F1 set for four-cylinder turbo engines in 2013

2013 F1 season

Formula 1 engine design is set for a radical overhaul in 2013.

Multiple sources are reporting that turbocharged, four-cylinder 1.6-litre engines will be used from the 2013 season.

The move to four-cylinders engines has been mooted for some time and has been reported by Craig Scarborough (see yesterday’s round-up) and the BBC in the last two days.

The smaller capacity engines – reduced from the 2.4-litre V8s used since 2006 – should be much more efficient than current units. Power output is likely to be kept at current levels and augmented by the use of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems.

Teams also hope to attract more engine manufacturers to the sport through more road-relevant regulations. The recent departures of BMW, Toyota and Honda have left only four engine builders in F1: Mercedes, Renault, Cosworth and Ferrari.

The FIA intends to publish the definite 2011 FIA Formula One Sporting and Technical regulations following its World Motor Sport Council meeting on Friday. Further details on the future engine formula are also expected following that meeting.

Read more: Turbos and ground effect ??back in 2013???

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174 comments on F1 set for four-cylinder turbo engines in 2013

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  1. RIISE (@riise) said on 4th December 2010, 12:40

    I’m not sure about this, i’m sick of this “Being Green” rubbish. What difference will this make to the pollution that is already choking the Earth as it is. Don’t get me wrong it’s ok provided the cars stay at the same pace but to be honest I think 2013 is going to be a very boring year.

    • SoerenKaae (@soerenkaae) said on 4th December 2010, 12:43

      I do not think it has so much to do with the environmental side of F1 to do.

      Teams also hope to attract more engine manufacturers to the sport through more road-relevant regulations.

      • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 4th December 2010, 18:44

        Teams also hope to attract more engine manufacturers to the sport through more road-relevant regulations.

        And a V8 isn’t road relevant?, and what do BMW, Mercedes, Audi, VW, Ferrari, McLaren all have in their cars? V8’s!, the only manufacturers with 1.6l are VW with the Polo and the base Golf, BMW have 1.8’s in the 1 series and MINI.

        So, that whole road-relevant thing is irrelevant as V8’s are on the road and more to the point are used extensively by the manufacturers in or expected to be in F1 with none of them using 1.6l engines.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th December 2010, 22:53

          So, that whole road-relevant thing is irrelevant as V8′s are on the road

          It’s not about what’s being sold now, it’s about what’s going to be sold in the future, and the trend is clearly towards fewer cylinders.

        • No V8 is not relevant (sadly) and becoming less so…
          Next to none of the worlds car sales are V8s.
          If you take out the American market even less.
          Tell us how many V8’s you saw on the road this week?
          I saw one V12 and few V8s (4 x 4’s Range Rovers)
          and a couple of thousand 1.2 – 2.0 litre.

          • In australia every third car is a V8. Ford GT’s, HSV, Range Rovers, Landcruisers, V8 SS utes.

            This whole 4 cylinder thing is crap. If i want to watch a 4cyl race go an watch the mini, or van dieman class. NOt F1. Comon this is bull… F1 cars should be loud and proud. Bring back v10 they were perfect.

        • BasCB said on 5th December 2010, 11:00

          4 cilinder engines are quickly becoming the mainstrai of the car market, with 1.2-2l powering everything from the smaller family cars up to upper level of sedans for managers.
          Heck, even some of the bigger cars are now offered with 1.2 turbo engines with a power output of close to 100 Kw!

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 4th December 2010, 12:49

      It’s not about cutting down on pollution, it’s about setting an example.

      Have you heard the stats about the amount of pollution F1 causes? It’s negligible- apparently a single transatlantic flight uses more fuel than all the F1 cars do over the course of the season. (Though I’m not sure if that’s true, it seems pretty crazy to me)

      Joe Saward- much as I don’t like the man- makes a good point when he says the most polluting sports are the ones which draw thousands of spectators by car. But even if every F1 fan walked to circuit, it wouldn’t stop the tree huggers from complaining. F1 is an easy target

      • Guilherme (@the_philosopher) said on 4th December 2010, 13:28

        the most polluting sports are the ones which draw thousands of spectators by car.

