The world motorsport engine: An idea whose time has come?


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@DieterRencken has joined F1 Fanatic as columnist and will bring our readers news from the paddock throughout 2018. In the second edition of his weekly column for us Dieter reappraises the ‘world motorsport engine’ concept which was recently revived by FIA president Jean Todt.

Like cost cap discussions or equitable revenue structures, a recurring theme in Formula 1 is the concept of “universal motorsport engines” – also known in some quarters as “world” or “global” engines – designed to cater for various forms of motorsport, with the addition of larger specification (or increased numbers of) turbochargers or hybrid systems providing differentiation across categories and applications.

However, as is very much the case with the commercial discussions, confusion exists over exactly what the proposal involves.

One misunderstanding concerns what are viewed as identical engines used across various categories: i.e. F1 and LMP1 running same-spec engines, F2 and LMP2 units being identical, and even WRC and WTCC engines being totally interchangeable:

Where appropriate that could be the case, but such compatibility is a bonus rather than stated priority. Rather, the concept allows multi-brand manufacturers – Volkswagen with seven passenger brands, or Toyota with Lexus, BMW with Mini, Renault and Nissan – to base disparate competition programmes around one basic engine concept, each complying with different regulations.

Thus, for example, VW could build an F1 engine for Audi, LMP1 powertrain for Porsche, VW version for WRC, Seat derivative for WTCC and Skoda-badged WRX unit – all built in the same factory, using common technology and components where permitted / appropriate.

Simultaneously an independent supplier such as Cosworth could offer a range of engines for these categories for sale, offering them at lower prices due to economies of scale.

Another misunderstanding is about exactly what constitutes “world engines”, with a common misconception being “specification” units, identical across the grid, as per, say, F2 or GP3 power units, and supplied by a single company, usually via tender:

The main commonalities are basic dimensions, materials and geometries, with internals obviously catering for stresses and heat of certain applications (say F1) over others (say F3). Placed side-by-side after their respective ancillaries are attached would provide visual differentiation, while output, sounds and life cycles would be different. Indeed, they could be built by a variety of suppliers.

Cosworth-powered Lotus in 2010
Cost-effective engine rules could entice independents back
The final major misconception is that a single supplier (or selected suppliers) would supply all engines across the board for all categories, as per current spec formulae. Again, that is not an overriding priority – but could be leveraged as political threat should existing suppliers become intransigent (see above re: Cosworth).

The “universal motorsport engine” concept was first floated in mid-January 2009 via an email sent by the FIA to Ricardo, whose website describes the company as “a global engineering and strategic, technical and environmental consultancy business with a value chain that includes the niche manufacture and assembly of high-performance products”.

The date of January 2009 is extremely telling: At the time the Formula One Teams Association was an emerging force, and locked in disputes with the Max Mosley-led FIA and the president’s friend of 30 years, Bernie Ecclestone – then indisputably F1’s tsar. A breakaway series was on FOTA’s radar – one was announced six months later – and a “universal engine” provided the FIA with a robust weapon.

Why? Obviously if F1’s reliance on motor manufacturers – the driving force behind FOTA – as primary engine suppliers could be reduced (or eliminated), then such teams would pose less threat to motorsport’s authorities, who could play to independents teams, their participation sweetened by access to a power unit supplied by one or more independent supplier.

Significantly, four months after the email to Ricardo the FIA opened entries to “budget” teams powered by Cosworth units – which is how the ill-fated quartet of Virgin (Manor), Lotus (Caterham), Campos (HRT) and USF1 (stillborn) came to enter F1 in May 2009…

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Crucially, at the time current FIA president Jean Todt, regularly blamed for introducing the current hybrid engines, had not made himself available as presidential candidate for the governing body’s election scheduled for October 2009 – and thus held no post within the FIA’s structures.

