New engines will “keep F1 at the pinnacle of motor sport”

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Formula One’s overhaul of its engine regulations next year will ensure it remains the world’s leading form of motor sport.

That’s the view of the FIA’s head of powertrain Fabrice Lom. He who told their quarterly publication Auto: “The aim of the new regulations is to keep F1 at the pinnacle of motor sport – but to do so mindful of the era in a which we operate.”

“Yesterday the sole aim of transportation was to travel from A to B as swiftly as possible,” Lom explained. “Today the technology is such that anyone can go fast – but they do so knowing resources are not unlimited and must be used with care.”

F1 engines will be downsized from 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre V6s next year. However the new units will have their power boosted by turbos and up-rated energy recovery systems.

The new power plants are expected to produce 600bhp with a further 150bhp coming from ERS, giving them at least as much power as the current V8s.

The FIA intends to allow some development of the engines from year to year but will introduce an escalating engine freeze to prevent costs spiralling out of control. Here’s how much of the engine specification (by weight) will be ‘frozen’ each year:

Year Extent of freeze
2015 8%
2016 23%
2017 23%
2018 35%
2019 95%
2020 95%

Hamilton leads damp first USGP practice at COTA, Hartley debuts

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive Formula 1 record at the Circuit of The Americas by topping opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday for Mercedes.

A four-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton set the pace in damp conditions in first practice after rain hit the Austin area in the lead-up to the start of the session.

After initially venturing out on intermediate tires, Hamilton made the switch to super-softs at the halfway point in FP1, ultimately posting a fastest time of 1:36.335.

Hamilton’s time saw him finish over half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Mercedes got two cars into the top three as Valtteri Bottas wound up third in the second W08 car, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth for Red Bull.

Felipe Massa led Williams into the top 10 with an impressive lap en route to fifth, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was left to lead McLaren’s charge after a hydraulic leak sidelined Fernando Alonso for much of the session, limiting the Spaniard to just four laps in total.

Force India managed to get both its drivers up into the top 10 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth respectively, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. who was P10 in his first appearance for the team.

Brendon Hartley enjoyed his first run-out in Toro Rosso’s STR12 car ahead of his grand prix debut on Sunday, taking P14 overall.

The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app from 3pm ET today.