Should F1 allow diesel engines?

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
A simple question. Diesel engines have now won at Le Mans, are more efficient than petrol and therefore less polluting. They develop more torque at low revs, which might aid overtaking, and would require the cars to carry less fuel.

With the planned move to 1.5 litre turbos for 2013 should the FIA be considering allowing diesel engines in F1?
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
I don't see why not - Just looking at some of the LMP1 spec cars they do run monster 6 litre V10 twin turbo diesels
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
I can't see any reason why not.Incidently I thought the proposed new engine was 1600cc with limited turbo boost.
But although a 1600 turbo diesel will not produce such high bhp it would have a much higher torque figure.
This would mean that a different set of parameters regarding gear ratios would be required.Fuel consumption would be reduced and engine life would extended due to lower revs that a diesel operates at.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Is that a FACT or conjecture?

Well, if you look at the CO2 figures for a like for like engine on road cars the MPG is significantly better for the diesel vs the petrol. From what I understand the level of filtration on modern diesel engines also reduces the levels of particulates which were always a problem in the past. So, in short, conjecture on my part :D What happens when you start to "race tune" a diesel I know not.

That said, wasn't one of the advantages Audi and Peugeot had on their LMP cars the fact that they could either run longer on the same fuel load as the petrol boys or lighter for the same distance. If they burn less fuel presumably they are less polluting?
 

Grizzly

Bear
Contributor
That said, wasn't one of the advantages Audi and Peugeot had on their LMP cars the fact that they could either run longer on the same fuel load as the petrol boys

That's pretty much it. They were, in early form (early 2000s), slightly under powered, but needed less refueling, so less time stationary in the pits. I know the owners of the team that were the first to enter a diesel engine, it was built using the VAG v10 that you find in the Touareg. They retired after 6 hours or something due to electrical faults if i remember correctly, but ran very strong in the first few hours, as high as fifth i seem to remember and considering their budget it was an exceptional feat. Audi then used the engine in the then new works R10s to win, basing the build on the teams research...
 

Pyrope

Podium Finisher
Supporter
Diesel engines operate at much higher compression ratios (compression ignition and all that) so their thermal efficiency is higher (they convert a greater proportion of the chemical joules in the fuel into kinetic joules in the vehicle). This translates into better mpg or l/100km. However, as diesel fuel is denser than gasoline they will produce more CO2 for any given volume of fuel consumed. The increase in volumetric efficiency usually outweighs the mass inefficiency, so most diesel cars have a lower CO2 output than a gasoline equivalent but not as much as you'd expect considering the better fuel consumption.

Personally, if I were 'Dictator of F1', the only restriction I'd place on engines would be that they had 120kg of either petrol or diesel and that had to last them the entire race. Then next year it would be 114kg, the year after 109kg, and so on, diminishing by 4-5% a year for at least 10 years. That would give the engineers something to get their teeth into. I have no issue with F1 wanting to be a force to drive engine development, I just wish they hadn't decided to develop an essentially spec formula. Whither the wailing V16? LOL
 

Pyrope

Podium Finisher
Supporter
How do you think they'd sound? Would they have that unique scream of the current F1 cars.


Funny question that... I'd think that 'yes' would be the answer. I've seen a lot of different F1 cars driven in anger and the one thing they all have in common was they they don't sound like anything else on the race track. That goes for everything from the 1.5 litre supercharged screamers of the early 1950s, 2.5 litre straight sixes from the late '50s, 1.5 litre natural aspiration of the 1960s, the 3 litres cars, back to 1.5 litre forced induction in the 1980s, then the V10s of the '90s. In fact, to my ears, the current 2.4 V8 is actually a bit boring. It has all the volume but none of the tone of some of the earlier machines. The one engine that always leaves me a bit cold is the Climax FPF (in both 2.5 and 1.5 litre form), but then these days they usually run in the same field as the Climax V8s, BRM V8s and Ferrari V6s and V12s.

On the other hand... one race I remember from a few years ago was for cars from the 3 litre F1 era. The best noise of the afternoon? The Trojan-Chevrolet F5000 that they allowed to go out and play at the same time... Begad, that was loud!
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Personally, if I were 'Dictator of F1', the only restriction I'd place on engines would be that they had 120kg of either petrol or diesel and that had to last them the entire race. Then next year it would be 114kg, the year after 109kg, and so on, diminishing by 4-5% a year for at least 10 years. That would give the engineers something to get their teeth into. I have no issue with F1 wanting to be a force to drive engine development, I just wish they hadn't decided to develop an essentially spec formula. Whither the wailing V16? LOL

I've heard suggestions of an "energy formula" where the energy allocation is fixed, and the teams are then free to source whatever fuels they wish from that - petrol or diesel, or something more 'creative'? Obviously any energy recovery devices on the car would not be counted towards the overall allocation - a 'bonus' if you like.