Yet, the original “universal engine” F1 off-shoot as proposed by Ricardo bears eerie resemblances to the original 2013-20 1600cc inline four-cylinder hybrid proposal, incorporating both kinetic energy recovery system (K-ERS) and “turbo compounding” (Heat-ERS). F1 Fanatic has seen a copy of Ricardo’s proposal, and can reveal that the original email requested feasibility studies on:

  • Common core gasoline piston engines with different technology packages to adjust performance for suitability for different classes
  • Targeted year for introduction of the engine is 2012 or 2013 (note)
  • Starting point for core engine design will be a 4-cylinder in-line 1.6-2.0litre engine with rated engine speed of ~10,000rpm, based on prior work to identify future fuel efficient F1 concept (note)
  • 11 classes of motorsport to be included in the study: F3, WTCC, WRC, DTM, LMP2, GrandAm, GP2, LMP1, A1GP, IRL & F1 (last-named with KERS)
  • Three key factors to be integral to design: Cost, Road Relevance, Efficiency (note).
  • Various configurations – I-3, I-4, Flat-4, V2/V4 and V6 – were studied, with Ricardo narrowing its proposal down to the I-4 described above, in turn adopted by the FIA and announced in December 2010 for introduction in 2013. Intriguingly, as the table below shows, total output projected for the I-4 engines was 580kW for IC units, plus 120kW KERS – roughly what current engines produce (+950bhp).

Incidentally, projected power outputs by category were (kW): F3 160; WTCC/WRC 220; DTM/LMP2/GrandAm 360; GP2/LMP1/A1GP 470; IRL 480; F1 +500 – providing wide power spreads off common crankcase / cylinder head designs, complemented by stepped turbo / compound turbo / hybrid installations.

Original proposed F1 engine rules from 2013

  • 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbos with energy recovery and fuel restrictions to replace current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8s
  • Fuel efficiency to increase by a target of 50%
  • Overall power to remain same at approx 750bhp
  • Checks and balances to ensure costs are contained and performance across all engines remains comparable
  • Plan for advanced ‘compound’ turbos to be introduced in subsequent years
  • Power of KERS energy recovery systems to increase from 60kw in 2011 to 120kw in 2013

All this, though, flew out the window in 2011 after Ferrari / Mercedes objected to the I-4 configuration and campaigned for V6 internal combustion units on the basis of 1) performance car road relevance, and 2) challenges of mounting I-4 units as they have only two mount points (top and bottom), whereas V6s draw on three: at each extremity. Given the expected increases in torque, robust mountings were considered crucial.

Thus the FIA put the issue to the vote, with Renault – a four-cylinder stalwart – being the sole dissenter, but agreeing “for the good of F1”. Vee-6 engine introduction was delayed to 2014, with the rest, including infamous gripes about lack of noise, rampant unreliability, exorbitant costs, domination by a single supplier (Mercedes) and the utter inability of another (Honda) to get to grips with the tech, passing into history.

Now, though, F1 has but three years remaining before the current formula expires, and as such time is tortuously tight given that last time around it took F1 five years to introduce an engine that in the end no one really wanted. As former Williams technical director Patrick Head observed: Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan…

Now that most manufacturers have mastered the technology it would be myopic to totally ditch the formula, particularly as most of the heavy spending has been incurred. Various options are once again being floated, including retention of the current formula but with minor changes to make the technology attractive to other categories.

However, the chances of a single configuration doing duty in 11 categories are zero, particularly as some of the categories listed in the 2009 study are defunct, and others now far removed from the regulations prevailing at the time. It makes good commercial sense to spread the base technology across three non-competing formulae – F1, IndyCar, and LMP1 – and possibly rope in F2 as well by using dumbed-down units.

This is, though, hardly a re-adoption of the “universal” or “world” engine concept as some suggest, but rather a limited offering of engines with common architectures, engineered according to the needs of individual categories. Thus VW could conceivably ago F1 with Lamborghini, LMP1 with Porsche and Indycar with Audi, with the basic motorsport engine produced within the same department.

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They do it already with road car engines with far greater production runs, so why not with competition engines?

Equally, Cosworth or Ilmor could produce engines for all three series, badging them according to customer needs. Thus F1 version could be sold to teams (possibly sponsored by commercial entities, whose name could appear on the covers), while the LMP1 version could be sold exclusively to a manufacturer; ditto the IndyCar engine.

Jean Todt, 2017
Todt sees potential for “synergies” beyond F1
With LMP1 down to a single manufacturer and Indycar on two, it makes sense to consider common engine architectures, as Todt pointed out during his last media briefing in Abu Dhabi: “I think at the moment each category of motorsport has its own single regulation, so probably we should try to see if we could have some synergies.

“I was mentioning about other championships, we have [WEC] with LMP1, and LMP1 is a completely different… we have completely different engines. Could it [make] sense to anticipate, or [have a] vision for the endurance championship, using this synergy?

