Brawn wants car manufacturer input into F1’s next engine formula

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says he hopes manufacturers are encouraged to return to the sport by new power unit rules which will arrive “no later than 2026”.

Brawn, who previously served as technical director for Honda’s last Formula 1 team, admitted he was disappointed by their latest decision to leave the sport.

“It is unfortunate Honda are leaving Formula 1 at the end of 2021,” he said. “It’s the fourth time in my racing career they stepped back and come back again.”

However he sees opportunities to encourage them to return in the future.

“I’m optimistic when their situation changes and when F1 evolves, we can engage them again as Honda have always been important and welcome members of the F1 community in the past and hopefully for the future.

Why F1 shouldn’t go down the independent engine manufacturer route
“All automotive companies are facing massive challenges at the moment, and we as F1 need to respond to that and make sure F1 meets those challenges, stays relevant and becomes more relevant to provide automotive partners with viable challenges within F1 which can provide support with their objectives away from F1.”

New power unit rules to replace the current V6 hybrid engines are due to come into force in 2026, but Brawn indicated they may arrive earlier.

“I hope a new power unit formula which will be introduced no later than 2026 will encourage them to come back again,” he said. “We’ll also be encouraging them to be part of new FIA working groups, which will recommend what sort of power unit we will adopt in the future.

“[Honda] have been great partners in F1 and I look forward to working with them in future.”

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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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68 comments on “Brawn wants car manufacturer input into F1’s next engine formula”

  1. Of course. To do anything else would be a disaster.

    However, lest we forget, the manufacturers had a say into this formula. Honda was the only new entrant, took years to get competitive (partially due to McLaren being greedy), and now they are leaving. So I don’t find this particularly comforting that the next formula will be any more competitive.

    1. If I remember it correctly, this power unit configuration also had the input from manufacturers at the time.
      F1 should focus on solving F! problems, not solving all problems on the world with its power unit.

      1. Hear hear Gusmaia. Because the manufacturers will drop F1 like a hot spud if it suits them. We have these ridiculous engines which are all hat and no cattle, with almost no way to close the gap to Mercedes and f1 is still bending over for them. F1 should be brave and ditch these parasites, albeit very moneyed parasites.

        1. all hat and no cattle

          Well, I’ve never heard that expression before. Very interesting. Many thanks, @tonymansell!

    2. It wasnt just Mercedes, ferrari and Renault who had a saybon the current hybrid power unit. VW, cosworth, and a few other manufacturers were involved in make the hybrid rules.

  2. What could the new engine formula look like? There’s no technology out there that can burn gas as efficiently as the current engines.

    1. @paeschli Who says they’d have to use gas/petrol/fuel?

      1. Well, the laws of physics state that they must have some type of fuel. Otherwise they’ll just sit there and not move.
        Even electricity is a type of fuel, in this context.

        1. A fully electric is more efficient than the current engines…

          1. Try to engage brain before speaking next time.

      2. @jerejj
        Hydrogen will never work: it’s better to charge an electric car directly by plugging it in.
        So that leaves electric cars, which is Formula E and it’s monopoly on open-wheel electric racing.
        I don’t see what we can do other than hybrids in F1.

        1. @paeschli That seems like a very narrow view. Not only does that assume the technology remains stationary, but hydrogen already has advantages over electric-battery vehicles, such as energy density (can be up to 10 times the energy/weight ratio of a lithium ion battery).

          The main challenge with hydrogen technology is the method of generating the hydrogen, which is ofc something else which is being worked on and will develop over time. What direction F1 decides to go in will depend on what the consumer car market is projected to do post 2026.

          1. @keithedin Hydrogen can be generated with renewables via electrolysis. So that ticks the “green” box.

            The primary issue is storage and transportation, which is difficult. Fortunately the CSIRO in Australia have developed a membrane to convert hydrogen to ammonia which is pretty easy to store and transport. It could then be converted back on-site prior to usage.

