Technical F1 Engines - Where to for the future?


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
There seems to be some discussion about what is going to happen to F1 engines after the failure (?) of the current V6 formula. The point of the current hybrid systems was to make F1 more relevant to how car technology is developing, even super cars such as the new Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren machines use combination energy systems not just internal combustion engines, so hybrid technology (like it or not) is going to be with us to push the date we run out of oil a little bit into the future.

So what could F1 do to make the power train a "bit more F1" but be relevant to how modern car technology is developing? V12 screamers are almost certainly out but could or should F1 go down the same road as the WEC and allow alternative fuels such as diesel or LPG? If you don't like the sound of today's F1 cars I'm not sure you will like a grid of 22 common rail diesel engines all winding themselves up to 4,000 rpm just before the red lights go out. Fuel flow formulas, air flow formulas, turbo, super charged, 5 stroke, 6 stroke; all this technology has been developed and is available to F1 engine builders. Here's a rough summary of what the WEC rules do for engine tech:

2014 power train
– Power restricted by fuel flow
– No limit in air restrictor, boost pressure and engine capacity
– Instant fuel flow is controlled, not global amount of fuel : no strategy in fuel economy, cars and drivers must go at full performance
– Amount of energy (fuel) adjusted vs Hybrid system power
– All other new technology is potentially eligible under the condition it can be controlled, balanced, and road relevant (ex : electric car, hydrogen, 2 stroke engine)

So, Ferrari don't make 4 cylinder engines but all the other manufacturers in F1 make some pretty good ones. What should F1 do? Create another spec series engines as the powers that be did last time or let the engine developers go about what they do best, designing different engines.
The current agenda for changing the formula for F1 is driven by the performance gap between Mercedes and the other teams. They are even suggesting that the need for cost cuts demands scrapping all the time and development invested in the current power units. As if replacing it with a new engine/power unit will actually save money! They need their collective heads examined, put in a liquidizer and thrown to the hounds. :clip:
No limits on everything except fuel; it will create a price war so also put in a maximum engine / power unit cost. I'm also in favour of restrictions on engines per season.
I think the real issue that has to be solved is the cost. Now, do you solve that by a) persisting with the current formula or b( by going back to the drawing board and redesigning from scratch.

Where is the big cost? Production or R&D?
There is a third option though.

Just them get on with it, irrespective of cost,

It may mean fewer teams on the grid and it may not be terribly PC - but, hey, it's not the cheapest sport
Yep, let them spend what they like, if teams get priced out then hard lines. If numbers drop below minimum for 2 car teams then "survivors" can supply other teams, but only with power trains.
I also like the fuel cap and let them get on with it.
The first major problem as I can see it is that the major teams can afford to throw money at their engines becasue they are their own customer. Yes, they are going to get some money back from their customers and off set that against the cost of building it but Mercedes can afford to absorb the costs themselves.

If you look at the small independent builders of years gone by, they not only had to produce and effective engine but price it such that teams could afford to buy it. That in itself kept the costs down.

The spend what they want approach is never going to work. Eventually you could end up with every team using the one engine or there will be no teams left. Let's not forget, the only motoring factory teams left at the moment are Ferrari and Mercedes. Red Bull is a drinks brand and if they feel they are not getting value for money they can walk out without blinking. The others, McLaren, Williams, Force India, etc, etc are indpenendant. Sooner or later, the money will run out. So, the market has to be forced open and made more viable.

Look at F1 30 years ago. In the 1984 season this is the list of engine suppliers:

BMW - Brabham, ATS, Arrows
Ford - Tyrell, Arrows, Spirit
Honda - Williams
Porsche - McLaren
Hart - Ram, Toleman, Spirit
Renault - Lotus, Renault, Ligier
Alfa Romeo - Alfa Romeo, Osella
Ferrari - Ferrari

There were 4, 6, 8 and 12 cylinder engines, 1.5 litre and 3 litre capacities, with turbo and without.