“Incidentally, it’s covering [approximately] the same kind of mileage [as an F1 engine under 2018’s three-engine regulation], because if you take three or four engines, it’s about 5,000km, and the longest race in sports cars is Le Mans, which is about 5,000km, so it could make some sense.

“Probably it would encourage some manufacturers actually involved by participating to some other categories… you think Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, even Red Bull, why they will not think of eventually participating in sports cars? Eventually, some sports car manufacturers willing to prepare one engine which could be used [across categories]… it’s something which needs also to be addressed.”

Of course, during those halcyon noughties, when virtually every global manufacturer enjoyed a grid presence, co-operation across categories was unthinkable, for not only did they throw space-race budgets at their own programmes, but WEC and Indycar were seemingly considered mortal enemies by F1’s then-masters.

Since then, Winds of Change swept through both the FIA and F1, and never was this more in evidence than Le Mans last year, when F1 CEO Chase Carey was the designated starter of the 24 Hour classic. Could one imagine Bernie doing that? Heck, he scheduled Canada’s date such that it clashed with the endurance race!

However, F1’s incoming commercial rights holder Liberty Media is aware that F1 budgets need to be trimmed sooner rather than later – particularly if the listed entity known as FWONK wishes to disburse dividends to shareholders – and is thus more amenable to cost cuts than was previous rights holder CVC Capital Partners.

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When an engine supplier – such as Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains – servicing an own team and two customers operates to an annual turnover of £140m and employs 570+ heads to supply three engines each to just six cars, then something is seriously awry with F1’s finances. Yes, Mercedes may argue that not all HPP’s resources are aimed at F1, but even 60 per cent of turnover runs to £100m and 350 heads.

Aston Martin badge
Aston Martin supports Todt’s ‘world engine’ proposal
Thus it makes enormous sense for motorsport’s top categories to seek synergies, and if that means common engine architecture for non-competing categories, then so be it; if it means a VW or Ford or Hyundai enters F1 on the basis that their sister brands or product groups are able to enter other categories off the back of such a programmes, so much the better as would be enticing Aston Martin back into F1.

The biggest prize of all would, though, be the return of Cosworth or Ilmor as independent suppliers, their participation made economically viable by sales of their engine family across three (or more) categories.

However, to ensure that common engine architecture becomes viable, F1 needs to retain (largely) the current engine formula beyond 2020, for it makes no commercial sense to ditch that, then spend gazillions on developing new architectures. After all, hybrid V6s could do the job equally well in WEC and IndyCar, and, who knows, such co-operation may result in a solution to the (lack of noise) issue…

Follow Dieter on Twitter: @RacingLines


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44 comments on “The world motorsport engine: An idea whose time has come?”

  1. I think the V6 hybrids were an over ambitious mistake, but indeed agree now they are starting to get sorted out, they should probably remain a few years longer. A new formula would only solve most of the issues everyone talks about (noise, reliability etc) by being a lot simpler (fundamentally meaning no hybrid), I would love to watch that but I can’t see the manufacturers agreeing to go down that route.
    For me the biggest issue now of continuing this present hybrid formula a few years more is that any independent team wanting to join F1 has to be “blessed” by and engine manufacturer because of lack of choice, and that no other engine supplier is likely to join (independent or from a car manufacturer due to excessive development cost and time required to get a competitive unit). But those can be addressed with agreeing regulations with the present suppliers (like forcing each supplier to be ready to supply 4 or 5 teams, and allowing rebranding).

    1. Let’s have one engine supplier (basic engine) and each team tune it to suit their needs

      1. Same with chassis then. Better to have equal.drivers though so we can see who makes the best engineering package. Drivers are just a bit of meat in the machine.

  2. man I just died in your farm tonight
    17th January 2018, 12:50

    Cue conspiracy theories and the top teams claim “my engine just went bang his didn’t are we getting the same engine” it won’t work and Ferrari will threaten to walk. Merc will make it work Redbull will cry and Mcalren will still be crap. Just my two penneth.

    1. “my engine just went bang his didn’t are we getting the same engine”

      They wouldn’t all necessarily be getting the same engine as they could be built by different manufacturers.

  3. Jean Todt says, “since F1 now has the worst engine formula in the history of motor sport, let’s shove it down everyone else’s throats so their racing series suck as badly as ours”.

