Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

No appetite for engine revolution in 2021 – Abiteboul

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul says there is still disagreement over the engine rules for 2021 but no one is looking for radical change.

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  • 53 comments on “No appetite for engine revolution in 2021 – Abiteboul”

    1. .”the first time Alonso will share a car with team mates in his career.” This is just another reason why this years Daytona 24 hours is going to attract my attention. Does anybody know where I can access a full entry list for the race?

      1. Check Daytona International Speedway’s website, they have posted the schedule and entry list.

      2. @arki19 Apart from it being a great race anyway Alonso taking part is wonderful, I wish more drivers did. I mean there’s plenty of AMG GT GT3s racing for both Bottas and Hamilton too, and even more 488 GT3s for Vettel and Kimi.

        1. None of them would be allowed in a GTD (GT3 in IMSA spec) car without unholy hell being raised by the teams. It’s a pro-am class for at best Gold/Silver drivers, Platinum ringers with a super-license is not exactly the goal of the class.

          1. I wasn’t especially talking about the Daytona race, there’s plenty of GT3 events worldwide on days there’s no F1.

          2. Giancarlo Fisichella drives a Ferrari 458 in the GTE-Pro class in that series. I don’t see any reason why Kimi and Vettel couldn’t do the same. Except well, pigs flying and all that

      3. Roar before the 24 webpage, this weekend’s practice and season start BOP session:

        Rolex 24 Hour webpage:

        And should be streamed outside of US at

        1. BOP? I switched off right there…

    2. I don’t understand Abiteboul’s comments. He says the engine needs to improve in terms of sound and performance (I assume in relation to cost), but then later in the article says there’s no need for a revolution… If I’m not mistaken there’s been efforts to make the current engines louder a few times but they’ve failed every time right?

      Seems like a revolution is indeed needed to me, unless he has a solution to the current cost/sound issues.

      Regardless the proposed engines are still 1.6L turbo hybrids, so in terms of engine regulation changes, it would be the smallest yet. I’m just not seeing the cause for outrage from the current teams other than the potential for increased competition. As the Aston Martin news today shows.

      1. I doubt that, when it comes to it, Aston Martin will actually make an engine – from their public statements, they might at best rebadge an engine by an independent like Cosworth (they do not have the ability or facilities within their own organisation to build an engine), and I strongly suspect that it is far more likely that Andy Palmer is simply stirring up speculation for cheap headlines at a time when Aston Martin wants to launch a range of new models and will conveniently find an excuse to not build an engine when the time comes.

        He’s a useful ally for Red Bull in their quest to standardise the engines again and to remove it as a competitive element, but I get the impression that Palmer is talking a lot of hot air at a time when headline writers are desperate for anything to write about and there is little substance to what he is saying.

        1. Yes fully agree, I don’t see Aston following through, I think they are trying to sell a few cars and not really aiming for F1 greatness, they don’t have the budget for starters and I can’t see Redbull fully funding an engine project from scratch.
          I believe it’s smoke and mirrors, my prediction is at the last minute Aston will say the refs don’t meet their business model requirement and it’s not a viable project. But that will come in 2020 after they have had some bang for their buck on Red bull’s coat tails.

          1. Well I hope you’re right @thebullwhipper, or else I’m committed to eat a whole deckchair!

        2. @anon I understand your stance that Marko and RBR seem to want what you are calling standardized engines, so that element of competition is ‘eliminated’ making way for those who excel at aero, like they seem to.

          Just wanted to say I’m not sure that should be any surprise, but at the same time I think their stance is more harmless than you seem to project. They have a say but they don’t get to decide. I might be wrong but you seem offended at a team or a company (like Michelin) having an agenda. Don’t we all, and especially business entities, have agendas to have things go our way as much as possible? Do better? Succeed? Excel? Make money? Win? The only problem with agendas is when the likes of BE was in charge and he give only certain teams with certain agendas their way at specific times. Maybe you’re just making us aware to be mindful of certain person’s or entity’s agendas.

          I find it interesting that so many spewed venom at Mercedes’ locked in advantage that still sees them dominant since 2014, and yet I sense venom at the thought of more standardized pu’s so that no one team has such a performance advantage.

