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No return to V10s or V12s even with sustainable fuel


Though fans of those glorious engines of years gone by, team bosses admit that even with the advances made with sustainable fuels there is no hope of a return to V10s or the like.

Stefano Domenicali's recent admission that F1 is looking to put the noise back into the sport with the 2026 engine regulations, had fans of a certain age going all dewy eyed at the memory of Ferraris V12s, Cosworth V8s and the banshee wail of the Matra.

However, the noise boost will no doubt be courtesy of a device incorporated into the design, a gimmick, as opposed to any possibility of a move away from the current configuration.

Last year, fans got to see Sebastian Vettel driving Nigel Mansell's iconic Williams FW14B at Silverstone, while the German will be in action in the ex-Ayrton Senna 1993 McLaren MP4/8 at the forthcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The McLaren and the Williams, which will also be at Goodwood, have both been adapted to run on sustainable fuel, however, despite the advances team bosses insist that there is no hope of a return to the sounds that first caused us to fall in love with the sport.

"As a fan, I would love nothing more to see a V10 or a V12 engine running on fully sustainable fuel," said Christian Horner, "you know, for the sound and the emotion and so on.

"But we have many manufacturers involved in Formula 1, where the electrification of their ranges is important. And so therefore, lithium-ion batteries have been introduced to Formula 1 cars. And I think that's something that with the cell technology, Formula 1 is now at the forefront of.

"I think with the progress that we're seeing with sustainable fuels, it does make the combustion engine look like it's got a new life and a new relevance," he admitted. "So, perhaps it's something that Formula 1 should also consider longer term, because you have to find that balance of entertainment and appeal.

"If Formula 1 was not appealing, there's no way that the manufacturers that have recently joined or returned to Formula 1, like Ford or Audi, there's no way they would have ever joined. They had an electric formula that they could have all competed in. And I think that Formula 1, these manufacturers want to be involved because of its appeal, because of its reach, because of the global audience that is continuing to grow in, particularly in new markets and key markets. So I think it's finding that balance between entertainment - and sport has to be entertaining - and technology and not one overriding the other."

"Formula 1 has been and is always the most important, let's say, testing bench for the car manufacturers to develop new technologies," added Alessandro Alunni Bravi. "And we cannot forget where is the direction now of the automotive sector, especially for engines, hybrid engines and electric- powered engine.

"So Formula 1 must be relevant, and must be part of this technology process and development. So we need of course to have the proper technology for the car manufacturers.

"It's important to keep the balance of Formula 1. So to respect what is our DNA, but Formula 1 cannot be out of the automotive world. If we are here and we have a sustainable model in the future, it will be of course, for our fans, but also because the car manufacturers decided to come back and to invest into the Formula 1, and we need to provide them to the with the proper tool to develop technology for the road cars."

"As much as we can be nostalgic about V10s, V12s, and I think most people which grew up in motorsport like them, but the world has moved on, and so has Formula 1," said Guenther Steiner, "and I think we need to stay current with technology.

"The technology now is electrification, but not solely, maybe we can keep the combustion engine alive with sustainable fuels, with zero emissions. I think, actually F1 is a big part of doing this for the future. Because what F1 is good at is in doing developments.

"Obviously, we have got good money available to do it and everybody pushes hard, because we push hard for being competitive in a race. We're not just doing it to do something. We need to be competitive. So, I think it's the best place still for a car manufacturer, to be in Formula 1, to push their technologies. And maybe the combustion engine, as was said here before, has a comeback, a little bit different and not as a V10 or a V12 as we maybe wish.

"But it's still staying around, you know. So I think it's a very good thing because it keeps us both interesting, but also develops a technology which is good for driving around cars worldwide."

"Personally, I would like to have back the V12 Matra sound from the '70s," admitted Franz Tost. "This was fantastic.

"But unfortunately this is not on the table, because the automotive industry is going in another direction. And they have to go into this other direction because they have to sell their cars. And Formula 1 is the peak of motor sports. And it's the mirror of the technology and therefore, the way in which we are going now with this power unit, with the energy recovery systems is correct for sustainability and for the acceptance of our sport."


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1. Posted by Editor, 06/07/2023 19:03

"@ Bill Hopgood

It's all about ESG

Give it a few years and fans will be watching electric cars racing on their screens whilst eating their bugs."

