Monday, 27 June 2011

Why Engine Suppliers Protested 2013 Plans

The FIA announced last week, that due to the arguments posed to them by many - including teams and engine suppliers - that they would not enforce the intended four cylinder turbo-charged engines from the 2013 season.

The new decision is that from 2014, engine sizes will be reduced from the current 2.4L V8 designs, to a 1.6L V6 layout, although the new engines will be turbo-charged as originally planned.

To put it into context, a fairly high spec Ford Fiesta might run a 1.6L, four cylinder engine. Admittedly though, the engine in your Fiesta wouldn't be turbo-charged to 750bhp!

So why were the engine providers against the planned changes?

There are currently four engine providers in Formula 1, all charging a fixed fee for their services.

Ferrari provide the engines to Scuderia Ferrari, Sauber and Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Mercedes provide McLaren, Mercedes GP and Force India.
Renault provide Red Bull Racing, Renault and Team Lotus.
Cosworth provide Williams, Virgin and Hispania.

In a recent vote, only Renault backed the FIA's proposed changes to the four cylinder units.

Many manufacturers use Formula 1 (as well as other motorsports) as an advertising platform on which to present their brand and their cars to the wider World.

Ferrari's road cars run primarily V8, V10 and V12 engine designs, and they therefore felt that a four cylinder design would not accurately reflect what they stood for as a manufacturer.

Mercedes do make some city cars with four cylinder engines. However, their AMG sports range, which is aimed directly at motor racing enthusiasts (including some cars produced in association with McLaren) features primarily V8 engines - although some may be larger.

Cosworth's road car production is currently limited to the Impreza STI CW400. This car features a turbo-charged 2.5L, four cylinder motor, which produces almost 400bhp. Funnily enough, this engine is not too dissimilar to the engines suggested by the FIA, yet Cosworth still chose to object to the plans.
This may, however, have been due in part to the large costs which would no doubt be incurred by changing the designs so dramatically. For the newest engine provider in particular, they may have felt that their money could be better spent developing their current design.

Renault's primary market is the family-friendly car. Even their RenaultSport range rarely features engines larger than 2.0L, and only the rare RenaultSport Clio V6 has more than four cylinders. It is therefore not too surprising that Renault chose to back the FIA's plans and encourage the reduction in engine size.

Many, including Bernie Ecclestone himself, have claimed that they are not too bothered about the actual engine itself, as long as the noise is still there!

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