Formula One owners, teams ‘want a simpler engine’

Formula One owners, teams ‘want a simpler engine’

The team members and owners of the F1 fraternity are at cross roads today as to whether to change the hybrid version and go in for a more standardised internal combustion engine that is far cheaper to create and work on during the R&D process.



By Moni Mathews (principal Correspondent)

Published: Sun 23 Nov 2014, 12:13 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:53 PM

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari drives during the third practice session at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Reuters

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari drives during the third practice session at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Reuters

Abu Dhabi — The new generation V6 turbo hybrid version of the F1 engine plant is a big issue for several reasons and most people involved say it must be addressed with urgency.

Technology and refinement wise, it’s a beauty as the automobile expert might term it.

The refining process of the F1 engine is always ‘evolving’ as Phil Prew, Head of Vehicle Performance with McLaren Mercedes said while speaking to the Khaleej Times on free practice day at the beginning of the weekend.

The team members and owners of the F1 fraternity are at cross roads today as to whether to change the hybrid version and go in for a more standardised internal combustion engine that is far cheaper to create and work on during the R&D process.

According to the rule book definition, from 2014 onwards, a Formula One car’s power is provided by a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine which produces around 600bhp, though this represents just one component of an F1 car’s power unit.

An additional 160bhp or so comes from an advanced Energy Recovery System (ERS) which utilises two clever motor generator units (MGU) that convert mechanical and heat energy to electrical energy and vice versa.

The representatives of the team principals (owners) present for a general meeting and discussion with the media were quite united regarding the course to follow as far as F1 engines are concerned.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, said: “There is a governance in place, a governance states a certain timing, the timing is clear for 2015. For 2016, power unit regulation changes, that needs to happen until March 1, so that’s 2015, March 1 2016. What we can see is that the development on the internal combustion engine and on the hybrid system has been tremendous this year, with the fuel reduction of a third.

“We’ve had almost equal performance today (Friday/Saturday), comparing last year in Abu Dhabi with a car that has been sized down in aerodynamic performance — so that is a pretty impressive performance.”

Marco Mattiacci of Ferrari, said: “We need to look at something different for 2016. In terms of power unit and in terms of regulation. Next year is clear we will have to — at the moment — accept the status quo but definitely we are not going to accept the status quo for 2016.”

Claire Williams of Williams, said: “The strategy group, I think it provides a forum for debate which I think is always sensible in a sport when we haven’t had that necessarily before. This year it’s obviously been exploratory.

“It’s been its first year and everybody’s got their agendas and their own issues that they want to talk about. I think with the kind of comments around engines and looking at potentially changing the engines, I think potentially it’s too soon but Williams has always been very vocal about our position around cost control.”

Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner, said: “The four cylinder at the time was supposed to bring in more manufacturers into Formula One and the compromise was to go to a V6. The engines today are incredible bits of machinery, incredible bits of engineering but the cost to the collective manufacturers has probably been close to Euros 1 billion in developing these engines, and then the burden of costs has been passed on. To simplify things, potentially retaining the V6 philosophy and a standard energy recovery system would dramatically reduce the costs, dramatically reduce development and therefore the supply price to the customer teams also.”

moni@khaleejtimes.com


More news from F1