Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2011

F1 cars to use electric power in pits from 2014

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

    1. 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).

      1. 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.

        1. Rob Haswell
          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.

  6. BeardFaceF1
    21st July 2011, 10:31

    The FIA are ruining the sport, pinnacle of motorsport? I don’t think so

  7. I beleive there is no point to restrict maximum engine rpm. There is fuel-flow restriction, so let the driver and team decide when to save fuel and when to turn on power :)

    And let see who has got the most powerful and most economical engine!

    1. Agree. Completely pointless to have both fuel-flow and RPM restriction, but what did you expect from the FIA? It’s politically correct to do RPM limit so all common sense can go to hell.

  8. Mixed feelings about this really(upon reviewing what I wrote, much more negative than positive though. FIA is acting its usual self):


    Self-starter: The most pathetic rule! This continues the past 15 years trend of eliminating any kind of penalty for a driver who makes a mistake. Engines that exclude the possibility of over-stressing while changing gears wrongly, huge runoffs so drivers can make mistakes and still come back to the race as if nothing happened, the 15 laps behind a SC nanny-state start to any wet race, and now this?! Let the self-starter stay on the road cars, I don’t want F1 cars to be like a road car, what’s the point of that?

    Weight Increase: those weight increases must stop or F1 won’t be any better than an Indycar elephant.

    Smaller front wings: Again, completely wrong direction. Instead of ground effect we’ll get a further reduction in front downforce which’ll make following other car more difficult. Where’s Jeremy Clarkson when we need to cube their heads?

    Only electric power in pilane: Cheap and pathetic PR politically-correct gimmick which won’t ultimately change anything in terms of racing but will make the spectator experience that tiny much worse.

    Turbo V6-it could be a great re-invention of a nostalgic consept while keeping up with the times and as long as they give as much power as the current engines at least I’m happy even with the 15k RPM limit.

    More powerful KERS-essential to justify its weight penalty.


    8 gears: Let’s see what this change does. The consequences might be much more complicated than many here assume.

    Gear ratios: No change from now, as far as I can see, apart from 2014 season only, so it’s a no-news item.

  9. Green? Global warming is a myth.

    Starter motors take away another penalty ie stalling the car after a spin, but then again we dont have gravel traps any more.

    8 gears is too much.

    1. Global warming is not a myth, but F1’s influence on this is so neglible you can say it’s non-existant. And what influence there is comes from the constant flights and freights not the engines. Optimising the F1 schedule to eliminate the unneccesary flights would be a much better way to symbolically fight global warming. But then it’s not as good a PR for the FIA bureaucrats.

  10. Also re-branding F1, now to be know as ……

    The Scalextric F1 World Championship :D

  11. The fundamental question is: What is Formula 1?
    Is it a race between closely-matched, highly-developed road vehicles or an enormous advertising hoarding for motor manufacturers?

    The truth is that it is both and has to satisfy the sponsors as well as the racers.

    I like the idea of ground-effect but having read comments from Mario Andretti on his experiences I have doubts about the consequences for drivers. It is a big change and appears a big risk. Compromise may be reasonable.

  12. Anyone know if the new 660kg minimum weight is wet or dry? If this is indeed the dry wt. F1 and Indycars will soon weigh virtually the same. Latest 2012 specs show Indycar coming in at 1450 lb’s or 659 kg. A significant reduction from their previous 1525 lb’s.

    1. I remember when you could buy roadcars that weighed less than that.

  13. How is running on electric power in the pits going to help? I like when they rumble along at low revs. Its a nice noise. Furthermore, if they have to use a startermotor when they exit the pits. What if the teams make the startermotor too small and hopeless and the car can’t start at the exit of the pits. Like in the tunnel in Abu Dhabi. That is going to be brilliant to see them push one car after the other out of the way for the other drivers to get though…..

  14. This is kind of a dumb question, but why do F1 cars have external starters in the first place?

    1. I guess it is much simpler to use an external device to start the engine up. And lighter too.
      You don’t really need an internal one if you don’t plan to stall your engine during the race.

  15. The new rules are ******* up F1 from a hi tech sport to a dumb kart race

  16. It wouldnt suprise me if the regs changed from what has been given in this article. It’s been a poorly kept secret that F1 cars would be eletric only in the pitlane for a little while now (I think Sam Michael or Adam Parr dropped that clanger a few months ago).

    Overall, I’m for them. If it keeps the sport alive then lets go for it. I miss the days of the V10s and V12s as much as anyone else, but they’re not relevant any more. F1 has to stay relevant to the real world in order to survive.

    Lets not forget, F1 will always remain as the pinacle of motorsport, whatever happens.

  17. So long as the rules don’t stop the drivers from being able to race each other, I don’t see what the problem is.

    We are in a world where sponsors are now driven by being seen as more green, F1 has to move with this or all the sponsors will leave and the sport will die.

    1. Hey MaccaFJ as your pen-name suggests it is not just the drivers racing, it is the constructors racing that makes F1 different to other series, and these rules restrict their ability to race in the design dept.

  18. It’s disappointing to see the sport gets even more regulated, standardised and equalised. This is not going to improve the show or allow manufactures to innovate.

    1. ARG ! He said it :”improve the show” !

  19. Well I should refrain from saying I told you so, but why, I did tell you so, F1 is heading towards standardised cars, once that is accepted a single “one-design” car is the next obvious step. Indycar may be the series of the future.

  20. I admit I haven’t been keeping up with F1 rumours and news as much as I would like but having to use only electric power in the pits is a total surprise.

    With regard to the gear ratios, does it mean they will have to use the exact same ratio all season at all circuits or they have a set number of gear ratios to use all season but they have to nominate them at the start of the season.

    1. I am guessing, but I think it means the ratios in the gearbox will be the same all season but I expect that the final drive ratio can be changed to suit the circuit. The idea being to stop a team having a set of ratios optimised for each track thereby disadvantaging teams without the resources to do this.

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