What comes after a ten year engine freeze?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mercedes V8, 2006The FIA offered up another of its more unusual ideas for future engine rules a few weeks ago: banning engine development for ten years

I didn’t write much about it at the time because there was much more interesting stuff going on and Max Mosley has a habit of threatening daft ideas like this as a means of making people who don’t agree with him fall into line.

But suppose engine specifications actually were frozen for ten years. How would that work?

Many people reacted in horror to the idea – why should innovation be stifled in a sport that thrives on it?

What I don’t understand about it is, if engine development was frozen from 2009, what would happen in 2019? Would all the teams get to start using new engines?

If so, when will development on those engines start, and how much will that cost? Will teams just continue developing their engines throughout the suspension period anyway so as not to fall behind in 2019? If so, will this save any money at all?

The root cause of this is the FIA’s determination to introduce green technologies into Formula 1. I think that’s laudable (others do not) but as I’ve explained before what I don’t like is the way the FIA are shackling the teams to a single solution – Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems. By freezing development on engines, the FIA wants to channel teams into developing better energy recovery systems.

Why must the FIA be so prescriptive? The British Touring Car Championship recently announced how they intend to curb emissions in future, and the plan is a triumph of reductive thinking. They are simply going to limit the amount of CO2 each car can produce.

How each team is going to do that is up to them – whether it’s using an exotic new fuel, an energy recovery system, or something else.

So why can’t F1 have something similar? The white heat of technological progress in Formula 1 would surely conjure up all manner of solutions to the problem of restricted emissions.

Read more about green issues in Formula 1