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. Grammo (@grammo) said on 21st July 2011, 3:55

    The beginning of the end. Formula Prius, how exciting :(

  2. Hallard said on 21st July 2011, 5:31

    So…the front wings will be a total of 6 inches narrower? What’s the point of that? I thought they were going to cut downforce in lieu of the ground effect underbody, but it doesn’t sound like they’ve tried very hard.

    Other than that the new rules look quite promising, especially having the cars equipped with starter motors, which should have been in the rules for a very long time already. Better late than never.

  3. F1 98 said on 21st July 2011, 6:09

    8 gears to much? *** what does it mean
    When electric only in the
    Pit lane?

  4. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 21st July 2011, 6:20

    i like the changes to kers and starters, but i don’t understand the mandatory 8 speeds.

  5. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st July 2011, 6:41

    Yes FIA, that’s what we wanted, less revs and more gears. *smh*

    There is a lot of good stuff in there, but the FIA’s over regulation of F1 has again gone to new heights.

  6. I don’t know what the fuss is about the fixed 8 ratios in the gearbox. Saves a bunch of money from the teams taking apart and rebuilding the gearbox every race. Of course they can always change the final drive ratio to adjust for faster or slower tracks.

  7. Stephan88 (@stephan88) said on 21st July 2011, 7:23

    The 8th gear implies 1 thing and 1 thing alone and that is that the new engine will have a deficiency in the torque department. The current V8 couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding which makes it a much easier engine to drive compared to the old torquey V10. So the only thing that sticks out in my mind is the cars are getting easier to drive.

    On a more worrying note I dont want this becomming formula electric hybrid. I honnestly dont see an electric hybrid as a solution to anything. I beleave alot of talent, creativity and money is being wasted on a dead end technology.

  8. Yalnif said on 21st July 2011, 7:32

    I hate indy car, I hated A1 gp. F1 will soon become a combination. I so hope I’m wrong otherwise I’ll turn my interest to gp2. And don’t forget they are looking at the closed cockpit solution too.

    Teams have all agree’d to these teams and they are bigger fans than us so let’s hope they have already figured performance outputs and comparible laptimes and are happy thus proving us all wrong.

  9. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 21st July 2011, 9:03

    I’m please the front wings are being sorted out, but a reduction of 15cm doesn’t sound that much. How wide were the old front wings?

    8 gears? That was unexpected, but I’ve nothing against it. Seems people are being scared of change again. I’m guessing it ties in with not being allowed to change gear ratios, which will have its own reason (cost?) and enables a one size fits all approach?

  10. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 21st July 2011, 9:22

    Got to love all the Luddites coming out in the comments here.

    Like it or not, F1 has to improve its green credentials in order to survive. Yes, we all know that the carbon emissions of the cars themselves are dwarfed by the carbon cost of moving the F1 circus around the world every year. And we all know that the total carbon footprint of F1 is probably less than a sport like football, with all those spectators driving to all those games every weekend.

    But it’s all about sponsorship revenue, which in turn is all about image. Some fans might like gas-guzzling V10s and V12s, but any potential advertiser that is trying to improve its green credentials won’t.

    On the other hand, most fans probably don’t care about carbon footprints one way or the other. All they want to see is good racing – and I’ve seen nothing that suggests that these rule changes will harm that.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st July 2011, 16:08


      Actually I like them using new sources of getting more out of the engines as well as a technical challenge, but as you say, what part of the fans car about that.

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 21st July 2011, 16:44

        I’d like to see the teams given more freedom in engine and KERS development (with a fuel cap, as I’ve said before) to reintroduce some engineering challenge into F1. But in any case it’s plainly obvious that F1 cannot continue as it is for very long; for this reason these rule changes are necessary, even though the details aren’t exactly what I’d have chosen.

        • Rob Haswell said on 21st July 2011, 16:59

          As I would to but unfortunately the concepts of “engineering challenge” and “cost cutting” are absolutely mutually exclusive. I think we’re going to have to accept that during this financial downturn there’s going to be less of a development war for a few years while world economics recover. Sadly that’s just the way it has to be.