Teams had a choice and there were more teams, with greater choice, a builder had to find a market within that. What makes it even more remarkable is that fact that every single one of those engine builders scored points with at least one team and apart from the NA 3ltr Ford engines, every one scored at least one podium.

There has to be choice in engine development. It should be the cornerstone of any future develpment.

Personally I would prohibit any engine builder from supplying more than two teams. If you want to survive you are going to have to find someone to provide you with an engine. You have to give the engine builders a reason to do it though. There needs to be use of a variety of commercially available fuels.

There would need to be some equivalency rules but I believe these should be limited to fuel capacity and fuel flow.

Cost capping while perfect in theory would be impossible to police in practice. After all, they can't effectively police springy things on front wings let alone who spent 250 million euros on toilet rolls for the factory crappers?
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Bernie is twisting you all round his little finger! :bangfists:

The real agenda and reason F1 is fighting to scrap their brand new hybrid power units:
When Mercedes negotiated its bilateral deal with FOM it was not offered CCB status on the basis that the team did not then comply with conditions demanded by FOM, so insisted on CCB promotion, with commensurate financial reward through to 2020 should it win multiple titles.

With three or more titles won, the amount could run to hundreds of millions over the period, and thus it is in FOM's best interests, if not the sport's
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Sorry for being a biff but apart from the fact that as usual, someone, somewher is going to make a pot load of money, I don't get it?
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Sorry for being a biff but apart from the fact that as usual, someone, someone is going to make a pot load of money, I don't get it?
Bernie, acting as an "agent provocateur" has been stirring the pot, encouraging Mercedes competitors in their push for a new engine solution. It will cost FOM many millions if Mercedes dominates and wins multiple championships. Even though he risks making F1 appear more farcical, self-destructive and insanely wasteful, he is only looking out for number FOM.
I really like the idea of clever rules that allow an even more clever team to win races. Bill Boddy's example of limiting fuel but allowing any engine configuration is great and I would add a twist. If a team uses a dedicated race engine, fuel capacity is 100 kg but if they use production road car parts then they get increased capacity. They could even have it as a percentage, for axample if they use a production engine block that accounts for 50% of the engine mass, they can use 25% more fuel during a race. since production car parts would actually be used, major manufacturers would get involved and write everything off as R&D or marketing. Think how many possible engine configurations F1 would have!
Mark, that was the basis of the F5000, 5ltr stock block or a 3 ltr block with redesiigned heads and valve gear. Didn't last long, but you did get the Capri V6 with the Westlake heads from it. Today with all the electronics the weakest part of the the engine would be the block, but the big manufacturers would produce a a production car engine that would be equal to the V6 block or very near. Ilmor, Cosworth and Mugen will all have their variants and the costs will rise with the competition, unless there is a HP limitation. Seeing as aero is the the most useless part of F1 except to apparently go round corners very fast with no spectator value. Relegate aero to producing fuel efficient bodies, limit the fuel with free engines but with a practical amount of regeneration, electric or otherwise.Then lets see who can drive.
A new Power Unit formula just became a little less likely thanks to the FIA failing to state the rules of F1 clearly and concisely:
F1 teams can develop engines in season after FIA admits loophole

the situation changed dramatically when it was suggested to the FIA that the engine rules did not actually stipulate when a final engine had to be lodged for 2015.

Although the FIA had always been under the impression that new engines would have to be homologated for the first race, this was never explicitly laid down in the rules.

An FIA spokesman said: "It was always envisaged, although not explicitly stated in the rules, that manufacturers would have to deal with modifications on the engine within the constraints of the rules, and then submit their 2015 engine [at the first race].

"It is simple, but when you read it [the rule book], it doesn't say that unfortunately."
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And it looks like Honda have to submit the engine for homolgation by 28 Feb 2015, but not the other teams. They're going to have to change that one...
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