        I don’t like him too much to but he nailed it there. Take football for example – here in Brazil the premier league has an insane number of matches, 760 I think. Some attract 40k people, other teams lure 20k every match. Ok, a lot of people go by bus, but the traffic jams on match days are just immense, and the number of cars parked around the stadium (some people here have to park their cars 1km away from the stadium because there’s just no space) makes you wonder whether football is more polluting or not. But of course, during the proper match, the only carbon emissions comes from the breath of the players and spectators, so no one thinks about it.

        F1, in the other hand, has 24 cars running in circles burning 400kg of fuel each, every race weekend! F1 is not just an easy target, as Ned said, it is actually the perfect target for the environmentalists. They know there are other things that pollute more, but F1 pollution is more clear to the general public.

        Also, about the new engines, I can’t see how they will make the racing boring. People forget that one of the most insane engines ever built in F1 was a turbocharged sraight-4 engine, and that was almost 30 years ago. Oh, and the sound of any turbocharged engine will be better than those puny V8’s of today!

        • Joey-Poey said on 4th December 2010, 14:25

          Yesssssss. I grew up hearing turbo chargers on Indy Cars so it will be a welcome sound!

        • i can not disagree more on the engine sound.
          Turbocharged Engines suck when it comes to sound because the turbo damps the exhaust pressure waves which are the sound you hear. As a result they sound very steady.
          very unspectacular compared to the screaming of a high revving na-engine.

          • Burnout said on 4th December 2010, 19:57

            Spot on.

            As things stand, restricted V8s running at 18000 rpm don’t hold a candle to V10s running at 19000+ rpm (remember how it was a big deal when BMW claimed to have cracked 19000 rpm in 2002/03) Inline-4s are just going to sound a whole lot more dull.

        • Paul F said on 5th December 2010, 9:31

          How can anyone dislike Joe?

          Anyway, F1 wants to be more green? Promote sodomy.

        • Take football for example – here in Brazil the premier league has an insane number of matches, 760 I think. Some attract 40k people, other teams lure 20k every match. Ok, a lot of people go by bus, but the traffic jams on match days are just immense, and the number of cars parked around the stadium (some people here have to park their cars 1km away from the stadium because there’s just no space) makes you wonder whether football is more polluting or not.

          I enjoy watching Formula1. But if you’re going to count traffic to and from events like football matches, you have to do the same for F1 races for an apples-to-apples comparison. And it’s all well and good to say that the whole weekend costs less fuel than a transatlantic plane, but how many different planes are the people who attend F1 races spread out over? How many trucks are used to ferry all the various parts from one place to another?

          I mean, McLaren flew in someone to replace one single part to one of the races, not to mention the machinery they were running just to produce this single item overnight. Singapore’s lighting requirements can’t be too far off big-name stadium concerts. The big teams at least, have a whole other team sitting at home running computer farms with simulations and strategies.

          The headline fuel abuse happens on the track, obviously. But I don’t think F1 apologists can use the on-track figures to say the whole circus is not just a tiny bit wasteful. And in that light, I think it makes sense to do what you can to be seen to address everyday issues like fuel consumption in the main event if nothing else.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 4th December 2010, 13:34

        Could be. An airplance uses like a gallon of fuel every second (of course, depending on the amount of people abouard).

        So in a 10 hour trip (transatlantic flight), it’d be 36 thousand gallons.

        • Adrian said on 4th December 2010, 14:47

          So if F1 really wants to be “green” it should start thinking about the order the races are in to minimise the number of flights teams have to do, or even better only have a small number of fly-away races (let’s say, Australia, Japan, Canada and Brazil) and keep the rest of the season in Europe…

          • Nah, that would make too much sense for the F1 community to take your idea up.

          • CarsVsChildren said on 4th December 2010, 15:49

            So that whole world championship thing means nothing to you then?

            Europe does not need as many races as it has now.

            Instead every continent or major economic area should be represented.

            That means a race in Russia, Africa, North and South America, and Asia. Not just the pet events for people who live in Europe and selfishly want a race in their prime time every second week.

