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New F1 engine regulations coming in 2016

NEWS STORY
20/12/2014

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that Formula One is on track to get new engine regulations for 2016 despite resistance at a meeting of the Strategy Group on Thursday according to an article in the Independent by Christian Sylt.

Ecclestone's opposition to F1's 1.6-litre V6 turbos began long before they were introduced this year. The engines lack the high-pitched screeching sound of their 2.4-litre V8 predecessors and crucially come to double the cost at around £30m annually.

It has led to Marussia and Caterham going under over the past two months and Ecclestone recently went as far as to say "the biggest problem we have is this current power unit which we don't need and does nothing in the world for Formula One. It's expensive, in fact it's very expensive, and this is probably what has caused most of the problems."

In a bid to solve the problem Ecclestone suggested returning to the V8s and proposed this to the Strategy Group. It comprises the FIA, six leading teams and Ecclestone who says that despite his best efforts, the plan did not get off the grid.

"Nobody wants to change the engines, they are all happy. The engine situation is unchanged. Everything is more or less unchanged. It's not exactly great progress. The next step is that we will have another meeting in January and the teams will have to come back with something positive. If they don't, we will say this is how it has got to be."

Reports from Germany concur with this and suggest that although Ecclestone's proposal did not produce a "definitive result", F1 is now on track to get a new set of regulations for 2016. "The engines are to be louder, more powerful and cheaper," said one report adding that "the goal is 1,000 horse power and a cost of 10 million Euros per team." It claimed that a working group will deliver feedback on this by the end of January which reflects Ecclestone's deadline.

The V6 engines are due to be in place until the end of 2020 and although 2016 is up for grabs, Ecclestone says the only way they could be changed for next year is through a unanimous vote from all the teams. "You're never going to get that because Mercedes will never agree," he says. "For 2016 we would get away without it being unanimous. That's for the January meeting. These people don't seem to making any big effort to save on costs."

He is referring to the Strategy Group blocking a £120m cap on team budgets in April. It would have levelled the grid and could have prevented Caterham and Marussia from going under.

Marussia may seem to be past the point of no return having sold nearly 1,000 pieces of equipment in an auction earlier this week to pay off its bills. However, the team still owns its coveted F1 grid slot and Ecclestone says that if it can make it to the start of next season it will be entitled to an estimated £34m of prize money so in fact it can still be saved.

"If Marussia can find somebody who can prove they have enough money to run for the whole year, and we agree they are right, we would leave things as they are."

Ecclestone himself got a boost this week when he was re-appointed to the board of F1's parent company Delta Topco after stepping down earlier in the year to battle a bribery trial in Germany. In August he paid a record £60m settlement and although he is still facing related charges in Germany they are civil, rather than criminal. In August his lawyer told Pitpass that the civil case against Ecclestone has "no chance at all."

Nevertheless, his position as F1's boss has still been the subject of great speculation since then. It was recently reported that drinks company boss Paul Walsh would become F1's chairman and take over some of Ecclestone's duties. However, the brakes were put on this plan on Thursday when Walsh became a director, but not chairman, of F1.

"He was never offered the job. It was never discussed by the board so he was never offered it," says Ecclestone. F1's current chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe reportedly needs to stand down due to a long term illness and Ecclestone says "we will find somebody. Lots of people are in the frame. It's a case of finding who we think is the right person. It will probably come up at the next board meeting next year. I don't want to be chairman. That's the last thing I need."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 23/12/2014 8:56

"The problem with F1 is NOT the "engines". This is a typical Bernito ploy: distracting attention away from the real problem towards a different artificial one.

The case for the "prosecution seems to be: "The V6\hybrids are too expensive, and sound horrid".
Of course it has cost a LOT of money to develop the new motors, but suggesting that ditching them will save money is economic illiteracy bordering on madness. The costs of the new motors are substantially front-end-loaded, with very large start-up costs which will be amortised over time. The longer the basic layout is maintained, the lower the OVERALL costs of the motors will be. Scrap them soon, and those billions of investment (along with the participation of Renault, Honda & Mercedes) goes straight down the toilet.

Nobody can argue that the sound of the V6 is completely different from that of the V8s, which was "worse" than the sound of V10s and those didn't sound as good as V12's. Unless I've missed something, the point of F1 is racing. The racing in 2014 was pretty entertaining, especially coming on the back of years of dreary processional races, and the new power-plants played a part in that.