          I suggest that whatever the next pu format, there won’t likely be a token system that will lock any one maker into domination. Whatever the next format, I highly doubt there will be such standardization that we won’t be able to tell one engine maker’s work from another’s. Has that ever been the case? Or perhaps has simple stability in the regs in the past been as much to credit apparent ‘standardization’ and similarity in performance such that other factors come into it, like the driver for example, or yes the aero man like Newey.

          I just think it is premature to claim RBR is on a mission and will get their way toward supposed standardized pu’s such that they will then be guaranteed strength again through aero. We, and RBR and Marko don’t even know yet what the aero regs will be like in 4 years. What it should be though is diminished in it’s potency, and if that happens then RBR/Marko will have been seen to be barking up the wrong tree. They may end up wishing for a pu advantage in 4 years.

          Anyway for now I’m going to trust that these are no longer the BE days, and that Brawn and Liberty are well aware of each team principals agendas, which, depending on the team or the person, probably often go without saying. I’ll trust that what Brawn will do will be the best compromise all around for all teams big and small such that no one team is too advantaged. If that seems too spec, perhaps that is because things have been too mismanaged in the past under BE. Perhaps it’s ok to lean toward more spec for now to help them zero the scales and see what they actually have out there without other teams specific agendas having been met.

          1. @robbie, it’s not so much the agenda itself as the fact that, quite often, they are so unwilling to admit to what it is and therefore spin it in ways that just come off even worse.

            1. @anon Fair comment but isn’t that just human nature? Sometimes they have to be diplomatic, or decide they want to be diplomatic, whereas other times, like with Ferrari these days for example, they just cut to the chase and outright say if things don’t go quite the way that is better for us then we’d be happy to quit.

              I do hear you…smoke and mirrors and all that…but I think we can often see through that kind of stuff and we can also try to put ourselves in their shoes, as in, what would we do?

              Going forward I’d be more worried about Marko’s stance if BE was still in charge. With Michelin, well, forgetting about an agenda, or debating what rim sizes are best for F1, or even F1 being road relevant, or domestic cars taking from F1 R&D throughout he years, it is undeniable that nobody in the world but F1 is making balloon tires on 13” rims still. I don’t think their stance or agenda is off the mark when I put myself in their shoes.

        3. Aston can’t build high tech engines their roadcars are moving to Merc engines. They talk an awful lot.

        4. Agreed. Its not just the expertise Aston don’t have. From memory, I think they have only been profitable for a few years in the last 10 years. This is just cheap headline for Aston Martin. They are getting to be as annoying as Red Bull.

          1. +1.6

            Slow news cycle. Palmer needs go sit quietly with F1’s other Palmer. A company that can’t build their own road car engines bragging about building racing car engines belongs in the fantasy section of F1F, not the news feed.

      2. Seems like a revolution is indeed needed to me, unless he has a solution to the current cost/sound issues.

        I think you are on the wrong track there; it would be wrong to force a revolution only to increase the sound (number 23 in the top 10 of most urgent F1 issues).
        Most fans watch F1 on TV (unfortunately less and less FTA) and changing the sound is as easy as inviting a sound technician with a computer.
        Costs can be reined in by ‘changing less’ (evolution without the leading R) and introduce some standardised parts.

      3. @Tristan What I interpreted from Abiteboul’s commentary is that they could stand pat with the current format but lessen the degree of the restrictions surrounding fuel consumption and component reliability. Standing pat and lessening these restrictions would see them continue to improve the package while spreading the costs over more years. Removing the restrictions would see the pu’s revving higher for more power and performance and more noise, without them having to spend race time worrying about sipping fuel and spinning components out for so many races or incur grid spot penalties.

        I initially assumed that just removing the MGU-H would be a minimal change, but it sounds like the experts are saying not so, and that in fact it would take a lot of expensive R&D and re-manufacturing to do this.

        I think Abiteboul has some valid points, and I am glad to hear that everything is still under discussion and that no consensus has been made yet. That to me is very healthy for the sport and is exactly what Brawn has talked about doing…no knee-jerk reactions but rather well thought out and discussed long-term plans.

