how much F1 changes their regs. Outside of the motorsport world, I can’t think of another sport that does with such frequency and impact. @paulguitar

            I’d love it if they’d ask the fans for their opinions.

  12. I don’t see a specific need to focus on & push towards 1,000bhp as with the natural development that will take place over the next few seasons (Even with the engine freeze) they are going to get more performance out of these power units anyway.

    I also question the theory that 1,000bhp engine’s would be better because the engine power has nothing to do with the quality of the racing as can be seen from the last time F1 was getting around the 1,000bhp figure with the V10’s when many fans complained that the racing was quite dull.

    I’d also question the safety aspect as with the 750-800bhp figures there getting at present the cars are producing good top speeds, Go upto 1,000bhp & with DRS open at places like Monza its not impossible they could be getting near 250mph which sound great but if something goes wrong at that sort of speed your getting into unknown territory.

    Its also worth pointing out that reducing downforce will make the cars slower & that simply throwing more BHP into the mix won’t necessarily bring that performance back on the circuits which are more Aero-Dependant. So we could end up with 1,000bhp cars that are actually a bit slower or about even in terms of lap times than what we have at present.

    Most of the lap times from 2004 were more down to the levels of aero & mechanical grip (Helped by the tyre war producing extremely soft, performance driven compounds) than the peak BHP numbers.

    1. @gt-racer you basically beat me to it. +1

  13. I like fast cars, but… I think it’s a ridiculous point of discussion anyway. I don’t judge how exciting a car is by it’s BHP number.

    The 2004 cars were exciting because of the sound but they still went like on rails, with those sticky tyres and traction control. So maybe for the drivers it was a lot more exciting, but the races were horrible. And it had nothing to do with the power. Give me 2012 or 2014 anytime.

    When it looks tricky, when you watch the drivers on it, struggling, that’s when it feels exciting. And they could be struggling with half the power they have now and it’d be just better.

    I say: don’t care about laptimes, I want drivers having a hard time. I want to see them sliding out of Parabolica, don’t care if the top speed at the end of the straight is much slower.

    1. @fer-no65

      I agree, we need them to be on the limit. The problem currently – aside from the sound, which I will not get started on, is that too much of the time they are managing tyres, which is really tedious for the drivers and viewers alike.

      1. @paulguitar yeah, my point basically. More HP doesn’t guarantee anything.

        1. @fer-no65
          It guarantees they’ll mess up the tyres even faster :(

          We’d see drivers having to drive like my grandmother on a Sunday drive to keep them going for more than a couple of laps.

    2. @fer-no65 – Good points. Somehow the focus narrows to top horsepower rating which in and of itself does not mean better racing. It is somewhat mythical. The difference in increased torque starting with the 2014 regs have already made the cars more difficult to drive. Watch seasoned F1 drivers laying down the power coming out of corners, the game has changed. Listen to what those same drivers have said about the difference from driving the V8s and V10s with higher downforce, higher top end HP, but less torque. The current generation cars are harder to drive and require more driver skills.

      The folks chattering about more hp are ignoring physics and are merely promoting hype and buzzwords. F1 would be better served by letting this current formula develop and improve for better racing and the added benefit of cost savings by not changing the power unit formula so often.

      1. @bullmello,@paulguitar,@fer-no65, Correct, adding a lot more power to the current cars would only be useful on a long straight, trying to use more power in or exiting a corner would only result fryed rear tyres. Lap times on tracks with significant straights would be reduced but there is no more excitement watching a car travelling in a straight line at 220mph than there is at 200mph, if there was we would all be watching trains going 300mph instead of F1.

  14. the short answer? not fast enough!

  15. I want the 2008 aero with unrestricted aero development in a way thay the cars would be still difficult to drive.

    1. I hated those cars, They just looked stupid with all those extra little flaps, horns & the Honda Dumbo wings. They looked silly on TV but even worse up close.

      I remember standing next to the McLaren in 2005 when they 1st introduced the air-box horns as well as a bunch of detailed flaps towards the back of the car & just thinking how utterly ridiculous it all looked.

      Its also important to remember why the aero rules were changed, The 2008 cars were impossible to follow closely for a car behind because the low/wide rear wings were dumping all of the turbulent air right onto the higher/narrower front wings.

      The 2009 aero regulations were designed so that the Lower/wider front wing isn’t hit by as much of the turbulent air from the Higher/narrower rear wing.

