Following on from yesterday’s story about the F1 teams and governing body compromising on the future engine regulations by deciding to adopt V6 turbo engines rather than in line 4 cylinder turbos, we got a good question from long time reader Jose Arellano,
“Why not limit the total amount of C.C and let them do whatever number of cylinders they want?”
This is a great question to which I didn’t know the answer so we put it to Cosworth’s F1 General Manager Mark Gallagher, an old friend of the JA on F1 site and here is his response.
Mark Gallagher writes:
“The answer is predominantly to do with achieving technical equivalency to ensure that no one technical solution gains a massive competitive edge, and this is closely aligned with the need for financial prudence.
“If you limit the CC and leave freedom on cylinders, it would be possible for a manufacturer to have a different engine based on development cost and architecture and this inevitably leads to a spending war. If one went for a V8, someone would go for a V10, and if that worked better then someone else might go on to a V12… the dollars start to disappear down the drain.
“And if you homologated the engines for 3 years, the one with the worst configuration would be screwed (technical term…) for the entire period, and the one with the most money/best configuration would dominate. If you didn’t homologate for 3 years with a freeze, you would have annual development and possibly different numbers of cylinder-engines from teams from one season to the next.
“By having tightly controlled rules governing capacity, fuel allowance, number of cylinders etc you generate a framework for financial control and ensure that engines are not a source of competitive advantage i.e. what we have now works. Competitive edge comes from the Constructor (chassis constructor) and Driver’s championship titles. There is no World Championship for Engines. Sadly.
“Finally, by having common engine size/architecture, teams are not penalised if they swap engine supplier. A Renault will fit in the back of a Team Lotus car, or a Cosworth in the back of an RBR, without huge changes in weight distribution, redesign of car, wheelbase, gearbox interface etc. Again it’s all dollars.”
Thanks to Jose for the question and to Mark for taking the time to answer.