    Yep, great idea. NOT!

  4. I still think different Motorsport disciplines are unique engineering challenges in thier own right, and standardising everything is not the way to go.

    The BTCC, DTM and V8 Supercars are three great championships because of how different they are. If they all used the dames engines there’s be no point watching any of them.

    I want variety in motor racing. Not sterile, dull, unimaginative standardisation, otherwise innovation will suffer and the engineering challenge will be lost.

    1. *same* engines …

    2. “The BTCC, DTM and V8 Supercars”
      It is not the engine that makes them different though! It’s what the cars are. The engine underneath the bonnet could be anything and you wouldn’t tell. One series operates with 440bhp engines, another with 280bhp engines, and that’s all the difference that matters.

    3. Sorry to disappoint you StephenH but under the skin those series cars you mentioned are all broadly similar, the BTCC even has its own New Generation turbocharged engine which any competitor can buy rather than go the expense of developing their own (make). So your Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Mercedes ‘silhouette’ may be powered by a generic turbo 4. Same with V8 Supercars who’s ‘parity’ rules have largely emancipated the makes. I can see why they’ve done it – for cost reasons and to artificially create closer racing but it doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest nor most ‘of a certain age’ I would hazard a guess. Why is this? Well it reflects an era when you could ‘soup up’ your own ride, the car was the star and you would be going head to head with your mates. It was a battle of makes as well as mates. It’s not so easy now, although it is still possible, but it’s become more about re-chipping and an expensive game it is too with dubious road legality at the end as far as mandatory road insurance is concerned. There’s also a completely different audience now locked into the ‘cult of the personality’. Faced with such changes it’s not hard to see why generic cars with generic engines will soon be the order of the day at race tracks the world over, but they will be reduced to merely props in the game. Heck in 50 years who’s betting there won’t be a single ‘World Car’?

      1. Why stop at “world car”?

        Standardisation has merit for worldwide oligarchy, or even (shock horror) monopoly.

        But no doubt I’ll be called a Luddite

    4. StephenH, as noted by others, those series have moved towards a standardised chassis design now, and the DTM series is in fact one series that is already standardising designs with other series.

      All Japanese Super GT GT500 class cars and all DTM cars share a standard core chassis (with minor tweaks to the GT500 version to make it easier to refuel, given they run longer race distances), along with a standard gearbox, clutch, dampers, driveshafts and rear wing (I believe that the front splitter and rear diffuser are also standardised and shared components). Meanwhile, other components, such as the suspension, are so strictly regulated – with proscribed mounting points, specified materials and thicknesses of suspension components – that they are virtually standardised components, even if on paper they are open to redesign.

      In that instance, the main driving factor for such heavy standardisation and cross series component sharing was because the DTM and Super GT series were originally planning on merging, and therefore wanted to make it possible for teams to be able to jump from one series to another whilst only having to make minor changes to the cars. They didn’t quite pull it off, but they did agree to the sharing of multiple components as a cost cutting exercise instead.

  5. @StephenH –

    The BTCC, DTM and V8 Supercars are three great championships because of how different they are. If they all used the dames engines there’s be no point watching any of them.

    All 3 series you mention are touring car series and as such would not use a global engine anyway.

    1. The original (2009) plan did call for WTCC and DTM to use a variant of the global engine – as the feature states.

  6. Superb article @dieterrencken. I begin to understand a bit more of the original intention, thank you.

    1. Absolutely !

  7. I hate this idea more than halo.

    F1 is the pinnacle and should always be.
    I am so frustrated with the “too expensive” talks now determining the definition of the sport. Leave it be. Performance converges only if the rules remain the same. A big rule change only gives us a new dominant team.

    The engines should not be meddled with in my opinion. Just the front wings need a dramatic makeover to allow following and all the problems will be solved!

    1. +1.

      While this article was interesting, as soon as the words ‘Aston Martin’ were read, all credibility was lost.

    2. The issue I have with your comment is that while F1 should be the pinnacle of motor sports, how is any of their technology being applied to their associated road car relevant division? I’m not seeing anything in the pipe line in the near future, so how exactly are the works teams or developers justifying the costs is hard for me to really understand.

