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

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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.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).