Eh voila!

As suggested yesterday Formula 1 will delay the introduction of a new engine until 2014, and will have 1.6 litre V6 turbos rather than the planned four-cylinder engines. The decision was agreed unanimously at a meeting of Formula 1 commission in London, but must be approved formally by the FIA World Motor Sport Council. This will happen before the end of the week. As expected everyone is saying that they are happy.

87 thoughts on “Eh voila!

  1. Ferrari “won” on the V6 part (could they actually adapt that ’81 engine?), Mercedes/Cossy got their postponement, Renault and Todt got a 1.6 engine with more energy recovery.
    Does it factually matter exactly weather its a V6 or a V4/flat4? Is the V6 going to have a lot different power curve? And what about its sound, will it be better?

    Certainly the most important thing is, that everyone agrees with this, now let us hope this time its for real and nobody starts all over in a few months time.

  2. Hats off Joe! Good job.

    At least this time it seems like they worked out their differences behind closed doors and managed to do the job without undercutting each other in front of the general public. Maybe the main actors in the sport can learn form this?

  3. I may be in the minority, but I was really looking forward to the new regulations. In fact, the 1.6 liter turbo regulations really do not go far enough enough in terms of pushing the technology envelope. I loved the early 80s with the 1.5 liter turbos and qualifying boost – a great handful for the drivers and I do not remember any loss of the engine note. Bernie’s argument that F1 may lose some following due to sound doesn’t wash either when the circuits aren’t filled to capacity.

  4. “As expected everyone is saying that they are happy.”

    Does that include Renault and P.U.R.E? Both of whom were well advanced with their 2013 engine, which led to panic for two other engine manufacturers.

    Oh well, 2 steps forward one step back.

  5. Why there is an exception for F-1 ? It looks like the FOTA is trying to close the door for new manufacturers to come in. The original idea of a global motor 4 cyl. 1.6 l for F-1, WRC and WTTC was a good one.

    May be we will see with the return of the WEC the fall of F-1 in the years to come. Formula Ferrari with Exor management I’m not so keen about it ! I will go for british F-3 or WEC…

  6. I wonder which “unanimous” that is, the normal one or the FIA WMSC version.

    A complete brushing aside of the already mandated new spec. Again the world is asking just who is in charge of F1, The FIA? the WMSC? the Commission? the teams? the Todt, or the Ecclestone?

    After Bahrain a firm hand was needed to establish order and leadership, the opposite has happened.

  7. Didn’t they say they were happy last December when V4 TCi engine specs were announced? and didn’t FOTA’s technical representatives came up with V4 idea back to to make F1/Motor sports “Green” 😕

  8. Everyone’s happy except established volume car makers, who unlike Mercedes and possibly Ferrari have no interest in v6 turbos. Shot themselves in the foot again.

    1. Gridlock,

      As I have said before, it is not about the number of cylinders. It is about the auxilaries

  9. Joe, thats why I love this blog so much, getting the news not hours, but days quicker than the mainstream media!

  10. this is ridiculous .. the engine is 1.6l and turbo-charged. What’s the big fuss over 4 vs. 6 cylinders for the F1 elite?
    They need to build new engines nevertheless. Btw – how many current Ferrari road cars feature 6-cylinder engines anyway?

  11. If I may… :”Et voilà” 😉
    I am a bit more confused every day: Who is making the decision in F1, and how can we trust “they” are going to stick to these decisions ?
    Don’t get me wrong: I am quite happy with the move however is this a final decision or just another twist ?

    1. Ago,

      They all got together on this one and found the solution. There was give and take and a deal. Is that not how things are supposed to be done?

  12. “There was give and take and a deal”
    Yep Joe it’s only that I thought the “give and take” was also the way it was done in the first place…. So -if I understand correctly- your word is that we can trust this statement. Thanks for sharing with us so quickly.

    1. Gridlock,

      That does not mean that VW/Porsche engineers cannot make one for F1. As I keep on saying this is not about the engine layout, it is about the auxiliaries

  13. No way PURE is happy with this unless they got some form of payment for their troubles…

    It’ll be interesting to see what Craig has to say about it all.

    1. RedLineTire,

      Well-spotted, but McLaren is going to have to pay for its own engines (and rather more than paying PURE and sticking a badge on the engine. Maybe it would have to be exclusive to match McLaren’s corporate ego, but there really is no reason why that should be the case in the modern era.

  14. Great news, IMO. Compromise all round – Mercedes and Cosworth get another year, Ferrari get an architecture which might be vaguely relevant to their road cars (unlike the four-pots), and Renault get to keep the small-capacity forced-induction hybrids.

    This is how F1 politics should always work. Sit down, act like grown-ups, and sort it out.

