F1 announces new engine format for 2021 with higher rev limit and hybrid changes

2021 F1 season

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Formula One Management and the FIA has announced the planned changes to F1’s engine rules from 2021 at a meeting of current and potential future power unit manufacturers in Paris.

The changes to the engine format are intended to reduce the cost of the power units while ensuring they remain ‘road relevant’ for manufacturers.

The sport will retain the basic configuration of the 1.6-litre V6 hybrid turbo power units which were introduced in 2014. However the recovery of power from waste heat via an MGU-H will be dropped in favour of more powerful kinetic energy generators (MGU-Ks).

Drivers will be given greater control over when they choose to use the energy harvested by the power units.

From 2021 the rev limit will be raised by 3,000rpm to 18,000rpm. This is intended to improve the sound generated by the engines.

More parts will be standardised in a bid to reduce costs and to make it easier for teams to switch between power units. However it remains to be seen whether the existing limits on fuel consumption and fuel flow rate will be retained.

The intended specification of the 2021 power units is as follows:

  • 1.6-litre, V6 turbo hybrid
  • 3,000rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound
  • Prescriptive internal design parameters to restrict development costs and discourage extreme designs and running conditions
  • Removal of the MGU-H
  • More powerful MGUK with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing
  • Single turbo with dimensional constraints and weight limits
  • Standard energy store and control electronics
  • High level of external prescriptive design to give ‘plug-and-play’ engine/chassis/transmission swap capability
  • Intention to investigate tighter fuel regulations and limits on number of fuels used

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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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139 comments on “F1 announces new engine format for 2021 with higher rev limit and hybrid changes”

  1. I presume the higher rpm limit will be utilized:

    3000rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound

    as a defensive tactic against:

    More powerful MGUK with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing

    Other than that, I don’t see why a team would run a higher rpm, when they have usable torque due to the turbo at lower rpms, and the ability to use MGU-K to fill out the torque curve where required.

    1. Since they hardly ever even wanted to get close to the RPM limit even now, I too am unsure that the manufacturers will even want to use that higher rpm limit regularly

      1. At the moment, being close to the rev limit gains them nothing. Above 10k (iirc) they have the same fuel limit, but higher pumping and frictional losses, so the power drops the higher they rev.

        Unless the fuel flow limit is removed or the profile changed (or something else to force them to do things differently, like changes to gear ratio roles), they will stick to their current tactics.

      2. @bascb, May just be a cunning plan to use the placebo effect, if fans think the engines will be running at 18,000 rpm (same as last V8 IIRC) they might just convince themselves that they sound much better. I still blame Bernie for the entire controversy.

      3. @drmouse @bascb, May just be a cunning plan to use the placebo effect, if fans think the engines will be running at 18,000 rpm (same as last V8 IIRC) they might just convince themselves that they sound much better. I still blame Bernie for the entire controversy.

        1. Why blame Bernie? Renault insisted on the change to v6 turbo layout or they would pull out. Mercedes and Ferrari agreed to keep the peace, then made a better job of it! 😂

          1. Because Bernie was the first to start bashing the new engines – he started before they even ran, he increased it before ever hearing them for himself and he never really stopped. Off course then Horner + the whole RB crew joined in as well as Montezemelo as soon as they found out their engines were no good.

      4. @drmouse @bascb, May just be a cunning plan to use the placebo effect, if fans think the engines will be running at 18,000 rpm (same as last V8 IIRC) they might just convince themselves that they sound much better. I still blame Bernie for the entire controversy.

    2. …more rpm more engine cycles more power. Even at 18.000 they shall be far from the theoretical limits, the reason why rpm were dropped was because of reliability and this was achieved by limiting max fuel flow at higher rpm’s which in term is more efficient as friction is lower at lower rpm’s

      1. In naturally aspirated engines, yes, more revs = more power. However, this is simply because you get more air, and therefore more fuel.

        In a turbo (or other forced induction) engine, this isn’t necessarily the case. It depends on the turbo geometry and many other factors.

        Power output from an ICE is determined by 2 factors: how much fuel you can burn and how efficiently you can extract that energy. With a fuel flow limit, the only thing you can do is make the engine more efficient, which generally happens at lower revs.

  2. This is pretty underwhelming…so the engines will be slightly louder due to higher revs and no MGU-H sapping some of the sound away, and manual energy deployment can only be a good thing….but I was hoping for more drastic changes. Not really sure why I had my hopes up to be honest

    1. @celicadion23 The MGU-H doesn’t baffle any noise as it’s just another device that lives in the engine V spun by the Turbo, along with the Compressor. The new spec retains the single turbo, which is the main cause of the noise reduction.

      They’re just dropping the MGU-H because only Mercedes managed to get it properly reliable and working. Quite why they didn’t just standardise it is beyond me…

      1. Saves money and weight and is one less thing that can fail?

      2. ScruffyMcDuffy
        31st October 2017, 15:52

        “MGU-H doesn’t baffle any noise”

        That’s not true, the MGU-H is used as a replacement for a traditional waste gate and makes designers want all exhaust gas to flow through the hot side of the turbo because they are harvesting waste energy. Elimination of the MGU-H could require engine designers to use a more traditional waste gate which bypasses the turbo altogether when the turbo is already generating max boost and is effectively an open pipe and would be much louder.

      3. @optimaximal
        I believe that is completely wrong. The MGU-H is essentially responsible for killing 90% of the sound. Simply removing that is the quickest way to make the engines louder.
        The higher RPMs just changes the pitch of the noise. Not sure anyone will make much use of it until we know the way they’re going to handle fueling. Without the MGU-H, I doubt they’ll get a whole race distance with one tankful. :)

        1. @daved “I believe”…

          ‘What you believe’ is not right…

          Taffin continues: “In an F1 car, the MGU-H works like the MGU-K, meaning that it works both ways. It can recover energy from the turbo, store it, and then use it to spin the compressor. If you look at a turbocharger, you’ll find a turbine at one end, and a compressor at the other. The exhaust gases are used to spin the turbine, which spins the compressor. The MGU-H is located in between the two. So when the hot gases spin the turbine, it also produces electricity that is stored in the battery. And when the car accelerates, the electricity is used to spin the compressor, providing immediate power. There’s no turbo lag. Power application is immediate, like with any normally aspirated engine.”