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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 06/07/2023 18:59

"You will not hear a race car, and you will be happy, seems to be the mantra these days.

Let's face it, the only reason the manufacturers are in F1 is to sell cars as F1 cars other than four wheels and a seat have no relevance to what we drive daily.

The only reason the same manufacturers are making EV and hybrid cars is because the politicians and state officials / UN have dictated they have to make them.

If it wasn't for government subsidies and manufacturer cross subsidies, only very wealthy buyers could afford an EV that fulfils what an ICE car currently does in terms of range and speed of fill up.

There isn't enough lithium and rare earth materials to make 1.6B powertrains to replace the ICE in use today and also build wind turbines and solar arrays (which don't work when the wind stops or this thing called night occurs).

As @Natcheztoo points out, 20 or so V12s (and indeed everything required to run the whole F1 circus) won't make any difference to measurable global emissions.

If there was a rule for F1 that F1 cars could stick with the current or EV power units or, a team could use a V8, 10 or 12 running on "sustainable" fuel, then I'd expect a Cosworth type would start-up to supply what few independent teams are left and the team would rake in the fan support.

However, those that throw orange about and sit on tracks would never be satisfied until the planet has no fun whatsoever and the population is halved with those remaining living 15 minutes from anything they need and private motor vehicles are banned.

Manufacturers would not have a market and no need to enter F1. Mission accomplished.


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3. Posted by Editor, 06/07/2023 17:25

"@ Natcheztoo

Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates and the rest have barely begun.

Soylent Green here we come."

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4. Posted by Natcheztoo, 06/07/2023 17:18

"I would rather F1 wither up and die than continue down the "Green Religion” path to the ruination of the sound, the fury, and the spectacle that used to be Formula 1.

It is supposed to be a spectacle. Why else would anybody really want to pay a lot of money to watch it? Tongue in cheek, I once said F1 was headed towards electric wheelchairs. They could be fitted with sound systems to blast out V10 or V12 sounds.

What would be the negative effect of V10 cars emitting the so-called foul, noxious, planet killing fumes compared to one huge coal fired plant in India or China, both of whom are alleged to be building a new one every week. Hardly measurable.

I even went so far as to write a letter to IndyCar racing suggesting that they remove all such nonsense from their cars, install V10s and V12s, use 3.0-liter engines, and if F1 continues down its current path, they could with time and hard work displace the increasingly anti-fan attitude direction of F1 and become the pinacle of car racing..

I am thankful that I got to experience the fire breathing V10 monsters. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything except having them come back to F1.

The mantra of the green-weenies seems to be: take the spectacle out of f1, take the polluting farmland from Dutch farmers, outlaw wood-fired Pizzerias in New York, and kill up to 200,000 cows because they supposedly emit planet killing fumes. There is no end to the idiocy.

To quote the darling of the green-weenie movement, "How dare you!" How dare you! 'HOW DARE YOU!"


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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 06/07/2023 10:37

"@Pawsche - agree 100%

It's also the case that there is no such thing as "sustainable" fuel, assuming that sustainable means it's zero nasty emissions from manufacture through to usage. Planting trees to achieve "net-zero" etc. won't change that.

By all means let's return to those rip-roaring 19th century tech V12's, but never kid ourselves that using them will ever be anything except polluting the planet & contributing to Global climate change."

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6. Posted by Pawsche, 05/07/2023 22:23

""Sustainable fuel"..! Just another load of eco-theatre (I was tempted to say "eco-b*ll*cks")!

Until they use "sustainable fuel" for the fleet of 747s, or whatever large aeroplane they use to cart the circus round the world nowadays - each of which probably consumes more juice in one flight than the F1 cars use collectively in a complete season - it's just rather pathetic virtue-signalling."

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7. Posted by Tyrbiter, 05/07/2023 18:46

"If F1 is supposed to be worried about saving fuel then perhaps they should change the regulations to require the cars to be powered by the drivers feet on pedals.

I'm off to a tube site to listen to some proper exhaust notes."

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8. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 05/07/2023 16:31

"Which side of the mirror is F1 on nowadays? I wonder if it hasn't, like Alice, gone through to the other side and the alternative existence there."

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