      Sure, if you buy a Ferrari you may see something in their gear box that comes from F1, or some manufacturing process in another vehicle, say Mercedes, that developed from something that they did to make their current car. If they can make the turn and do something that came from what we see watching and following F1 then their arguments about the current model would hold more weight. But for right now the cost of F1 across the board needs to be put into check and a standard engine model would be a start, and that would start making F1 more “fair” if that is even a thing.

  8. What I don’t get is why teams have to get the ENTIRE PU from one manufacturer. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for 2021 onwards that the various components of the PU (ICE, MGU-K, CE, TC & and maybe MGU-H (if kept)) to be interchangeable. So whilst the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, etc could supply the whole lot, Cosworth could supply the ICE, McLaren supply the CE, etc.
    Thinking about it, I am wondering whether Mercedes, Ferrari, etc. actually make all the PU components themselves anyway, and maybe they sub-contract some of the stuff outside their own company.

    1. They’re very closely linked together, and the manner of those links is considered intellectual property. Making them compatible would likely breach IP sufficiently (at least in the EU) to prevent the manufacturers from being considered manufacturers under FIA rules (which requires each manufacturer to maintain and protect its own IP to prevent knock-offs).

      For that matter, engine components are designed to “expect” a particular component to precede and follow them, meaning that even if common linkages were agreed, combining multiple manufacturer’s components would cause a lot of design problems unless engines were to be made completely spec.

  9. As an engineer I cant quite get my head around the “global” engine that anyone can make. So a set of blueprints (yes showing my age) is set in concrete on the design of the block, crankshaft, bearings, valves, pistons, etc., etc., etc.

    Distributed as say solid model IGES files? (maybe old but learned new technologies) that anyone with a 5 axis CNC mill and multi head CNC lathe can manufacture?

    Problem right there in that one can easily alter the blueprints and solid modelling files to modify the global engine to suit. Would bring scrutineering to a whole new level.

    1. I would imagine this is very easy to mitigate. It should be easy to judge if the part brings a performance margin over the old part – just stick it in, install and measure it visa-vi some known good part(old one). If they are made to spec, the procedure of mounting a new part instead of the old part is easy and hence will not be a problem. If you want to make such tests economical introduce random testing and make fines prohibitively heavy – say deduct the championship points from the rounds where that part was used. If the new part offers better reliability – this should be permissible. That is it really.

    2. What on earth are you talking about? There would be no blueprints necessary because each individual “global” engine manufacturer would design and build their own engine according to the spec agreed upon, including spec mounting points for both the chassis and the gearbox.

  10. If cosworth wanted to be in F1 they would be. They have had MANY opportunities.

  11. Michael Brown (@)
    17th January 2018, 18:29

    We will not surrender racing engines to the false song of globalism

  12. Unfortunately, the theory presented about world engines here doesn’t work very well. A global engine, by definition, has to work in multiple series (be that with tweaks or without). Either there have to be compromises in one/both series, or more money must be spent than would have been spent designing one engine for each series. Stating that using the same engine in multiple series is a bonus doesn’t escape that equation – it only seals in the extent of the expense (to the reduction of enforced compromise), since it is more expensive to adapt an unsuitable element by regulation than it is to simply build it the right way for that series in the first place.

    The interpretation provided in this instance emphasises this even more; in no series is ERS-H shown to be relevant, and even ERS-K is of reducing relevance across motorsport due to rapid changes in the road car industry combined with poor results on-track for series other than WEC. A universal engine would either need to be completely hydrocarbon-based or purely electric.

    World engines might not have to be identical, but the FIA interpretation of non-global engines (which has been to remove manufacturers and over-standardise at every turn) means that it will almost certainly either interpret that way (as currently happens in junior single-seater series), or allow so little scope for in-grid difference that it would have been better off requiring a spec engine (LMP2). Note this criticism long predates Jean Todt’s arrival in the post; his actions have simply magnified the FIA’s over-specifying tendencies. Dieter may have been told that this is not the FIA’s priority, but its actions tell another story, sadly.

    The universal engine didn’t help the FIA in 2009, as it had to pay a high cost for its impracticality (in this and other matters, but most of all with budget caps) and intransigence (Max losing the presidency, the FIA losing significant amounts of power to FOM and the larger teams – at least until the possibly-illegal FIA-FOM alliance at the end of 2013). It would have been better off accepting the more reasonable of the teams’ demands and only refusing those elements that were less workable. Even in 2014, the FIA made it extremely obvious from near the beginning that it was their way or the highway, with only minor modifications (I4 -> V6) allowed (something the manufacturers readily recognised, and happily made it take concessions elsewhere in return), and the FIA (along with the rest of us) continue to pay for that intransigence to this day.