          Don’t worry though guys it won’t be like this for long, and it’s not like new technology isn’t hitting the tarmac every year. I, for one, am excited about what genius ideas Adrian Newey is going to come up with for this new smaller front wing. He’s going to have to come up with some pretty serious outwash!

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 21st July 2011, 17:00

          Very well said. I think you’re right on the sponsorship front, but I can still relate to everyone in a way, because it’s a shame that we have to head in this direction. I know it’s imperative for F1 to survive, but I doubt there’s anyone on this site that wouldn’t love to see the V10s back. I know it won’t happen, but if the world was different and global warming/being green didn’t exist, we’d be able to keep things as they are. All ifs and buts though. I completely agree Red Andy.

    • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 21st July 2011, 16:32

      Well said. This entire thread is a bunch of people getting worried about things they don’t fully understand, for reasons they can’t explain.

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 21st July 2011, 17:00

      You hit the nail on the head right there Andy.

  11. Rob Knight said on 21st July 2011, 9:31

    The FIA are so concerned about be ‘eco-friendly’ and making F1 relevant to road cars that it’s annoying me. Why don’t they just abandon Formula 1 and start a Toyota Prius championship, because that’s where we seem to be going. If this is the way F1 is going then I won’t be bothered if F1 goes on pay-TV or Channel 5.

  12. Juan said on 21st July 2011, 9:36

    To use these motors to get 1.5-liter diesel engines in racing there is only one small step. Don’t smash the spectacle of F1, please …

    I’ll see if I can go to see a race live before they start these stories .. I wish I had luck with this for the Abu Dhabi GP: D http://www.youtube.com/formulasantander

  13. jodrell (@jodrell) said on 21st July 2011, 9:56

    cat, meet pigeons . . . sounds like 2014 will be a fun season :-)

  14. Dutch_Alex said on 21st July 2011, 10:05

    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.

    So basically the only difference between say a Renault engine and a Mercedes one will be the name badge? Great. Another spec series. We didn’t have enough of those already.

  15. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 21st July 2011, 10:15

    What I like:

    .Self starting motors
    .More KERS power (and being able to use exhaust heat)
    .Further reduction to silly aero flaps
    .Slightly smaller front wings (possibly to reduce accidents)

    What I dislike / find confusing for audiences:

    .Electric power only in pits
    .Higher min. weight
    .Increase to Engine + KERS weight
    .Extra gear (surely 8 is too many because they’ll be changing gear every 1.5 seconds or so)

    • alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 21st July 2011, 10:28

      So this is definitely the beginning of the end of F1 (either as I know it or in general).

      After 2013 viewing figures will probably go down substantially, because some of the rules are either pointless or too confusing, especially the gear ratios.

      I have been watching since (about) 2000 or even before and am now in my late teens.

      As far as I’m concerned this could be the nail in F1’s coffin (if Bernie isn’t forced to leave beforehand).

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 21st July 2011, 15:39

        Yes, I am sure millions will turn off because of a rule that will be explained once in the pre-race show in Bahrain and barely mentioned again. Just like they turned off in droves when engines and gearboxes became limited.

        I’ve been watching since 1996, I’ve seen the points system changed twice, slicks go and come back, tyres with different numbers of grooves, crazy qualifying rules, first tyre changes banned and re-instated then refuelling banned, V10s give way to V8s and of course the massive changes of 2009…and not only am I still here, audiences have never been higher. The only reason I ever turned off was because of the Schumacher domination.

        F1 will do just fine.

        • Rob Haswell said on 21st July 2011, 17:12

          Agree, parent is doom-mongering. If anything, whispers of “the return of the turbo era” is going to bring more people in than ever.

          I’m particularly excited about the cars having starter motors (which will, let’s face it, just be a function of the new KERS system). Having your engine stall is a pretty weak way to retire from a race. Plus this should put an end to those rare-but-truly-terrifying start line stall accidents. Watching a car plough into the back of another one at 150kph on the start/finish straight is just upsetting.

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