F1 cars to use electric power in pits from 2014

2014 F1 season

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2011

F1 cars will have to run on electrical power only in the pit lane from 2014.

The technical rules for 2014 published by the FIA state cars must run “in electric mode” with “no ignition and no fuel supply to the engine at all times when being driven in the pit lane.”

Teams will be able to use both kinetic energy recovery and, for the first time, also recover energy from exhaust heat.

The kinetic element of the system will be twice as powerful as that used today with 120kW available.

The rules also define the new 1.6-litre V6 engines which will be introduced. These will be limited to 15,000rpm, down from 18,000 today.

They will retain the same 90-degree V-angle, and be restricted to a maximum fuel flow of 100kg/h.

The design, dimensions and materials used in the new engines are defined in more specific terms by the rules than the current V8s, which were introduced in 2006.

Self-starting motors

A further change to the rules will enable F1 cars to do something every road car is capable of – start on its own.

The rules will require drivers to be able to start the engine “when seated normally at the wheel and without any external assistance.”

This should put an end to drivers retiring from races because of stalled engines.

Minimum weight increase

The minimum weight of the cars will increase again, to 660kg (from 640kg).

A minimum weight for the power unit (including the engine and energy recovery system) has been set at 155kg – previously the engine alone was subject to a minimum weight of 95kg.

Smaller front wings

An addition to the rules on bodywork will reduce the size of front wings. At present these may use the full 1,800mm width of the cars – from 2014 they will be cut to 1,650mm.

Further tightening of restrictions at the front and rear of the car, and around the middle of the car to continue the work begun in the 2009 regulations changes to ‘clean up’ the appearance of the cars and reduce the number of small aerodynamic appendages.

Extra gear

The number of forward gears will be increased to eight – and no fewer.

The FIA will allow a dispensation in 2014 when teams nominate which gear ratios they will use: “For 2014 only, a competitor may re-nominate these ratios once within the Championship season, in which case the original nomination becomes immediately void.

“Ratio re-nominations must be declared as a set and may only be effected by the substitution of change gears.”

See the changes to the rules in full on the FIA’s website.

What’s your view on the rules changes for 2014? Are you pleased with all the changes? Have your say in the comments.

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221 comments on F1 cars to use electric power in pits from 2014

  1. robert said on 21st July 2011, 0:27

    i think the rules on gear ratio is that team have to submit all the gears they are planning on using in the upcoming season and they cannot change the actual ratio on those gears . so i think the new rule will allow the teams to make a change during the season at least once.

  2. Monkzie said on 21st July 2011, 0:30

    I don’t like the vast majority of these rules – we are reducing the engine size and revs yet again. Where will this stop? By 2020, F1 will be driving 1.2 V4 that can only rev to 8,000rpm, but will have 12 gears. By 2025, F1 will be all electric. We won’t be talking V12, V8, V6, etc, we’ll be discussing how many electric motors each car has! I can’t wait (sarcastic tone)

    Also, what is the realistic advantage of running in the pits on electric? It’s just another useless tinkering of the rules to “improve the show”. Ironic when the FIA also claims it want to lower costs for the teams. How? By introducing new rules that require more development costs?? Well done Jean Todd.

  3. Andrew81 (@andrew81) said on 21st July 2011, 0:31

    Surely running only electric power in the pits will cause a safety issue. We’ve seen the BBC team almost get hit by cars a couple of times, now they won’t be able to hear them coming either. To me this just seems like another pointless gimmick designed to make F1 look more environmentally friendly. Maybe they haven’t realised that F1 engines are much more efficient and therefore better for the environment than road cars? The environmental cost of making the batteries for the KERS probably outweighs the impact that all the F1 cars have over the entire season. Rant over.

    • bosyber said on 21st July 2011, 9:07

      But at low speed those engines aren’t doing an efficient job. Electric motors can do a much better job from standstill, immediately delivering power (hence why hybrid cars tend to use electric motor at lower speeds).

