F1 manufacturers support plan to drop MGU-H – Binotto

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In the round-up: Mattia Binotto says all manufacturers involved in talks about Formula 1’s future power unit regulations agree the MGU-H should be dropped.

In brief

MGU-H dismissed in future power unit regulation talks

With talks on F1’s 2025-26 power unit regulations ongoing, Mattia Binotto said that every manufacturer represented in the discussion agreed that MGU-H would not be part of future regulations.

“Discussions have happened since the last meeting in Austria,” Binotto said. “Obviously on the next steps in the direction of defining the future of the power unit. So far the discussions we’ve had have been positive.

“Most of or all the manufacturers are agreeing on the track to remove the MGU-H. So we, as the others, are in agreement with that.

“There are a lot of details of it still to be discussed and agreed but I think that generally speaking, the discussion is moving on positively at the moment.”

Alonso: Alpine facing “ups and downs” for remainder of season

Alpine weren’t competitive at Monza
Fernando Alonso said that Alpine’s Monza performance had been a known low point but that the rest of the season would be hard to predict their potential over.

“I think there’s going to be ups and downs for everybody,” Alonso said. “We saw, in this triple header, that we are up and down in the level of competitiveness and on the grid.

“In Spa we were okay on the dry, we were not okay with the wet. In Zandvoort we were okay all weekend, [in Monza] we were not. So I think it’s track dependent and so I don’t know what’s happening in Russia, Turkey and Austin, how it’s going to be.

“I think it will be better. I would say that Monza was already in the calendar as one of the worst. We knew that. So we will see. In what was one of the worst weekends potentially it was a P7 and P9. That’s something that is our strength as a team to score points every Sunday.

“We don’t have probably the fastest car in the midfield, but we seem to have probably the best team on the midfield, so that’s allowed us to score points.”

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Comment of the day

With politics around F1’s future power unit regulations in focus on Dieter’s column, Phil asks if the most problematic issue might be internal combustion?

It’s all quite a mess isn’t it. F1 has a major problem in that the engine technology it is using, and has always used, is essentially becoming obsolete. So it is scratching around trying to find a cost-effective replacement that is different from full electric.

Then the problem is that the only possibly interested organisations who can afford to develop whatever new technology is required are the major motor manufacturers. Why though should they be interested in doing this if the technology does not have some relevance to their main business, i.e. building and selling cars and it does not generate a decent return.

I don’t know the answer here. We don’t know what is going to happen with the new fuels being developed and how successful this will be, do we?

Surely the aim must be engines that are simpler in design and cheaper. Can they keep the essence of what they have but have it work with new fuels? I guess they have to or see F1 slowly drift into obsolescence.
@Phil-f1-21

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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36 comments on “F1 manufacturers support plan to drop MGU-H – Binotto”

  1. The COTD neatly highlights the problem for F1, however the solution of simpler/cheaper ICE PUs is likely to fail because “historic racing” already has such depth and far better racing as seen at this years Goodwood Revival even when the cars were from the 1930s such as the ERAs, Bugattis etc. Please watch these races (youtube) before insulting my mental acuity, constructive criticism always welcome.
    It is too late for F1, EVs are coming faster than imagined.

    1. Further pondering, what would a purely electric F1 look like, no gimmicks, no powertrain restrictions, current safety features and overall dimensions, cars or power from Tesla, porsche, mercedes etc.

    2. @hohum I think one of the biggest mistakes F1 has been making and in the past couple of years has not been marketing and highlighting remotely enough that F1 uses the best hybrid PH-EV’s motors in the world. Only a few outside of F1 seem to know this, it’s almost as if they’re trying to keep it a secret.
      F1 has created the most efficient racing motor in the world with a 50% efficient PU, the only one to do so. By not trying to prioritize forward efficiency progress in F1 PU’s and not try to achieve more than 50% is a fail on F1’s part. They were doing great in this tech.
      Agree, about the enjoyment of watching other racing series; I think I’ve been enjoying more watching non f1 races recently like F4, SuperKarting at Phillip Island; Indy@ Laguna Seca last weekend was a great watch and GT4 at Sonoma. And Karting Worlds is coming up soon and then SuperKarts at Le Mans. There’s is so much excellent racing going on other than F1.