          1. I don’t think higher rpm will brink any more power to the party @robbie but it will bring higher fuel consumption and less reliability. Remember the original turbo era brought 1,400 hp in quallie (grenade) mode with twin turbo but similar rpm. It’s quite interesting how I don’t remember anyone complaining about the change in engine note back then even when they were running 3.5 litre NA next to the 1.5 litre TT. I guess we have a different breed of fans now. One of the more inane (but common) statements from current F1 fans being “it’s not F1 if I don’t leave the track and my ears aren’t bleeding”. Seriously. Regarding the potential removal of the MGU-H, I am puzzled by their reactions too but not being an engineer, I cannot understand what the objections are. It should be spelled out in layman (or at least armchair expert) terms.

            1. @baron I’m interpreting Abiteboul’s wording to mean that rather than spending a whole ton of new money for the (so far proposed) new pu format for 2021, save that money and let them spend a little more to develop these current ones to handle another 3000 rpm with reliability, and let them have the fuel to deal with that too. I think the power band could be played with if they had more freedom and didn’t have to worry so much about making what are supposed to be the pinnacle of race cars into fuel sippers. They’re still going to be way more fuel efficient than the pre-hybrid era. I’m assuming with higher rpm would come higher noise.

    3. Would the PU still be enough road-relevant if it only featured ERS, and MGU-K along with the engine itself (ICE)? If yes, then why not drop everything else (MGU-H, which is already set to happen anyway, but also TC, ES, and CE) as an attempt to bring down the minimum overall weight without dropping a cockpit-protection device or making the tyres smaller/narrower again. The heavy-ish minimum weight (heavy-ish for an F1 car) is something that people have been complaining about a lot (some drivers as well), so that’s the reason for this suggestion as it would be one way to bring the weight down, i.e., make the cars lighter. I agree to some extent at least if not fully that this trend of the overall driver+car weight increasing should come to an end.

      1. @jerejj, I think you’ve misunderstood some terms, and the relation between the items. The MGU-K requires the energy store (battery) and control electronics to function. (Unless used as a low inertia flywheel, which makes no sense). There are some good videos on Youtube explaining the current V6 hybrids.

        1. @me4me OK, thanks for clarifying things a bit. I hadn’t realized before that the energy store and the control electronics are linked to the MGU-K somehow. I thought they all worked separately.

    4. I must admit when I saw the headline about Alonso “out of his comfort zone” I immediately thought “deckchairs”. Word association is a powerful thing.

      This business with Aston Martin is smoke & mirrors. They haven’t the resources anymore to build their own road-car PU so how they’re going to manage F1 is beyond me even if they engage a third party partner like Cosworth and Ilmor. So they’ve ‘employed’ a a couple of F1 engine gurus to produce a concept but I reckon that’s as far as it goes. Aston Martin will therefore “be in F1 until 2020” and then they won’t. As a previous poster said, it’s all about the marketing..

      Ok. I’m feeling generous today. If Aston Martin ever produce an F1 engine, I’ll eat my deckchair…

      1. @Baron have just got to ur comment and I had already posted a reply to someone further up with almost the exact same words as u, b4 I even saw ur post. If armchair experts such as ourselves can work this out, surely the F1 community can see it too, or are they so blinkered that they only focus on what benefits them right now.

        Interesting to see how it goes

        1. …deckchair experts ;)

      2. engage a third party partner like Cosworth and Ilmor.

        IIRC Ilmor as a company does not exist anymore (now part of Mercedes Benz), and Mario Illien as a consultant was already linked to RBR/Renault, Honda and even Ross Brawn/Liberty.

        1. Roger Penske and Mario Illien bought back the Ilmor Special Projects department (along with the Ilmor naming rights) after the Mercedes take-over. So Ilmor is alive and kicking and independent from Mercedes-Benz. They build the Chevy Indycar engine.