    At this point, LMP1 engines are still twice as robust and nearly as powerful as F1 engines, making the gulf between them implausible to bridge by a “global engine”. Indycar relating to F1 is a bit more plausible, but even then, the changes to the engines needed for ovals will require quite some compromise to F1’s more “jack-of-all-trades” engine. For that matter, the series have such different audiences by this point that it is hard to imagine many manufacturers wanting to do both series even if it was literally possible to use the same car, in its entirety, for both series…

    In short, this is an idea that has no more chance of working in 2020 than in 2009 or 2013. The FIA is unlikely to ever stop trying, however…

    1. For that matter, the series have such different audiences by this point that it is hard to imagine many manufacturers wanting to do both series even if it was literally possible to use the same car, in its entirety, for both series…

      I’m not sure I go along with that. For example Honda already have F1 and IndyCar engine programmes. Pre-Dieselgate, VAG had two WEC programmes (Porsche and Audi) plus a WRC team (VW) which would potentially also fall under the remit of this. Had they only been developing one base engine instead of three the cost savings would have been huge.

      1. @keithcollantine, but in the case of VW’s twin WEC projects, they explicitly stated that they wanted the two teams to take a different approach.

        Whilst they wanted to continue with Audi, Dr Ullrich stated that they wanted to have a petrol powered entrant to transfer technology from their diesel LMP1 programme over to, particularly with regards to the fuel injection systems, which is where Porsche’s programme eventually came in. I would therefore debate whether it would have actually helped VW if they intentionally wanted Porsche’s programme to diverge from Audi’s programme in order to explore a different technological path – would they have even entered in the first place if there were such tight restraints on the engine design?

        Furthermore, the brief for the global race engine places an explicit restriction to one fuel type, which is petrol/gasoline. Again, that would run counter to VW’s objective to explore different technological paths as it would have prevented Audi from developing their diesel powered prototypes. Would VW have started two programmes in the first place if they were barred from developing two different engine types, given it was a key reason for them doing so in the first place?

        Equally, in the example of Honda, your example implicitly assumes that Indycar would accept transitioning away from the use of E85 (85% ethanol, 15% petrol/gasoline), which would be a major change given that Indycar has prohibited petrol/gasoline fuel for more than 50 years.

  13. I’m pretty sure IndyCar would get involved, as long as this concept can produce 750 – 850 hp without the expensive and unnecessary hybrid component.

  14. Fascinating article! I don’t have a strong opinion on the subject, but I’m so glad @DieterRencken has joined F1 Fanatic.

    I’m wondering if the costs would really be reduced if the base concept of the engine was shared between categories. Surely engine makers like Mercedes could still find ways to dump more money than rivals.

    1. @francorchamps17 spending habits of Mercedes and Ferrari are not likely to change as a result of the “world engine.” The big win, as the article states, would be that a company like Cosworth or Ilmor would come to F1 and produce economically viable engines for midfield teams as well as privateers in WEC and Indy.

      It would make sense for Honda who would greatly benefit from the shared resources and reduced development cost between F1 and IndyCar.

      As you can tell, I’m not indifferent on the topic, I find this a welcome change and I would even love to see a variant of this engine used in F2 in a naturally aspirated hybrid configuration to hear what these engines could really sound like!

  15. Great article @dieterrencken.
    I am much more convinced that a World Engine can be an addition to Motorsports rather than a threat (specifically to F1).

    I wonder if it would be possible to have a World Engine which is defined by standard cylinder(-pairs) rather than the whole ICE.
    e.g. have a V6 1.6l for F1 and a V4 1.1l for F3 based on the same basic cylinders pairs.

    1. I wonder if it would be possible to have a World Engine which is defined by standard cylinder(-pairs) rather than the whole ICE.

      e.g. have a V6 1.6l for F1 and a V4 1.1l for F3 based on the same basic cylinders pairs.A V4 is inherently unbalanced – Porsche’s LMP1 uses balance shafts and counterweights to counter primary and secondary harmonics – and is also an extremely complex engine for a (relatively) low-cost formula such as F3. For example, a V4 dohc 16v engine requires four (short) camshafts.