      1. @redpill, I agree and I think it’s a pity they didn’t allow the electric side of the PU to develop further.

        1. @redpill @hohum I disagree.
          @Phil-f1-21 was right. It’s only matter of time before F1 became obsolete. So the only way is to be the best pure ICE racing, not FE wanna be having V2 with 100kwh battery. Ditching MGU-H is a good step.

          1. @ruliemaulana I think you misunderstood the post that @Phil-f1-21 written?

            If you’re wanting pure ice F1 racing, may I suggest YouTube for watching legacy races because pure ice in F1 is a thing of the past; whether you like it or not stick a fork in pure ice in F1, it’s well over for a number of reasons.

          2. @ruliemaulana, That is an option, but who is going to invest hundreds of millions of $s to build the best pure ICE engines when all the major motorcar manufacturers are building and selling EVs exclusively.

          3. I don’t know the best way forward but I was not proposing the future development of petroleum fuelled ICEs. This seems to be a non-starter. I think the future probably has to be a combination of new, greener fuels and electrical recovery whilst keeping costs as low as possible.

      2. By not trying to prioritize forward efficiency progress in F1 PU’s and not try to achieve more than 50% is a fail on F1’s part.

        Fully agree, also with F1’s lack of marketing that feat.

        It’s a shame that they now plan to drop the MGU-H (and undoubtedly fall well below 50%), rather than opening up the use of it.
        If it’s too expensive then just standardise it.

        1. Fully agreed jff and @redpill
          I personally really think it if a failure of F1 marketing that the MGU-H is going away; yes it is complicated, but it is a big part of how they got to that 50% efficiency. Yes, for most passenger cars such a device isn’t useful, bc. the engine isn’t working full tilt for a lot of the time; but even so, it is a great piece of technology.

        2. @bosyber
          I agree @jff ; I know this too late to post but the MGU-H is the major reason why a F1 PU can produce 50% efficiency while at the same time provide a massive performance power curve when nothing else can; either going either to battery or to the MGU-K when the other PU components cant provide, There’s no turbo lag felt primarily because of MGU-H producing a very smooth, blazing fast and uninterrupted power band. It’s actual a very beautiful bit of innovation and machinery.

          The battery in F1 isn’t that big and there’s not enough harvesting to charge the battery to keep up with demands without the MGU-H. They’re talking about increasing the battery to 350KW (but hence more weight) and have a generator and differential driveshaft for the front wheels (again, more weight) for 2026 to help make up for the loss not having the mgu-H but it will still not be enough to make up the performance lost from not having a MGU-H and will be heavier (salt to the wound).

          I’m not sure why the MGU-H gets such a bad rap and is not given much credit although the MGU-H is crazy complicated, crazy expensive and has no viable use in consumer cars which is a shame and it’s demise but it still has to be admired and respected for what it has provided in a race car and will continue doing so for the next 4-1/2 seasons.
          F1 in the near future needs to find a way to get 50% thermal efficiency or better without the MGU-H and be just as high performing. And market the living chit out of it so common consumers are aware of this eco advancement and hence there will be more support for what F1 is doing.

  2. Talking about being a mess and making concessions. Existing F1 teams have been willing to make large concessions in order to get new teams & manufacturers on the grid (which would be a good thing).
    In recent meetings VW had made a list of demands they wanted in F1 in order for them to grace F1 with their presence. Like mentioned above, dropping the MGU-H (making a 50% efficiency PU) and other changes, also delaying new PU till 2026. F1 teams agreed to hopefully get more cars on the grid.
    Then I hear now that VW and Red Bull are trying to join forces and collaborate and not add more cars. That would mean all the concessions that F1 teams gave up to appease VW was done in vain, seems like F1 and teams got cuc-kold by VW and RB without the gain of more teams or cars coming to the grid. Probably also means VW will get access to Honda’s PU IP. It this happens, VW wins & F1 loses big.

