F1 could delay new engines ‘until 2023’

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1’s new engine regulations may not arrive until 2023 at the earliest after motorsport director Ross Brawn admitted they could be postponed.

In an interview for the Belgian Grand Prix race programme Brawn said the planned changes to the rules could be postponed following a lack of interest in new manufacturers in entering the sport.

“We want to try and create a set of technical regulations on the engine which are appealing to new manufacturers coming in, as well as consolidating our existing engine suppliers,” said Brawn.

“And I think we just need to think of our timing on that, whether 2021 is the right time to do that, or whether it’s better to keep that powder dry until we can be certain that major regulation change will bring fresh blood into the sport.”

In response to a question from RaceFans, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested the new rules could be delayed by at least another two years.

“Stability is important,” said Horner. “There’s no new manufacturers coming in. These regulations are impossible for a new manufacturer, should they come in.

“I think that rather than making a half-hearted change and getting it half-right, I think it’s better to take a little bit more time to really consider what is the right engine for Formula One moving forward. If that needs a bit more time, or a couple more years to achieve that, then that’s the sensible approach.”

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“I think at the moment now I can’t see anything changing before the 2023 season,” he added.

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said F1 may be taking on too much by making changes to several areas of the regulations at once.

“What Formula One is trying to do for 2021 is extremely ambitious,” he said. “It may be required, but it’s extremely ambitious.

“What I mean by that is basically it will be the first time in F1 history I believe that we would at the same time changing chassis regulations, engine regulations, Concorde Agreement, governance structure, new budget cap.

“That’s a lot. There might be the risk of trying to embrace too much and not produce and deliver anything.

“Our view would be to try and be a bit more pragmatic and focus on what is the main emergency for Formula One, and I’m thinking really of the show, of the disparity between the teams, the disparity in the revenue. We think that this is really the main priority.”

The current Formula 1 engine format was introduced in 2014.

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28 comments on “F1 could delay new engines ‘until 2023’”

  1. If this suggestion would come true then no problem. No problem, if it were delayed by, for example, a year or two.

  2. And suddenly a certain Japanese engine manufacturer with bottomless pockets, a lot of potential in their current engine and time to fix their mistakes don’t look such a bad bet over a certain French manufacturer who have pretty much hit the limit of their engine’s potential and were desperately hoping for a new formula…

    1. I think Renault is still far away from hitting any limits. If things stay as they are until 2021 it will make more sense to invest into further improvements for both Renault and Honda, giving them more opportunity to catch up @hahostolze

      That is, unless the FIA suddenly comes with the idea of further limiting the amount of PUs and components to get to one for a whole season!

      1. The perceived and shared wisdom for months leading up to Red Bull’s choice was that Honda had a lot to find in that engine and Renault didn’t. I know very little about engines, but I don’t see why we should throw that narrative out the window now that it is unfavourable to Renault?

        1. Well, that is Red Bull’s narrative, and I get it, but that doesn’t make it truth, but an expectation @hahostolze; I am not quite convinced. I do think Renault should put a bit more steam into their efforts, but two more years to develop might help them, as @bascb proposes.

          1. No, that’s not Red Bull’s narrative, that’s what all the neutrals (ie journalists, pundits) were saying months leading up to the decision. Everyone was wary because they didn’t think Red Bull would profit from Honda’s potential because come 2021 it would be different anyway. Which is now looking different, the tables have turned.

        2. The perceived and shared wisdom for months leading up to Red Bull’s choice was that Honda had a lot to find in that engine and Renault didn’t.

          Outside of the RB camp the opinions would tend to differ I would suggest.

    2. Doesn’t sound like it according to what Cyril was saying there?

      1. He literally doesn’t mention Renault’s engine, he says it’s needed asap (which controverts your point) but not the number one priority because at this moment a budget cap of sorts would have a bigger effect than a new, cheaper engine formula.

      2. He literally doesn’t mention Renault’s engine, he says it’s needed asap (which controverts your point) but not the number one priority because at this moment a budget cap of sorts would have a bigger effect than a new, cheaper engine formula.

