F1 ‘risked losing manufacturers’ without new engines

2014 F1 season

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, Albert Park, 2014McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says Formula One’s new engine formula was necessary to prevent engine manufacturers from leaving the sport.

“With this new power unit we have developed is a completely industry-relevant engine formula,” he said. “This is why actually we could attract some new engine manufacturers – and keep some of them on board, actually.”

Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari are the only engine manufacturers competing in Formula One following the loss of Cosworth over the winter. FIA president Jean Todt credited the new rules for encouraging Honda to plan for a return to the sport with McLaren next year.

The quieter sound of the new V6 turbo engines provoked some criticism following the first race weekend of the season.

“With every big change there is always some problem comes,” said Boullier. “It’s true that we cannot dismiss the fans’ complaints.”

“But we are also seeing some positives and we need to not focus only on the noise.”

Boullier said the increased torque of the engines and reduction in downforce on the cars made them more challenging to drive.

“It is more of a driver formula and you could see that this weekend, there were a lot of small mistakes,” he said. “And even if there is a need to manage and save fuel and energy, it was still interesting to see some overtaking, however, and it was really a challenge for the drivers.”

“It’s true the engine sound is different but that is not very different from the turbo engines we had in the seventies. I think it needs a little bit of time to see what is going on and how it develops.”

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72 comments on F1 ‘risked losing manufacturers’ without new engines

  1. Palle (@palle) said on 20th March 2014, 14:20

    Last year Renault complained that they had supplied the engine to the Team winning for the last 3 years and they hadn’t been rewarded for that in terms of attention and marketing. Nobody had paid attention to the great job done by Renault. With the new regulations the situation is completely different – be careful what You ask for;-)

  2. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 20th March 2014, 15:20

    In addition to not losing manufacturers, F1 may also gain previous or maybe new engine manufacturers. Now that it is actually using relevant technology, I am sure more will do what Honda will be doing in a few years. A return of the manufacturer like we had at the turn of the century until 2009 wouldn’t be bad for the sport, surely?

    We have three engine manufacturers this year, at least four next year. How long before we have 6 or 7?

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 20th March 2014, 23:09

      I don’t think it would be bad for the sport either. I know they like to pull the plug at will as they pump a lot of money into it to get quick results, but manufacturer-based teams are good to see, for me (look at Sauber now with the facilities left over from their BMW days).

      I liked watching F1 when you had a grid of works Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Renault, Toyota, Honda, Cosworth teams because you had so many big players involved.

      Hopefully in a few years’ time a few more manufacturers will be involved (I see BMW, VW, and/or Ford as most likely).

  3. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 20th March 2014, 15:43

    F1 must always be road-relevant I blve. We should justify the sport to ppl who think its just eco-hurting

  4. joc_the_man (@joctheman) said on 20th March 2014, 16:28

    It seems clear that Mr Boullier is sent forward by Mr Todt. To me, it is pathetic that the FIA heads continue to hide in their ivory towers.

    Sure, development and new power train is needed also from time-to-time but the specification could have been set to comply with the fundamentals of the sport instead of going the environmental-efficiency route that’s FOR SURE is NOT F1!

    F1 fans do not want quiet – we want LOUD
    F1 fans do not want fuel limitations and fuel-flow limits – we want drivers RACING to the limit
    F1 fans do not want silly nose looks – we want COOL cars

    FIA heads, bite the bullet and drop the prestige and listen to your fans…you know the guy’s that pays for the sport.

    • joetoml1n (@joetoml1n) said on 20th March 2014, 20:02

      Yes, we may not want fuel conservation amongst other things, but if the sport went down that route things wouldn’t be sustainable.. I’d rather have a sport that’s inviting to multiple manufacturers/suppliers.. That’s what’s in the best interest of the sport and in the long term , the fans.

    • juan fanger (@juan-fanger) said on 20th March 2014, 21:38

      F1 fan here.
      I don’t want LOUD. Loud is good, but LOUD means permanent ear damage. I was able to take my son to Melbourne this year without making him wear ear protection all race. There were lots of kids running around at Melbourne this year – fantastic that it is turning into a family event. My wife may even want to go in the future!
      I think this might be like when they banned smoking from Australian pubs: the owners associations were all predicting doom and gloom as they lost their last (smoke-adicted) customers. Instead of the end of the world the pubs have been reborn as a great place for the family to go – dad gets his pint, mum gets to catch up socially and the kids get to play in the kids section and we all get a good meal. For F1, I’m hoping the acceptable level of noise means that I can continue to get my metaphorical pint, the missus won’t mind going to check out everyone and the kids get to play. If only there was good food!

