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F1 looking at two-stroke engine formula

NEWS STORY
13/01/2020

Purists had best look away now.

In November, the sport revealed its intention to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, a move that would require all cars to be 100% advanced sustainable.

At the time, the sport's chief technical officer, Pat Symonds said that the move would mean major changes to the power units and also to the fuel used.

Speaking at the Motorsport Industry Association's Energy-Efficient Motorsport conference, the Briton revealed that the sport is considering the introduction of two-stroke engines that would run on eco-fuel.

"I'm very keen on it being a two-stroke,” he said, according to MotorSport magazine. "Much more efficient, great sound from the exhaust and a lot of the problems with the old two strokes are just not relevant any more."

It's understood the engines would still be hybrid, but powered by synthetic fuel.

"We need to look at what our future power units will look like," said Symonds. "At F1 this is what we are engaged in at the moment.

"It might be that the next power unit we produce is the last one we do with liquid hydrocarbons," he continued. "I think there's a very high chance that there might still be an internal combustion engine but maybe it's running on hydrogen.

"I certainly think that the internal combustion engine has a long future and I think it has a future that's longer than a lot of politicians realise because politicians are hanging everything on electric vehicles. There's nothing wrong with electric vehicles but there are reasons why they are not the solution for everyone."

Keen to dismiss the obvious fears that a switch to two-strokes would be a step backwards, those of a certain age recalling Sunday afternoons spoiled by noisy lawnmowers and evenings by noisy scooters, he said: "It's reasonably obvious that if you are going to pump that piston up and down, you might as well get work out of it every time the piston comes down rather than every other time the piston comes down. The opposed piston engine is very much coming back and already in road car form at around 50 per cent efficiency.

"Direct injection, pressure charging, and new ignition systems have all allowed new forms of two-stroke engines to be very efficient and very emission-friendly. I think there's a good future for them."

Much like the working group put together to create the 2021 aero regulations, Symonds is looking to set up a similar group for the proposed new engine formula which would be introduced in 2015 or 2016.

Whatever purists might think, the fact is that at some point or another the engine has to change. Already, a number of cities around the world have set dates by which time cars powered by fossil fuel will be banned.

The manufacturers are aware of the fact that currently F1 flies in the face of the trend in terms of the move toward electric that road cars are making.

It is almost inevitable that at some stage the sport will need to phase out the internal combustion engine, the only thing is when. The move to two-strokes powered by eco fuels may well be the first step.

That said, research presented at the conference suggests that electric racing cars could be responsible for two times the level carbon emissions of hybrids, due to the amount produced when building the batteries.

Nonetheless, listen carefully and you can hear Enzo Ferrari spinning in his grave.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by JvR, 15/01/2020 0:10

"It's the direct injection that really allows 2 strokes to be considered again. Plus with existing engine designs such as the CITS Engine, you can have multicylinder applications - imagine the sound!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Anthony, 14/01/2020 16:39

"Not quite sure of the relevance of the picture of the Lotus 49 in Gold Leaf colours, but as it’s one of the greatest F1 cars of all times this picture will always be welcome!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Canuck, 13/01/2020 16:12

"I love the idea of burning hydrogen, whether in a 2 or 4 stroke, piston, twin piston or rotary IC motor. I also believe that hydrogen fuel cell is the future for delivering electricity to electric motors. In the US there are some hydrogen filling stations where the hydrogen is produced by solar generation. Much less impact on the environment than the production of batteries."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by imejl99, 13/01/2020 15:21

"We, as a society, will achieve full cycle when the pinnacle of motor racing connects with first collective childhood motorized experience - upscaled and more expensive, but eco friendly and more efficient - bumper car it is! "

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Daydah, 13/01/2020 9:50

"I was always a fan of the Deltic"

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6. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 13/01/2020 9:44

"I remember that Colin Chapman claimed that he could develop (in partnership with a Swiss company, I think) a 2 stroke engine that would have met road emission regs around the time the US brought in the knee-jerk Cat.

But - I would just love to see a 1.5 Litre Doxford engine being used in F1!!!!! (look on youtube for Doxford)"

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7. Posted by fenris, 12/01/2020 10:22

"Symonds has missed a trick -- it's reasonably obvious that if you are going to spin Enzo Ferrari in his grave, you might as well get work out of every rotation :)"

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8. Posted by Daydah, 12/01/2020 9:57

"Any fuel is just a chemical energy store. At least hydrogen doesn't carry with it all the other rubbish that gets burnt at the same time as the useful bits.
Two strokes are a serious route to consider. They exist in many forms from tiny models to massive diesels and all stages in between. They did a good job in bike racing until road emissions legislation broke the link between road and track. Current technology and clean fuel will negate these problems.
Given sensible rules I look forward to the development. "

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9. Posted by Malemoi, 12/01/2020 9:53

"Please tell me this is an early April fools joke"

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10. Posted by NS Biker, 12/01/2020 2:06

"Yes, that's right. March 32nd is just around the corner.
I really wish this fascination with Hydrogen would evaporate.
Hydrogen is not really a fuel. It is an energy storage media and a very inefficient one at that (based on overall cycle).
The attributes that make it a great rocket fuel are not applicable to normal and realistic use."

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11. Posted by Fambank, 11/01/2020 19:52 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 11/01/2020 23:22)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

12. Posted by klmn, 11/01/2020 19:17 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 11/01/2020 23:22)

"The fuel tanks could be a problem.
"

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13. Posted by Roli, 11/01/2020 15:43

"Its not April fool's day yet...you must be joking!
"

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