  3. Good news, seeing as how the engine convergence between the Ferrari PU and the Mercedes PU, and to a lesser extent the Renault & Honda PUs, has shown itself on track, and led to an interesting season. It respects the investment and hard work of the current 4 PU manufacturers, and allows them to continue working on improving the current PU format.

    In a sense, this line of thought is also a tacit admission of failure for Liberty, given that they pushed for a new format of simpler engine with the hope that other PU manufacturers would cause a stampede to register their entry. Instead all we heard were crickets.

    1. Only thing we have seen is convergence of mercedes and ferrari. Renault and honda are still miless off the pace. Renault can’t even get the reliability right whereas ferrari is still making big steps. I don’t really see this convergence you are talking about. All you are seeing is that mercedes satellite teams have lost their engine advantage to ferrari satellite teams.

      1. I’d framed my sentence so because it was Ferrari converging to/surpassing Mercedes, and Renault & Honda showing convergence between the two of them (in performance, and engine blow-outs). I didn’t mean that all four have closed up to the same level.

      2. RB was unable to get right their reliability with the Renault engine. But Renault itself has been doing okay on reliability, even Mercedes dropped the ball harder than them.

        1. Have you noticed how many power units Hulkenberg has been running through?

  4. I think they have been taking lessons in negotiation from the Brexit team…. :(

  5. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    24th August 2018, 17:24

    Right on time for full electric powertrain, as 2023 date will slip to 2024.

    1. Electric/Hydrogen Hybrid

      1. Hydrogen is a Not so good alternative – remember the Zeppelin? – and it’s by product after combustion is steam / water … so no more slick tires and wipers on wind / rain screens.

        1. Not again with the Zeppelin accidents. You know how Hydrogen was used on those, don’t you?
          Whether hydrogen engines will make it to the motorsport or the market is another topic, but not related at Zeppelin accidents at all.

  6. This is probably the best scenario. Any new regulations will generate new costs, which they say they are keen to keep costs down even threatening a budget cap. If no good purpose is really served with new engine regulations why rush? The supposed purpose is to decrease costs. Which, of course, will incur more costs to implement, to save more later?

    With stability Renault and Honda may actually have a chance to get closer in performance to Mercedes and Ferrari. That could be interesting for the competition and fans.

    1. @bullmello Agreed. This is why I keep putting a positive spin on Liberty, Brawn, and their plans. They’re willing to propose things, get feedback, and then back off when they see that is prudent, rather than force something through when it wouldn’t make sense to do so, ala BE era thinking.

  7. The sad thing is that by 2023 we might have at least a good balance between all manufacturers only to hit the reset button once again hoping a new guy joins in, which at this point is very unlikely!

  8. I certainly can’t see this as a blow to Renault in anyway. As it giving an advantage to Honda over others is just silly. All of the engine manufacturers will take advantage of this, anyone who suggest different must have rocks in their head.

  9. Great news not just for convergence, but also for anyone who wants to see the MGU-H retained. By 2023, perhaps the technology will be widespread enough to be approachable to newcomers.

  10. So a roundabout way of saying no new manufacturers?

    1. @darryn, it does sound like there was no prospect of a new manufacturer joining in 2021, with the delay to 2023 giving Liberty a bit more time to try and draw new manufacturers in.

      That said, the original timeframe was always unrealistically short – when you look at the lead in time that most engine developers have needed, even under fairly simple engine regulations, they have tended to need a longer development timeframe. BMW and Toyota, for example, spent closer to four to five years developing their engines before they entered in the early 2000s, and even then it took BMW a few years after that to become competitive.

      When that was compounded by the fact that Liberty Media was not fully developing the concept until quite late in the negotiating process, it created a situation where any new entrant was facing the prospect of going from nothing to a fully working engine in an extremely short timeframe, whilst having no guarantee that they’d even have a customer at the end of the process.

      It felt a bit like Liberty Media wanted to rush in the change for the purpose of showing that they were doing something, but I feel that they have handled the whole process poorly. They created a situation where it was going to be pretty much impractical for a new manufacturer to enter in the timeframe they specified, would introduce additional development costs that undermines their goal of reducing the cost of competing and ultimately producing a set of specifications that, in trying to compromise between new entrants and existing entrants, ended up suiting neither side.

  11. Wish I had that in my Honda. There is something mesmerizing about beautiful engineering.

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