Jean Todt, Singapore, 2019

Todt: No concerns over how Ferrari engine investigation was handled

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In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt defends his handling of the investigating into the legality of Ferrari’s power unit, which led to a confidential settlement being reached by the governing body and the team.

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Comment of the day

Gavin wonders what’s next for Mercedes’ F1 engine chief Andy Cowell:

The traditional petrol combustion engine (even when combined with energy recovery) is coming towards end-of-life especially in an engineering sense. The new exciting projects are probably in alternative fuels, electrical, hydrogen et. al.

Also there is a new engine formula coming in 2026 and the discussions are starting to happen with regards to where they want to go next.

So it is a good time to step back, let someone take charge and get their feet under the table to build up to the next regulations.

Also that’s one decent record of a clean sweep of titles from the V6 hybrid era – well done sir.
Gavin Campbell

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  • 19 comments on “Todt: No concerns over how Ferrari engine investigation was handled”

    1. Can I claim to be the winner in the “Find the Roundup” contest for today.

    2. Oddly, the best track for F1 would be to revert to ICE based power units.
      Energy recovery apparently only brought complication and cost with little improvement on competition.
      Leaning further into eletric engine will increase weight. Going full electric is F1 death.
      Alternative fuels do not seem to be an european venture.
      Ethanol seems to be an (south/north) American interest – It is hard to see europeans to promote it or do no raise environ concerns over where the plants grew.
      Hydrogen seems to get traction nowhere.
      Convoluted PU regulations did not attracted this avalanche of manufacturers. It became a winner-takes-all situation. Mercedes found an answer and run with it. If Honda cant come qith a challenger, are we ready to see other engines barely keep up with Mercedes until 2026?
      Set a minimum car weight or a maximum gas allowance and let the teams decide what to do with it.
      Let Ferrari build V12s again. Let Renault/Honda figth again for a perfect turbo system.
      Let’s have fun with noisy cars.

      1. Set a minimum car weight or a maximum gas allowance and let the teams decide what to do with it.
        Let Ferrari build V12s again. Let Renault/Honda figth again for a perfect turbo system.
        Let’s have fun with noisy cars.

        Noble aspirations; but don’t expect the noise to come back. gusmaia

        Without refuelling all winning PU solutions will be hybrid with heat energy recovery. Batteries might be smaller but the weight of the hybrid components is less than (half) the weight of fuel usage inefficiencies.

      2. As a old man i wonder if you saw these races from the past the difference was even much bigger as back then 1-3 cars were still on the same lap but the others 4-5 laps behind.

        Cost maybe are these engines a bit too expansive and could be cheaper by removing the most expensive parts.

        Giving teams what they want means no rules no rules means cheating.. been there and i don’t like it!

        Today the racing is much better and yes things could be tinkered for more combative battles.

        1. no rules means cheating

          How can one cheat if there are no rules ;)
          @macleod

          1. Yes, your right ofcourse :) But you know what i want to say here all “advancements” is great for the technofans but for racing it creates difference so very bad for the real racefans!

      3. Unless you prescribe V12s, nobody who wants to win anything will bring those. V10s won’t be there either.

        If you look at a combination of weight limits, cost limits (budget cap? Max price etc) and fuel limits, it is highly unlikely that the result will be anything that is not a small engine with turbo and almost certainly some hybrid component both because it can easily reduce turbo lag, but also, it really helps a lot with efficiency, bringing down the fuel load / weight penalty.

      4. Like it or not, petrol engines are on their way out. The future of road transport is energy efficiency and low carbon technology so manufacturers of F1 power units will want the formula to reflect that. There would be no marketing value for them in producing V12 petrol engines when the general public is moving away from petrol and diesel engines altogether.

        You say hydrogen fuel cells are not gaining traction anywhere but that’s not strictly true. They are not yet gaining traction in personal transport but there are large investments being made in commercial vehicles, which will be the first area of growth. Just found an article which valued the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market at around $650 million in 2018 and projected it to grow to $42 billion by 2026.

        I believe the 2026 power unit formula will probably be an evolution of the current hybrid units, leaning more heavily on the energy recovery and electrical side, but the following generation starting in probably mid 2030s might be where they move away from fossil fuel based systems entirely. What that formula might be depends on how the technologies evolve over the next 10 years or so, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a hydrogen based power unit.