    • midgetiser (@midgetiser) said on 21st July 2011, 14:13

      I can see the problems they might have with safety as the cars silently stalk down the pit lane but they fixed the safety issue of Methane gas by adding an odour to it so they could do the same here. If they have the KERS system power a stereo system to make a noise when it’s running on electric only people could here the cars coming. I suggest they play the Benny Hill Theme to make it in keeping with the spirit of these rules!!

  4. AlonsoWDC (@alonsowdc) said on 21st July 2011, 0:33

    Taking this at face value, because this obviously will hardly be the end of the regs changes for that season,

    I’m fine with all of that, even if the eight gears is needless.

  5. RIght so, like V6Turbo’s because who wouldn’t. Like electric pits things, coz it’s cool and I like that there increasing the BHP legally available from electrics because more Horse Power is always a good thing. Self starting motor’s is good and will keep more drivers on track.

    Don’t really mind about an extra gear, fine, don’t really mind about the RpM thing because the turbo’s will make up for that anyway.

    Fixed gears for the whole year is baffling and I don’t think I can have understood. Smaller wings, grrr, both are examples it seems to me of F1 betraying the principle of being the pinacle of motorsport. They’ve got to stop damn limiting things for cost reasons, it holds back innovation and damages the sport.

    Instead, limit the amount of money available, at the begining of each year, set a total spend for development, make it big but not astronomical, acheivable for the big teams, without being completley over the horizon for the small ones. Decide what is to be done about aerodynamics and then deregulate to the greatest extent possible, keep things safe. The teams can decide in what way the spend their finite recources, F1 is forced back into super innovation.

    • dyslexicbunny said on 21st July 2011, 2:43

      Instead, limit the amount of money available, at the begining of each year, set a total spend for development, make it big but not astronomical, acheivable for the big teams, without being completley over the horizon for the small ones. Decide what is to be done about aerodynamics and then deregulate to the greatest extent possible, keep things safe. The teams can decide in what way the spend their finite recources, F1 is forced back into super innovation.

      Sounds like you want to see a similar series that I want. I think the only challenges would be engine and tires development since not every team makes their own. Perhaps instead, you get different tiers of products at different prices. It would be interesting – especially if some teams run out of available funds with a couple races to go and have to use whatever they have.

    • vjanik said on 21st July 2011, 12:18


  6. Faraz (@faraz) said on 21st July 2011, 0:38

    F1 is going to lose its appeal with these new engines. F1 is not supposed to be green or eco-friendly.

    • Mike said on 21st July 2011, 0:58

      Bingo, I don’t mind changes to the engine rules. But it annoys me that this is the motive behind it.

  7. Ryan Dixon said on 21st July 2011, 0:43

    8 Gears? Why?! There isn’t any need, all it means is that they have more chances to go wrong. 8 gears, can’t see why honestly, makes no sense. The only thing I can think of is that with the limited revs then they are hoping the speed will stay the same with an extra gears with the revs lost.

    Starter motors would be nice, although seeing someone go off and lose momentum is part of racing, if you give them a reset button losses an edge

  8. Mike said on 21st July 2011, 0:44

    This is just bizarre!

    Self-starting motors

    Do we want to eliminate the possibility foe mistakes completely? I mean come on, on of the things that make \F1 special is that it isn’t a road car.

    Minimum weight increase

    Too much. F1 is starting to go too far on this. Enough is enough.

    Smaller front wings

    Wasn’t the whole point of the wide wings to make it easier to follow the cars ahead? This will only push more dependance on the DRS, and despite me liking the DRS I can only see this as a bad thing. Hell, I’m a Schumacher fan, I feel the effects of the wide front wing.

    Extra gear

    Explain why this is necessary? Or even desirable?
    I mean come on! Seriously guys wake up!

    Not one of these changes seem even remotely like an improvement! F1 this year, and the last few is fantastic. All these changes seem destined only to stretch the gap wider between the teams. Hell, how are teams like Force India or HRT actually meant to pay for this?

    It also seems like a rather badly done attempt to move F1 towards electric power. Which is something I detest. F1 isn’t green. It just isn’t. If the Australian race organizer was worried about F1’s ability to pull a crowd this is the way to get rid of them. The FIA has lost it.

    No, these changes can not happen.