          • Ah, I misread his comment…

            I thought he meant have the races in some sort of logical order in terms of where they are and transporting people and equipment to the next one.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 4th December 2010, 17:56

            Well if they really want to go green.. maybe they should have flinstone formula 1 from 2015 onwards. Where there is a light chassis made, and the car gains momentum by how fast you can run within your chassis. No fuel .. no pullution.. and I guess we could really find out who the great drivers are.

          • Burnout said on 4th December 2010, 19:59

            Todfod, we already have that. It’s called athletics.

            Although it would be fun to watch someone run around a circuit in a race suit!

          • Robert said on 4th December 2010, 22:53

            “every continent or major economic area should be represented.”

            couldn’t disagree more. F1 should be raced where the majority of the fans are.

            I’m fantasising now but for me Great Britain should have 2 races. I’d build the second track in the Scottish Borders or North of England, to facilite easy access for fans across GB and Ireland and practically guarantee rain.

          • Adrian said on 5th December 2010, 15:13

            @CarsVsChildren

            Fair comment, but you can get to Russia by road from Europe, Africa by road and sea and I included Canada and Brazil so that’s North and South America taken care of – again a road trip is possible.

            I do think though that F1 should be where the fans are, not in the middle of nowhere with empty stands at the cost of more historic circuits that also have the benefit of producing better racing.

          • ryan said on 7th June 2011, 21:12

            wouldnt canada japan australlia brazil make more sense in this case? i see your point!

      • Mark Hitchcock said on 5th December 2010, 11:48

        Have you heard the stats about the amount of pollution F1 causes? It’s negligible- apparently a single transatlantic flight uses more fuel than all the F1 cars do over the course of the season.

        F1 cars, personel and equipment are flown around the world on multiple aeroplanes. To look at the damage F1 causes and assume it’s all about the cars is naive.

        F1 may be an easy target, but that’s what makes it a good place to set an example and showcase technology. All eyes are on it and improvements in emmissions will be noted.

    • Andy W said on 4th December 2010, 13:08

      I accept that the ‘being green’ element of changing the engines is a gimmick, but the technologies that will be developed to make these engines as fuel efficient, reliable and everything else will make its way into the motor industry at large.

      I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if the cars with these smaller engines aren’t quicker than the current ones. I just want to know what the regs say about engine development, is it going to be frozen at any point in 2012(pre-2013 season), some point in 2013 or later…. I am also curious to know if they are going to keep the current engine allocation system and if the number is going to remain 8 per season.

      Anyway its another change in the regs, a fairly major one and that tends to make for an interesting season.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 4th December 2010, 13:36

      Don’t think like that.

      If they can make the engines a lot more efficient, then allow them to do it.

      If a 1.6 liter engine with turbo produces similar levels of power, torque, etc than a normally aspirated 2.4L V8, then great!.

      It’s not about F1 being green. It’s about making better smaller engines…

      Remember in the old days, the engines were MASSIVE. Now a 1.4 Fiat it’s as good as an old 1.8 Opel engine.

      • BasCB said on 5th December 2010, 11:07

        fully agree with that. Finally were going to have engine development back.

        I think actually the 0.9 engine in the smallest cars are better than the old 1.8 opel engine by now.
        F1 should not be left out of developments, but should be spearheading that. Its not about the biggest meanest power on track (watch dragracing for that), but about getting around the circuit as fast as possible. Just think about the possibilities of weight distribution when the engines are over 1/3 smaller.

    • his_majesty said on 4th December 2010, 15:16

      “Being Green” rubbish. You’ll literally be sick when you’re choking down smog. F1 would be a great platform to introduce hydrogen, or a similar fuel. Where else does machinery evolve so quickly? Larger engines would be used, as I highly doubt that hydrogen is more efficient. Which means that you may possibly get the awesome sound of the 3.5 liter ferrari v12 back. I may be wrong, but really haven’t looked into it. F1 could literally be at the foreground of saving the world. Tell me this anybody, with a battery car, are you going to stop every 150 miles or so and wait for god knows how long for it to recharge?

