Back to basics with cheaper but louder F1 engines

LONDON • Formula One will have simpler, cheaper and noisier engines from 2021 as part of a "road map" for the future presented to teams that could entice new manufacturers to enter the sport.

The Paris presentation on Tuesday was the product of research by experts assembled by former team boss Ross Brawn, now Formula One's managing director for sporting matters.

"We've carefully listened to what the fans think about the current power unit and what they would like to see in the near future," he said in a statement.

He said the aim was to come up with regulations which, apart from making engines more affordable and louder, would also make it easier for new manufacturers to come in and for teams to be competitive.

Formula One changed owners in January when US-based Liberty Media took over and ousted former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Liberty has already made a mark on race weekends, with more of a show for fans, but long-term contracts mean more substantial changes will take time.

Formula One said it and the FIA had proposed an engine that would be the same 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid but without the MGU-H, one of the two motor generator units.

The sound would be improved by having a higher engine running speed of 3,000rpm.

Development costs would be restricted and extreme designs discouraged, there will be a single turbo with dimensional constraints and weight limits and a standard energy store and control electronics.

The MGU-K, the electric motor that recovers and supplies kinetic energy from braking, will be more powerful with a focus on manual deployment, along with an option to save up energy over several laps and create a driver-controlled tactical element.

"Work will continue over the next 12 months to define certain elements of the power unit," the Formula One statement said. "But the design and development of the complete power unit will not be possible until all the information is released at the end of 2018. This aims to ensure that manufacturers continue to work on the current specification power unit."

The current engine, introduced in 2014 and much quieter than the previous V8s and V10s, ushered in a period of Mercedes dominance with the German manufacturer winning both championships for the past four years.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Back to basics with cheaper but louder F1 engines'. Print Edition | Subscribe