        1. @keithedin I like your commentary. I haven’t done a ton of research on this but I do think the hybrid system will be with us for a while yet. And not necessarily a short while as technologies for this improve. What about the concept of synthetic fuels that I have heard a bit about coming from within F1? Might have been Horner or someone that I read saying there is a push for that technology too. Could synthetic fuels, presumably not dependent on crude oil refinement, keep ICE(s) as part of F1 power units in play for quite a while?

          1. @robbie I don’t have a broad knowledge of this subject or what discussions having been going on within F1. But yes I could see biofuels or synthetic fuels playing a role in a transitional period between fossil fuels and full hydrogen/electric F1 cars. Maybe this is something being considered for the 2026 formula, dependent on the performance of these fuels and their appeal to manufacturers.

            At the end of the day though, even though the lifecycle may be described as carbon neutral, biofuels and synthetic fuels still result in emission of CO2 and other potentially harmful gases at point of use. So I think it’s likely these would only be used in an interim period, and won’t be the long term future of either conventional transport or F1.

          2. @robbie I do not have anything that indicates Horner has said anything about synthetic fuels, but Carey and Symonds have both suggested the idea of using synthetic fuels as a way of reducing net emissions from the sport.

            Traditionally, at least, synthetic fuels were often still derived from fossil fuel stocks (e.g. converting methane to methanol or coal distillation) to generate carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as you’re mostly coming back to the Fischer–Tropsch process in one way or another. The other problem is that most synthetic fuels have also required a source of hydrogen, and that almost entirely comes from steam reforming of methane – so, for most of the time it has been looked at, it has generally relied on extensive use of fossil fuel feedstocks, as well as being an extremely energy intensive process that has a relatively low efficiency.

            Now, there have been a few small scale industrial trials that have tried to use atmospheric carbon dioxide, but that’s usually been proof of concept work that produces only a few thousand tonnes of fuel a year at most.

            The Royal Society has produced a study into the use of efuels, as they term them, which are synthetic fuels which are generated using renewable energy sources and try to use cleaner feedstocks (e.g. hydrogen from hydrolysis or from biological sources).

            Right now, there are some major stumbling blocks, with the major one being the inefficiency of the process – creating synthetic fuel to burn in a modern internal combustion engine would only be about 13% efficient: by way of comparison, a fuel cell would be about 26% efficient and a battery powered car about 69%.

            Part of that is because internal combustion engines are pretty inefficient, but it’s also because the process of producing the fuel itself is relatively inefficient. You’re having to use about five times as much electrical power to generate synthetic fuel right now – and, if you are able to generate that much power, then in most instances you’re better off using it to power battery powered vehicles.

            Those inefficiency issues also feed into the other problem, which is cost – the inefficiencies of the production methods and the high capital costs means that most efuel production is very expensive. You might see limited use of synthetic fuel as an additive to conventional fossil fuels in the 2030s, but it’s simply too expensive a method of production for it to be viable to replace current liquid fossil fuels for a long time to come.

            F1 can potentially use synthetic fuels as, in that respect, the limited volumes of synthetic fuel being produced is less of an issue, whilst the high cost is also less of an issue – but it’s probably not going to be a long lived solution.

    3. “Ex-Ferrari boss denies conflict of interest with Ferrari to Italian newspaper”

      1. Pedro Andrade
        16th June 2020, 9:10

        I’m confused, is this news from 2003 or 2020?

      2. @davids there’s probably also a significant amount of covering his own back as well, as admitting to having concerns about the running of the investigation into Ferrari would effectively be a way of calling himself incompetent in public.

    4. Drivers will soon be wearing biometric underwear which “…will provide real time measurement of vital signs, allowing a driver’s team to monitor stress and fatigue, via sensors that measure the heart rate and breathing…”

      I like the sound of that.

      I can see it now. Mercedes wall to Lewis “According to his readouts, Vettel is about to blow a fuse – so keep on pushing”

    5. Todt: multiple championship winner with Ferrari, his son is managing Ferrari drivers

      Todt: No concerns over how Ferrari engine investigation was handled

      *facepalm*
      Even if he really means what he says, it is impossible not to see it in a very wrong light.
      That’s why team principals should never be allowed to become FIA presidents while their teams are still racing.

      And just to make it clear – I am from Mercedes camp, and I know Toto would be a terrific president, but even for him my opinion is the same – should not be allowed!

    6. No concerns, Jean? That makes one of us.

      1. At least aristocratic Todt is not out of touch with the people. The people at Ferrari.

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