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 5th December 2010, 7:04

        Yeah, hydrogen cars are definitely the future. With any luck the majority of drivers will be driving them on a daily basis, which will ultimately save what’s left of fossil fuels on the planet for the gas guzzlers we all know and love…

    • Daffid said on 4th December 2010, 17:30

      It’s about leading by technological example and allowing the efficiency savings filter down into road cars – as it has been for a long time now.

    • mateuss said on 4th December 2010, 18:44

      I’am all for more efficient engines, provided they match or better the performance of the outgoing units, but what really grinds my gears is this carbon emissions nonsense! The fact is there is not one single peace of evidence that even remotely supports the ‘co2 controls temperatures’ hypothesis.

      As I am quite good in science and maths I got an opportunity to represent my school in a project this year, where we were toured around different organizations related to science, basically to show where you can study and later work in businesses related to science. I got a tour around high technology park, which consisted of different parts, its related to space observations, satellites, electronics design and manufacturing, CFD, CAD and also solar activity measuring. And I had a chat with a solar scientist and the director of this organization, and they couldn’t stress out just, not how untrue this hypothesis is, but how ridiculous and ludacris it is, in the face of the facts and actual understandings of how the climate works.

      • Robert said on 4th December 2010, 22:57

        Are you saying that Carbon Dioxide is not a “greenhouse” gas?

        • Jonas said on 4th December 2010, 23:53

          Well, it is a gas that you are expelling every 4 seconds.. And without it, as a planet, we would die.
          I would call it an essential gas. This green madness has to stop.

        • mateuss said on 5th December 2010, 8:43

          Greenhouse gas? Yes. Relevant? No. More than 95% of the greenhouse gases is water vapour and its by far the strongest of the lot. To see an example of the power of water vapour, go to a really dry desert, there you could see temperatures of +40C in day and -40C at night. Why because the greenhouse gases doesn’t do their job, because there is hardly any water vapour in the air, but the carbon dioxide levels are the same as anywhere else in the world.

      • http://www.ipcc.ch/

        That should help you…

    • it’s not green thing, but rather making F1 more relevant to the technologies needed for road cars.

  2. Tiomkin said on 4th December 2010, 12:45

    Knowing F1 engineers, the cars will be faster than ever.

    • Indeed; there’s all these new regulations on aerodynamics every year to try and cut the lap times back, but the records keep on falling.

  3. crap..

    2.0 i would be happy with but 1.6.. at this rate F3 will be challenging F1..

    • Was it doing so in the 80’s when they used 1.5 litre turbos?

      These things will probably be faster than the current engines, given the fact that turbos have probably come on a long way since the 80’s and they also have an extra 7% displacement compared to this era, an era where the engines were frequently producing over 1000hp

      • Yes but back then engines only needed to live for 1 race, or even 1 qualification only. Now they need to do 3 races, so they can’t stress the engines as much so they will produce less horsepower.

    • I doubt it – apart from anything else F3 engines are restricted to about 200bhp. The 1.6 turbos envisaged for F1 will have the same sort of power outputs as the 2.4 V8s do now, which is several times that of an F3 car.

  4. matt88 (@matt88) said on 4th December 2010, 12:47

    i’d prefer a two-way choice: 1.6 4-cylinders turbos vs 1.8 V6 naturally-aspirated ones. it should make racing more interesting and reduce this trend to over-standardisation of F1 cars.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 4th December 2010, 12:51

      In theory that’d be great, but I imagine the reality is that one or the other would prove overwhelming quicker, and everyone would simply use that engine

      • matt88 (@matt88) said on 4th December 2010, 12:58

        maybe over the years it will be so, as happened in the 80s, but we could enjoy 4-5 years of hard battle for determining the ruling standard.
        If i’m not wrong, Ferrari are betting on the 1.8 litres engine, while others (can it be the direction of a McLaren brand new in-house engine?) could choose the turbo. It’d be surely interesting who’s right and who’s wrong.