            I honestly believe it’s a no brainer for F1 to go down the hydrogen path. The logistics alone is valuable knowledge, let alone maximising performance from this fuel for vehicles where range and weight is a concern (long-haul trucks, overland off-roaders etc).

          2. @keithedin there are two different aspects, which is the volumetric energy density and the density per unit weight.

            Hydrogen, when stored at high pressure or when liquified, might have very high energy density values when measured in terms of MJ per unit weight, but when you run a comparison per unit volume, hydrogen’s relative performance isn’t particularly impressive.

            Furthermore, there is the question of the volumetric density of the fuel itself versus the comparative weight of the storage devices necessary to then contain hydrogen at extremely high pressures. It’s why, if you look at the aviation sector, hydrogen was looked at as a possible fuel for a number of applications, but was largely considered impractical because of the rather low volumetric energy density – the preferred bet there seems to be biofuels instead, such as bio-butanol.

            @justrhysism the issue is that current industrial hydrogen production is almost entirely from steam reforming of methane gas – so, whilst it might appear to tick the “green” box at the point of use, in reality the current production methods for hydrogen are heavily dependent on fossil fuels and are quite energy intensive.

            If you look at, say, the hydrogen filling station that the ACO installed at the Circuit de la Sarthe to great fanfare, although they say that the plan is to eventually use hydrogen from clean energy sources, right now the hydrogen that is available for that filling station comes from an industrial plant producing hydrogen for the plastics industry.

    2. It has to be an electric drivetrain @paeschli, with a petrol charging engine that’s super efficient, probably constant speed and a turbine not reciprocating. By 2026 anything with pistons will look irrelevant, I mean in the last 5 years the number of EV’s has gone up literally 10x (

      1. Nearly 5 million out of 1,500 million
        1/3 of 1% of cars are electric
        It doesn’t matter which way you slice it, you could sell electric cars at the same (2million a year) rate for 100 years and there would still be in the minority.

        That said, people will buy what’s available so I would expect a geometric progression in sales, but an internal combustion engine will still be relevant in 2026.

        I would expect something like a 1.2 litre 4 pot ICE with a 500 kJ battery pack and a fuel restriction of 75 kg. More of the same, just stricter.

        1. @marvinthemartian at the moment the sales of EV’s surpasses those of Gasoline bruners..
          So the percentages you mentioned are old news.

          1. huh? citation needed?

          2. Yeah, I’m gonna need a source for that.

        2. As @erikje says @marvinthemartian, the current mix on the road isn’t the point, it’s the sales, and in fact the rate of sales increase. If they go up another 10x by 2026 then F1 with a piston engine will look ridiculous, obsolete and out of touch. Some people might still be buying them for their own road car, that doesn’t make them right for the next era of F1, which has to look high-status and relevant through 2030+.

          As it is they’ve hung on to this 2014 technology too long already.

      2. I think hydrogen fuel cell stack powered by electric motors could be the way to go.

  3. All the big manufacturers will tell F1 to become FE. None of them are investing greatly in new ICE technologies.

    1. @phillyspur For some reason you have ignored the cross between electric and ICE, that being hybrid. And hybrid is going to be around for quite a time imho, as electric is just not practical enough yet for most people. While manufacturers may not be innovating ICE engines themselves as that technology has been evolving all along, it is the marriage of ICE to batteries and electric motors that will remain strong for quite a while until electric can take over completely in terms of practicality. Of course all the while they will research alternative fuels to power the ICE, which will charge batteries on the fly via a hybrid system, which makes the system as practical as the ICE is vs the low distance range electric setups available now in mostly just small cars, for those who want to pay a small fortune for a small car that doesn’t go far.

      1. In 2026 there will be no major car companies spending money on ICE developement.

        1. Yet making fortunes in third world countries where electrical vehicles are expensive, impractical or discriminated for general use. I don’t see a truck or SUV going electric and replace a lineup of pickups with a gasoline motor.