          The MGU-H has no direct interaction with the exhaust gases at all – it’s simply a device that takes the rotational energy from the turbine and converts it to electrical energy, just like the MGU-K takes the braking energy and does similar. Like *all* turbos, the exhaust note is baffled by the process of the gas spinning the turbine, which restricts its flow.

          1. you’re wrong @optimaximal. mguh places emphasis on recovering as much energy as possible from exhaust meaning it has an effect on turbine size as well as strategy around Wastegate use. without mguh, the turbine would be sized to adequately spool up the compressor but with the mguh the turbine is sized to best utilize available exhaust energy.

            deletion of mguh will have an impact on sound.

          2. I would like to sell optimaximal my perpetual motion machine, which produces electric energy at zero cost.

          3. @optimaximal
            I’m not sure, but I believe there is more nuance to it than that:
            “The MGU-H also controls the speed of the turbo, speeding it up (to prevent turbo lag) or slowing it down in place of a more traditional wastegate.”


            When they tried to increase noise last year, they added a wastegate for a reason….that’s where much of the noise comes from.

          4. Gary,

            LOL I was thinking about that too. I guess you can magically get extra sound without wasting any energy! They’ve discovered a new physics to go along with new math! :)

          5. petebaldwin (@)
            28th November 2017, 13:28

            This thread is a great example of why the new engines are far too complex. We’ve had them for 3 years and F1 Fanatics still don’t clearly understand how they work. What chance does a new motorsports fan have?

      4. Weird they drop only the MGU-H part of that package.
        As you said, if noise is what you want then drop the turbo and leave the MGU-motor to spin the compressor.

        And the turbo/MGU-H/compressor combination is one of the most exciting parts of the whole PU; no turbo-lag, and maximum usage of excess heat.
        I’m sure that future ICE will see that added. i.e. road relevant.

    2. Come people, this is the best it was ever going to be. The manufacturers are never going to sign up to spent more money reinventing the wheel were they? Ferrari, Mercedes, and Renault, have made it clear the hybrid bits of this formula is here to stay, and what is useful to their future businessess.

  3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    31st October 2017, 13:58

    Why is there a rev limit in place at all? What’s the benefit of this? Also my understanding is they don’t get near the current rev limit anyway.

    Overall this sounds a reasonable compromise. Kind of an impossible situation to appease everyone but this seems sensible.

    1. @rdotquestionmark You are right, the rev limit of 15,000rpm is not even close to what they get to. The fuel flow restriction means they only get to about 11,500rpm. It is believed that an addition to these changes will be a change to the fuel flow limit to allow the engines to rev higher, changing the power band of the engine.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        31st October 2017, 14:48

        Thanks @tonyyeb that makes sense if they’re looking at fuel flow restrictions also.

        1. They should never have introduced fuel flow limits.
          – total fuel (kg) is enough of a limitation
          – remember the farce 3 years ago how to measure it correctly (faulty sensors)
          – without fuel flow limit ‘oil burning’ would never have been an issue.

          1. I completely agree. Never understood the fuel flow limits on top of simply giving them 100kg of fuel. What was the point other than to increase complexity and cause drama about how it’s measured???

            Overall, I think the new proposal is a sensible compromise.

            Any word on refueling? I can’t see making a race distance with less than 125kg fuel with no MGU-H. Hate to see them carry that much fuel.

          2. @daved It’s perfectly clear why a fuel flow limit was needed. It’s to stop lift and coast becoming a core part of racing.

            This has been explained over and over when the current engine regulations were discussed.

          3. @patrickl
            That was when everyone was concerned that they couldn’t make a race distance with 100kg of fuel. They don’t even fill up all the way now for most tracks so lift and coast only comes into play if a team thinks they’re doing better overall on the race distance by employing this for a lighter car at the start.

            There is nothing preventing lift and coast today and the fuel flow limits have proven to be irrelevant for that early concern.

          4. To Egonovi: There were never any faulty sensors. That was Red Bull trying to play a fast one telling the FIA they preferred to use their own measurements as they “suspected” that the FIA items (supplied by Gill Instruments, world leaders in these kind of sensors and had been successfully used by Le Mans Series) were not accurate. Surprise surprise, Red Bull’s “sensors” allowed a higher fuel delivery. They got caught out and punished for using too much fuel. Surprise number 2: You haven’t heard a peep out of them since. Every other team had zero problems with the sensors. Smoke & mirrors mate.

          5. @baron, as you say, the evidence that Red Bull provided when they tried to defend themselves by using the readings from the fuel injectors only ended up only incriminating themselves even further given that data also demonstrated that they had been exceeding the fuel flow limits.

          6. It’s quite simple.

            A fuel flow limit is equivalent to a boost limit or an airflow limit, but easier to measure and enforce.

            It’s nothing to do with fuel usage, more in line with a rev limit on a naturally aspirated engine.

          7. @daved, The fuel flow limit is what’s preventing lift and coast. Or at least the extremes that would occur if they could fully exploit it.

            They (FIA) specifically noted that the fuel flow limit was needed to prevent this. They were afraid of the speed differences.

    2. Gavin Campbell
      31st October 2017, 14:15

      I believe the Rev limit and fuel flow limits were imposed to stop them building insane qualifying modes that would only work for one lap on certain circuits. Things like the oil burning increase the revs – I would assume the rev limit was in there incase people got very developed just to ensure there was a cap.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        31st October 2017, 14:48

        Yes that sounds sensible.

      2. Rev limit is to reduce the wear and tear of the engine rhus making it easier to go from 8 engines a year to 5 then 4. Fuel flow limit is to reduce the chance of drivers going real fast in the beginning of the race then slowing down because they over did and or not finishing the race because they ran out of fuel. Which as someone who had been watching f1 way back then (not me) commented was a problem before they re-introduced refuelling during a race.

    3. if they run fewer gears it would help a lot. 6 speed box would really make them use those higher gears.

    4. +1, get rid of the rev limits and fuel limits

    5. Over 18,000 revs you need expensive exotic materials otherwise the increased stresses cause the engine to fly apart.

    6. I do not really understand all of this. If they want to be road relevant then they need to drop the ICE part altogether and go fully electric as that is where we will be in a few years time… So why not just allow full ICE and have done with it as that will reduce costs rather than have complex hybrid systems.