    I hope I’m really wrong and we get to see an additional team and (2) more cars on the grid in 2026.

    1. Full agreement yet again on this post @redpill, if VW doesn’t mean a chance of more cars on the grid (taking over either Red Bull or Alpha Tauri, yeah that’s helping keep those sustainable I suppose, but it certainly doesn’t add cars to the grid), then losing the MGU-H, which all current manufacturers have working already, is a big price to pay.

  3. @redpill, I’m not sure LM or the teams want more teams, unless that is, there is a commensurate increase in revenue to guarantee no-ones slice of the pie diminishes.

    1. @hohum
      I believe they do want more teams/cars on the grid but they first need to come up with $200m cash to give to teams, second prove they can produce a competitive package (no back markers being lapped) and third prove they have enough financial resources & cash to burn to operate properly over several seasons.
      Hence, bringing companies in like VW group and definitely not small teams dreaming to be in F1 like Hispania Racing/HRT, Marussia and Manor….etc as those would be very bad for everyone in F1 and Liberty.

      Anyone in the know, please correct me if I’m wrong on this?

      1. HRT, Manor and Caterham weren’t at all bad for F1 – they just never stood a chance when the big teams had so much power to influence the running of the series.
        Their entries were accepted on the basis of a promised budget cap, which was then rejected by the existing big teams in exchange for some “technical support.”
        Yet another of F1’s compromises to satisfy the big teams, which ultimately worked against the whole series.

        It’s also worth noting that there were 15 applications for those 3 team slots in 2010.
        Since the last of those ‘new’ teams finally vanished in 2016, only one new team (Haas) has entered F1. One.

        The $200m fee is at least up front and not deceptive in any way. F1 has no issues now in telling any potential new teams that they are not wanted. Unless they bring their own engine, of course, in which case they can waive the fee…

        1. S,

          I have to totally disagree, I had to witness every race with HRT, Manor and Ceterham and it was certainly a bad look for the top pedigree of Motorsport racing. It lowered considerably the reputation of F1 being a well oiled, smooth operating machine. These teams were dreamers and living off a hope of being able to finish the season. The ratings and reputation over the next few seasons was hurt by this significantly enough for Bernie and now Liberty to avoid from that ever happening again; there better to have 10 teams than 12 with teams flailing and getting lapped; there’s been quite a few comments that Bernie made about this afterwards.
          Haas had to come up with a good enough racing package to convince FOM & teams and show considerable amounts of cash available to be allowed to enter F1. But as you look now, Haas is becoming the butt of jokes and there business racing model does not look good for future improvement unless some drastic and costly changes are made.

          Nothing good came out of those teams except for some personal and engineers that had gained experience and getting new jobs after the debacle and now flourishing.

          1. Well, that’s an unfortunate attitude to have @redpill.
            I didn’t have to witness every one of their races – I chose to, and was happier to see those teams than the manufacturer ones. They embody the essence of F1 more to me – even history shows that there have been more non-manufacturer race teams than manufacturer ones, and many have done better. We don’t have to look far to see Ferrari (perhaps the most well funded and experienced F1 team of all time) ‘flailing’ in F1. Toyota and Honda likewise.
            It was just a shame that F1 and the existing teams decided to ruin the newcomers before they even got started.

            You hit the nail on the head with your final sentence. They gave people a chance to gain experience and work their way up to more well-funded teams in F1. Engineers, designers, mechanics, support staff and drivers alike.
            If nothing else, that’s why F1 needs those teams.

            And personally, I’d just prefer to watch them anyway. They run more on passion than money – that’s the right reason to be in F1, AFAIC.

