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

  1. Butterfly said on 4th December 2010, 14:51

    Guys, don’t forget that ground-effect aero will be back. They’ll probably produce more downforce than the RB6 did this year, and it had the least-powerful engine on the grid (or so they said).

    It will be great, I’m sure of it.

  2. We Wants Turbos said on 4th December 2010, 14:56

    So we’ve got back all the best ‘old’ ideas now how about some new ones!!!!! That name change could be We Want Innovation?

  3. I’d love to see a season where the only regulations are that your car must have 4 wheels and an engine.

  4. We Want Turbos said on 4th December 2010, 15:28

    Power will be more variable as boost could be turned up plus drive out of bends would be massively increased couple that to cars being able to run closer together and you’ve got a recipe for success. Hydrogen + approx 200mph crash = explosion to rival Hiroshima

  5. DavidS (@davids) said on 4th December 2010, 16:20

    Have a power limit enforced by air restrictors and on a dyno, as well as reliability limits.
    That way, the area for engine development is fuel economy. Let the teams use whatever configuration and capacity they want, so manufacturers can market their cars. If Ferrari want to use a V12 so they can market their cars, Renault might want a 4cyl turbo to match their road cars. Mercedes might want a larger capacity V8 to be similar to AMG.

    Enforcing a set configuration and capacity discourages engine makers from entering the sport, because they have no way of differentiating themselves from the competition.

    The reason engine manufacturers are leaving is because of Mosley’s stupid engine freeze. BMW, Toyota and Honda had the weakest engines when the freeze began and weren’t allowed to improve them.

    The green initiative is sheer tokenism. If they wanted to make a difference, how about installing catalytic converters on the cars, instead of straight exhausts. That would be more effective than making the engines smaller (yet producing similar power, which won’t affect fuel consumption or exhaust output significantly)…but then it wouldn’t be as high profile as a green stripe on some tyres.

    • Adrian said on 5th December 2010, 15:19

      2 points:

      1) Honda reportedly had the most powerful engine when the engine freeze came into place. Only they stuck to the spirit of the rules and didn’t use “reliability” changes to upgrade their engine and so it was overtaken by other makes.

      2) How on earth can a 1.6 litre engine revving at 10,000rpm use as much fuel as a 2.4 litre V8 revving at 18,000rpm???

  6. Excellent. I’m not really into F1 as a way to just see insane irrelevancies zoom round. Powerboats are a good show of humans barely clinging on to monsters; if that’s what you fancy watching then fair play to you.

    What I like about F1 is that it’s a series in which engineers develop and innovate technology in order to win 190-mile races in what is, ultimately, a Car. Yes it has minimal bodywork and no air conditioning, and it goes far too fast for public roads, but it’s a still a Car.

    So while we bobble around the limit of speed-over-safety at which we usually find ourselves, why not make this great engineering race that little bit more useful? Why not make it so that Mr Jones’ 2-seater Merc can have a little bit more grunt in the lower revs without harming the mpg? As long as the things are still flying round at speeds at which your average mortal couldn’t dream of, then I’m all for it. Let’s have fun.

    • “Why not make it so that Mr Jones’ 2-seater Merc can have a little bit more grunt in the lower revs without harming the mpg?”

      Chances are that he already owns a diesel.

      Many car manufacturers are already producing petrol engines that do just that anyway. The number of 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 turbo petrol engines in road cars is really growing quite rapidly. These are the cars that most manufacturers are going to want to sell alongside their diesel cars.

  7. We Want Turbos said on 4th December 2010, 16:36

    CarsvChildren whilst I do agree with you I’m not a fan of the middle east taking over with 2nd rate tracks… Europe has the majority of the fanbase are so should always have the most tracks. However don’t agree with adjusting the times so it’s on in afternoon in europe!

  8. Interesting article about Cosworths views on current and future engine regulations.

    http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=42676

  9. At minimum they should allow anything from 4,6 or 8 cylinder at the same capacity so we could have some variety in design and sound. F1 is gonna lose so much appeal with the sound of these engines. When I go see a race live half the reason is for the fact of the way these current high revving engines sound. Im not happy with this.

    • It’s been touched upon before in this thread that whatever the rules allow, all of the engine manufacturers will build an engine that is the most powerful and most economical allowable, just by taking each option and comparing it with another in virtual reality.

      So the days of V8’s and V10’s vs V12’s or whatever are long gone, because the optimum engine architecture is decided by computer analysis without the need for trial and error.