          1. You must have missed the lasy few years, American pick up manufacturers are developing electric pickups.

          2. @f180 as noted above, Ford and General Motors have both announced that they will be launching electric pickup trucks in mid to late 2021, and of course Tesla has their pickup hitting the market in 2021 too. Asides from them, you also have a host of smaller independent companies bringing their own pickups to the market about now or within the next 12 months, such as Rivian.

      2. @robbie hybrids have already been banned in many countries already (usually effective 2035 give or take) as their carbon foot print has been shown to be quite a bit greater than bev and ice. While efficient to run, they have the carbon cost at construction of both bev and ice and you don’t gain that back over their lifetime. Hybrids are therefore a doomed technology. As such, I can’t see how F1 can justify using hybrids.

        So far as I can see, they have to change fundamentally, to either hydrogen or pure electric. Maybe there’s something else that will come up, but green carbon based fuels won’t cut it.

        1. Its a stopgap in the scheme of things but it’s where the market is today because of limitations in range and charging networks right now. Also it reduces emissions and consumption. What would help more is for people to stop buying giant suvs that seat only five yet get only 20-23 mpg.

        2. @antznz

          I think hybrid is going to remain important for at least the next 15 years, and therefore for the immmediate future of F1 their next engine formula will be hybrid, and to me likely the next one after that too.

          As @dmw highlights Hybrid has it’s place while full electric still has a long way to go in range and practicality, including with the infrastructure needed to support a much greater number of EV’s on the road.

          I’m not trying to claim electric will never gain big traction or take over, but I do have my doubts because I think in the next 10 or 15 years there may be further advancements in synthetic fuels etc. For the time being EV’s are only practical for a small percentage of people.

          As I say, for the purpose of this discussion being F1’s next power unit formula, I’m quite sure it will be hybrid.

          1. @robbie I understand your point and I don’t think you’re wrong. I just have a different perspective as I’ve been following electric battery and hydrogen technology quite closely for the past 5 years. I’m pretty convinced that it’s mostly lack of knowledge and price that are the limit of its uptake. Several electrics have over 600km range now and prices are coming down. 2023 is the optimistic date for price parity, 2025 the conservative one. Even with higher initial purchase costs, most electric vehicles you are ahead in cost well within 5 years. Some vehicles within 1 year.

            Electric infrastructure is actually very easy. Everywhere has power this being the 21st century and all. I’ve worked on projects putting in electric chargers and it’s pretty straight forward.

            There are definitely car companies that are freaking out because they haven’t invested in new tech and are being left behind. But why go hybrid when your carbon footprint is greater than that of a pure ice? Why not just stick with ice? It’s the carbon footprint that is the sticking point. With the hassle of plug in and refueling as well? Why not pick one down side instead of two?

            If the bans do start coming in 2032, that’s very little time for companies to benefit from hybrid tech used in F1 currently. Porches electric car has been its best seller (suv aside) in many markets. The model 3 is setting new records every quarter. Electric cars are becoming popular very quickly. And affordable. The stats are showing that, but we are all going to have to wait and see what numbers they get to over the next few years.

            I’m happy to provide links to support any of the above – let me know.

  4. For goodness sake, F1. Why do you never learn anything?
    Stop mandating a particular engine that most manufacturers don’t want, and instead allow each and every interested manufacturer to decide what they want to make and race with.
    With a set fuel tank size, or a set energy volume (equivalent to 100kg of current race fuel) or even a strict power limit/air restrictor – they should be free to make what they want to make that suits their company image and corporate direction.
    Provided it has standard mountings and mass, what does it matter if it’s a I4, V6 or Boxer 8? Twin turbo or single shouldn’t be prescribed either. Let the designer choose.
    Costs will be the same no matter what they build – they will all spend as much as they can, regardless of what that is. Give them a separate budget cap for the engine too if that helps.