    • “I don’t know what we’re yelling about!”

    • mattj99 said on 21st July 2011, 8:17

      Do we want to eliminate the possibility foe mistakes completely? I mean come on, on of the things that make \F1 special is that it isn’t a road car.

      Surely the engine has to start it’s self at the end of the pit lane?

  9. Wheel Nut (@wheel-nut) said on 21st July 2011, 0:59

    I don’t think I’ve got a major issue with any of these changes. The old turbo era wasn’t exactly bad! Dropping out a race because the engine stalled always seemed a daft waste to me.

    I’m assuming the fixed gear ratios is an attempt to save money although I can’t see how that’ll make much difference. I’m also guessing that the move to 8 gears will allow closer ratios for tracks like Monaco where the top gear is never used but a sufficiently long 8th for those circuits with long straights.

    The biggest danger of these new rules is that it adds further design elements that are fixed for the season increasing the chances of a sub-optimal design will handicap a team for the whole season.

    • bosyber said on 21st July 2011, 9:27

      I suppose that’s why the engines are so very regulated, just saw Scarbs tweet that even the engine mounting bolts are specified! And the V layout with turbo inside of it, exhaust outside.

      Seems like they really could get one spec. engine made with badging for the different manufacturers. That’s quite sad.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st July 2011, 23:32

        I just read it exhaust outboard, intake inboard, the one that really got me was that the turbocharger shaft must lie in the same plane as the crankshaft ?

  10. Gridlock said on 21st July 2011, 1:04

    A cynic might suggest that all these noisy pit stops positively ruin a perfectly nice day in the Paddock Club, and little Tarquin’s hearing hasn’t been the same since!

    So at the end of the final straight, coming in to the pitlane involves changing down 8 gears, telling the engine to cut out, activating Milk Float mode, observing the speed limit *and* engine cutoff line, selecting the pit map, and spotting the right garage (no JB joke). Should be fun.

    • bosyber said on 21st July 2011, 9:11

      Maybe the limiter could be automatic with the activation of the electric mode, making it more easy to do it right rather than harder.

  11. marc said on 21st July 2011, 1:27

    I believe the extra 8th gear, allows the ‘electric-only’ drive feature to work–without compromising the ‘classic’ 7 speed gearbox. Just a thought.

  12. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 21st July 2011, 1:47

    Breaking News

    From 2015 all cars will be powered by elastic bands

  13. CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 21st July 2011, 2:28

    Jeeze, when did my Grandfather and his mates take over the comments sections of this website?

    My take on things:

    KERS + smaller engines are vital for F1 and the automotive industry in general. F1’s use and knowledge of Carbon Fibre is far far in advance of any other industry. Imagine if they can have similar results with fuel saving, and energy recovery. It helps consumers out, and it helps the companies who are investing silly amounts of money for little return.

    Extra Gears: Ever driven a 4 speed manual car? Or god forbid a 3 speed? They suck. But for a long time that was the standard gearbox offered in most cars. Why did it change? Because technology moved on. And I clearly remember my Granddad complaining to high heaven about how unnecessary the gears were.

    The people who wrote these rules clearly have a reason for doing so, and my guess it is to prevent people hitting the limiter 1/2 way down the straight.

    Self Starters: Really we care about how they start the cars? Rubbish. So long as the racing is good no-one cares. If it saves the teams some money, brilliant.

    Weight increase – If it means taller drivers aren’t disadvantaged, fantastic. We don’t want them all looking like jockeys do we?

    Anyway I like the changes, and am really looking forward to seeing them in action in 2014….

    • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 21st July 2011, 7:22

      drivers are already covered by the last weight increase – this one will cover the additional equipment

      • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 21st July 2011, 16:28

        Which basically means it protects the driver. F1 people could get the new equipment into the car with little or no weight gain, but Mark Webber’s would need to have his legs amputated to make up for it….

    • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 21st July 2011, 11:08

      How does having to invent a starter motor for a F1 car save money over not having to do so?

      • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 21st July 2011, 16:25

        Have you seen the amount of people and equipment they need to start the car at every race?

        futhermore, as others have pointed out a self starter is probably necessary with the new Kers system and you get a win/ win situation. You don’t need expensive specialised equipment to start the car, and you can either save money on engineers, or have them doing something else that’s useful.