Strapping a V8\10\12 in one of today's cars won't make the racing any better

What's been wrong with F1 and largely still is, is the implicit view that "Bernie knows best".
That might once have been true, especially when his baser instincts were kept in check by Max Mosley, but clearly isn't now. Focusing so heavily on screwing money out of race promoters, and introducing nonsenses like Double points, instead of making changes to promote great racing. That's the problem .

I think its fair to say that most fans agree that if you must dick about with the rules, then changing the aero rules will have a more immediate, and greater effect than changing the engines. It's also that case that all other things being equal, the costs per 0.1 sec of lap time generated by aero tweaks, are far greater than achieving that boost through other means.
"

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2. Posted by ffracer, 22/12/2014 18:57

"I agree with all the comments here. F1 is losing its identity, its future and its fans in droves with these hybrid engines and other driver-aids but if I picked the 3 worst things in F1 today, they would be, and in no particular order: Hybrid engines, DRS and no F1 testing.

In a perfect world and I got a choice to ditch two of the three, I would dump these motors and lack of testing. The testing is oblivious and should be re-instated. Most importantly, I want the symphony of chest-thumping screams back. Personally, I would love to bring back V8/V10/V12 option - I just listened to the 1995 412 T2 on youtube once again - but feel for all the manufacturers so here's my solution:

Bernie, we all make mistakes in life and I agree with you, these engines are atrocious. The manufacturers spent millions to provide these motors so they should be compensated. Get CVC to pay and its a win win for all."

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3. Posted by Leo, 22/12/2014 11:53

"@GrahamG
"yes turbos, current V6 but no KERS, no hybrid, no DRS, no fuel flow nonsense, set weight of fuel for each race depending on length.."

Couldn't disagree more.

DRS has been brilliant. It revived F1 (together with the radical Pirelli's a few years back, I must ad) from a very long period, all through the 90's and early 00's, of processional, predictable races. Those days there were hardly any overtakes (other than through pit strategy) and race results were pretty much fixed after lap 1.
Some say DRS is artificial, but I call it artificial when a car 3 seconds quicker than the car in front can't get past. Have we seen DRS-pass, followed by a counter-DRS-pass, followed by a counter-counter-DRS-pass etc. often? No, not at all even(*), DRS just gets the faster car+driver in front, as it should be.

Then the engine. Great technology. Keep the hybrid stuff. Just start to reduce the amount of fuel available per race from now. In a few years time we get to point where it becomes interesting to ditch to fossil fuels burning stuff for something better (fully electric, hydrogen fuel cell, whatever alternative the engineers come up with). Since governments and consumers (and thus car makers) hesitate over getting rid of oil based fuels, F1 could be just the thing to move the world a little bit forward.

(*) There have been some counter-DRS-passes, but those were more related to tyres than wings."

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4. Posted by nonickname, 21/12/2014 13:03

"If you go back to the sounds of the 1500cc Renault turbo's pushing out 1000 HP in race trim (and around 1400 in qualifying trim) as appeared in the Lotus of that SPECIAL era you hear that they actually don't sound that bad. It would be a compromise that could keep the current engine manufacturers happy. Just ditch the KERS and all the crap that has no place in F1. They all come from road cars, not vice versa. I am in agreement with scrapping the complex/stupid front wings and would suggest tat there are 2 tyre compounds per race...and the teams chose the one that suited them for that event...something that has also been done in the past.Then allow any new team to buy a chassis from anyone prepared to sell them.Lets forget all of the purist crap that we have...it is what is ruining F1. In those great "old days" Bernie,Tyrrell etc,etc bought a chassis and took on a rent a drive driver and just look how many of them ended up as world champs.
Just a thought hohohoho.





"

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5. Posted by Darvi, 21/12/2014 8:48

"What's the old goat up to? He's never yet done anything for the benefit of anyone other than FOM or himself so there is clearly an agenda here that is not yet evident, but which will see him increasing control. Maybe he's hoping to hack everyone off to the point that they go away so that he can introduce GP1 - the higher performance GP2 cars that he saw being used by the B teams in F1? All under his control....... "

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6. Posted by Joop deBruin, 21/12/2014 3:15

"The standardization is killing F1. It's for non-innovative, lazy types. First time in my life where I only watched two races and that's it. Yawn, it's NASCAR for skirt wearing types like Lewis Hambone."