    What good is it having manufacturers in F1 if the manufacturers can’t have and show their own unique identity?
    If they all end up building the same thing, then so be it. At least they had the option to do something else.

    Oh, and one other thing. They must be entertaining, not just an indulgence for manufacturers. F1 is a car racing series, remember.

    1. Sounds very expensive and very impractical.

      1. OP makes a lot of sense to me.
        The series would benefit hugely from some diversity in engine design, as long as performance broadly converges. The early 90s with V8s, V10s and V12s on the grid was pretty sweet.

        Since when has F1 been practical haha, it’s literally a bottomless money pit, soon to be a $145m per annum money pit.
        I also don’t agree that it would be expensive, at least it would be no more expensive than current engine dev costs, and under the new engine regs there should be a budget cap anyway, perhaps with some initial R&D exemptions.

      2. Addressed your point on cost already.
        I don’t see how it’s impractical to allow Toyota to design, build and race a Toyota engine, for example.
        Why should they build the same thing as Mercedes and Renault?

    2. S, without the sort of forced equalisation that occurs in series such as the World Endurance Championship, why is there an assumption that teams will just automatically make something “that suits their company image and corporate direction”, rather than focussing on producing what they think is the optimal type of engine?

      In past years, you might get some sense of diversity to begin with, but usually most manufacturers then end up converging on a particular design fairly quickly because a particular design will turn out to offer the best all-round compromise.

      As a simpler example, just look at BMW’s engine research in the 1990s before they entered F1, and before the regulations mandated that the engines had to be a V10. They looked at a range of different configurations – V8s, V10s and V12 – but, in the end, they concluded that most teams had already converged on the best solution, which was the 72 degree V10 that most of the field was already using.

      The idea of “what suits our corporate image” didn’t enter the equation – the sole question was “what’s the best design”? As far as they, and anybody else, was concerned, the objective was to achieve the most success – the halo effect from winning was much more valuable than an engine that might fit the corporate image of the company a bit more, but was uncompetitive. Why would teams want to sacrifice that?

      1. Forced competition (some technical BoP) is not only fine by me, but should be strongly encouraged if F1 is to survive as both a racing series and a technical development competition.

        Second, as I said – if they all make the same thing, that’s fine too. At least they had the option to build something different. Forcing each manufacturer (and there’s only 3 at the moment, let’s not forget) to build the same engine the same way essentially puts everyone on a linear technical path. You are either good at it or you aren’t. You can’t do anything different, you just have to do it the same but better than the others. Which inevitably leads to extended period where one engine is just better than the rest, and the political nature of F1 means that certain other teams won’t be allowed access to it.

        What do you want F1 to be, anyway?

        1. S, the issue is that Balance of Performance regulations normally require a fixed specification to try and balance the performance of the vehicles – otherwise, how do you know what exactly the performance of the whole system is, and therefore how to try and balance it, if somebody is changing it all the time?

          Furthermore, at least in series like the WEC, BoP regulations have sometimes ended up making both the racing and technical development worse. There were times when some of the GT manufacturers admitted that they actually stopped bothering to develop their cars, since it was easier to just wait for the ACO to performance balance them back up against newer cars, whilst in the LMP1 category there were years when some manufacturers stopped bothering with trying to catch up as the Balance of Performance regulations actually locked them into a permanent disadvantage (e.g. Toyota in 2015 stopped all work on their car, didn’t bother trying to develop it and basically didn’t really bother in the races because they were locked into a permanent disadvantage relative to Audi and Porsche, and there was basically nothing they could really do).

          Producing Balance of Performance regulations is actually quite a challenge, and quite often you will see complaints that some manufacturers are either being given far too harsh balances or overly generous balances. Those systems sometimes break down completely if a new car is introduced and there is no data with which to balance the cars – it becomes more of a guess – and occasionally it has resulted in complaints when balances have been so off that it’s raised questions about whether the ACO actively manipulated the results.
          The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans raised such complaints when, on the 50th anniversary of the original Ferrari-Ford battle in 1966 (and shortly after Ford had sponsored an exhibition by the ACO on “Americans at Le Mans”), the GT category of the 2016 race ended up as a private Ford-Ferrari battle – something that some commentators noted seemed just a little too convenient.