    1. Tom,

      I agree wholeheartedly. Far better than the Bahrain solution and while one might say that the FIA has backed down, I think it is fair to say that it was probably wise given the other options…

  15. “joesaward

    They all got together on this one and found the solution. There was give and take and a deal. Is that not how things are supposed to be done?”

    Some might say that decision making by committee is never good. Lowest common compromise and all that. Just sayin.

    Personally I see the objection to 4 cylinders as an male ego problem. It was quite amusing seeing fans desperate to come up with logical reasons against it when really they just wanted macho V8.

    V6 will do though. I can see how that would relate to road cars since many do use V6s in their sporty versions. I think it is a bit of a shame, but I did have a hard time believing that F1 could every cope with the puny image of a 4cyl engine, even if you can get some very non-puny power out of them. They are just not macho enough for the grrrrr manliness of F1.

    At least we all know what’s happening now. And what has to be good.

  16. Personally if they want to push tech development they’d be better off saying ‘engine size, layout and aspiration is up to you but you only have x litres of fuel for the race’.
    That way we might actually see something worthwhile.

  17. I thought it was agreed that the new 4 cylinder engine formula had already been formally agreed? You told us this.

    Chin up knackers. You can’t be right all the time, even if you pretend to be by deleting your old blogs.

    1. Dan Murphy,

      Read the blog carefully and you will see that I todl you there would be a 4-cylinder engine formula (it is not rocket science, it was voted through in December) and then I told you that there would be a 6-cylinder engine in 2014. I cannot help it if you do not read things carefully.

  18. Could we see Honda and McLaren team up again?
    What a sight that would be! Senna in a Honda and McLaren car (provided Hamilton or Button find other rides in a couple of years I suppose)
    I never understood the problem with the 4 cylinders. It’s the rev limiting and engine durability that would be the issue. If they had no penalty for using a different engine each week (and could replace the turbos after ever session) we’d see 1500 horsepower qualifying easy.
    To me, a homogenised engine is a little disappointing. I always liked the choice of engines. The turbos lagging out of the corners allowing the naturally aspirated car to catch up a fraction, then spooling up and boosting onward. Drivers battling when their machines each had different advantages and disadvantages. Great to watch.

  19. Ferrari do have quite a few V12s, which are easily made from 2 V6s. Merc have some as well.
    Why not let the manufacturer choose 4 or 6 cyclinder option?
    Maybe it is more expensive as they will have to test different configurations.

  20. Any delay would be ridiculous. V6’s sure, but stick to the timetable. Ferrari have had plenty of time to develop something apart from political pressure so they should not be at any disadvantage to other manufacturers. I’d like to see the “FIA” have some teeth on this one.


    1. Pitpass,

      The ultimate irony. The one thing that they do not have is any kind of pit pass. None of their so-called experts is ever in paddock at any F1 race, but you owuld not know it if you read the website. I don’t suppose a lot of people know that, but perhaps it is time they were told.

  21. Gridlock,

    VW has several V6 engines if you take a closer look… admittedly mostly used by their Audi subsidiary. Still completely irrelevant to F1 though.. 🙂

  22. Pitpass are utter To**ers All their “exclusives” from their business editor are either stories out of nothing or general news items.

    Time to delete them from my favourites list

    Only Joe and James Allen are worth following.

    1. Voyager,

      Good for them. I suggest you rely on them in the future. Nopoint in reading the work of experts who know nothing.

  23. 1.6 litre V6 eh ?
    have ricardo designed anything like that before joe ? probably busy booting up their computers as I write

  24. in the words of Seb THATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT – I look forward to the (only slightly worse than now) replacement engine noise in due course

  25. Ads
    Personally if they want to push tech development they’d be better off saying ‘engine size, layout and aspiration is up to you but you only have x litres of fuel for the race’.
    That way we might actually see something worthwhile.

    just read this – great idea!!

  26. What we really need is for the regs to state merely what is the maximum turbo and supercharge pressure and max capacity (swept volume) of the engine and leave the rest to the teams inventiveness. If they want to build a three cylinder or five (thought to be the best balanced ever in Audi guise) or a flat four.
    LMS is doing well with diesels at the front of the grid in most races, diesels of course can run on a good variety of fuels, which can be “green” if you like, the diesel engine was invented to run on peanut oil after all, not mineral oil.
    Surely the whole question of “what engine” should be self limiting, bigger engine needs to carry more fuel, car weighs more. (Here something from Tom’s book tickles me, the four minute re-fuelling time in GP’s of old.) How do race times now compare with when we had re-fuelling?
    Austin Tom, need to write about that and the fact that a legal challenge has now been made on top of what I wrote earlier about it.

  27. Joe,

    I thought it may be off topic, but since the site, which doesn’t has a Pass keeps pi**ing on your leg, I may as well put it here. I’ve been a regular reader and contributor on that site for many years and enjoyed their approach and independent view, proofing that one does not need to have paddock access to report news (as opposed to just regurgitating them like many other websites do).

