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. Andrew said on 5th December 2010, 3:31

    What ever happened to Formula One being the pinnacle of racing technology?

  2. DaveW said on 5th December 2010, 3:34

    Judging by the prevailing sentiment that small displacement turbos are an abomination and disgrace for F1, I reckon most people commenting were born after 1988 or so. No one seems to recall the pavement shattering power of the turbo f1 cars. No one seems to recall the brilliant crackling roar of those cars. That was true F1: leading edge technology, insane levels of performance. With today’s technology, they are going to have tie the engineer’s hands pretty tightly to keep power figures under four digits. I will also be glad to say good bye to big air intakes as well. Next up, unrestrict the transmissions. Get rid of the silly “manual” shifting; leave it for vintage racing.

    I’m aslo hoping to see VW/Porshe/Audi/ return. This is right up their alley. It’s what they sell; and as Keith said this is the way of the future. Audi will be selling 4-cyl turbo top-end luxury cars by 2013. So will BMW.

    • Burnout said on 5th December 2010, 6:20

      Yes a lot of the comments are by people born after 1988, including me. But we have a point. For one, the new formula calls for restricting the rpm, boost and number of cylinders. Not the same as the ’80s turbos where the only restriction was fuel consumption. Designers are going to have their hands tied quite tightly.

      For another, the new engines will have to last longer than the current V8s. The 80s turbos were one session (not even one weekend) wonders. You won’t see the prodigious power of yore.

      Finally, how can you be happy to see the end of screaming, high-revving, multi-cylinder engines? Old videos of the V10s still make my hairs stand on end!

      • V12s made the V10s sound crap, but that’s progress. The V12s were just too heavy and thirsty and then the V10s got too powerful and thirsty and now the same can be said for the V8s.

        Someone mentioned Indy cars earlier. Well, the days of the big engine are also numbered in that series.

        It seems that Mercedes and Ferrari were dead against the new engine regs to start with. Well, no surprise there. It’s going to be difficult to sell V8s and V12s when people can see that much smaller and more fuel efficient engines can do the job just as well, if not better than those engines.

      • DaveW said on 6th December 2010, 21:02

        The Honda V-12 was the best sounding F1 engine ever. VXR is right about the V-10s sounding like vacuum cleaners in comparison. And the curreent V-8s are weak sauce in comparsion for sure. But there is something about the popping and booming of the turbo motors that was unreal. The wastegate openning sound off-throttle was 100% alien spacecraft.

        I will also have to say the slight reduction in decibels will be welcome. I’d like to be able to attend another race and still be able to talk on the phone within the next week.

  3. Jared404 said on 5th December 2010, 6:09

    I don’t have particularly fond memories of the turbo era. Just lots of engine failures. I don’t think F1 should go down that path again. What’s next? Diesels?

  4. troutcor said on 5th December 2010, 10:54

    If this brings engineers (note the word ‘engine’ in there) back to relevance, I’m all for it. These last few years of “who can think of this year’s hood scoop or ram jet exhaust” or “how has Adrian Newey figured out how to bend :) the rules this time” have been for the birds. Let the engine guys have a say for a change; the aero guys can go back to playing with planes.

  5. a bit off subject i guess but if they’re trying to cut costs in F1.. STOP changing the rules so dramatically every damn year

    ..that is all :)

  6. “I’m hearing the 2013 engine rules are: mandated 1.6l I4 turbo, 88mm bores, direct injection, 100kg\h fuel flow rate.”

    If this is correct, then there’s not going to be a lot of difference between powerplants, and the engine regulations probably aren’t finished at that. Plus everyone, by 2013, will have a KERS system that is probably no different in performance to anyone elses.

    • Chances are that the fuel flow rate will decrease each season, and the number of engines allowed per season will also decrease.

  7. Zayan said on 5th December 2010, 15:56

    These engines will probably have 650-ish hp. Such a disgrace considering that a few lower-category race cars, and many mid-end sports cars have similar power levels, Ridiculous!

    F1 should be about progress, but that should not mean slowing the cars down each year! So much for the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’.

    I’d rather see the engine options opened up, with only these limits:
    N/A engines: 3.0L and 18500 rpm
    Turbos: 1.6L (specified max. boost level) and 12000rpm

    That should prove a more interesting spectacle.

  8. Paul A said on 5th December 2010, 16:10

    Given all the required parameters that the FIA, manufacturers and fans are looking for (hi-tech engineering and development, budget limits/caps, road car relevance and “going green” air transport excluded), here’s the solution:

    – engine “commercially” available at $”x” per unit including KERS if used
    – “y” engines per season
    – max cubic capacity 2.4 litres (allows current engine development)
    – no other technical limits (cylinders, turbos, KERS, rev limits, weight/size of unit, etc)
    – “z” kilos of commercially available fuel per race

    x, y and z can be negotiated for 2013, together with a slow reduction over the following years. Start with reasonable figures (say $4 million each, 8 per season and 100 kilos of fuel) and bingo, we’ll see some very competitive, futuristic racing.