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7. Posted by SideGlance, 20/12/2014 20:38

"What is so confusing to me is that the SOUND of these V-6 turbos was obviously NOT equal to the V8-10-12s, and NEVER would be unless turning 25,000 rpm or some such. And who could NOT estimate the complexity of them either, especially integrating the ERS to Turbo to brakes - easily predictable - and of course the time it takes to change a trivial OR major component.

The problem WAS that no-one thought this trough beyond the 'challenge', was a great engineering exercise that 'HAS ABSOLUTELY NO REAL WORLD BENEFIT' and certainly no real 'racing' improvement !!

Remove the aero, decrease the brakes, increase the Horsepower, remove many of the driver aids, and the HUMAN driving skill WILL be shown, more screwups, more wonderful ballsy moves, more ACTION & SHOW for something that is NOTHING but a show - a very expensive show - but a SHOW !!

Just as most/all? love the new improved sound in movie theaters and at home (I have a 5.1 system don't you all?), SOUND is a very important thing - that is why she moans for you - you know - feedback - it is NOT your skill, if she had batteries she would not need you !!

The Illusory world of moronic V-6 overly complicated and NOT improved F1 Truck engine Racing - Enjoy - You hear - oh that's right SOUND is not important to most of you !!"

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8. Posted by F One, 20/12/2014 19:53

"Maddness."

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9. Posted by Jonno, 20/12/2014 18:01

"Rolling over for Ferrari and Red Bull has to herald the end of Mercedes involvement in F1. The F1 team have been fighting the Mercedes board to remain in F1, expecting the company to throw away all the work they've put in for just 2 seasons isn't going to impress the money men. They will probably be backed by Honda who are looking at 1 year of the V6 and then more money being spent on a Bernie whim.
If Bernie believes he can hold any engine manufacturer to a contract to continue in F1, he's well into his gaga years."

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10. Posted by gturner38, 20/12/2014 17:09

"Paul C, if the concern is the sound, then getting rid of the hybrid technology doesn't help. It's the turbocharger that's muting the engines.

As for simplifying, I don't think taking the hybrid technology off is the way to go since it puts F1 engines further behind road cars. If we look down at NASCAR for being so slow to move away from carburetors and leaded gasoline in their 1970s crate motors (and let's face it, a lot of F1 fans do look down on NASCAR), we can hardly go down the same road of ignoring advances in automotive technology. I'm also not convinced a single tire compound would do anybody any good. There's no way a single compound will be effective everywhere, so we'll either have some races where no one can push because the tires fall apart or have some races where the tires are so durable as to completely take strategy out of the race.

As it stands, the engine manufacturers (ie the ones spending the money and requiring a reason to justify the expense) want the current engines and have a lot of money invested in them. there's no way they are going to accept scrapping them without a fight, nor should they."

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11. Posted by bfairey, 20/12/2014 16:53

"Ro has it right, those front wings look stupid."

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12. Posted by Ro, 20/12/2014 16:37

"I agree totally with GrahamG's suggestion but I would add to simplify the wings and bring back mechanical grip instead of aero grip. The cars look more like Batmobiles and look ridiculous . One-plane wings both front and rear, and bigger tyres would make it a show !"

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13. Posted by GrahamG, 20/12/2014 11:05

"Is this an opportunity to simplify - yes turbos, current V6 but no KERS, no hybrid, no DRS, no fuel flow nonsense, set weight of fuel for each race depending on length, single compound tyre for the whole season - this would reduce costs radically, but less work for the legislators so I guess no chance. "

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14. Posted by Chris Roper, 20/12/2014 8:57

"That is wishful thinking.

Renault wanted the new formula, Mercedes perfected it and Honda came back because of it.
He can try and get them to drop the new power units but even Mr.E can't stand up to those three power houses and expect F1 to survive the fallout."

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15. Posted by Paul C, 20/12/2014 1:32

"Why doesn't one team just try the ICE and turbos in a test car without the hybrid and KERS stuff to see how it sounds. This is the least expensive alternative currently."

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