  4. Unless they change the fuel flow limits, there’s no point in revving beyond 10,500 RPM to my knowledge.

    * Prescriptive internal design parameters to restrict development costs and discourage extreme designs and running conditions
    * High Level of external prescriptive design to give ‘plug-and-play’ engine/chassis/transmission swap capability

    So– F1 “Engine of Tomorrow”. Engine is designed by FIA/FOM, and built by different nameplates.

    That will certainly take away any engine-based advantages from the championship, but I’m not certain why the engine manufacturers would still have any interest.

    1. I’m guessing they’ll probably raise 10500 rpm max fuel flow up to 13500 to compensate.

      1. Raising the fuel flow limits won’t really deliver much in the way of gains because it’s still a turbo-charged engine. They deliver the majority of their power at lower revs. Anything in the higher rev-limits is just burning fuel for no real gain.

        1. it is not the fuel flow limit specifically that is the issue, currently they can use the max 100kg per hour at 10,500 rpm. However if you rewrite the rules to say you can only use the 100kg per hour at a min revs of 15000, then you force them to run higher revs.

          1. ‘…at a minimum of 15k’? How would that work?

            Turbos deliver their power in the lower rev-ranges, not high (like a NA engine), so drivers will shift up sooner.

            There’s literally no reason to increase the rev limit on these engines, other than to ‘attempt’ to solve the sound problem, which it won’t (as the exhaust gases are still funnelled into a single turbo turbine).

          2. No they don’t. A turbo needs exhaust gasses to work. You don’t get that at low revs. Or at least more of it at higher revs.

            So turbo engines also deliver more power at higher revs. You just don’t have to go as high as with an NA engine. An NA engine needs to “gasp for air” a lot more often to get the same amount of air intake as a turbo.

          3. The fuel flow limits are governed by a mildly complicated equation that happens to reach 100kg/hr at 10,500 RPM. They’ll have to change the equation, or it’s a meaningless upgrade.

            It’s also a reliability challenge, because that extra 3,000 RPM will affect engine reliability.

    2. The mgu-h apparently is the most difficult and expensive bit of these hybrid units to get working, and from what I read, is the most expensive. Getting rid of it, and standardising the energy stores and electronics will bring the cost down a fair bit. But this is F1 reduce is all relative here.

    3. It’s the same for the chassis. There’re all those limitations and rules but the result for each team is pretty different. Even if you have some pieces of the engine as standard each manufacture will find different solutions.

      1. “highly prescriptive” design parameters– that, to me, says the engine designs will be heavily defined by the FIA, leaving the teams very little room to innovate.

        The aero bodywork (which is where Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, and *maybe* McLaren) is where the top teams are currently killing the midfield. Otherwise, Williams and Force India should be higher up the championship than any Renault powered car.

        Don’t believe Horner when he whines about the Renault engine.

  5. A change defined exclusively to “improve the sound” is absurd.

    If ever there was a death chime for the essence of F1, well, that was DRS. This is yet another death chime…

    1. But it’s not just to change the sound. It’s to remove some complexity, and it’s to save money too. I project that by 2021 DRS will be gone too, and not just because it will be replaced by drivers having access to MGU-K power, but because they will continue to work with the aero regs to try to lessen the negative dirty air effect, such that DRS won’t be ‘necessary’ (for those who think it was).

      1. I don’t have the impression that dropping DRS is even on the radar of the powers that be at F1. I think they know it creates passing and so they are terrified that getting rid of it will cut down on the appearance of excitement, so they aren’t even considering considering it.

        1. Just going by what Brawn has talked about, never liking it from the getgo etc etc.

    2. @psynrg you’re the type of ‘fan’ we could all do without

      I think there’s a lot of good stuff here. And Ross Brawn knows this sport better than anyone.

    3. @psynrg Agree. “More loud” is really a child’s argument. F1 should be above catering to that. I was worried the moment Brawn and the new American owners started talking about listening to fans. It follows the US GP pre-race show malarky.

      ‘Fan boost’ next?

  6. Sensible, consensus-led, perhaps a touch conservative but we’ll see. The only way we’re going to know if this has worked is if we start to hear about manufacturers committing to 2021 engine programmes. Last time around we lost Cosworth and gained Honda. Let’s see if they do better this time.

    I must admit I did wonder whether all the talk of them going down this route was going to prove to be a distraction and Brawn was going to spring something much more adventurous allowing a variety of different engine formats or power sources. But apparently not.

    1. Gavin Campbell
      31st October 2017, 14:24

      I do wonder about binning the MGU-H – surely at somepoint the teams will get on top of the tech and the costs tumble as the high tech simply becomes tech.

      By 2021 we will of had 8 years of running these engines and will essentially take a step back to a more basic hybrid model? These engines failed to capture the imagination but a lot of that was communication – I’m not quite sure how a slightly higher revving V6 Hybrid is going to change the game on that front.

      1. I believe it’s a massive mistake – yes, it removes a complicated piece of tech that only one manufacturer got right, but a standard unit would make more sense. Retaining the single turbo isn’t going to massively improve the sound either (despite the pointless rev increase), because that’s the thing that’s baffling the noise.

    2. @keithcollantine Perhaps by allowing a more powerful, driver decided MGU-K deployment, Brawn might be able to justify the removal of DRS?!?!

      1. @tonyyeb Wondered the same thing.

        Overall I think these changes make sense from the standpoint of not making the teams go entirely back to the drawing board, costing hundreds of millions. There is much to be said for some consistency in the regs as we all know. Helps the field get closer and goes toward smaller teams catching up….not that they make their own pu’s but maybe the pu’s they use will be more reliable as makers have more time with the same basic units and the ‘H’ gone.

      2. we had an interesting situation in Mexico with Lewis chasing Alonso on DRS while Alonso was himself
        on DRS while getting a tow and giving a push to -I think it was- a Haas car.

        took a zillion years for Lewis to get around some under(honda)powered Mc Laren and not on
        the straight.