          2. Being in the biz and at the tracks witnessing it first hand. I’m all for the raw energy and chance to chase after the holly grail that small eager teams bring to it, They’re smiling and joking more; they’re happy to just be there. nothing wrong with that and commendable.
            But just like many, many countless other sports that have qualifying event that first use be competed in and those results earn you the right to compete in the finals. Look at Football (soccer to yanks), Tour de France , Cricket……etc, they all had to achieve and qualify to get into the big show.
            Because of it, those finals embody a higher caliber of competition and what you’re watching is the best. Just showing up with two year old chassis and zero money for updates let alone having enough replacements for races later in the season is not scenario for modern F1. It was unrealistic and it affected other teams trying to race on the same bit of track as the same time. Look at Sauber, Williams, McLaren (somewhat), Force India, Alpha Tauri (somewhat) and barely Haas (its not looking good). There smaller non-manufacturer teams who find the way to compete at a level worthy of F1. There’s been some close calls (ups & big downs) for them but they found a way to bounce back and stay solvent. I would love to see more Saubers, McLaren’s, Williams , Aston Martin/Force India type teams on the grid but they also have to first show they are up to the task, solvent and prove they can be competitive through at least several seasons, not just show up with only dreams in there pockets.

            I would love to see some sort of development racing series as a F1 feeder series where smaller teams and junior drivers can compete and qualify to get a spot in the big show. But we all know that will never exist, the best we have is F2 which is awesome for drivers but not for the engineers, teams and other paddock personnel with a fixed Parc firme per se supplied cars that everyone has to rent and drive although there is some great particular skills that can be learned and developed by engineers in F2 but it’s only a handful who get to.

  4. EVs? Never ever a mention of the production of electricity to recharge them.
    Nuclear, Coal, Oil, Gas. Of course all environmentally wonderful aren’t they?
    Any mention of the horrific working conditions of the child lithium & cadmium miners in Africa?
    HYDROGEN is the truly green way forward in vehicle propulsion.
    Various fuel cell engines already in production & working. Only emission water vapour.

    1. There is no easy answer unfortunately as hydrogen production is energy intensive and at present driven mostly by fossil fuels.

      However, it does have the benefit of being adapted to work with existing ICE as well as motors. Also, refuelling and lack of dead weight as in discharged batteries, makes it more attractive as a racing technology.

      F1 can certainly afford to have renewable energy powered fuel cells with an electric hybrid component but it is unlikely the F1 manufacturers will go with something that radical. More likely, we will see something come out of Toyota’s hydrogen experimentation with touring cars.

    2. @wildbiker There’s a bit of a double standard in your comment though, because you failed to mention the energy required for the production of hydrogen necessary for fuel cell technology. Production of hydrogen is done through electrolysis, and requires a huge amount of electricity with current technology, so encounters the same issues as you mentioned with electric vehicles. The truth is that all technologies have their drawbacks, and the production and development of the technology and the fuel itself must be considered when deciding the way forward.

      1. @wildbiker, I’m calling you out, you list the old dirty technologies for electricity production but ignore wind, hydro and solar then go on to suggest child labour is how we get Lithium, much of the Lithium mined today comes from Australia and the USA, no child labour there, but on the subject of child labour know that our traditional school holidays were timed to allow the children to help with planting and harvesting, more recently migrant families have prospered by having the whole family work in the family business, if African families can lift themselves out of poverty by working together is that really a bad thing?
        cc @keithedin

        1. And adding to the above.
          Hydrogen does not only require gas burning or vast (inefficient) amounts of electricity. It also requires fresh water (now working on a saline solution).

          Hydrogen is a marvel but only as a replacement of (natural) gas or as a more convenient way to store and transport electricity.

          And please read up on Na-Ion batteries. For many purposes they will replace the need for lithium.

    3. @wildbiker unfortunately, there are a lot of errors in your post there.

      As others have pointed out, hydrogen production is currently extremely energy intensive – almost all industrial scale production of hydrogen is by reacting steam with methane gas – which makes hydrogen a much dirtier and far less efficient fuel source.