      The better solution for downsizing for F3 purposes would be to make use a single bank of the V6 as base to produce a three cylinder engines. That way you’d have the road relevance as modern compact cars use that configuration, with less complexity, low cost and use of the “world engine” as base. Consider an 800cc three-cylinder turbo F3 engine … a real screamer!

  16. Let’s do the same for the tub on single seaters only allowing very tightly controlled options to be added….see what Red Bull would say. There is plenty of development scope in the current engines in F1. Only just finished the 4th season with them after billions has been spent by 3 manufacturers (3 initially now 4). Leave them be, stability in the rules will lower the costs, knowledge will spread in the engine building community, other engine builders (Aston not included not capable) have something to aim at and people are out there to employ who know what they are doing. F1 has 4 engine builders and only 10 teams, that’s not bad, 1 more and that’s an engine for every 2 teams, only Vw or Toyota could really do it. They must not bend over for nobodies like Aston as they are like the waisters who go to fancy car garages to waste the salesman’s time but do not have the money to buy anything.

  17. This looks like a good idea on paper, but every time I hear about new engine regulations I’m scared that they are going to over-regulate it and turn F1 into a de-facto spec-engine series.

  18. I’m sorry, this was way over my head, but here are some thoughts:
    It was interesting to see at that people are now thinking of keeping the current engine specification a few more years, and part of the reasoning was it is a waste to be dumping all this technology after having invested such a huge amount of money on it. I like that idea.
    The World Engine? … It just doesn’t seem right for F1. If you recall F1 tried a Token System, where manufacturers were supposed to only make a certain amount of modifications to their engine each year. It was fairly obvious that this would ensure whoever had the best engine in 2014 would probably have the best engine in 2015, and again in 2016, and so on until the Token System was scrapped. The best way to encourage F1 engine manufacturers to catch Mercedes was to get rid of the Token System. My expectation is the consequences of a World Engine in F1 would be pretty much the same.
    A point that wasn’t mentioned but is closely related to F1 power units is the rate of improvement in Lithium-ion batteries. As far as I can tell batteries are improving at a fairly fast rate, so they too will have more capability at the end of 2018 compared to the start of 2018.
    Should one open up engine specification used in F1 and use fuel flow sensors as the means of determining power equality across the grid instead of engine size? We already know there isn’t power equality across the grid, and this is with a 1.6 litre V6 engine, so why not allow different engine sizes and configurations?

  19. Pretty sure Infiniti is in charge of at least part of the Renault hybrid system.

    Biggest issue with your idea is packaging. You’d have to make sure that your oil and charge cooler lines won’t impede an MGU the shape of which you weren’t anticipating, forcing a Honda-like redesign at the beginning of the season.

  20. Ugh. F1 needs less standardization, not more. The ruling body’s primary focus should be how to bring more engine manufacturers, more chassis builders, more tire manufacturers, etc., into the sport. Allow more innovation into the sport; standardization stifles innovation, duh.

    They should stop trying to figure out how to make a nasty sounding 6-banger sound better; everybody already knows how to make them sound better – add 6 more cylinders.

  21. Who cares; Within 15 years the only motor-related questions automobile OEMs will be allowed to ponder, by the regulators, will be how many copper windings and how large a magnet?

    1. More like 100 years.

  22. For me it’s once again finding a potentially sensible solution – to the wrong problem. Manufacturers aren’t getting involved at least as much because the sport is expensive as because it’s become increasingly uninteresting and so is not a good investment. I’ve been banging the same drum for years and i suppose I ought to give up at some point, but for me the real solution is simplification. Not all technology is good just because it’s there. Simplify the cars technologically and smaller teams will be better able to compete, making the series more interesting, more popular, and thus more attractive.

    1. Small teams have never competed in virtually any sport. If they could win they wouldn’t be small.

  23. Well you can make engines cheaper too.

    F1 needs maybe multiple concurrent regulation. There needs to be a way for an engine maker to make a competitive race engine for less than 15M€ per season per car.

    Some kind of anti competitive system/performance balast must be enforced.

    Perhaps as simple as limiting boost based on telemetry, ensuring at no point the car makes more than perscribed power.

    For 4 years we have seen technical brilliance from Mercedes, to the point of still dominating over other makers.

    If there is a point to make, they made it, but close competition suffered. Teams spent untold amounts of money for probably worse show than we could have had if they spent less.

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