        1. Lewis’s defuser was badly damaged in the Vettel collision which slowed him down.

    3. @keithcollantine, mind you, under the V8 era Cosworth had already fallen out of the sport for several years and, by the end of that era, most teams that could afford to switch had already switched – so Cosworth was already effectively on their way out of the sport before the new regulations kicked in.

      With regards to alternative powerplants, Brawn probably has the recent collapse in manufacturer interest in the WEC on his mind, fuelled in part by the explosion in costs as manufacturers diverted more resources onto their powertrains. Whilst most put the withdrawal of Audi down to the dieselgate affair, Audi had already been complaining about development costs in advance and Dr Ullrich had hinted that, a year before that debacle broke, Audi were already considering dropping their WEC programme because costs were getting out of hand.

    4. It seems like they are favoring opening up the door much more to new engine manufacturers with these changes.

      -Prescriptive internal design parameters
      -Single turbo with dimensional constraints and weight limits
      -Standard energy store and control electronics
      -High level of external prescriptive design to give ‘plug-and-play’ engine/chassis/transmission swap capability

      They seem to be walking the line between a spec engine and leaving enough scope to make it interesting for engine manufactures. With more limited scope one would assume that engines will have smaller variations in performance. Which will hopefully mean a tighter field, and less risk for a new manufacturer doing a Honda.

      -More powerful MGUK with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing

      I really like the sound of that rule, moving some of the onus from the engine software developers and putting it on the drivers, it will be interesting to see what tactics drivers take to exploit this for attacking/defending. It also seems to imply that the ES will be larger, hopefully a lot larger.

      On the whole it seems a sensible outline of the future rules, if a little conservative, I would have liked them to have a spec ICE with a lot of flexibility in the electric/hybrid side to focus R&D in that area.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        1st November 2017, 1:09

        I can’t figure why manufacturers would want a standard energy store, though. With Formula E opening the powertrain for development from next year on, I would’ve thought that more teams would want to develop their own energy devices (assuming the electric components in all-electric and hybrid powertrains are similar). Besides, there are a ton of independent firms out there specializing in the technology (like Williams themselves) who would gladly become partners in F1.

        1. Because this is key to getting other engine manufacturers involved. The more modular you can make the PU the easier it is for an engine manufacturer to design a 1.6L V6 Turbo. That is all it will be if the hybrid element is standardised and the rest of the PU (especially gearbox and KERS motors) is “plug and play”.

    5. I can’t help thinking there is a good chance that Merc and Honda will stop making engines under these somewhat backward regs. Honda expressly came to F1 because of the MGU H and we all know how good Me4c have made their own one. The Ferrari boss made his point that he is not interested in a spec engine series.

      Cosworth may come back but losing or even risking losing those manufacturers (over half the grid) suggests there are some further talks to be had. I can’t see them giving up the years of H development that quickly. It’s future application in cars is pretty much guaranteed. Further without it, the engines will be no where near the magical 50% efficiency mark and when did F1 start going backwards?

      Sounds like a line in the sand to me and if it stays I think F1 will be poorer for it just for a bit of noise.

  7. The engine rev change is no change at all. The current engines are basically never run to 15k rpm. The “new” engines won’t rev any higher. Sad to see these horrible engines were kept. Any other option would have been than this.

    1. I agree, but be careful what you wish for – a smaller displacement would have been worse

    2. @socksolid you can’t say that definitively because they haven’t touched upon fuel flow regs. These could be relaxed or lifted completely allowing for more independent management in-car and more use of the available revs.

  8. So ONLY 18 000 RPM that’s too bad. They could have worked with engineers to increase fuel flow limits & work write the rules in a way where the car are actually designed to faster/more powerful while revving higher & giving us a better sound.

    Good thing they are removing an MGU from the exhaust but I think another problem is the exhaust design. I think the shape & size helps to contribute to the horrible hollow piping/tube sound that many people including me hate.

    1. Good thing they are removing an MGU from the exhaust

      It was never there in the first place :p

  9. Michael Brown (@)
    31st October 2017, 14:14

    – Higher rev limit
    – Intention to investigate tighter fuel regulations
    Unless the fuel flow limit allows for it, there is no point in revving up to 18,000. At the moment, the fuel flow limit means that there is no gain in revving beyond 11,500 (or somewhere around there).

    – High level of external prescriptive design
    This worries me. It sounds to me like the FIA want a standardized F1 engine so it can be easily placed into other cars.

    The part that I absolutely love about this proposal is manual deployment of energy. I loved KERS, so I love this for the same reason. Here, they’re allowing drivers to save up energy for multiple laps. I wonder if qualifying will have multiple warmup laps to store as much energy as possible?

    Also, people were talking about this in 2014, doesn’t splitting the exhaust increase the volume of sound? They can ha e multiple exhaust exits, and place them where they are now so there are no aerodynamic gains.

    1. The “High level of external prescriptive design” sounds like a great idea to me. It sounds like it’s supposed to mean you can change from one engine to another without a complete redesign of the car, which is probably the most positive part of these proposed regulations.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        1st November 2017, 0:15

        @drmouse I misunderstood that, and I even quoted that part. Sounds good to me for the purposes of fitting different engines into cars.

        1. @mbr-9, @drmouse – Good news about swappable PUs. But imagine a season where Toro Rosso changes drivers and engine manufacturers from week to week. Very confusing. Best not to put your PU manufacturer’s name in your official team name, that could end up harder to change than the engines.

  10. The MGUK changes feel like they are being put into place to get rid of the DRS perhaps?

    1. It seems likely they hope to improve racing by giving drivers more deployment control.

      I’m worried deeper recovery cycles means heavier batteries. Of all the bad things they can do heavier cars is smoung the worse.

  11. WeatherManNX01
    31st October 2017, 14:16

    Removal of the MGU-H is presumably what will encourage others to enter as engine manufacturers and Honda to stay on. The power lost there is, I assume, made up in the increase in the rev limit (at least in part)?

    Keeping a 1.6L V6 Turbo is presumably intended to control costs so manufacturers don’t have to completely redesign the power unit.

    With the Energy Store and Control Electronics standardized, hopefully, these can be eliminated from the power unit parts allocation and grid penalties.

    The “plug-and-play” nature of the units is presumably done so teams won’t have major setbacks in car development if they change engine suppliers.