      • joc_the_man said on 20th March 2014, 23:40

        Well Juan, we love F1 clearly for different reasons. A pint and food I can get elsewhere. I used to go for the MAGIC and to me that is LOUD rev giving goosebumps everytime and smelling and feeling these COOL cars being RACED to the limit and preferably Kimi on the podium.

    • JohnnyT said on 21st March 2014, 2:23

      we want drivers RACING to the limit

      @joctheman But F1 has never been about that, Tyre, Fuel & Car management has always been a part of F1 & always will be.

      A part of the recent problem with F1 has been the fans incorrect perceptions about what F1 was in the past.

      The F1 engines have not always been LOUD, The turbo’s of the 80s were not loud yet the fans still loved them, People still tuned into watch on TV & still went to the racetracks of the world.

      As I said above the drivers have not really ever driven races flat out or on the limit outside of a few, rare examples & thats why those rare example stand out & are remembered above the others.

      Something we have seen so far is drivers actually having to drive there cars, Watch there throttle application & therefore we see cars sliding around more, getting wheelspin & Im loving that aspect because that really is what F1 was once about.
      The torque-less V8s & to a lesser extent the fairly drivable V10s took away a lot of that & the drivers had a much easier time of things in the drivability department. About time driver skill was made a bit more important when it comes to putting the power down.

  5. maxthecat said on 20th March 2014, 17:34

    I get they need to keep the manufacturers happy and F1 should be a place where technology is tested and refined but it doesn’t alter the fact the new engine are too dull and the cars are too slow.

    I mean is it right that a fat middle aged man in a lambo can go down straights at Imola or Abu Dhabi faster than an F1 car? No it isn’t, F1 is no longer the fastest motorsport on the planet and i miss that.

  6. ChuckL8 said on 20th March 2014, 17:49

    “It’s true the engine sound is different but that is not very different from the turbo engines we had in the seventies.”

    Baloney! F1 turbo engines in the seventies were LOUD! And they sounded great. The new engines just sound weak.

  7. spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 20th March 2014, 20:21

    @keithcollantine

    The quieter sound of the new V6 turbo engines provoked some criticism following the first race weekend of the season.

    I can’t go against the numbers, but I have the feeling that other factors influenced the results. The sound the V6 engines produce may seem trivial at that stage, seeing at what kind of exciting challenges the teams are facing. What they achieved so far is incredible, but in the end, there is this small part of what made F1 which disappear.
    A new direction that has been taken with the electrical power units, not an insignificant one, and Formula E is another example. Those power units are much more efficient than classic engines, we saw that at the first race, it was thrilling, but the sound was missing somehow. There is no real replacement for that screaming madness, it’s just gone, a bit more. In a sense, it’s the nature of the sport to evolve, but I will miss this one.
    I couldn’t even give an even worse note to the poll, should it be renewed. There is so much exciting challenges with a new era, and maybe I am not the only one to have voted with that in mind?

  8. GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 20th March 2014, 20:31

    With the Old V8’s the only area the engine makers were learning anything from was the lubricants & fuels which is why most teamed up with companies working in those areas (McLaren/Mercedes with Mobil1 & Ferrari with Shell for example).

    With the new V6’s & all the ERS technology involved the engine makers are working with components & technologies which is way more relevant to what they do outside of F1 because what goes into the engines, The hybrid systems & turbo’s is much closer to what they use elsewhere & thats where it becomes more relevant to them.

    Fans may not like the ‘relevance’ argument, They may think its nonsense but the guys working on designing the power units do not & they have far more information on how relevant or not everything is.

    The sort of formula F1 has adopted for this year is the sort of thing I expect other manufacturer backed categories to be moving towards over the next few years.

  9. Chuck Lantz said on 20th March 2014, 23:22

    When I mentioned missing the noise of previous F1 cars, I should have qualified that a bit. It’s not the loudness, but the quality of engine noise that I miss. I agree that pure loudness can harm the eardrums (anyone remember the F1 Matra from the late 1970s? Now THAT was painful), but a car can be quieter and still sound racy. The new V6 simply sounds flat and weak.

  10. PeterG said on 21st March 2014, 0:25

    Honda are coming back.
    Cosworth have an engine ready but need cash to develop it further.
    Pure have an engine design but again need funding.
    Zytek have expressed a serious interest in F1 thanks to the new formula.
    BMW have spoke of a return because of the new formula.
    Porsche said they woudl have entered F1 under the new formula had there Le Mans program not been green-lit.

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