          There is the question of whether you want to prioritise the engine manufacturers or the chassis manufacturers, because the purpose of having the more standardised designs was to make things easier for the chassis manufacturers to switch between engine manufacturers. You seem to want to put a very heavy emphasis on the engine manufacturers, whereas I would take more of a position that aims to try and take a middle line between the engine manufacturers and the chassis manufacturers.

          1. Yep, I am well aware of how BoP and homologations work.
            F1 could limit itself to, say, 4-5 rounds of upgrades per engine per year. Homologate each one each time.
            Remember, we are talking about an engine, not an engine/chassis combination here. It’s quite easy to dyno an engine and BoP it.
            You speak about ACO, but many others tackle BoP and performance equality issues too. SRO is generally pretty decent at handling BoP. Aussie Supercars are extremely on-top of the parity issue also, likewise Super GT (matching their JAF and MC cars to be competitive with GT3 despite the vastly different technical approaches – PLUS they also use success ballast, because everyone benefits when the racing is good).

            However, you’ll note that I did offer alternative suggestions besides just an engine BoP system. Strict output limits could suffice, perhaps a specific air restrictor for all engines would work (like WRC) – I’m sure there are other means to ensure both development AND competition.
            With a single engine spec for everybody, there is very little competition – and equally there is very little reason for a new manufacturer to join. They aren’t joining with their own engineering because the specs are too limited and prescriptive.

            I don’t think we need to look at it as an engine competition OR a chassis competition. Do away with political alliances (by official regulation) and make every engine available to all teams – the best combination will win, not just the best one or other.

            Let’s not forget that 30 years ago there were 8 manufacturers willing to put their money into F1 engines. They could build pretty much any engine they wanted to as long as it was no more than 3500cc in displacement. And most of those manufacturers made their engines available to multiple teams if they wanted them. Even with mid-season changes at times.

            Now there are just 4 manufacturers – soon to be 3 again.
            The tighter the engine regulations get and more political F1 is, the less manufacturers there are….
            Correlation? Or causation?

          2. S, you bring up the Australian Supercars series, but actually they had quite a lot of problems, and quite a lot of controversy, over how they tried and failed to get the right ‘Balance of Performance’ for the Mustang when it turned up fairly recently. Furthermore, that series now only has two manufacturers (Holden and Ford), and that series has also been introducing an increased number of standard engine components to cut costs.

            You seem to keep using the phrase “their own engineering”, but what do you actually mean by that phrase? What is that meant to mean when you look at the broad range of engines that most companies produce, and in an era when most automotive manufacturers are co-developing engines with other companies to split development costs?

          3. @anon
            Supercars have had constant issues chasing aero parity – but none in regard to engines. All engines have been homologated (are are regularly re-homologated any time any part is changed) and there is no parity issue there.

            They do only have two manufacturers now (Effectively only one actually, as GM have shut down the Holden brand). Can you think of why that might be?
            That’s right, because they fundamentally rebuilt the entire series around those two manufacturers back in the 90’s, when the international Group A regulations were deemed to not have a strong enough local flavour.
            Following manufacturer money brought Supercars to its knees – and it’s doing it (or has already done it) to F1 too.

            I really hope I don’t need to explain that it means when two (or more) manufacturers each wish to make a race engine – they will almost certainly come up with different resulting engines. They each use their own ideas and engineering approaches to come to a design conclusion. There may be many similarities after all the research and development is done, but it’s exceedingly unlikely that they will be the same. Toyota’s engine will be the product of Toyota’s technical approach, knowledge and development, Porsche’s engine will be the product of their parallel technical approach, knowledge and development. That is an important factor. Otherwise, with a presicribed angine such as the current V6 – an F1 engine is essentially just badge-engineering. Internally, it’s the same. It’s not Toyota’s or Porsche’s.