    Use of the extra MGU-K power as a “push-to-pass” type of system is interesting. Is the writing on the wall for DRS? We can hope.

  12. The return of “push to pass”? Color me unimpressed.

    1. @photogcw but this time drivers can save up for several laps, during which they’re probably not attempting anything. It sounds even worse

      1. To my mind, Push To Pass would only make sense if they got rid of DRS.
        I hope that this is the direction that they are going in, and that the elimination of DRS will be a news generating item in a month’s time. Fingers crossed.

    2. Would you rather this be controlled by computers and engineers then like it is now?

      Anything that brings racing back to the driver, as artificial as it is, is better than it being controlled by engineers.

  13. Bah, why do so many people think the MGU-H is in the exhaust? It’s placed in the engine-V, driven by the shaft which extends from the turbo turbine to the compressor.


    The sound has always been baffled by the single turbo design, which is being retained. There will be no improvement to the sound, other than the increased revs (which won’t be reached).

    This regulation change is pointless, done for the sake of being seen as doing *something*.

  14. I still don’t get the engine rev change. Even with increased fuel flow, teams would want to under-fuel during the race as its faster so they would still use the usual rpm of today

  15. What’s the point of increasing the rev limit by 3000 RPM if the current units don’t even get to the maximum RPM anyway? Just thought I get that out there before anybody else says it.

  16. Why is the philosophy more revs = better sound? An indycar-engine has a max of 12.000 rpm and sounds lovely. Perhaps the MGU muffles the sound in the F1-engines but it’s certainly not the RPMs alone.

    1. They sound very good, but part of that is down to having twin turbos.

  17. It all depends on when and who will get the concrete information on engine design first . 2014 engine design was well known to Mercedes in 2007 ( Niki Lauda’s own words )…. Rest of Mercedes GP – car , team , drivers , has been developed and organised since 2009 buyout of Brawn GP ( formerly Honda ) by Mercedes , all by Mr Brawn himself till 2013 , where he left for purely political reasons and lack of trust with Wolf and Lauda… Winnig in F1 takes ages of preparation and it is always a game who knows the rules first , and who can go around them without getting caught .

    In my own opinion I woul love to see them with 1000++ HP, no hybrid , low drag , no DRS , monsters – single or twin turbo with only fuel limitation of 150 kg . I would introduce refuelling as well adding fixed time for refuel only included in the pitstop – for example 5-7 sec fixed period fueling only ( after tyre change – i.e. tyres and work on car gets done first and then 7 secs to refuelling done separetely by a second team of mechanics)

    This will bring down race lap time closed to qualification lap times and not like 7 sec difference as it is now, where cars look like from an endurance championship .

  18. I don’t like the idea of going back to manual KERS deployment as let’s be honest when KERS was run like that in 2009 & from 2011-2013 it was pretty much pointless.

    One of the good things about the current formula IMO is that the KERS/Hybrid power is part of the overall engine power/performance & is deployed when the driver in on the throttle which is a big part of why the current power units have so much more torque & have been more challenging for drivers to manage getting on throttle. If we go back to manual deployment then were going to go back to driver waiting until it’s ‘safe’ to push the button which may mean less of a challenge in terms of getting back on the throttle.

    I also fear that a more powerful KERS type system that is driver operated is essentially just going to work like a far more powerful DRS. A driver stores it over several laps & is then able to push the button & easily cruise past a car ahead which I don’t see as been a benefit to the racing. Yes the car in-front will in theory be able to use similar tactics to defend, But if the boost from the car behind is significantly more then the effect is going to be the same as DRS. Look at the years with the old KERS where you had a KERS car crusing past a Non-KERS car, Not the sort of racing I want to see.

    I am also not keen on removing the MGU-H or the prospect of standardized hybrid parts as it’s these areas that are where a lot of the development & performance improvements have/will come from.

    So far all I see is less interesting, Potentially less powerful, Less challenging, Performance controlled, Spec part engines. I’ll wait to hear more before making a real judgement but based on the details today I can’t say i’m overly excited or impressed.

    1. @stefmeister I agree with what you have said about KERS. It is sort of like having a boost that drivers get punished for not using, which defeats the whole point in having it. And I definitely don’t like the sound of a driver not even attempting an overtake because they’re waiting for their KERS to charge for several laps. It sounds very ill-thought-out. The only solution to DRS is less complex aerodynamics, not another type of boost.

      I don’t mind seeing some parts standardised if it means greater reliability and reducing a huge cost, but whether that will still be the case in 3–4 years anyway is questionable. I hate the idea of them being less powerful, they’re already too underpowered for these large and heavy cars as it is.

    2. I think the ‘manual’ part is the best thing of all new regulation.
      There will be lots of different style of stored energy deployment to defense or overtake.
      We still don’t know how much, but since the new MGUK will be far more powerful it looks like the new regulation give the control back to the drivers.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      31st October 2017, 20:27

      At least there’s no arbitrary rule on when the boost can and cannot be used.

  19. Drivers will be given greater control over when they choose to use the energy harvested by the power units.

    It’s possible we will see even more energy saving and more settings then, even if the engines are simplified. This is quite bad in my opinion.

    I would love to see the engine settings simplified to allow the drivers to push all the time

    1. Also, as I said not long ago, they need more power to match the high levels of downforce and grip.

      It may seem impressive that some corners can be taken flat out, but it would be even more impressive and exciting if the cars were going so fast they have to lift to make a corner. It would require more driver skill

  20. I’m far more interested in what car design regulations we have by that time.

    Engines are nice and impressive and all that, but I don’t recall ever checking out an F1 engine and thinking ‘oh, that really improves the quality of the racing’…

    1. I used to think it was interesting when you could identify certain cars (namely ferrari V12) before it came into view. However I wasn’t emotionally attached any of the sounds. Unfortunatley as the cars became screamier people became emotional and havn’t been able to let go. I think it’s rather shallow making them noisier just for the show.

  21. The more energy they recover the quieter it’s going to be. These are still energy recovering fuel saving formulas. They may as well stick playing cards in the spokes.

  22. complete nothingburger

    but itll stop most of the engine penaltys id say

  23. No electric turbocharger? I thought that was the easiest way to cure noise while maintaining efficiency. Electric compressor turbine instead of exhaust driven?