    However, in recent times they have turned a once-good site into a farce with their doomsday pessimistic attitude and – even worse – nauseating attraction to all things Bernie. With their so-called business expert having turned into Ecclestone’s lapdog, they have lost their independence and all credibility, but are too full of themselves to realise this.

    One wonders why they have never gotten any pit passes for real, if they are such good Bernie supporters.

  28. Joe, thanks for helping me out the other day.
    I read the story Wednesday on AUTOSPORT and then I saw it on GPupdate. But it´s true that pitpass has a very annoying tendency to do a story and then run with it, although it is rarely confirmed by the time they write it. And they never seem to go back on a story, even though its found not to be true.
    They have that aura of professionalism about them, but I have never actually seen anything from them, that I didn´t already know. Incidentally, I had four news stories on my blog last month that they didn´t, so….

  29. VW may not make a V6 but Audi certainly do the new S4 is a V6 Turbo and as they’re all part of the same group i’m sure they can borrow expertise from other group companies.

    Guess its the same for Fiat owned Ferrari, Alfa Romeo always have V6’s in their range.

    As joe has pointed out though. Its the V conifiguration rather than actual number of cylinders that seems to be important to manufacturers. Meaning they can transfer gearbox and ERS technology to other V-configuration engines in their range

    Another manufacturer who may be interested in V^ turbo engines is Aston Martin/Prodrive who have been tempted by F1 before. Lots of people seem to think Aston will make a move to V6 Turbo’d engines in their road cars in the coming years.

  30. The FIA should allow Renault and PURE to go on with 4 cylinders and allow the rest to build V6s if they want. In the end, they will all be turbo, 1.6 and feature direct injection. Just let each manufacturer build the engine in the configuration they want. Sigh.

  31. Oh dear Joe, looks like the people who never go to races knew more about the engine situation than you, maybe you should save your money and report from home in future?

    Also, if you are so wrong about the engine situation, I rather think you are as wrong about the BBC/f1 situation as well…

    1. Dan Smith,

      Rather a rude post but as you bring it up I will respond. Firstly, I think if you read the website carefully , which obviousy you and Pitpass did not do, you will find out that I wrote about the change before it came out. With the BBC situation I think also that my story was closer to the reality than most. However, if you value the Pitpass coverage so much may I suggest that you do not trouble yourself coming to my blog and go there instead. I really do not mind.

  32. Joe,

    i suspect that there is a bit of history between your good self and Chris Balfe of PitPass. His comments were quite cutting and personal.

    I had always found them quite good for news, but never realised they had now race reporter, just relying on the TV and press releases.

    I won’t be visiting them again, but you keep up the good work!!!

    1. Iain T,

      No real history. I am not sure that I have ever met Balfe. If I have, the details have certainly slipped my mind. I used to see Mike Lawrence around the British club scene in the mid 1980s but have not seen him since and Sylt seems to stay at home most of the time reading documents from Companies House. He has lunch occasionally with Bernie and seems to be happy to churn out Mr E’s views on everything with as many references as possible to Formula Money, which he publishes himself. I do not know if they give the impression that they are at races or not as I generally do not read the stuff. My philosophy is that if one wants to be believed by the fans, one needs to be doing the job in the front line.

      have not read the latest articles but I have tolerated their jibes for a while. As they never attend any races one cannot discuss these matters with them, but I am not really bothered by their non-appearance. They obviously believe that they can cover the sport in this way, but I have my doubts as to the wisdom of such things, not least because the industry itself tends to react better when they know the people involved and have worked with them closely over a long period of time.

  33. I just realised the new “agreement” is for v6’s only. No fours anymore. Ah well, just when I thought F1 was finally dragging itself kicking and screaming into the 1990’s …

  34. I guess the favoured choice of v6 must be about packaging. 1.6S4 must be about the same length as a 2.4V8. 1.6V6 must be about 25% shorter. More space for KERS. In fact thinking about it it may have been that a 1.6S4 was longer than the current engine.

    BTW Audi do a nice range of V6s. However one of their more economical cars is a 1.4S3 TDI. I should know, I own one.

  35. Giuys – VW certainly have several models with V6 engines (Passat, Toureg, CC…). Perhaps just not in the UK. F1 is a global sport, remember 😉

  36. Headlines: F1 delays introduction of green formula

    The abandonment of inline fours has left me gobsmacked. Thank you whoever, obviously some people are scared s**hitless of the likes of Honda, Toyota et al coming back into the sport and putting F1 tech 4 cylinder stickers on the side of their Civics etc.

    Yes the ancillaries are the future but we will be using internal combustion for at least a while, and the inline four is the preferred option for eco cars at the moment. We should have a 750cc or maybe 1 litre formula, and all you whingers who complain about the sound, well who cares. Get an iPod.