        • Mads said on 21st July 2011, 16:43

          The people are already there, and they have already build the equipment to start the engines, so if they just kept the outboard startmotor the costs of it would be exactly zero.

    • vjanik said on 21st July 2011, 12:32

      if it is better to have more gears let the teams have more gears but dont make it a rule.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st July 2011, 23:37

      @CarsVSchildren, your grandfather and I were racing carbon fibre sailboats before you were born.

  14. The weight limit for the new V6 engines includes the turbo, the MGU geared to the crankshaft and the MGU connected to the turbo.
    That’s a lot more kit that a simple V8.

    Note that a separate starter motor is not specified, so it is expected that the KERS MGU will perform this function, we’ve got an end to races ruined by stalled cars for very little extra.

    Turbo engines have a narrower power-band than naturally aspirated engines, so an extra ratio might be helpful. If the ratios are fixed all season, costs will be cut massively, both for running the cars and developing new gearboxes. If drivers have to suffer gears that aren’t perfectly matched to the corners they might have to demonstrate a little skill.

    Narrower front wings? Is that motivated by today’s down-force level, or by the number that get destroyed every race now that we have overtaking?

    Within my lifetime there won’t be enough petrol left to waste on 100kg/hr/car racing. I think there might be problems flying the cars around the world a little sooner, but it is going to happen, so we might as well face up to it.

    I doubt it’ll have as negative an impact on the racing as the reintroduction of refuelling, or the year they banned tyre changes.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st July 2011, 7:35

      Sounds reasonable. Shame they keep the DRS in the rules and they might have put in the 15-18″ wheels.

    • bosyber said on 21st July 2011, 9:19

      Well said, I can’t say I really worry about the starter motor, especially as it will then be integrated with the engine/KERS etc. drivetrain, that has to be developed anyway.

      I don’t mind hybrid, or a steady, even, unexciting, engine mode for the pits to reduce problems there. Don’t think it will save the world, but can’t see those things ruining F1 for me.

      I do feel sad that they aren’t really doing much wit the aero/underbody and keeping DRS, supposedly for costs, in reality for risk of failing. Sad. But I suppose they saw Newey’s gleaming eyes at the prospect of a big change, and decided against it.

    • vjanik said on 21st July 2011, 12:42

      the fuel spent in racing cars around the world is so miniscule that focusing on reducing this is a complete waste of time. a 747 spends more fuel by flying from London to New York than all the F1 cars in all the 19 races of the season. you have thousands of planes flying every day carrying footballers, chinese products and basically everything around the world 24/7.

      of all the activities that use up fuel i think F1 is the most worthy, and i would certailny not classify it as a “waste” as you do. when we’ll have the last thousand gallons of fuel in the whole world i propose we use it correctly and have an F1 race.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 21st July 2011, 13:58

        I don’t really get the point, no one is saying that a few hundred meters on electric is saving fuel hence more green.
        Developing the technology in F1 that is then used in every road car is what makes it green. Good on them.
        People oppose change because that’s the way we are wired not because there is a good reason to oppose it. I’m all for the changes.

        • vjanik said on 21st July 2011, 14:22

          let me explain the point.

          Charles said that in his lifetime we will not have enough petrol to WASTE on racing.

          I am saying that the fuel consumption is very small in the large scheme of things, and that i dont consider it a waste. thats it.

          i am not stopping anyone from developing green energy in f1 and using it on road cars. i dont know where you got opposition to changes from my comment

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st July 2011, 17:23

      Charles, turbos actually have a wider powerband unless your turbocharger is so big it doesn’t start to spin until the engine is at the top of its rev range already, fuel flow restrictions should make that approach pointless.

  15. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 21st July 2011, 2:56

    I’d be a bit sad to see the self starting motors. Part of the challenge always seemed that you had to keep your revs up lest you stall it so it really separates the always wary from the easily caught-out. But then I guess the anti-stall solves that anymore. Who knows. Maybe it’ll be no different than it is now.

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