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Analysis of World Council decisions, 2013 engines and new F1 rules
Analysis of World Council decisions, 2013 engines and new F1 rules
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Dec 2010   |  2:51 pm GMT  |  130 comments

Last Friday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council was the culmination of a lot of work behind the scenes and threw up some interesting outcomes on several fronts.

The sport is changing in significant ways and these decisions are a milestone on that journey. F1 always has to balance several requirements; to be entertaining, to be relevant and to be technologically innovative and there are big moves in all three directions going on at the moment.

On the entertainment side you have the moveable rear wing, which will mean that a slightly faster car should be able to pass a slower car without losing the chance in the aerodynamic wake. We will also see Pirelli evolving the tyres in a way which makes them central to the show, making more races more like Montreal this year where it was up to drivers and the team strategists to get the best outcome using tyres which were quite on the edge for the conditions.

2013 Engines
The news on the 2013 engine formula is the most significant for the long term future of the sport. This is all about the sport staying relevant. Many road car manufacturers are evolving their strategy towards electric cars and to direct injection turbo engines, of the kind the FIA has voted through – 1.6 litres. The FIA’s statement doesn’t actually mention the word “turbocharged”, but it would be pretty difficult to get 750 horsepower out of a 1.6 litre engine revving to 12,000rpm any other way! The F1 engineers understand it to be turbos, but there are some other ideas around including turbo compounding.

The energy regeneration systems will be much more potent, which is a good thing. The rate at which they can harvest energy and recycle it will double. Instead of the 60 kilowatts KERS will give next year, the 2013 engines will have 120 kW.

The target is a 35% fuel saving, which is around 60 kilos of fuel per car per race. That said the fuel consumption will still be only 7 mpg – a modest improvement on the just under 5 mpg currently and a long way from road relevant.

There have been discussions aimed at optimising the chassis rules to work with the new engine rules, to create far greater efficiency. So for example, reducing drag would be a highly desirable, giving the same speeds with less consumption and greater efficiency. Radical reductions in drag would allow you to reduce engine power and still maintain F1 speeds. Active cooling is another idea engineers are keen on. The senior engineers are meeting today in London to discuss this.

Ideally with a clean sheet of paper concept teams will need 18 months to work on it, so the chassis rules could do with being finalised by next summer.

With the subject of road relevance comes the opportunity for the manufacturers to engage with the sport as suppliers not just of engines but of drivetrains as well. The new rules on gearboxes which have to last five races and sophisticated energy recovery systems create a commercial opportunity for manufacturers like Renault, Mercedes, Cosworth and even Honda, who I’m told have been following the engine discussions closely, are quite likely to return in 2013 as an engine/drivetrain supplier.

Team Orders
The thorny subject of team orders has been addressed, according to the FIA World Council’s statement; “The article forbidding team orders (39.1) is deleted. Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code and any other relevant provisions.”

In some ways this is worse than what we had before because it is so vague. The previous rule was unworkable, but at least it set out the principle that teams should not interfere -or be seen to interfere -with the order in which the cars finish. This is certainly valid for races in the first 70% of the season, but unrealistic in the closing stages.

After Ferrari invoked team orders at the 11th round of 19, there was an uproar from fans and media alike. The new rule seems to suggest that although team orders are allowed, a strongly negative reaction to a team order will cause the team to be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. This could also occur for example if a driver pulls over in the final corner to let a team mate through. I think what this revision means is that the fans and media cannot point to a specific exclusion of team orders any more and that what is and isn’t acceptable will be sorted out behind closed doors at team principal level.

I’m also pretty sure we will see this rule tested next season, not by Red Bull who have stuck to their guns and say they will never favour one driver over the other. But Felipe Massa’s heart must have sunk when he read this statement. Although theoretically Ferrari hits a reset button at the start of 2011, it was pretty clear which driver was going for the championship. Will they play it the same way next year? It will be fascinating to see.

Driving standards
There were some controversial moments in 2010 where drivers blocked each other, raced in the pit lane and so on. There are some detail changes in the sporting regulations now to address some of those issues. Drivers must not overtake in the pit lane and when out on the circuit they must stay with all four wheels on the track at all times, and “Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as more than one change of direction to defend a position, deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted.”

This clarifies the situation and follows the incident between Vitaly Petrov and Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia. The race stewards, of which one will remain an ex F1 driver, have a range of penalties to hand out including any size of time penalty and at the extreme end, exclusion from the race or a suspension from the next race.

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I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your website.

It seems like some of the written text within your posts are running off the screen.

Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well?

This could be a issue with my web browser because I’ve

had this happen previously. Appreciate it


Thanks for your idea i agree with you


thanks for your essay…


if you’re going to have adjustable wings let the driver decide when to use them not some techno geek watching the gaps between the cars. since most drivers left foot brake, install the system Jim Hall used in his Chaparrals 45 years ago.while on the straight the driver would pressed on a pedal to feather the wing, when braking for a corner the driver would release the pedal and the wing would go into the attack as easy as that.


Hopefully, they’ll consider the safety aspect to the new KERS systems for the people involved outside of the car, especially if they are doubling the potential power output. When KERS was first introduced, there was hardly any guidance for marshals on how to deal with the potential for electrical discharge. I think some were issued with large rubber gloves, but it just meant you couldn’t hold the fire extinguisher any longer!