    It reminds me of all the companies who missed the internet, and F1 is certainly missing something here.

  37. I must admit I will be going to my next local GP with a some nice microphones and recorder!

    All racing engines sound mental anyway, no matter the configuration. So get over it. It’s not like they’re trying to make a front wheel drive formula or something.

    Anyway there must be enough old m20 blocks around for anyone to shave it down and put their own logo on it (Ferrari).

    This decision will undermine the sport for years, the only way to keep F1 relevant is actually be the pinnacle of the motor sport, and therefore the motor industry, and not just claim to be. F1 is (or should be) about the best drivers, in the most cutting edge cars.

    Freedom in configuration usually leads to rapid progress, and of course some teams are going to miss out. Guess what, they do anyway. There is only one first place, and the way to get there is not some marketing crap. Innovation, progress, the present. Ever heard of it?

    Grumpily yours,


  38. Ferrari, I am so grumpy with you please send me a 458 Italia and a 612 Scaglietti, both in black, so I can drive them all night when no one can see me.

    And then I will put a Prius drivetrain in them and pretend I’m in 1996.

    Not 1956

  39. I really don’t care what engines they bolt on – they all seem to sound the same on TV! I was hoping for a complete overhaul of the aerodynamics of the F1 car. They unnecessarily raised hopes with the “ground effects” talk but after all they are reverting to the 1998 and early 2000s set-up? Disappointing, and that’s a massive understatement.

  40. Sorry to persist with the subject of that particular website, but who is Matt Coch? They advertise him as a reporter who attends every race, is that the case? Bob Constanduras is named as a contributor, but he contributes to it twice a year, if that.

  41. Joe, Martin Whitmarsh said regarding McLaren building their own engines:

    “There isn’t any temptation to do so. Formula 1 is an incredibly powerful marketing opportunity and it’s an area that automotive companies have seen has been beneficial for brand exposure and brand differentiation. But the cost of Formula 1 is such that you need to amortise that over millions of cars per annum, not thousands.

    “McLaren’s maximum planned output certainly for the foreseeable future is no greater than 4,500 units per year. So it really doesn’t make sense to use a marketing tool like Formula 1 for the engine.”

    What do you make of this statement? Is McLaren waiting for a manufacturer like Audi to go with their existing Grey/Red colour scheme?

  42. The crowing from Pitpass is somewhat unjustified, given that their article back in April seemed to state that the 1.6 turbos could be dropped entirely. In fact, to quote their article: “it seems there is still a possibility that the turbo engine could go the same way as the FIA’s famous CDG rear wing […] It never happened, and time will tell whether the turbo engines will fare any better”.

    Now yes, the detail has changed, from 4 cylinders to 6. But they’re still 1.6 turbos…

    1. Sombrero,

      Well, I guess I will have to try that then. Funny how in 20 years living in France this has always worked for me.

  43. Joe,

    Thanks for your answer to my post. It makes it very clear. I have had correspondence with Mike Lawrence, but only because I agreed with an article he wrote. I assumed he was only an occasional contributor.

    I follow your blog because you seem to get behind th scenes more than some of the others.

  44. Hi Joe,

    Sorry I missed your dinner in Montreal this year but will see you next year for sure (mark my words. I remind you of this comment, just so you know I was truthful).

    I am an F1 fan living in Canada and attended my 1st GP in ’89 at Montreal. Prior to the internet, it was very difficult getting up to date information and even harder finding information worth reading.

    We still have very little reporting on F1 here but thankfully we can read information online from countless websites – most of which I have visited over the years.

    Without going into great detail about the pro’s and (but mostly) cons of these pages, I found two that I faithfully visited and felt seemed to deliver information that I found interesting – yours and Pitpass. I think I could honestly say I was a bit disappointed to find out, that of the 1000’s of websites out there, my two favourites seemed to be at odds.

    Pitpass, like most I could find a bit of a bias present in their articles but I could over look that because some of their other stuff was (in my opinion) great, like the guest writer article by Paul Stoddard on the Indy debacle. It was, I felt the one article that gave us the fans, a real idea of what was going on and what had happened.

    Another person I liked to read was Mike Lawrence. He seemed to be able to tell a story, with lots of interesting bits, that being younger than he and an ocean away, I had never heard before. His articles made me look into what he was talking about and by way of that, learning more about F1’s history.

    I guess what I was wondering was what you thought about Mike Lawrence? Everyone is entitled to their opinion but is his opinion one that has to be taken with a grain or salt or one that can be considered a reliable F1 voice?

    If you would prefer to answer but not in the public forum, just send a private email.

    Thanks Mike and thanks for keep us Canadians well informed.

  45. cyberspacesomewhere,

    I think Formula 1 is the self-professed pinnacle of motor racing. That would be a better description!

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