            Most companies mass produce mass-market engines – it makes sense for them to share costs when they are purely driven to make direct profit from their products.
            Motorsport is an advertising medium – they don’t need to make direct profit from a race engine. Marketing success is their profit. Positive brand awareness, recognition and impression is their profit. Flow-on mass-production sales are their profit (BTW, how’s that going for the current manufacturers right now?)
            Nobody really thinks that their daily road car has F1 tech in it from the F1 car. And few care how thermally efficient it is.

  5. Sure, the last time F1 listened to the manufacturer’s input turned out to be a huge succes, right………?

    Hey Ross, try not listening to them, try listening to the drivers and the independent teams (who still make up 70% of the grid).

    (spoiler alert: the teams want simpler and cheaper engines, the drivers want better tires)

    1. I’m pretty confident that Liberty and Brawn, who haven’t handed all the power to the top 4 teams, will do a much more thorough and fair job of sussing out the next pu formula than BE did. I really doubt for example we will have a first day of experiencing the new pu only to have the commander in chief set the tone immediately by saying ‘they’re too quiet.’ I doubt Brawn will be caught off guard like he who needed replacing did.

      Brawn will involve manufacturers that are in F1 and those that are not, as well as the teams and their engineers, all the while consulting with his own team of engineers.

    2. Oconomo: 70% of the grid? Independent teams? Could you please list them?

      Williams was the last real independent team, but now they’re fully corporate with hedge fund backing.

      McLaren? Nope. Bahraini Sovereign Wealth Fund

      Racing Point? Not really. Billionaire investor/owners

      Haas? Nope. Global machine tool company – built from Ferrari parts and Dallara know-how.

      Alfa Romeo? Not exactly. Large hedge fund owners with heavy FCA backing.

      Red Bull / Alfa Minardi? Again… Rich multi-national company owner running teams as cheap global advertising for the fizzy drinks and fashion brands.

      Renault? Hmmm… Independent multi-national automaker…

      Mercedes? Another Multi-national automaker

      Ferrari? Guess they are sort of independent. Of FCA.

      They are no real independent teams left in F1.

      1. Independent of an automotive manufacturer, I think he meant.
        Williams? Independent race team.
        McLaren? McLaren/McLaren Automotive.
        Racing point? Independent race team.
        Haas? Independent race team.
        Alfa Romeo? Independent race team – Alfa is strictly sponsorship money.
        Red Bull / Alpha Tauri? Independent race teams.
        Renault? Renault/Groupe Renault.
        Mercedes? Mercedes/Daimler.
        Ferrari? Ferrari/FCA.

        Guess there are actually at least 6 independent race teams left in F1.

  6. RocketTankski
    12th October 2020, 15:48

    Solar energy feeding 4 small in-wheel motors. The entire bodywork is made from a photovoltaic polymer. Lower top speed. Increased safety. Formula Sol

      1. No more rain or clouded races then

  7. It wasnt just Mercedes, ferrari and Renault who had a saybon the current hybrid power unit. VW, cosworth, and a few other manufacturers were involved in make the hybrid rules.

  8. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    12th October 2020, 16:45

    Pretty sure the likes of Porsche and Aston Martin previously voiced their problem with the MGU-H being in the mix, as it would simpyl be too much of an investment with very little reward. F1 wanted to hold onto ‘progressive tech’, which led to the most boring 7 years in decades as Mercedes was right on the money from day one.

    Problem is, is that F1 wants to show the world how progressive they are, but engine makers would (as they’ve stated previously) rather see something easier (read: cheaper) to develop. You’re never going to get those two extremes onto the same page. Look at rallying, going down the road of a 4-cillinder engine with hybrid tech: F1 can’t possibly justify going down that way as ‘the king of autosport’. Going full electrical isn’t possible because of Formula E either, so where does that leave F1? Just go back to noisy V8’s or V10’s and tell any environmentalist nutjob to stuff it.

