f1 engines

Getty Images

McLaren would consider making own F1 engine depending on 2021 regs

Leave a comment

McLaren would consider making its own Formula 1 engine should the new technical regulations set to come into force for 2021 prove attractive and cost-effective enough.

McLaren is currently nearing the end of a long-running saga surrounding its power unit supply for 2018, with a complex web involving a number of parties looking set to be unraveled by switching from Honda to Renault engines next season.

Any deal is set to be agreed for three years, with the existing engine cycle using V6 turbo power units set to come to an end at the close of the 2020 season.

Talks regarding F1’s future engine regulations are ongoing between a number of parties both inside and outside of the sport, with areas of focus including cost reduction and greater simplicity.

Should the new regulations fit the bill, McLaren would consider becoming a full works F1 operation and developing its own engine in-house.

“We’re interested to see what the new engine formula is in 2021, whether we’d consider doing our own engine, whether other people would come in under new rules,” McLaren executive director Zak Brown told media at Monza, as quoted by Crash.net.

“I think right now we’ve got to focus on the next three years. As soon as we get that figured out, we’ve got to look out.

“For us to do our own engine, that’s not something we’ve done before, so that would require good lead time and some expenditure that we would consider doing.

“We just need to have an understanding of the path forward, what are the rules and what are they going to cost. We certainly wouldn’t be in a position to spend the hundreds of millions that it takes now to develop engines.

“So they’re going to have to change the engine formula for it to be something that is economically viable for us.”

Horner: F1 could follow IndyCar’s lead, use V6 twin-turbo engines

Getty Images
1 Comment

Formula 1 could be set to follow IndyCar’s lead and introduce V6 twin-turbo engines upon the planned regulation change in 2021, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

F1 has raced with V6 turbo hybrid power units since 2014 in a bid to make the sport more road-relevant and efficient, with cars racing on 30 per cent less fuel and recording faster times than ever.

However, the reduced sound of the power units compared to their V8 and V10 predecessors, combined with their complexity and cost has led F1’s bosses to push for a change in specification for 2021.

Meetings have already taken place with a number of manufacturers both inside and outside of the sport in a bid to define F1’s future engine direction, with various avenues being explored.

While Horner would like to see F1 return to normally-aspirated V8 or V10 engines used in the past, he believes a more realistic option could yield inspiration from IndyCar.

“I doubt we will go back to normally aspirated, despite it being my wish. We will end up with a V6 twin-turbo I believe,” Horner told reporters in Hungary, as quoted by crash.net.

“But the acoustics are a key aspect of what has been put on the table because when this engine was introduced the costs or the attractiveness by noise were fundamental parts of what the engine should be.”

The FIA has outlined its main criteria for F1’s future power options, centering on four areas:

  • a desire to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport technology, and as a laboratory for developing technology that is relevant to road cars
  • striving for future power units to be powerful, while becoming simpler and less costly to develop and produce
  • improving the sound of the power units
  • a desire to allow drivers to drive harder at all times.

IndyCar introduced its current engine specification back in 2012, and, in a rather neat coincidence, is also able to revise its power options for 2021.

Helmut Marko calls for simple, noisy, cheap independent F1 engine

Getty Images
4 Comments

Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko wants to see the sport introduce a new, independent engine supply that is simple, noisy and cheap so that teams are not reliant on manufacturer partners to race.

Red Bull has threatened to quit F1 on several occasions over a lack of independent engine supplier, having been hamstrung by partner Renault’s issues through the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

While the team still races with a Renault power unit, it has been rebadged under watch partner TAG Heuer.

F1 team bosses are currently working with the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, and officials from a number of manufacturers not on the grid to define what engine specification should be used upon the expiration of the current regulation set at the end of 2020.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Marko – pictured above with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen – thought it essential that an independent engine supplier is brought to work in the sport, believing that the power unit they provide should be noisier, cheaper and simpler than the current V6 turbo hybrids used.

“The latest must be 2021 that an independent engine supplier comes into F1,” Marko told the official Formula 1 website.

