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Engine costs have doubled

NEWS STORY
19/05/2015

Though some still claim it is the sound of the new F1 formula that has turned fans (and sponsors) off, a familiar high pitched scream can still be heard in some areas of the paddock… the offices of team finance directors.

Though enjoying something of a renaissance, certainly compared to where it was a couple of years back, Williams owes much of its recent success to the inspired move to Mercedes power units.

However, the move came at a price.

"Costs went up by about 20m and the reasons for that were three-fold," Williams finance director, Alan Kinch, told the Independent. "The first one and the most significant one of all of them was the increase in costs in the power unit. So, moving from the traditional V8 engine to the new V6 hybrid essentially doubled the costs of the power unit and that was the biggest chunk."

Thankfully however, barring a further upheaval of the engine regulations, Kinch believes costs will not increase further.

"(Williams) have got a long-term contract with Mercedes," he said. "I wouldn't say it is at a fixed rate but it is at a stable rate year on year."

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1. Posted by Joop deBruin, 20/05/2015 3:41

"Grandmum's Prius isn't as cheap as all thought?"

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2. Posted by gturner38, 19/05/2015 20:46

"The costs of the units is obviously more than the old V8s, but that could easily be controlled for the customer teams by way of a cost cap. It wouldn't stop Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda, and Renault from spending whatever they like on development, but if they can agree on a reasonable cost for the actual manufacturing, ie what it would take after the design is complete to build each unit rather than spreading the development costs out, it would make them cheaper for the teams without necessarily making them more expensive for the manufacturers who no doubt could have been more conservative had they not had the budget."

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3. Posted by scf1fan, 19/05/2015 12:45

"Engine cost have doubled because . . . ? They had to develop a new engine/PU and are amortizing that cost? That the new PUs have to be more robust than the old engines to last for the required number of races? That the new PUs are more complex than the old engines? Yes to all three.

For a given amount of fuel burned, are the new PUs faster than the old engines? Yes! (A straight IC engine cannot "harvest" some energy under braking to be reapplied when needed for acceleration. Add to that that the torque curve of an electric motor is phenomenally better suited to exiting a slow corner than a high RPM ICE. Could an straight ICE ever outperform a hybrid? Perhaps if the straight ICE were allowed to benefit from it's lighter weight due to its less complex nature . . . but if you have to meet a minimum weight by choosing between ballast, or battery, the battery gives better benefit.)

I'll ask this question again, what do the teams spend more money on over time? Engine/PU development or aerodynamic development? Seemingly it's OK to spend money on a new set of wings for every other track . . .

Speed has always cost money, how fast do they want to go?"

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4. Posted by hussainahm, 19/05/2015 9:41

"The real problem with the engines is not the electric part or the energy recovery, or even the sound. It is that they are handicapped due to limitations on how fast they can run, i.e. RPM, fuel flow, etc. The main reason they are slower is because they are not being allowed to go faster, and really it's a software solution that can allow them to shave a few seconds off lap times and push the limits further."

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5. Posted by TheBucketOfTruth, 19/05/2015 7:58

"Sure electric cars aren't perfectly clean as one still has to produce and dispose of batteries and the electricity doesn't always come from environmentally friendly sources. That said, I have heard that car engines are quite inefficient when compared to a large powerplant, clean or otherwise. It is more efficient to produce energy on a massive scale than individually in each person's vehicle."

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6. Posted by SideGlance, 19/05/2015 7:11

"Forgot to say, How can ANYONE not have foreseen the increase or high costs of hybrid engines? Zero excuses teams/engine manufacturers !!! Don't complain solve it!!"

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7. Posted by SideGlance, 19/05/2015 7:09

"Of course the whole issue of hybrid V-6 should have occurred years ago, and its impact - hindsight says it just may be a sport injury, and more costly in many ways. (I have in past but would NOT pay to see F1 race w/ current engines, an example)

One of the ongoing debates about hybrid or all elec. autos is the 'total' costs (actual costs, pollution, short term, long-term costs, etc) - are they really helping to lessen pollution, do they save money. I have seen multiple 'guesstimates' on this and they both disagree, hard to discover real data about total pollution, during production, operation and disposal of complete car/battery. On total elec car, how much pollution is the place you get the elec from producing, many coal plants still exists.

Truth: There is NO clean coal or clean coal plants, elec from them pollutes hugely, elec car or not.

And of course on and on the argument goes.

This is ONLY mentioned due to FIA/F1 trying to tie hybrid V-6 to modern day cars and pollution reduction, seems fool's money chasing a better solution thru more typical research IMO, not needed for a entertainment sport - which F1 is, as F1 solves NONE of the world's problems does it? Not even hybrid car tech."

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