    1. V8s or V10s will never happen. Environmental regulations will put an end to that if nothing else with only dictators and desert-countries entertaining them.

      Also, it helps looking at the larger picture of sustainability and not thinking about nostalgic solutions because the world has moved on and is a lot worse environmentally than it was in the last century.

      1. Worlds moved on ? Last time I looked almost everything is still ICE. Trucks and planes probably will always be guzzling gas. Worlds not moved on at all

    2. @barryfromdownunder with regards to Aston Martin, it was an open secret in the motorsport world that Andy Palmer (the CEO of Aston Martin at the time) was talking a load of rubbish about an engine project simply to generate headlines ahead of Aston Martin’s flotation on the stock market in a desperate attempt to pump up the value of the shares – a rather desperate attempt as the shares promptly tanked.

      Even without the MGU-H, Aston Martin had no hope whatsoever of producing an engine given they were heading for bankruptcy – selling to Stroll was the only thing that’s stopped the company running out of money, given they’d been making losses for at least a couple of years and were rapidly exhausting their credit lines.

      It was a publicity stunt from start to finish, and nobody believed it was remotely credible that a company in the sort of debt that Aston Martin was in could have funded an F1 engine project, given they couldn’t even fund development of their own engines.

  9. A complete opposite of what we need after 8 years of road-relevant nonsense, but I guess that’s the way business’ going in F1. Brawn sounds so submissive that I’m surprised this was a man behind Mercedes and Ferrari success, but actually no, this is exactly the type to serve the corporate politics and the agenda of manufacturers. His words are a clear proof of how F1’s become a promotional platform for big boys and nothing else, it should serve no other purpose than to “provide support with their (manufacturers’) objectives away from F1.” Whoever says this needs to be sent right away from the sport.

  10. It’s interesting how in F1 world there seems to be only one conversation: petrol (hybrid) vs full electric. Yet manufacturers seem interested in hydrogen fuel cells but nobody talks about it. I realise it’s a yet unproven tech so it’d take a lot of money to develop it to the level of performance F1 people is used to, but hey that’s something worth throwing your money at if you’re an OEM.

    Otherwise, just get a “cheap” conventional hybrid like Indycar and get going for a few more years. After all Honda has committed to that formula right after quitting F1. We’re at a crossroads so if F1 is not ready to lead, better standardise parts to make it less ridiculously expensive and keep jogging along until somebody grows some spine.

    1. @nordic whilst the ACO is supposedly moving forward with an idea to allow hydrogen fuel cell cars from 2023-2024 onwards, the problems that the current H24 project team are experiencing in trying to develop a car that can compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans highlight why hydrogen fuel cells are rather problematic right now.

      That car is based on an LMP3 chassis, but right now the car is quite heavy – even with 150kg being shed from the whole powertrain recently, that has only brought it down to about 1400kg in weight, compared to the standard 930kg of a conventional LMP3 car – mainly due to the challenges of ensuring that the storage tanks, which operate at 700 bar, can withstand a high speed impact without rupturing (at that pressure, a potential breach of the tanks could be catastrophic), as well as the weight of the fuel cell itself.

      Bear in mind that, although it’s based on an LMP3 chassis, the performance target for that car is currently that of a GT3 car – which is still a fairly modest performance target.

      As for the alternative option of liquid hydrogen, the issue there is that liquid hydrogen is still quite poor in terms of volumetric energy density – it’s only around a quarter of that of a comparable hydrocarbon fuel (high pressure gaseous hydrogen is even worse, at a ratio closer to one sixth that of a hydrocarbon fuel).

      Whilst you would regain some of that back if the powertrain was more efficient, the relative volume that would be required would be rather unattractive, not to mention the complications arising from trying to store liquid hydrogen for anything more than a short period of time.