      Additionally all those flaps, horns & dumbo wings were also producing turbulence & in some cases were intentionally designed to have an affect on cars behind so they were also contributing to the difficulties in following cars closely & the difficulty in overtaking been back then.

      1. And the cars are growing those flaps again. The 2009 cars had much less than the 2014 ones. They shoud ban some of them again. There is no need of those vertical elements on the side of the cars and I don’t like the overcomplicated front wings either.

        1. There is no need of those vertical elements on the side

          That’s the most ridiculous thing to say. There’s nothing on an F1 car that isn’t absolutely necessary. You might not like it visually, but if it wasn’t contributing to the laptime, it would have never seen the light of day.

          1. I had a feeling I should be more punctual when writing “no need”. Of course I meant: they don’t make the cars look better to me.

      2. I loved the 2008 cars, although the 2004-2007 cars were some of my favourites, such as the West/Vodafone McLarens, and the Mild Seven Renaults. IMO, 2009 F1 cars looked boring and looked more like feeder series cars than F1 cars. They looked pretty basic and not very innovative to me.

      3. Let’s not forget the 2009 regulations utterly failed, cars still couldn’t follow each other closely and hence we got the gimmicks that are blighting F1 to this day – tissue paper tyres and DRS.

        I’d also argue the cars have looked so much worse since 2009. Personally I loved the sculptured look – but even if you didn’t they at least looked like racing cars; low, relatively wide and dangerous. Post-2009, the cars have looked narrow, awkwardly high and totally out of proportion.

        1. @graham228221
          The 2009 aero regulations didn’t fail as such, The early races in 2009 did see cars able to follow closer & there was closer racing & more overtaking.
          Certainly if you go back & compare in-car shots of cars in close fights in 2009 & then over the years before as places like Melbourne, Istanbul, Sepang & the other earlier races in 2009 you can clearly see cars were following closer (Turn 8 at Istanbul is one of the better examples).

          The problem came when everyone introduced the double diffusers through the rest of the year & they created a lot of turbulent air (although still not as much as the Pre-2009 cars did) & was directing it onto the front wings but lets not forget that the double diffusers were banned for 2011 which fixed that issue.

          With regards to DRS that concept came about more because everyone complained about the lack of overtaking at Bahrain in 2010 (Although its often ignored that there was more overtaking in that race than in most races over the few years before) & as with most things in F1 those involved made a knee-jerk reaction based on those complaints & came up with the DRS concept (I’ve heard that DRS was Paddy Lowe’s idea).

          If they had looked at 2010 as a whole they may have realized that overtaking figures were up at practically every circuit with the end of year average been the highest since the introduction of refueling in 1994.

      4. @gt-racer, Yes, and if they really want reduce the cost of competing in F1 they should ban or standardise multi-element wings and ban all those vanes and widgets sprouting from the bodywork.

      5. The aero rules may be getting another change for 2016…

    2. Agreed, I loved those cars.

      According to Autosport, as well as 1000bhp engines, they are looking at improving the cars’ downforce, having bigger wheels and being more aggressive-looking. Maybe this could be a consolation for 2016 onwards?

  16. 1000Hp? Sure… can’t hurt. What is really needed is a formula that makes people do different strategies. Let the teams declare their tires to be used for each race. Let the teams “turn up the wick” on the engines, but don’t give them enough fuel to have it turned up the whole race. Make it an advantage to run “slow and long” stints as well as “fast and short” stints… F1 racing should be about strategy and execution. Bring that team strategy onto the TV for the fans- car 1 will be racing on x&y compounds and Z fuel load while car 2 will do something different… The sport needs freedom- not in the invisible world inside the engines or the arcane world of aerodynamics, but instead in the ability of the teams to do different strategies on the track to go faster with what they have. Let a team choose lower downforce and stickier tires vs another team choosing more downforce and harder tires to get laptimes. Right now the boring races are the ones where everyone does the exact same strategy, some people are marginally better and 60 laps later they finish without really changing in order.

  17. Give it a couple of years and the engines will be approaching that figure anyway. I think it would be far better to relax the fuel flow rate or amount of starting fuel to allow the engines to rev to their 15K limit rather than the 12k that the current restrictions cause. It might also help a little with the noise complaints.

  18. ColdFly F1 (@)
    12th January 2015, 16:33

    @keithcollantine, how do you interpret the 2015 engine modification rules?
    (we struggle to conclude – link, link).