          1. Exactly what Leo has said, Penske owns Ilmor lock, stock and barrel to bring it back. Basically now a Chevy engine builder for Penske and his projects. They also are the top engine builder for ARCA, stock car feeder series and other US racing series. I believe they also do single cylinder engine design studies and consultations

      3. @baron while my initial position is to agree with you, and as far as we know that really is the situation with Aston Martin. There is a factor that points otherwise, that says they are serious. They hired Joerg Ross and Luca Marmorini, that has to mean something no? It might come down just to the fact that they wanted someone to check the engines they buy for their road cars, but still.

        1. It certainly means something @johnmilk and like any good corporate entity they would require a concept and a feasibility study. From an engineering standpoint they have picked 2 experienced F1 engineers, but to do what? I believe they have been hired as “consultants” in order to deliver a feasibility study. Unless I’m missing something major here (wouldn’t be the first time) I cannot find one good reason why Aston Martin would want an F1 PU in its name, UNLESS they paid a 1/3d party for the naming rights of A.N. Other PU. They don’t need it, they can’t afford it and it’s a dangerous game for them as a vanity project. If I was an Aston Martin shareholder, I would want answers to these questions before they get started with whatever it is they are starting to do. Of course, what I might be missing here is Nissan. It’s a long shot but think about it…

          1. completely agree @baron, I don’t think they will move this just themselves, I also think branding an engine isn’t that good of an idea, we would all know it, which might mitigate what they are trying to achieve.

            Maybe a joint venture, with RB, Cosworth, Ilmor, something around those lines.

            If we bring Nissan into it, shouldn’t we bring Renault too? That would be quite the mess.

            The two new hires, might just be related to the Valquiry project too. At the end of the day, it is not my money, so if they want to risk it on building a PU, please do! They would have to create a new infrastructure around the project, but the more the merrier.

        2. @johnmilk, the thing is, Joerg Ross stopped working in the motorsport industry back in 2007 – since then, he worked for IAV GmbH (a component manufacturer for the automotive industry, with specialist application for powertrains and transmission systems and electronic control systems), before then moving on to Maserati.

          In his case, I would have thought that it is more likely that he was poached for his expertise in developing hybrid and electrical powertrains for road cars given he is currently in charge of the RapidE project, a variant of their standard four door car which will be Aston Martin’s first fully electric car and which I think is due to launch this year. I believe that he’s also being deployed to work on Aston Martin’s upcoming SUV, currently called the DBX, which will include a hybrid version in its line up, so Aston Martin had a number of reasons to hire him that aren’t F1 related.

    5. The only thing that puts me off Indycar is my lack of knowledge about the drivers and rivalries and the difficulty in viewing the races. Saying that, if Fernando or Lewis or even Danny Ric were to ever jump ship I would follow them there and make the logistics happen.

      I’ve cancelled my sky sports subsciption for F1 this year already… But tbh thats more down to the awful Sky commentators and lack of diversity in their production team overall.

      1. The insufferable “Crofty” and his incessant screaming everytime someone pulls left or right in a braking zone and/or executes a DRS motorway pass.

      2. When I researched watching the Indianapolis 500 last year it looked like Indycar put video of their entire race onto Youtube, so watching that (ignoring the cost of the internet) is free. One of the best reasons companies have to improve the service they provide is competition.

    6. Happy birthday, Mr. Schumacher. Your legend will live on forever.

    7. Happy 2018 to Keith and F1 Fanatic Fanatics!

      For me 2017 was a delightful year to watch racing as I watched almost all F1 and Formula E races as well as the Indy 500. This year the Daytona 24 will be added to the list (thanks to Alonso). I am looking for both suggestions of other series to watch and sources that list the TV times such as the Formula E linked here: I am looking to add all of these to google calendar so I can be notified for any upcoming events. Maybe this is a good idea for a dedicated article?

      Thank you all.

      1. @oni I think you will find what you are looking for, four posts down on the front page! (‘Get ready for the 2018 F1 season…’).

      2. @oni you can add the F1Fanatic to your google account. You just have to go to the 2018 season on top of the page and follow the instructions

    8. Regarding COTD, For as much as I like Indycar I don’t see disgruntled F1 fans looked at it as an alternative because for a starters I don’t think the oval’s would appeal to many (Maybe even most) F1 fans. I also think the fact it’s effectively a spec series with heavy restrictions on engine’s that are less powerful than F1 with cars that are slower than F1 & have less technology than F1 will again put a lot of F1 fans off seeing it as an F1 replacement/alternative.

