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. 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.

  2. 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.

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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


    • 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.

  6. 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!!!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.


  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. We Want Turbos said on 4th December 2010, 23:25

    There was a point that there’s hardly any 1.6 turbo’s. I think you missing the point it’s not the engine that would bring them in it’s the turbo technology and having so many geniuses working on them the rate of improvement will increase and increase watch out for the 1.2T M3!!

  12. schooner said on 4th December 2010, 23:26

    Putting aside road car relevance and “green” issues, I’ll simply be missing the unique sounds emitted from a high revving, naturally aspirated F1 engine. I’ll never forget being at the Monterey Historic races at Laguna Seca about 7 years ago, when Ferrari was the marque being celebrated. The biggest highlight of the meet for me (and there were SO many!), was watching, and listening to, Luca Badoer run his many demonstration laps in the previous year’s V10 Ferrari. Glorious noises for sure. Absolutely stunning! That said, I’m sure that the 4 cylinder turbos will provide us with some great action, and if you are lucky enough to attend a race, you won’t have to worry about bringing your ear plugs.

    • Adrian said on 5th December 2010, 15:35

      you won’t have to worry about bringing your ear plugs.


      Ever stood next to a Subaru Impreza being revved up? Sure they’re a 2.0 litre, but they’re still pretty loud, and you can bet the F1 engines will be even louder (Especially as the redline for the Subaru’s engine is something like 6,500rpm)!!

  13. Valentino said on 4th December 2010, 23:42

    By 2020, F1 engines will have two cylinders and 999cc,..
    This is getting closer to carting,..And the Indy championship will laugh at F1,.. ;)

  14. Why did they need to regulate the number of cylinders? Fair enough to reduce the engine size and add a turbo, but why not leave the option open for someone to make a V6 with twin turbos, for instance? Or even an in-line three.

    These would sound far more interesting and would produce different driving characteristics. OK, maybe it would be found that a straight four is the way to go, but Ferrari were happy running V12s long after everyone else had swapped to V10s, so it could be done.

  15. i like the challenge, pushing a small 1.6 litre four cylinder to the absolute maximum in performance, thats a great challenge, from the engineering point of view i think its gonna be brilliant!! plus the turbos, i am keen to see what its gonna be like,

    • Valentino said on 5th December 2010, 3:33

      What’s wrong with pushing V8 to the maximum? The technology is going ahead and the regulators are trying to make cars slower. I think that F1 cars are more than safe, so let them race. The FIA is trying to make the sport interesting, but I liked it most when there were only 2 cars fighting for the title, Ferrari and McLaren, Schumacher and Hakkinen.. :)
      F1 engines used to be the king of noise, but these engines now-days sound like cats having sex,..

    • Ferrari’s V12s were too heavy and too thirsty compared to the V10s and the V8s of the time. They were more powerful but needed to carry more fuel which negated that power.

      Schumacher won his first championship in a V8 because it didn’t need to carry as much fuel as the others, and also because he ran into Hill in Australia.

      If you want to listen to screaming V12s, watch Superleague. The noise is truly awesome, but progress it definitely is not.

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