        • matt88 (@matt88) said on 4th December 2010, 13:00

          It’d be surely interesting to find out who’s right and who’s wrong. :D

          • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 4th December 2010, 14:17

            It would, but money is tight these days, and I can’t see manufacturers wanting to waste too much on something that might be uncompetitive

          • Computer simulation and modern day CAD technology that provides virtual engine performance on a screen, will make any comparison between two different engines very short lived indeed.

            You no longer need to build things and then go and try them out on track. Computers do all of that these days.

          • Burnout said on 4th December 2010, 20:03

            If they can come up with a working equivalence formula, it should make for interesting races. Say the four cylinder engine can rev higher because it has a smaller reciprocating mass, but the V6 has better traction out of corners (I’m just guessing here)

          • matt88 (@matt88) said on 5th December 2010, 15:35

            @Burnout: yes, that’s the kind of thing I was thinking about. We’ve also to consider that rules will still have strong constraints about max power (and max rpm), so competition will be mainly (i guess) on:
            – reliability
            – fuel saving
            – weight distribution

            Ferrari thought that a naturally-aspirated V6 was easier to implement, because it’s just an “amputated” V8, so – in terms of cost saving and experience curve effects – it could be helpful, at least in the beginning.

        • in the 80s the engineers had no simulation tools at hand. Nowadays they have and they can very well estimate the engine performance and the effect this has on lap times. It will be a lot less trial and error then in the earlier days.

    • Adrian said on 4th December 2010, 14:50

      I’d actually like to see the option of a diesel powerplant…

  5. newnhamlea1 (@newnhamlea1) said on 4th December 2010, 12:51

    This is not good, f1 is turning into something i’m not going to like. They shouldnt dictate the engine design, they should give a fuel load and get everybody to work to it.

    • Larcem said on 4th December 2010, 15:18

      that doesn´t make sense. as long as the speed and power outputs remain the same, the races will be the same.

      • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 4th December 2010, 18:49

        No, it wouldn’t as one engine may be able to use less fuel and provide less power but as it is lighter the power to weight ratio is better and thus just as good as a massive V10 churning out tons of power but using all the fuel avaliable and thus being very heavy.

        It would be a very interesting season to watch

  6. cyanide (@cyanide) said on 4th December 2010, 12:56

    1.6L 4 cyl bangers can produce upwards of 700 whp when running moderately big turbos with 20-25 psi of boost and 8-9000 RPM.

    Make the F1 engineers have a crack at it and they will easily produce 1000 whp with 35-40 psi of boost on huge turbos running 12-15K RPM. All the people whining about the racing being boring in 2013 do not know what small engines can accomplish.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-CvdlJLes4
    This is a video of a famous tuning shop in the US tuning a 1.6L Honda and producing 600whp at the last dyno run.

    The car went on to make over 700 whp and sub-9 second quarter mile passes on cast pistons costing 125 USD for a set of 4!

    With forged and light parts, F1 engineers should be able to make double the power of these tiny Honda engines.

    • Franton said on 4th December 2010, 21:17

      The semi-famous BMW turbo engine from the 1980’s ran boost pressures around the 3.8 bar level for race trim. That’s about 55.5psi’s worth of pressure!

      Lordy knows what their 1100hp qualifying trim was like …

    • spectator said on 5th December 2010, 18:01

      YOU ARE ALL FORGETING ABOUT THE RULEES THE FIA RULES
      F1 engines arent more powerful cause there are restrictions about the materials that can be used and all of the alloys if you read the rules on the f1 website you see that to save costs a lot of materials were banned or arent permited on such percentages

    • Yeah, they COULD make double the power… but

      Power output is likely to be kept at current levels…

      …but F1 engines are spec output. You know, like NASCAR. The different names are a courtesy to the manufacturers, so they can claim to have something to do with it.

      If I hadn’t already given up on F1 due to the movable wing ********, I’d probably be upset… but hey, they’ve already gutted the sport and crapped on its legacy; why not do the job fully?

  7. As long as the cars are just as quick and the racing is just as good, then I don’t really mind about engine regulations.

    I already missed the engine noises the old V10’s made so these changes don’t really do anything for me

  8. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 4th December 2010, 13:05

    I’m looking forward to this. I’d love to see the engines having a load of turbo lag but no doubt there’ll hardly be any.

