BMW planning ahead

It's widely considered that BMW has the most powerful engine on the F1 grid and the manufacturer is planning ahead to 2004 when engines will be expected to last for two races. The new BMW unit has already been tested and should be ready to put in...

It's widely considered that BMW has the most powerful engine on the F1 grid and the manufacturer is planning ahead to 2004 when engines will be expected to last for two races. The new BMW unit has already been tested and should be ready to put in a chassis before the end of this season.

"We want to have the strongest engine again next year," motorsport director Mario Theissen said in a webchat with ITV-F1. "The big challenge is to double engine life at the same time, that's why we've started to design next year's engine earlier."

"So far we are very well on schedule, the engine has been running already and we will certainly be able to put it in the car for rollout before the end of the season so we should have plenty of time to check it before the beginning of next season."

It has been suggested that F1 engine size should be reduced from 3 litres to help cut costs; a V8 has been talked about but it's highly unlikely that will happen. Theissen said BMW is not against engine changes but thinks any proposed ideas should be carefully considered.

"We are not generally opposed to any changes on the engine side but we would prefer to see a combined approach. First step should be to identify the objectives which can be lap time, which can be cost reduction or maybe others, improved overtaking and as a second step come up with a set of measures on the car side and the engine side. This is what we would prefer."

Once the regulation changes come into effect with regard to engines -- a two race expectancy from next year, moving to a six race life span come 2006 -- power will have to take second place to longitude.

"Generally speaking yes," Theissen said in regard to a drop in power. "The question is how much you lose. To double engine life you have to make each and every part more robust which in turn makes it a bit bigger and heavier, this results in lower maximum engine speed."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Mario Theissen