    1. Mattias Hammer
      2nd November 2017, 22:24

      My thought exactly. No turbine muffling the sound on the exhaust and electronically controlled turbo pressure. Audi have already this in production and I believe it is the future.

  24. Expected a lot more from Ross here. Higher RPM limit will not achieve anything as the teams don’t come near the limit as it currently exists. Teams already run less than 100kg/h in fuel flow as it is quicker to run the whole race with less fuel and save than to fill it up and run 100% for duration.

    Scrapping the MGU-H – possibly the only ‘high tech’ element of the PU – seems like a retrograde step, and one that would have possibly been useful on a road car. No turbo-lag, imagine that.

    The idea of a MGU-K that the drivers can “save” and “deploy” at their own will sounds like we’re going towards Push to Pass, which is dreadful.

    I’m not an expert or an engineer by any means, and I know Ross and his team know better than I do – I was just hoping for more here.

  25. Shame I will never see/hear this, with F1 being hidden behind the Sky paywall by that time..

  26. As many have said, the higher rev limit is probably pointless, because we don’ use maximum revs now. If the concern is noise, then it shows that F1 is suffering a kind of technological dissonance, so to speak. The time when piston speed was necessarily best way to generate power for a given amount of fuel is over. The ear-splitting whine of a small-pistoned, high speed engine is simply the sound of the past now. Who doesn’t enjoy the sound of V10 going through the gears? But as the “pinnacle” of engine technology a V10 is not it.

    One day soon, F1 is going to be staring the reality of the superiority of an all-electric powertrain in the face, and we are still going to be talking about salvaging some “noise.”

  27. ‘Improve the sound’ to mask any actual action so fans think they’re getting their money’s worth

    Well done everyone who let themselves become too emotionally attached to screaming car noise

  28. Well, this is at best a weak compromise but FOM are between a rock & a hard place. They’re never going to go back to N/A and 20k rpm and just sticking on an increased rev limit is just a fudge. No engine manufacturer is going to build an engine to rev to 18k when they can get enough power lower down for enhanced reliability. That fact alone leads me to believe that they are stuck on this issue and perhaps divided. Any idea how they’re going to counteract turbo lag with this “new” formula? It’s not a recipe that will encourage new engine manufacturers either. The only thing that will save them is an increased fuel allowance and 10 engines per year. THEN you might see some proper racing.. There’s still a lot of oil in the ground and it needs using up. Formula 1 must play it’s part… ;)

    1. @baron I think we have to give the benefit of the doubt here and assume consultation has gone on with manufacturers outside of the existing suppliers. With the Head of the new engine group an ex-Cosworth guy indicates a desire to move away from the current situation.

      I for one cannot pretend to propose what would be attractive to other manufacturers. However rumours circulating indicate the manufacturers that the new PU regs are designed to appeal to i.e Porsche and some form of consortium comprising Cosworth / Aston Martin / McLaren.

      1. Just by dropping the MGU-H and raising the rev limit? That’s hardly a revolutionary or ground breaking solution or any real change from the current status quo. There has to be more surely? Anyway, as you say, we’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt but as it’s the first major change since Liberty took over, I hope it’s going to make a real & positive difference.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          31st October 2017, 20:30

          Audi considered putting an MGU-H in their LMP1 car but decided against it because it was too heavy.

        2. Or is it as much about stability…showing the manufacturers that there is not a big and expensive departure from what is in play now, so plenty of time to gear up for 2021, while existing makers can see their costs diminish as they are spread over more time.

          And there’s the ‘external prescriptive design’ as has been mentioned on the list of aspects of change for 2021…I take that as a heading toward less advantage for the works teams merging chassis and pu in house, and a heading back toward the times when a customer team stood a reasonable chance by ‘just’ building a good chassis, and then being reasonably if not very successful slapping on someone else’s good engine.

  29. Duncan Snowden
    31st October 2017, 18:25

    “Prescriptive” … “Standard” … “contraints” … “limits”

    *sigh* Can we change the name yet? This isn’t Formula 1 any more, it’s “Set-of-precriptive-regulations #1”.

    “discourage extreme designs”

    Ooh, yes. Nobody wants that, do they? People might think it was the pinnacle of motorsport or something.

    I suppose the best that can be said is that it could have been worse.

    1. By its very nature, a Formula racing series is a set of prescriptive regulations…

  30. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. I remember reading once a quote from Jenson/someone at Mclaren Honda in early 2015 where they talked about the viscous circular effect of a weak MGU-H. The explanation went something like this:

    If MGU-H is weak/inefficient, it generates less usable energy from the exhaust. This energy that was meant to substitute as normal IC engine power is now reduced. Hence, to compensate, teams like Honda had to use more fuel to maintain the same level of engine power. But as the total fuel is limited, Honda can’t use this for more than a couple of laps. After that, they would be left with lower fuel than their competitors (less direct power) and inefficient MGU-H (less exhaust power) resulting in the viscious cycle.

    If my understanding is correct, getting this right had exponential benefits and getting it wrong had exponential penalties. So, removing MGU-H can be a good thing only. Right?

    1. So, removing MGU-H can be a good thing only. Right?

      Errr… I don’t think it is as simple as that. A turbo-charger is an air compressor connected to the exhaust turbine. The MGU-H is an alternator or generator attached to the exhaust turbine, which drives an electric motor (either located separately or in the same unit) that is connected to the air compressor. So, yes, it does look like they’ve reinvented the wheel, but with lots of bells and whistles, but this arrangement has an advantage over the turbo-charger: the speed of the the air compressor can be independent of the exhaust turbine. I believe some power units, like the Mercedes PU, have the generator and the motor in the same unit, so, with the aid of a clutch, they can choose whether to run the air compressor independently of the exhaust turbine or not.
      I know this sounds a bit like one of those adverts on TV, “But wait … there’s more …”: the generator capability of the MGU-H can also be feed to the hybrid motor, which assists the engine, so you get extra horsepower from the exhaust that would otherwise be lost. This extra power does make a difference. One of the reasons the Honda engine had a power deficiency on long straights last year (I’m not sure about this year) when compared to, for example, the Mercedes power unit, was because the exhaust turbine they used was smaller than what Mercedes used. I don’t know the details, but it seems fairly obvious the power output of the Mercedes MGU-H was equal to the maximum power demanded by hybrid-electric motor, so a car with a Mercedes PU got full power from the hybrid-electric motor for the whole length of a long straight. In comparison, because of the smaller exhaust turbine the power output from Honda MGU-H was less than what the hybrid-electric motor demanded, so the hybrid-electric motor had to draw power from the hybrid battery. This wasn’t a problem on a short straights, but on a long straight the hybrid battery would go flat, so the car was left running on the engine.
      So, to answer your question: is discarding the MGU-H good or not? Do you want cars with Mercedes performance or Honda performance?