    They’ll produce the same power as they do now, be more road relevant and will probably sound awesome. What’s the problem? Add to that the fact we can now associate the coolest word in the English language (turbocharger) to F1 again and I’m all in.

    • cyanide (@cyanide) said on 4th December 2010, 13:13

      They will be using twin turbos I believe, so probably won’t be any lag. If they get free reign over the engine, expect to see things like variable geometry turbos to further cut down or turbo lag. They are going to kick major butt. Couple them with ITBs and these engines will be some of the most complex and beautiful ones on our planet.

      I myself am building a turbocharged Honda with quad throttle bodies and it’s an amazing learning experience to see great engineers like these doing such awesome stuff.

    • damonsmedley said on 5th December 2010, 2:28

      Road relevance and the ‘green’ aspect means nothing to me – I am more interested in how they are going to sound, like Dan Thorn. The awesome sound has deteriorated too much already over the last two decades, so I really don’t want F1 to lose more revs. A large part of the reason F1 is so appealing comes from the sound. *crosses fingers*

  9. I agree, an engineer will make something up – that’s their job, but I like Ferrari having V12 engines. When V10 was brought in I was upset.

    In a way, had always wanted F1 to be the pinnacle – but it really is becoming a point-of-view.

    – Who has the fastest top speed?
    – Who has the most powerful engines?
    – Who can brake the quickest?
    – Who has the largest TV audience?
    – etc.

    Can you be the pinnacle of motorsport and not have any of those checklists checked?

    F1 circulated for years on grooved tyres when no other top category needed to. What did it achieve? F1 is back to full slicks.

    If the statement really holds that much power, where Ferrari race is where the spectators go – will Ferrari re-release the Testarossa as a flat-four etc?

    If Ferrari went to Le Mans or to the Indy 500, would any amount of turbo-pressure in a 4 hold my interest? No.

  10. glue (@glue) said on 4th December 2010, 13:16

    it will be interesting, a major overhaul..I think we’ll see some heavy duty innovations then

  11. SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 4th December 2010, 13:30

    It’ll be real world relevant when the engines are serviced every 10,000 miles as opposed to every race. Anything else is pretending, do we think the wrc conternders are suddenly become engine suppliers?

    What happened to all the money saving bullcrap? so yet another starting point and all the existing data is of no use and everyone starts from scratch will means more money spent.

    • George said on 4th December 2010, 13:54

      The manufacturers will probably have to provide them at a fixed price to customer teams as (I think?) they do now. The recession is pretty much over anyway, no big reason to reduce costs further.

      And by real world relevant they dont mean you can take it out and put it into your golf, it’s about putting a lot more grey matter into the subject to increase efficiency for everyone.

      • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 4th December 2010, 20:23

        So how much faster would we get there without the rules which dont exist in a real world?

        So we’ll remove the testing limits then? We’ll get there much faster that way

        • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 4th December 2010, 20:24

          And what good is a engine that needs rebuilding every 1000 miles?

          • graigchq said on 6th December 2010, 11:08

            as some wide old racer once said (Jackie Stewart maybe?) the perfect racecar runs at the head of the field all race at optimum performance, then falls apart the second it crosses the line.

            so an engine that needs rebuilding every 1000 miles, is an engine performing right up at its peak – or beyond it – most of the time.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th December 2010, 12:03

            ‘Wide’ or ‘wise’? :-)

  12. No no no! They will sound awful, like F3 cars currently do!

    Pray God GT cars will continue with glorious V8s and V12s…

  13. Bet theyll sound terrible and it will be V2’s in 2015 :(

  14. We Want Turbos said on 4th December 2010, 14:12

    I’d like to take partial responsibility for the 2013 season been the best for years :D think a name change is due, maybe We Want Ground Effects!!!!

  15. We Want Turbos said on 4th December 2010, 14:21

    Alex don’t forget Turbos have come on alot also they(top teams) will probably run more boost for Q3 than at other points! I see a sudden reamergence of a prodrive entry and maybe VW in some guise as an engine supplier!!

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