    Paul (currently owns a 4-cyl Saab, a V6 Buick and a V8 Olds Royale; has owned a 2-cyl JAP Morgan through a straight 6 blower Bentley to a V12 Jag amongst others – Diversity=progress.)

  9. John H said on 5th December 2010, 18:25

    What are they going to sound like? That’s all I really care about to be honest.

    • Zayan said on 6th December 2010, 7:01

      F2 uses an Audi 1.8L 4-cylinder Turbo, so F1 will sound pretty similar.

      If F1 is going to turbos, atleast give a 1.8L V6 configuration. It will sound much better than an I4.

    • If you want a great noise, watch Superleague.

      F1 isn’t about what sort of noise the cars make. Lotus used a gas turbine in a couple of F1 races back in the 70’s. It didn’t sound very good, but I’m sure that lotus wouldn’t have minded that had it been more successful.

    • Hairpin said on 7th December 2010, 0:36

      I see your a dedicated fan then!

  10. Dj xo2 said on 5th December 2010, 23:53

    Think of horse racing very popular around the world (and a billion dollar industry) a sport that grew from when people used horses in their daily life. The same should be said of F1. F1 cars are the thoroughbreds of our Generation and should stay that way; Unique, and at the utter pinnacle performance. I do agree that it would be amazing to see a 4 cylinder car travel at the same speeds as a current f1, and that is relevant in its own right. Progress the engines to 4 for the right reasons, don’t green wash.
    The appropriate environmentalist term is “green wash”, Changing a practice to appear environmentally aware.

  11. Sydney500 said on 6th December 2010, 7:26

    If its’ going to be fast. then good.
    If it’s going to bring in more manufacturers? then yes good.
    What I don’t like is that we only have the 4 engine suppliers!

    Ground effect and Turbos + Kers feels like a great package

    What’s next may be direct injected 4cyl engines with 4wd KERS like the Williams POrshce I’d like to see that

  12. Pingguest said on 6th December 2010, 16:03

    I can’t see how Ferrari is going to accept this engine format. It doesn’t suit their marketing strategy at all.

    It seems that Formula 1 doesn’t like huge performance differentials at all. I can’t see why. Since when is Formula 1 based on equalisation?

    However, if they really want to keep the engine performances equal, then why don’t they opt for a engine power limit?

    • They have. They don’t make it obvious, but they have – teams can petition to get more power so they’re equal with the others. Essentially, that means everyone’s on fixed power output.

      That’s what’s so funny about these commenters getting all excited about how we’re going to have pavement-ripping turbos with 1000hp… Right.

      F1 = NASCAR – it’s a spec series. It’s done, it’s over, it’s finished. Got that? F1 is not F1 any more. It’s a quicker IRL.

      Of course, even NASCAR hasn’t had the cojones to completely rape the spirit of motorsport with something like the movable wing abomination. It boggles my mind that you guys are ignoring the fact that the heart of motorsport got ripped out with that rule. Ecclestone et. al are ******* on the legacies of Fangio, Clark, and Senna, and all people can say is, ooh, I hope the new engines sound nice!

      Pathetic.

      I keep checking back on F1 news now, hoping to read that someone, somewhere came to his senses and axed the movable wings… but now what do we have? Even more restricted engines, fixed weight bias, *and* fake racing.

      The fact that sites like F1Fanatic and grandprix.com are essentially apologists for the utter destruction of any honor the sport had left is embarrassing.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th December 2010, 16:41

        The fact that sites like F1Fanatic and grandprix.com are essentially apologists for the utter destruction of any honor the sport had left is embarrassing.

        When have I ever said I was in favour of proximity wings? I don’t see any other sites running articles like this:

        F1 fans reject FOTA’s ‘Mario Kart’ wings

      • You just want a spending competition and F1 just can’t afford that any more, regardless of the economic climate situation.

        And there’s nothing more ‘fake’ than watching a spending competition taking place. I could watch my wife do that with her mates on any Saturday afternoon of the year.

  13. Dextrous said on 6th December 2010, 16:39

    F1 plays such a huge role globally that moving to the 4 cylinders and still keeping the pace is a brilliant idea …..about going green eventually they would have to after a point of time when pollution levels are rising and fuel prices increasing …its a great move for F1 but ot for the big boys like ferrari and mclaren whose market is all about v8s ……..

  14. Ismail said on 6th December 2010, 16:52

    I guess we’ll be seeing electric cars in 2020, with no engine sound. Fans who wear earplugs should replace them with hearing aids.

    If this is what F1 will be in the near future, then I shoot myself in the head.

    Why don’t the cars switch to Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines? With increasingly effective cryo-storage methods, fuel shouldn’t be an issue.

    1. Weight can be increased due to the heavy fuel tank, making the cars heavier.
    2. Pollution problem solved.
    3. Cars can still sound good.

  15. Younger Hamilton said on 6th December 2010, 17:21

    A return to the Old For F1,This is very Good What else is there is store to improve the Show and Overtaking on the track which is as fans want to see as well as other drama as well

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