    Do you believe Merc/Fer/Ren can:
    a) homologate one 2015 PU and must run the 2014 PU until then;
    b) can stagger the 32 ‘tokens’ over the season, but only upgrade each item once;
    c) upgrade each of the 32 ‘tokens’ as often as they wish.

    (PS – at any race all customer teams must use the same specification PU!)

    1. I agree, an article on this would be most helpful @keithcollantine. That is if you have got a clear answer yourself!

      Just as I think I have understood the rules, I see a post that makes me think again.

      So, just what is allowed next season?

    2. maarten.f1 (@)
      12th January 2015, 20:43

      @coldfly The engine homologation rules can be interpreted a countless of ways. The whole rule is based on a single page appendix (last page), which indeed doesn’t mention any dates (just a year), and since they assumed engines were homologated before the first race I would assume the possibilities at this point are endless. They really messed up on this one…

    3. Indeed, are we going to see engines configured differently every race or are we only going to see 1 old and 1 new configuration during the year ? Will manufacturers be able to use a token in 1 race and then revert to 2014 spec for that token then try something else using the same token? Is it only us fans who are confused or is it everybody involved?

  19. Is it not worth mentioning the race lap times here? That surely is also quite different.

    Also, Monza has changed a bit, with the last sector being resurfaced in 2012 (I think).

  20. If F1 abandons the present engines for, in Bernie’s words, simpler 1000bhp engines then I will probably stop my support of F1.

    Considering the efforts of Renault to push for more up to date engines to help development of the present trend in road cars to smaller more efficient engines and the fact that Honda have returned because of the new format, I cannot see it materialising.

    It is just RBR and Ferrari, both friends of Bernie that want the change, so I can easily see a one engine series, as Renault, Mercedes and Honda decline the invitation.

    Why not reduce the aero, could it be because RBR are aero specialists.

  21. 1000 bhp is just another irritating bit of fakery from Bernie/Whiting. Afaik the Merc unit this year will have over 900 bhp anyway, so it’s not a huge difference, just a placard they can wave to distract their tame media while they subvert the rules in favour of their cashcow teams.

    In any case the faster the cars the less overtaking on any given track. If they up the power they have to take away downforce and then we have people saying the cars are too easy to drive.

    It’s a great formula as it is imo. Just tell us, on screen, what the ERS state is. Simples. And let the tobacco and drinks companies sink or swim on merit.

  22. I think engine aside, the current regulations are pretty good, they allow decent racing (much better than I can remember, so the best over the past 9 years) and are interesting technically. I feel that the general public aren’t as interested in aero innovations as mechanical innovations such as these tiny turbos, since people can relate them to their hybrid cars at home. However, I agree with BE that the ICE is underpowered and the noise isn’t high enough. Obviously it’s a catch 22 because by nature Turbos reduce the noise levels but deliver more power with less fuel (efficiency should be important regardless of any changes in regs). I have no clue about Engineering, but some kind of electric supercharger where the MGU K is used to power a supercharger would be more efficient (than an equivalent 1000hp ICE) because the 1000hp could be reached with a smaller ICE, and the noise would be as loud as there is no harvesting the exhaust gases so they are free to be wasted and turned into noise energy. Also, F1 would still be on the cutting edge of technology as I’m not really aware of these devices on road cars.

  23. It must be time to change Monza again. Please can somebody blow up the first chicane?

    Wonder what the lap-time difference around Le Mans would be? Probably a lower percentage than Interlagos, with the F1 cars less able to show off their ability to change direction, and the sports cars in their natural habitat.

  24. ‘Since 2010 the V10 engines have been replaced with V8s’
    pretty sure that should say ‘since 2006’ as that’s when the last V10 was raced (toro rosso)

  25. In my opinion they have DRS backwards.

    More power? Opening flaps? They are straight line overtaking tools and that is boring.

    We all want to watch cars jostling round the corners but turbulent air hurts that.

    The thing is we still see cars like the Red Bulls breeze round other cars, so surely more downforce is the answer?

    Turn DRS on its head and increase downforce in the bends.

  26. One of the background issues behind this debate is the question of maximum driveable speed. How fast can these cars be driven on current tracks manually before the sheer speed is beyond the limits of human reflexes, coordination, thinking power and strength.

  27. I can guarantee this noise from Bernie is coming from the likes of Redbull and Ferrari who like to moan and complain just because Mercedes have built a better engine and are destroying them with it. Don’t forget that it was the likes of Renault who were pushing for these engines or were leaving the sport, sour grapes I say!

  28. It will be very interesting.

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