Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
2 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
FP1 in
16 days
09 May
Next event in
22 days
23 May
Race in
39 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
53 days
13 Jun
Race in
60 days
27 Jun
Race in
74 days
04 Jul
Next event in
78 days
18 Jul
Race in
95 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
109 days
29 Aug
Race in
137 days
05 Sep
Race in
144 days
26 Sep
Race in
165 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
169 days
10 Oct
Race in
179 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
193 days
31 Oct
Race in
200 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
221 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
242 days

Why F1 is going to be ‘very aggressive’ on new engine rules

Formula 1 has made no secret of the fact that it did not get its current engine rules right.

Why F1 is going to be ‘very aggressive’ on new engine rules

While the move to turbo hybrids in 2014 was the right thing to do for sustainability reasons and keeping manufacturers interested, mistakes were made in how the power unit rules were framed.

When pulling the new regulations together, engineers had run rampant in leading the charge about the exciting technologies that could be incorporated in the 1.4-litre turbos and their energy recovery systems.

The result were overtly complex power units that proved hugely expensive to understand and develop.

The combination of the MGU-H and MGU-K, plus a lot of design freedom in the overall concept, meant the complexity become an expensive challenge for manufacturers – and prompted a number of headaches in the early years.

Honda’s experience of getting it so wrong on its F1 return acted as a deterrent for other manufacturers – and the costs the Japanese manufacturer faced in hauling its way to the front ultimately proved a factor in it pulling out of the sport.

The engines were not just bad for those designing and running them though.

For fans, the biggest downside was that they robbed the sport of much of the emotion of the old screaming V10s and V8s.

The lack of noise was a big gripe, and the impact of drivers having to save fuel left many of the sport’s followers unhappy that grands prix had been turned into economy runs.

Mistakes were also made in how F1 failed to market some of the positive messages of the power units.

That the sport was unleashing the most powerful engines in grand prix history – and ones that were the most efficient racing engines ever created – got lost amid the other criticisms.

Read Also:

As thoughts have turned to future power unit regulations, it is clear that F1’s chiefs are not going to make the same mistakes again.

During discussions at Thursday’s F1 Commission meeting, one of the key decisions made was a framing of the progress of the move towards new engines rules.

These had originally been planned to come into force for 2026, but teams agreed to bring that forward one year on the back of a unanimous decision to go for an engine freeze from 2022.

A working group has now been set up to sort out what the new hybrid F1 engines should be like – with input from both current and potentially interested manufacturers.

Its stated aims have been agreed. They are: environmental sustainability and social and automotive relevance; fully sustainable fuel; creating a powerful and emotive power unit; significant cost reduction and attractiveness to new power unit manufacturers

Achieving all those targets will not be the work of the moment, but what is different this time around compared to when the 2014 engines were framed is that F1’s chiefs are fully aligned on where things need to go.

Back when the original turbo hybrid rules were laid out, they were not helped by FIA president Jean Todt pushing hard for them, and then F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone being resistant and criticising them at every turn.

Ecclestone famously lambasted the lack of noise to the media when the hybrids ran for the first time in testing – even though he was nearly 1500 miles away back at his London offices as the cars were running in Jerez.

Now though not only is the FIA behind the push, but so too is F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali – whose approach to the new rules comes against the backdrop of his understanding of the needs of F1 (through being a former Ferrari team boss) and that of manufacturers (from being a former Lamborghini CEO).

He is convinced that power unit rules can be framed that can keep both manufacturers and fans happy – as well as attract car makers not currently involved in F1.

But getting the rules settled in the right way is not going to be straightforward – which is why he has vowed not to sit back and let the mistakes of the past get repeated.

Speaking recently about his mindset for the rules discussions, Domenicali made clear where the battle lines were drawn.

“Despite the technology that has to be very relevant, we need to start from the cost and investment that are fundamental to make it attractive for any other OEM to either produce an engine or to be part of an engine plus chassis production,” he said.

“So engine and cost will be the big equation on which we need to start the discussion. We need to be very aggressive.

“But I am positive to say that we are attacking the right points, which will be fundamental to keep the interest on our platform, also from the technological point of view.”

While the discussions over the next months will inevitably hit some road blocks, the fact they are starting with some clear and agreed targets in mind – that F1 is determined are hit – bodes well for what ends up being unleashed at the start of 2025.

shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes admits it has "some issues" with 2021 F1 engine

Previous article

Mercedes admits it has "some issues" with 2021 F1 engine

Next article

The meteoric rise of F1's first 21st century-born racer

The meteoric rise of F1's first 21st century-born racer
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021