Genuine technical question: if the formula was fixed by weight of fuel, rather than energy content, would anyone choose 120kg of petrol over 120kg of diesel?
 

Pyrope

Podium Finisher
Supporter
Genuine technical question: if the formula was fixed by weight of fuel, rather than energy content, would anyone choose 120kg of petrol over 120kg of diesel?

Good question! It's been too long since I last worked on IC engines, but my feeling would be that, if rev limits were uncapped again, petrol might still have the edge in F1. Cars are lighter, engines need to rev harder and be much less inertial than those in endurance racing, and initially the operating conditions would be better understood for petrol. However, whether that would change in time is another matter...

The energy density issue is interesting. That would potentially even out the petrol vs. diesel case. As diesel has an energy density ~10% higher than gasoline, if you set your control as 'the equivalent of 120kg of petrol' then that equates to approximately 109kg of diesel. Or 160 and 131 litres at standard temperature and pressure, respectively.
 

Porceliamone

This cost me a tenner, but so L'Oreal.
Contributor
The sound(s) of an F1 car is absolutely key for me. If they castrate that (which I believe running a diesel would), then I'm afraid it'll turn me off somewhat. Definitely for paying to go to a race, anyway. However, everyone feel free to correct me in that assumption and point me in the direction of an absolutely awesome sounding diesel that would be suitable for F1!
 

Pyrope

Podium Finisher
Supporter
The sound(s) of an F1 car is absolutely key for me. If they castrate that (which I believe running a diesel would), then I'm afraid it'll turn me off somewhat. Definitely for paying to go to a race, anyway. However, everyone feel free to correct me in that assumption and point me in the direction of an absolutely awesome sounding diesel that would be suitable for F1!

Much to my chagrin I have to admit that I haven't actually heard an A10/A15 or a 908 in the metal... However, I was lucky enough to witness an Audi R8 smash the lap record for closed-wheel cars at Mont Tremblant last year. Chased hard by Jacques Villeneuve in a McLaren M1 GTR the car in question was imperious... but silent. It was eerie. And that was a petrol-powered car...

I think the class of racing has far more influence on the noise than the engine design.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Thanks Pyrope. I would be fascinated to see what would happen from a technical point of view.

Unfortunately I think it will never happen due to the issue Porceliamone raises - the sound of the cars. The Le Mans diesels are by far the quietest vehicles in the entire field of a sportscar race. They positively whisper past you. Now, personally, I find that quite a spectacle in itself - the cars have a futuristic air about them, sneaking through the packs of V8 and V12 GT cars in virtual silence. It all seems terribly efficient.

But not viscerally thrilling.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
No one can do that.F1 is unique today in that it one of the very few formulas that still run unsilenced engines.
Most other series including Moto GP have to use silencers.
Starting this season in Europe there will be a new standard called the “Two Meter Max” test. It is called the Two Meter Max rule because the sound level will be tested with a sound meter at maximum rpm at two meters from the end of the pipe. For motocross the maximum noise level permitted at a distance of 100 meters will be of 81 dB, and in Enduro the maximum noise level admitted at a distance of 100 meters will be 78 dB. There is no mention of how loud the bike will be at two meters.

Road race rules are much more lax. MotoGP has a limit of 130 dB at 5500 rpm and AMA Pro Racing allows 105 dB at 20 inches
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
No one can do that.F1 is unique today in that it one of the very few formulas that still run unsilenced engines.

Sligtly off topic but if it's burbling V8's turning into screaming banshee's take a trip to you local drag strip. There is NOTHING to compare to the noise of a top fuel dragster running the standing quarter. Even the local RWYB boys make some wonderful noises.
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
To be honest I would have to hear a diesel F1 car before I could come to a conclusion about it. It's definitely something we are heading towards in the not too distant future
 
If F1 wishes to continue as the pinnacle of motorsport, then future cars should be fuelled by liquidzed amur leopards and built from unobtainium.

Imagine... "now here's Vettel, diving into the pits for his AdBlue top up....... "


 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Speaking of off topic - Never, ever run out of diesel in a road car, guess who did that today?

As opposed to a petrol car where you put more fuel in then fire it up, in my diesel,you have to put more fuel in it, then open the bonnet, then get a friend to crank it over whilst you bleed the air out of the injectors.

I'll not do that again. It's a pain in the arse.
 
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