“This is more than necessary. And the engine has to be simple, noisy and on the cost side below 10 million.

“We are talking about a much less sophisticated engine to what we have now – a simple racing engine.

“There are enough companies around that could supply. So we expect from the new owners together with the FIA to find a solution at the latest by the end of this season.

“If that doesn’t happen, our stay in F1 is not secured.”

Red Bull made its F1 debut back in 2005 after taking over Jaguar, and has since won four drivers’ titles and four constructors’ championships, all coming between 2010 and 2013.

F1 engine meeting focuses on cost, sound ahead of 2021 changes

Getty Images
1 Comment

FIA president Jean Todt feels encouraged following a Formula 1 engine summit in Paris on Friday that saw talks center on the cost and sound of power units that will be used in the series from 2021.

A number of officials from manufacturers both inside and outside of F1 met with Todt to discuss plans for future engine supply ahead of possible changes to the V6 turbo power units currently used.

The V6 turbos were introduced in 2014 as part of an expanded hybrid era for F1, only to be met with criticism over their sound compared to the V8 and V10 engines used within the preceding decade.

The summit in Paris saw discussions center on what engine formula F1 could adopt following the end of the current cycle, due to finish in 2020.

As per an FIA statement issued on Saturday, there was “broad agreement for the future evolution of Formula 1 power units”, with the following areas being of particular focus:

  • A desire to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport technology, and as a laboratory for developing technology that is relevant to road cars.
  • Striving for future power units to be powerful, while becoming simpler and less costly to develop and produce.
  • Improving the sound of the power units
  • A desire to allow drivers to drive harder at all times.

“I was very pleased with the process, and the fact that so many different stakeholders were able to agree on a direction for the FIA Formula One World Championship in such an important technical area,” Todt said.

“Of course, now we must sit down and work through the fine details of exactly what the 2021 power units will be, but we have begun on the right foot.

“I am looking forward to working through the process to come up with the best decision for Formula One into the future.”

Todt has previously stressed that F1 would not be returning to V8 or V10 engines in the future, believing it would not accepted by manufacturers, but this meeting points towards positive steps being taken to find a compromise.

Ecclestone: Ferrari, Mercedes refusal to help Red Bull “ridiculous”

© Getty Images
5 Comments

Bernie Ecclestone has criticized Ferrari and Mercedes for refusing to supply Red Bull with an engine for the 2016 Formula 1 season, calling their fear of increased competition “completely ridiculous”.

Red Bull is currently without an engine supplier for next year after choosing to cut ties with Renault after a season filled with quit threats and complaints about the quality of its power unit.

However, with both Mercedes and Ferrari unwilling to supply one of their fiercest rivals with a same-spec power unit, Red Bull has been left to backtrack over its comments regarding Renault and even open negotiations with Honda, exploring every possible avenue to remain on the grid.

In an exclusive interview with the official Formula 1 website, Ecclestone said that he believes Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is still undecided about whether or not to continue pouring millions of dollars into racing in the sport.

“Mr. Mateschitz is fortunate enough to be able to pull the plug if he wanted to. He doesn’t have to ask anybody,” Ecclestone said.

“He is used to winning and doesn’t want to be put in a position where he could be unfairly beaten. Unfairly! When he won the world championships he was competing on the same terms as anybody else. Probably he has not made up his mind yet.

“The reasons why Ferrari or Mercedes don’t want to give Red Bull the same engine as they will race in 2016 is because they are afraid that they might get beaten – which is completely ridiculous.

“And should it really happen, then they should rush back to the drawing board. This is a sport that has competition it its DNA, not asset protection.”

Ecclestone also said that he would like to see the power unit design in F1 be simplified and made cheaper to allow more manufacturers enter the sport.

“I would prefer an engine that is a bit simpler,” he said. “What we have now is a superb piece of engineering – but it is extremely expensive, so every manufacturer coming in can’t afford not to get it right.

“And it is hard to get it right. As I said, I wish it would be simpler, but the people who are now successful won’t let it go – because now they are secure.”