Whitmarsh: V6 engines “the right thing” for F1

2014 F1 season

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said yesterday’s decision to change the future F1 engine rules was “the right thing to do”.

Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes media call he said the decision had the backing of all the F1 engine manufacturers:

“I’m happy that we have agreement between the manufacturers – they have all agreed and endorsed this, which is extremely positive – the teams have agreed it and it was agreed overwhelmingly within the F1 Commission yesterday

“So I think that’s positive because, clearly, there’s been a range of different opinions expressed and felt so to achieve a consensus amongst all the parties, I think, was very positive.”

Whitmarsh said the decision to postpone the new rules to 2014 and switch from a four- to six-cylinder configuration would encourage the existing engine builders to stay in the sport and should attract others in the future:

“In the long run we should make sure we are attractive to a range of automotive manufacturers. They will, according to their marketing needs and priorities, come in and out of Formula 1 periodically, which is what has happened over the history of Formula 1.

“The world’s gone through an economic crisis, the automotive industry had the largest recession in its entire history. And I think our timing was perhaps a little bit premature and perhaps it was a little bit too condensed.

“So I think the right thing to do is to ensure that you keep what you’ve got which I think we have been able to do with this agreement.

“I hope, in the future, for the sake of Formula 1, that new manufacturers find the regulations relevant, interesting and stimulating, and consequently at some time in the future come in as well.”

But he denied McLaren might build an engine of their own, despite having begun production of their own road car, the MP4-12C.

Whitmarsh said: “There isn’t any temptation to do so.

“Formula 1 is an incredibly powerful marketing opportunity and it’s an area that automotive companies have seen has been beneficial for brand exposure and brand differentiation. But the cost of Formula 1 is such that you need to amortise that over millions of cars per annum, not thousands.

“McLaren’s maximum planned output certainly for the foreseeable future is no greater than 4,500 units per year. So it really doesn’t make sense to use a marketing tool like Formula 1 for the engine.”

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47 comments on Whitmarsh: V6 engines “the right thing” for F1

  1. hohum said on 23rd June 2011, 16:37

    The good news is 6 cylinders has been allowed, the bad news, and it really is bad news is that ONLY V6 engines will be allowed, why not a flat 6 like Porsche or a flat 4 like Subaru or Renaults I4 ? Sadly the answer is that they want all engines to be the same in power and not to provide any performance advantage.Understand what that means, the engine will be irrelevant, there will be no point in building your own engine,any advantage you gain will be dialled out by the FIA, this is the real reason for turbocharging, simply by adjusting the wastegate and fuel pressure the FIA can adjust the performance to make a level playing field that no amount of ingenuity or money can change. What’s next standard body-work and wings?

    • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 23rd June 2011, 16:49

      Given the choice I’d rather have standard wings and then give the teams the choice to build whatever engine they want.

      Although I’d much prefer to have no standardisation and to instead give the teams a set weight of fuel for the race and then let them build whatever engine they want.

      • hohum said on 23rd June 2011, 17:38

        My thoughts exactly and I suspect most fans would agree, this is why the FIA are moving to a single engine supplier in small steps and disguising it under the cloak of pc greenness.

    • The Last Pope said on 23rd June 2011, 19:06


      And an inline 5 cylinder Turbo charged Audi or Volvo engine would have sounded amazing.

  2. schooner (@schooner) said on 23rd June 2011, 17:35

    While I more or less understand why these rules evolved over the years, it’s a real shame that F1 has lost, probably forever, the fantastic diversity in engine design that was so much a part of the sport’s appeal.

  3. kowalsky said on 23rd June 2011, 17:59

    i am happy to hear the news. But, wouldn’t be nice if they came up with the right idea at first shot, instead of making us the fans suffer for months with the nonesense of 4 cyl engines?
    I am so fed up with rule makers, that my vision of the sport suffers with this actions a little bit every time.
    Now that we have drs working for overtaking, wouldn’t it be nice to get some ground effect back so the cars look fast on a qualy lap?

  4. Daniel said on 23rd June 2011, 18:03

    I was saying a few months ago that an L4 wouldn’t be ok. Instead a V6 would be just great. And apparently they arrived at this conclusion too.

    • hohum said on 23rd June 2011, 18:22

      Like if they said a lawn-mower engine and we all said no, a motorcycle engine at least, think how happy we would all be with that 600cc Suzuki engine.

  5. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 24th June 2011, 1:51

    They can give a go with Turbo Engine from 2014 as they have the resource & the management to do that.& second thing they have huge amount of time to develop it.

  6. Oliver said on 24th June 2011, 10:24

    “McLaren’s maximum planned output certainly for the foreseeable future is no greater than 4,500 units per year. So it really doesn’t make sense to use a marketing tool like Formula 1 for the engine.”

    To all those who were dreaming Mclaren was going to make their own F1 engine.

  7. Patrickl said on 24th June 2011, 21:30

    What’s the point of going for a V6 instead of a 4 cylinders?

    The sport needs new engine manufacturers and they will be easier to persuade when the engines are cheaper. Hence 4 cylinders was unanimously agreed upon.

    What makes V6 “better” then?

  8. chuf said on 3rd August 2011, 15:42

    im not so sure i feel the only reason the fia has done this is because it will be easier to control the engine and make every single one exactly the same in every single way so that no one complains of unfair racing, and as a bi-product of this no one is able to race, such is the “one move manouver” that stands today. at the end of the day if its going to benifit someone an f1 engine maker should be allowed to make what ever the hell they want be it a flat 12 a straight 8 whatever and if the fia is so green peace conscious then maybe fuel economy is the best way to do it any engine with an mpg target with an extra trophy at the end of the season for the most frugal machine. p.s please dont think im limp wristed im not about the o zone layer or beluga whales

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