      1. Ultimately, the reason Honda were rubbish was because they read the regulations that limited the total energy that can be extracted by the MGU-K, and that placed absolutely no limit on the energy that can be extracted from the MGU-H… and strangely concluded that the best solution was to *minimise* the size of the turbine driving the MGU-H (even after seeing that Merc had maximised theirs…) I haven’t determined whether they ever go round to correcting this error after all these years, but that’s the origin of their problems.

  31. Good to know that they’re going to keep the hybrid technology to some extent at least if not to the same as now.

  32. Great, just rewrite fuel flow rules so maximum fuel flow is avaliable to 18000 rpm. Say 60kg/h at 9000rpm, 120kg/h at 18000rpm.

    Engines would have to be reved high, to attain highest fuel flow/power.

  33. Give them an extra 12.5% fuel per cylinder increase with the added with a bonus of 25% for running a N/a car, (Kers compulsory). There are bright enough engineers out there to figure out how to achieve current performance levels whilst returning the soundtrack to this sport which it had before.

  34. with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing

    No please no, take that idea from your heads, not another DRS, and refuelling ban like measure, the teams will exploit this far more than be vulnerable to. DRS trains mean deadlock, this is bad but not as bad as refuelling ban’s starting the race underfuelled tactic, worst of all is now having the leader earn another get out of jail free card in having the most electrical power on hand to defend.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      31st October 2017, 20:33

      It’s better than DRS because there’s no rule telling them when they can and cannot use it.

      1. @mbr-9 True, However there will still be optimal places to deploy.

        With the KERS of pre 2014 everyone was deploying in the same places & for the same amount of time give or take because it was found very quickly that those places for that amount of time were the best place to use it.
        With a manual deployment system it will again become very obvious very quickly when & where it will be best to deploy & I’d be very surprised if you didn’t end up with everybody doing the same, Especially if its a standardized system.

  35. The proposed changes mean very little to me as a lifelong F1 fan as I am pretty sure that, in 2021, I will not be around to see them.
    I believe it is said that “If there is no-one in the forest, when an old tree dies, then no-one will know whether it made a sound or not when it fell to the ground.” I may be wrong on the quote but, one thing I am certain of, I will not be in the forest after the 2018 season.
    If I can’t see the racing, purely on cost, then I will find my Sunday entertainment elsewhere.
    I have been a huge fan of the sport since the early seventies, eagerly setting an alarm for 5 a.m. to get up for the far eastern flyaway races, trying never to miss a race.
    The excitement of F1 is live F1. If it’s not live it’s not worth watching. So, when it finally slips below the horizon, of a pay wall, in 2019 I will cease to be a follower. I do not think I will be the only one.

    1. @lotus49 – If I can’t watch the race as it happens I listen to BBC Radio 5 Live streamed over the net, as their coverage is very good. Luckily for me I have a visual imagination. Your mileage may vary!

  36. Been told that the new proposals hasn’t gone down well with any of the manufacturer’s partly due to the prospect of spec components but also because it appears that most of the manufacturer’s in attendance are firmly against the removal of the MGU-H as they see it as one of the largest areas of development & performance improvement as well as a key area of high performance hybrid technology going forward.

    I also gather that some of those currently not in F1 who attended have questions about why they would bother entering F1 to showcase there brand & technology if many key components will be either standardized or unable to be developed. They also have a concern that any performance advantage they find will just end up been capped so that others can catch up.

    Appears the concern is that a lot of the discussions seemed to be about the show & entertainment rather than on performance, technology & sport.

    1. @gt-racer, the fact that the discussions seemed to revolve around the show rather than the performance and technology is not surprising, since that is a topic that Liberty Media have been harping on about in recent months and clearly have more interest in.

      The way that you describe the situation, with heavy standardisation of components, restrictions on development and desire to make engines as easy to slot in and out of the cars as possible, does sound like a push towards a semi spec series that would heavily cut down the importance and influence of the manufacturer teams.

      It does also tie in with the rumours that Liberty Media want to shift the sport more towards a franchising system – being able to easily slot a new engine in and out of a car would help with that – and the heavy standardisation would be consistent with the rumours that they want to introduce a fairly aggressive price cap system, with cynical suggestions being that such a system would enable them to heavily cut the amount paid to the teams and increase their cut of the profits.

      The recent announcements are probably going to be music to the ears of the likes of Red Bull, but by comparison I imagine that the likes of Mercedes and Renault are rather less cheerful.

      1. A really tough one. I can see both sides. Too spec is ‘less F1’ and too developy is advantaging the have teams. Sounds like so far this is a plan, but not the final solution, which yesterday I thought it was. I just hope they keep open discussions going, and come to a best possible compromise for everyone, which I think would be a step better than under BE.

        Costs are a problem. And it would seem the big teams have been no help in solving that, because it is not their problem, unless they genuinely look at the health of the sport overall. So perhaps cost caps are having to be thrust upon them via spec components since they can’t or won’t police themselves.

        Imho all sport needs no small percentage of entertainment and show, or it wouldn’t survive. Performance is a big part of it too, for if it isn’t enthralling to watch, then it is also less entertaining. The two go hand in hand. How do manufacturers and teams get enough leeway in development to keep themselves enthralled, able to showcase their talents in innovation, without that breaking the bank and leaving the majority of the teams permanently behind? Surely better money distribution has to be one revised component, and imho less dirty air effect so that smaller teams can be in the mix more, which might attract more sponsors and help grow the sport.