      Also if F1 been on PayTV is going to be a turn off then surely the fact that in many regions Indycar is also on PayTV is also going to put people off.

      I like Indycar, I’ve been watching it alongside F1 since the CART heyday of the 90’s but I would never see Indycar as it is now as a replacement or alternative to F1 because apart from been open wheel single seaters they are completely different & Indycar simply doesn’t offer many of the aspects that draw myself & many others to F1.

      If Indycar switched it’s philosophy back more towards CART & allowed multiple chassis suppliers, Multiple tyre suppliers, Less engine restrictions, Higher performance etc…. (Which was far more interesting, Exciting & enticing than current Indycar) Then maybe I could see it as more of a direct alternative, But with Indycar as it currently is I just don’t ever see it troubling F1 or attracting F1 fans to follow it rather than F1.

      1. @stefmeister Agreed and well said.

      2. PayTV is a big “turn off”. Where I live people think Indycar is the same as F1, and that’s the fault of F1’s media rights managers, especially the previous one. The top radio station has sports news and sports talkback radio and F1 barely mentioned or covered because F1 doesn’t want to be popular, and the best way to avoid popularity is to make access to the races difficult.
        I did ask our local PayTV F1 supplier if they showed Indycar races but it seems they don’t, but I’m not worried because Youtube does (or did until now). According to the Youtube search results, it seems full videos of all 17 Indycar races are available to be seen, and it looks like access to most of them is free.
        It seems the price of watching F1 races will go up where I live, so I’m currently undecided as to whether to cancel my subscription entirely or not. That reminds me, I need to look into the cost of watching the races.

    9. OK, so… Aston Martin, a pretty small luxury carmaker that’s essentially done nothing in F1 lately other than stick its badge on a Red Bull, which doesn’t even make engines for its own road cars, and which has admitted it can’t afford to spend more than a few tens of millions on F1 engine development, is suddenly an in-demand manufacturer with sufficient capacity to supply three teams… and all this is happening before anyone has truly started to agree what the new engines are going to be?

      Wowsers. I hope they’re as good at making engines (cough… sticking their badge on a collaborative effort) as they are at blowing big bubbles of self-promoting guff at F1 websites on slow news days.

      1. It is even more ridiculous than you point out since odds are Aston will be up for sale soon or IPO’d and who knows what the new owners/shareholders priorities will be.

      2. Yes, you’ve summed it up very well.

    10. Ok reference grid penalties mentioned by Gasly.
      Instead of a 5 or 10 or 20 place grid penalty .
      A 5 or 10 or 20 second penalty to be taken during the first round of pit stops.
      That way the driver starts where he qualified and if his car is faster he has an opportunity to try to make the gap .

    11. And this my friend is why f1 is finished because of the selfish mentality of the teams. Liberty needs to stick to its guns and change the engine formula because without the change f1 will be held to ransom by the teams. Ferrari/Merc/Renault/Honda may not like it but the reality is other then Ferrari they all have form in leaving the sport when times get difficult. This will happen again and f1 will be left with one engine/no engine manufacture as it is impossible for someone to develop an engine this technical in a short timeframe. Look at Honda.

      Simple engines work there was no need to change from v10 to v8 or from a V8 to a v6. You can say what you want about the engine manufactures but the reality is the v10 / v8 engine we had was economical/reliable and cheap to run and build. Teams could have been surviving on 1 / 2 engines a season at a total cost of 2million dollars at most but Max Mosely and Co could not help them selves. Now we are paying 15 – 20 million for 3 engines that sound pathetic and does not ad a single thing to the show.

      I have watched every f1 race and been to too many to count. Have been to one race under this new engine formula and missed over a third of the races in the last three years. F1 is killing itself. Engine manufactures are pathetic. The FIA are responsible for putting in stupid rules over the last decade. Halo is a perfect example. Bernie for being Bernie. Liberty have one crack at this. If they fail it is all over.

      1. but the reality is the v10 / v8 engine we had was economical/reliable

        Lol @ ‘economical’!

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