      There is also the issue that hydrogen fuel cell cars still need a sizeable onboard battery – most commercial hydrogen fuel cells require you to input energy to initiate the reaction, which is provided by the onboard battery system.

      The hydrogen fuel cells that have also been produced on limited scale also require many of the same materials that you lambast battery electric vehicles for requiring – not just for their own onboard battery systems, but also for the fuel cell itself. Many complain about cobalt production for battery vehicles but, for example, Toyota’s Mirai uses cobalt in the production of the electrodes in their fuel cells.

    4. @wildbiker – energy production is tricky for sure if we do not want to destroy the environment on the process. Have a look at the Stable Salt Reactor technology they are quite remarkable (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stable_salt_reactor).

    5. It takes twice as much electricity to make hydrogen for use a in fuel-cell car as just changing a battery-electric vehicle for the same range. Simple physics.

      Hydrogen is a dead-end tech.

  5. Really nice article about what Ron Dennis is currently up to. Good job Ron!

  6. There were rumours in late 2014 – after RBR have realised that Renault were lagging enormously in the hybrid technology – of the VW group joining F1 through one of its premium brands (Audi, Porsche) in association with RBR, however there was the obstacle of the hybrid know-how.

    RBR’s plan to solve this issue on behalf of VW was to get the benchmark Mercedes PUs and transfer all of its secrets to VW which was supposed to join in 2018. Lauda agreed with Marko about the possibility of Mercedes providing RBR with their PUs. However, Wolff blocked that move and scrapped all RBR plans and the Dieselgate did the same with regard to VW plans to enter the sport.

    It’s clear that VW is desperately trying to get an advantage over the rest of the manufacturers and don’t want to compete on a level playing field otherwise they will not enter F1. They are promoting their participation as a prize that must be fought over while contributing zero to the sport apart from participating in every new PU formula creation workshops to get the free publicity.

    Ferrari apparently are napping or don’t want to play ball with Liberty and the FIA, I don’t see why they have to concede to VW as for dropping the MGU-H. Ferrari themselves – even if they had a valid point at the time – lobbied the FIA with Bernie’s support to change the engine formula in 2014 when they realised they were way off Mercedes pace and to drop the stupid token system to free the PU development.

    The FIA (Todt) responded that Mercedes have done a better job and it’s up to the competition to catch up. It’s only at the end of 2016 when they have realized the farce they have made that they dropped the token system and then in 2017 proposed to drop the MGU-H which was blocked by the manufacturers. If Ferrari won’t carefully evaluate VW demands and block it if necessary, they will risk another decade of RBR/VW dominance.

    1. @tifoso1989 Agree, Nice write up.

      I’m really surprised how VW Group has continued to get away with their behavior towards F1.

  7. An interesting COTD. Overall for the next PU concept matter, I don’t care about MGU-H, but a simpler concept, perhaps also fewer components, would be good.

  8. Call me out all you like.
    Here’s proof positive of the child miners in the DRC.
    https://www.ft.com/content/c6909812-9ce4-11e9-9c06-a4640c9feebb

    1. @wildbiker, I didn’t doubt that there were child miners in Africa, merely pointed out that child labour has been practised in all societies, and as an alternative to starvation it could be worse.

  9. I think it would be a shame to lose the MGU-H as it would mean less efficiency, more fuel, and heavier cars.

    But battery technology means the ICE is going the way of the dinosaurs, so I can see that manufactures would have little interest in further developing a technology that will never reach road cars.

    A front-axle MGU-K, a turbo V6 without a MGU-H, and sun-to-liquid fuel is probably the future formula.

  10. The iRacing Mercedes partnership is huge news for simracing. Not only will the car be close to the real thing (checked by the drivers, presumably Bottas), but they are helping with the whole iRacing physics model too.

    Work on bringing the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team vehicles to iRacing has been an extended process. As part of the development work, the team performed extensive testing within iRacing and provided feedback and data to improve iRacing’s overall open-wheel physics model.

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