      1. I’m not saying hydrogen is the answer, but I don’t agree to the objections you mentioned. Project H24 has problems with performance in regard to conventional teams. But that wouldn’t be a problem for F1 since everyone would have the same struggles

        1. baasbas, there are certain physical constraints that won’t disappear just because it is F1 doing it – for example, Project H24 has the engineering challenges that come with proving the durability of the system in the event of an accident, which is a common issue irrespective of the racing series you participate in.

          1. Agree on the challenges, but with the LM series they have to work with these challenges apart from all the normal challenges. Different cars, different power sources, different challenges, dangers and approaches in for example safety and accidents. It’s all in addition to each other making it complicated.
            If F1 were to do it, it wouldn’t be easy, but it would present 1 challenge and 1 approach since it would be the same for all.

            With the start of FE one of the challenges was the battery. They ‘overcame’ the challenge by switching cars half way. I don’t like that solution, but at least it was the same for everyone.

            I am curious about what solutions F1 could come up with working with the constraints it is confronted with. The safety part would be a challenge all teams and F1 together would need to tackle. Which is a huge improvement over what H24 faces.

            But then again, I don’t think hydrogen is a solution…

  11. The day F1 goes to FE is when I go to FU and watch golf. At least there is less mindless BS, some degree of honesty and ethics rather than watching the governing body suck up to one specific team with behind-the-scenes agreements that no one else is party to no matter how much it affects them. At least a single engine supplier for the series would eliminate Ferrari cheating.

  12. It’s going to have to be hybrid. It can’t be ice only. VAG et al are pouring billions to electric and hybrid including plug in. There is no way any big brand gets behind going back to the v8s. Even niche makers like Ferrari and jaguar and McLaren are going hybrid for “halo”’cars. It can’t be all electric because batteries are not there yet for the kind of performance we need. So it will have to be a cheaper hybrid system. Maybe no MGU H as others say and maybe no turbo at all.

    The second part is marketing. The current PU is an astonishing achievement in power and efficiency but you would never know it All you hear is apologies about the “noise.” F1 and manufacturers need to market the PUs as world class tech in efficiency. It’s absurd that FE has taken this mantle with their super slow cars.

  13. I think F1 needs to restrict the amount of petrol a team can use. However have an open regulation for electric or hydrogen power trains and and no restrictions on testing for them. It would seriously speed up development of these technologies which the world needs, whilst keeping F1 relevant. Teams wouldn’t switch until the new fuels were faster than the old.

  14. John Ballantyne
    13th October 2020, 1:08

    How about we have a power unit the like of which people are already using?

  15. I don’t see Brawn’s statement as being “news” in any way. Of course manufacturers will provide input.

    The one area that seems to be ignored and has some potential for “independent” participants is not the PU themselves but on the Software side of things. It’s my understanding that each team is limited to using the software provided by the PU manufacturers which in turn leaves no scope for any team to “tweak” the way in which power, BBW etc is delivered to their cars.

    It seems that the actual “hardware” side isn’t really going to be able to change a great deal, even by 2026, which leaves two differentiators being fuel and software.

    Fuel is already something that teams work with, and there’s scope to change to biofuels etc.

    Surely software is another area that may be able to be explored as an area that can be developed to bring more efficiency/better power delivery by enabling independent software developers a chance to be involved?

  16. As Indycar is also going Hybrid, what are the possibilities to create a ‘standard’ engine formula for several race-classes? Like WEC, Indycar, F1 etc.?
    Perhaps manufacturers would be more interested if their engines could be used for as many classes as possible?
    That could still be a hybrid/bio-fuel system, or even Hydrogen.

  17. How come synthetic fuel, like algae fuel is not being taken into the equation of a more carbon neutral source of fuel?

    Coupled with a hybrid engine this should at least function as a proper stopgap while advancing towards are more efficient energy dense battery.

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