        In very basic terms I think F1 needs to make a big priority the closeness of the racing…the concept that (let’s say) any one of 6 drivers could win any given race. If that sounds too spec, I still wonder if that’s just necessary for now, to ‘haul in the reins,’ as they tweek every aspect of F1 toward what I know is a difficult ideal to achieve.

  37. Higher revs may mean higher wear for the engine……apologies if I have missed it, but how many engines will a team be allowed to use……that may dictate what revs are used

  38. Liberty have been running F1 for 11 months now and I’ve been left severely unimpressed.

    – The Austin introduction fiasco, gee that went well…
    – The podium in Mexico was odd to say the least.
    – Asanine ideas like 3-2-3 grids
    – No indication of a reduction to ticket prices to attend Grand Prix.
    – These engine regulations (which they have been a major part of) have little appeal whatsoever. Road car development is moving towards the hydrogen fuel cell, not V6 energy recovery. F1, in my eyes at least, is a marketing exercise for the manufacturers so they should be enticing to fans. If I were running F1 we’d be having V10 twin turbos with MGU-K for 2021 and beyond, that would bring more fans to the races and retain existing fans, I’m sure.

    Liberty are looking little better than CVC. This is sad.

  39. If they have a tactical ERS deployment by the driver, then we don’t need DRS. My prediction is that we lose DRS in 2021.
    The only way the engines will rev higher is if the fuel flow limit is lifted. It will then be (more) challenging to do a race on 105kg of fuel if you can rev to 15,000rpm.

  40. I’m not excited about this yet, but I felt the same a few years back.

    About this time, way back in 2009, we were all told that we were getting a four pot turbo hybrid.

    We’ve all had a lot of sleep since then and there’s plenty sleeps until 2021.

    It’s all subject to change, one suspects.

  41. Does higher rpm mean higher horsepower

  42. Wow I’m genuinely surprised by the extent of negativity and criticism in response to this. They were never going to revert to natural aspiration or more cylinders, and much of what they’ve announced makes a lot of sense to me. F1 has a reputation for knee-jerk reactions and drastic rule changes that weren’t need, I think it is great to see some evolution in the right direction instead of complete revolution which (knowing F1) would likely have all the wrong outcomes to what was intended anyway.

    Clearly the increase in revs will be linked to a change in rules around fuel flow that haven’t been agreed yet otherwise it would make no sense at all (which I highly doubt they would simply have overlooked). The removal of the MGU-H will simplify the units which is a good thing as they are far too complex even for F1. A simpler formula should be an attraction to new suppliers (less risk of doing a Honda) and will also reduce the weight of the PU’s. F1 cars having been increasingly getting heavier for far to long, good to see a step in the other direction.

    More driver input into a more powerful MGU-K is only positive and looks to be a good first step to the removal of DRS (something Brawn has mentioned on numerous occasions as something to get rid of).

    I appreciate the criticism of standardisation and design limitations but the glory days of rule freedom and extreme invention in F1 is simply over. If it was brought back, the domination and spread of performance of the past four years would be even more extreme. The flip side to this, and the intent of the proposed changes, is a closing of performance and a tighter field. F1 needs this as much as anything right now.

    I for one am looking forward to what they propose on the chassis side to accompany these new rules for 2021.

  43. Overall I am disappointed, saddened. This is Formula 1, it is the premier open wheel racing series. It isn’t just a race on the the track, it is also a race off the track. Fans don’t want to just watch cars race, they want to watch leading edge of technology cars race. Development is an essential part of F1. Yes, there is a place to reduce the amount spent on development, but how do you define “development”? If you can’t define it then you can’t restrict it. Wouldn’t it be easier to restrict development by making the TV rights payout more even? Then teams will choose which way they want to develop their cars. Some might want to spend more money on their hybrid system, others on their aerodynamics, etc.
    If you look at the Token System, the aim of that was to reduce the cost of development and to try and reduce the advantage one team might have got over their competitors. From the start of the 2014 season Mercedes drivers visited the podium 28 races in a row. By the end of the 2015 season there were only two races in these two season that didn’t have a Mercedes driver on the podium. By the end of the 2016 season, with Mercedes drivers having missed the podium just one more time (their own error, not their competitors performance), it was so apparent the Token system wasn’t working that it was abandoned.
    I think the aim to restrict development by rules will have the same result as when F1 engine manufacturers had to contend with the Token System: those who start the season ahead of the rest will probably remain ahead of the rest, and the further ahead of the rest they are then the longer they can expect to keep winning races. Rules hindering development will hinder those behind more than those at the front. The normal way to overcome this is to allow development, because those at the front are looking into a world of the unknown, no one has been there. Those behind have a slightly easier path because they know someone has been that way before.
    I think they should have been more open to different engine sizes. The power advantage or disadvantage of different engine sizes being countered by fuel flow restrictions. There are engine manufacturers who produce engines that might suit an F1 team, but are of a different size. Restricting the engine capacity while also restricting development simply discourages other engine manufacturers from being interested in F1.
    I’m not sure if the 18,000 RPM rule is necessary, but then we don’t know the future. I think this is, at least for now, a harmless rule change. From watching the onboard camera when a car is on the track it seems the current limit is hardly ever reached. I just don’t see this as a direction the current engine manufacturers are interested in. The engines are currently so advanced they are using 30:1 compression ratio (more than most diesel engines) without getting pre-ignition. It could be that by the end of the 2020 season the engine manufacturers will be hitting the 15K RPM limit while also being below the maximum fuel flow rate, but I’m not expecting that to happen.

  44. All seems entirely sensible to me.

    Hooray for level headed thinking from all parties!

  45. I want to thank you all for your comments. I do not understand the technologies involved and it was fascinating to read all your points.

  46. What they need to do is stop basing the sport around the least well off team. It’s supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport ffs. Stop limiting the teams just to cater for the teams that can barely compete. I’ve been saying it for years, each team should be able to run up to 4 cars. Imagine how much more excitement there would be, even if one team was ridiculously dominant. 4 drivers all just going for it in the same car (without bs penalties too). Seriously, imagine a Merc team with Hamilton, Ricciardo, Max and Maldonardo in it. That would be savage and would of made this season 100x more exciting and would soon highlighted either how great Lewis is, or actually when next to other skilled drivers, he really isn’t all that.

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