  10. If there are no limits on what they can do with the turbos then I can only see an increase in power. We had some Mercedes F1 guys doing a talk at our uni last week and claimed that even if they were given a 0.8 litre engine they could get 1000hp out of it.

  11. Its a difficult choice for me. High revving engines are a signature of F1. EVERYONE on Earth would recognize the sound of an F1 car. Of course we had turbo engines in the 80s, but im sure that just a fan-ear would recognize that sound.

    On the other hand, I hate the current V8! They re like stupid mosquitos compared to the previous V10s. And as these ones aren’t going to return, I’m all in for the change.

  12. tbh, the safety car sounds way better than most F1 cars that I’ve ever listened to over the years. It’s a relatively low revving V8, but it sure sounds good!

    High revving engines tend to go better with things like MotoGP and suchlike. It’s also more relevant, rpm-wise, to road going motorcycles. Relatively low revving turbo engines never did do very well on production motorcycles back in the eighties.

  13. Icthyes said on 4th December 2010, 19:22

    If it doesn’t make the engines less powerful, bring it on.

  14. Burnout said on 4th December 2010, 20:24

    Is the FIA bent on making cars as aesthetically messed up as possible? First with the narrow rear wing and snow plough front wing. Now, rev-limited inline-4 engines. What next?

    I started watching F1 around 2001. And I love how cars from that period looked. I still think the Ferrari F2004 and McLaren MP4/17 look way better than any car from the last two years. I miss the V10 shriek. To lose even the V8 scream would be very sad indeed.

  15. The Superleague cars have 750bhp 4.2 litre V12 engines. They sound awesome, like the pre-96 Ferrari’s did.

    We could watch/listen to them instead of F1 if it’s only the noise we’re interested in?

    F1 isn’t for people that don’t like change, because that’s what F1 does best.

    http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/News-Media/News-archive/The-V12-engine-room-part-one

    • Yes, that’s right! Another lesser open wheel series utilises more powerful engines than F1 does!

      But you would still rather watch Alonso et al in 1.6 turbo cars…right?

    • yes, F1 does best at changing and changing back when they realize they made a mistake.

      Talk with Ecclestone about changes.

  16. Mmmmm…. I bought a WV Golf GTD in 1990, it was 4 cilinders 1895 CC + Turbo… sounds the same :-) ah, no wait, my old golf was better!!!!

  17. baron said on 4th December 2010, 21:36

    I think it has most to do with trying to get as many name car manufacturing companies back in the game which unfortunately is not good for the ‘Privateers’ – the backbone of F1. I believe that the motor industry designs it’s products at least 5 years ahead so, if 1.6 turbo 4’s are mooted and accepted in F1, I guess we will eventually see the end of the recent spell of production V8’s.

    Nowt wrong with a turbo charged 4 banger either and they’ve got a 1/10 of a litre more capacity than last time!

  18. Michael said on 4th December 2010, 22:41

    If the teams want this engine to be relevant to road cars, then put it in the road cars. Infact, if every car ran this engine, in fuel efficient form, that would help the environment somewhat.

    Probably.

  19. Krosh said on 4th December 2010, 23:12

    Finally good news from FIA. The idea of attracting more engine manufacturers is great, ’cause F1 has been getting less attractive for the car brands in the recent years. Supporting a lot of other championships and investing a lot of money in reseach are much better than having a team in F1 and getting nothing new. What we have in the F1 nowadays is a plenty of security and nothing to watch.

  20. Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th December 2010, 23:14

    I’m sick of the whole “Bigger is better” approach that people take, suggesting that piling on the cylinders and the engine capacity to make these big, brutish engines. I really don’t think that’s the way forward. To me, Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motoring technology, super-refined machines that look for the perfect balance. These new regulations have almost halved the maximum revs and the engine capacity, yet they’ll be producing the same power as the current engines. Add into that the talk of allowing ground effects to return, and the cars are probably going to be quicker than ever. We’re not going to be racing Dacia Logans here.

    • Burnout said on 5th December 2010, 6:09

      It’s not just about bigger being better (if it was, we’d all be watching NASCAR more than F1. 6 litre V8s after all!). It’s because F1 cars are visually and aurally magnificent machines. The multi-layered sound from a V8 or more cylinders has been a defining feature of F1 since 1990. We’d be losing a massive slice of the F1 experience with 4 cylinder engines.

      And if the FIA are really serious about improving the “green”ness of F1, come up with a more rational calendar with less jetting around. Why shouldn’t Bahrain and Abu Dhabi be consecutive races, like Canada and USA used to be?

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