Don’t frown at the MPG figure.

If a car can do 40 MPG, when driven to/from work, and you put Alonso on the wheel and send him ’round a track, you’ll be lucky to get 15MPG.


What they should be doing is LEAVING IT ALONE.

i think people have rose tinted goggles when it comes to overtaking, there has never been tones of it.

this year has been excellent.

“we need to improve it we need to improve it”, god darn i am sure sometimes that people like the idea of F1 and motorsupport not the real F1 / motorsport.


I for one am utterly dumbfounded that anyone should be participating in this wilful suspension of the mental faculties and calling for F1 to be in any way relevant to road cars!

Why would we want the sober business of human daily transport to be seen in F1, or vica versa? F1, thank God, is about racing, daily driving is NOT! What is needed to go F1 racing is not at all what is needed to drive to work and back and to try and mix the two is to ruin the one or endanger the other!

I no more want to drive to work at 300km/h no more than I want to see F1 have a 60km speed limit and require 2 passengers and a bus lane!

Let’s just be honest and say that the one has nothing to do with the other and at least pretend that intelligence and honesty are more important than political correctness.


Companies like Ford, Honda, FIAT and VW are all making small, efficient, turbo charged cars. They’re more than keen to sell these things by the bucket load. Formula One is a massive marketing oportunity but the motor manufactures aren’t going to be interested if F1 is completely out of step with what they’ve trying to sell.

Trying to flog a 70mpg eco car by showing how good you are at making screaming V8s doesn’t make sense.

Maybe it’s sad that F1 has to temper its racing ethos and pander to the motor manufacturers but that’s where the money comes from and Formula One is finished without lots of lovely cash!


I understand the theory of sponsorship, but the money in F1 does not primary come from sponsorship at all, it comes from revenue from the people watching the RACE.

Besides it is clear that advertising in gerneral works in F1, not a actual display of a companies product, hence cell phone companies and airlines and banks spend money sponsoring F1!

If we wanted to see eco cars cut it up on track then we would not have an F1, it would be a Fiat Panda fest, tearing up Spa at 130km/h!

Fact is to RACE you need something totally unsuited to use to drive around daily… The two are unrelated on a fundamental level, it just makes no sense at all to even refer to ‘road relevance’ in F1! The simple fact is that’s not what fans come to see…


I understand the theory of sponsorship, but the money in F1 does not primary come from sponsorship at all, it comes from revenue from the people watching the RACE. If we wanted to see eco cars cut it up on track then we would not have an F1, it would be a Fiat Panda fest!

Fact is to RACE you need something totally unsuited to use to drive around daily… The two are unrelated on a fundamental level, it just makes no sense at all to even refer to ‘road relevance’ in F1, fact is that’s not what fans come to see…


James, in trying to counter some of the complaints from the Green lobby it would be useful to know exactly how much progress F1 has made over the years with engine efficiency ?

For example, Do you know how the fuel consumption, horse power, torque and engine life of the current Cosworth F1 engine compares with that achieved with the old Cosworth DFV at the end of it’s long service in F1 ?

It would be fascinating if the clever guys at Cosworth could give us an insight here.


I think the point they make is that in terms of power relative to fuel consumed, the F1 engine does better than a Prius.


That’s an interesting point but isn’t really what I was asking.

Exactly how much more efficient is a 2010 Cosworth than a 1980’s Cosworth DFV ?

fuel consumption, horse power, torque and engine life


Opening up the engine regs is absolutely essential. My hope is that it brings new players to the scene – drivers, designers, techniques, suppliers and teams that the FIA and F1 have ignored or discouraged.

For example, it has been observed that,

“The 20th Century’s smokestack industries and vehicular traffic began to choke us, and many forms of combustion came under government regulation. Direct fuel injection – making possible clean, economical two-strokes – arrived ten years too late. Two-strokes persisted in racing, having become the dominant type, attended by extensive development technique.”

So wrote Kevin Cameron in The Grand Prix Motorcycle.

Well, self-evidently and as specifically referenced in the F1 rules we know to date, direct injection is central to future development plans. “Clean, economical two-strokes” are not only possible, but desirable. And they’re here now:

Don’t scoff at the marine engine derivation. The famous Offy (4-valve head and all) was directly developed from the Miller Marine boat engine. There is no reason to suppose that teams and engineers willing to make the effort cannot do the same thing here – especially given that hybrid drivetrains, in the form of KERS, figure heavily in the FIA’s plans. Isn’t it logical, isn’t it a fascinating prospect, to apply small and lightweight 2-strokes to a KERS system? Note that to obtain the same low and mid-speed performance as a 550cc two-stroke engine, a four-stroke engine requires 800cc. No wonder the FIM had to go to 990cc to get MotoGP four-strokes to outperform their 500cc two-stroke predecessors: By the end of their development in Grand Prix motorcycles, the 500cc 4-cylinder two-stroke engines were reliably making around 200hp.

I see no need for more than 12,000 revs, and there’s no need for 750hp to get spectacular racing. One of the most significant periods in the history of F1 racing occurred during the 1.5 liter formula of 1961 to 1965. Electronic ignition, fuel injection, the re-introduction of 4-valve heads, modern tire construction and compounds, and monocoque chassis were introduced to F1 during that period. Low power, high tech and a period in which great racing flourished, and some of the greatest and drivers and teams came to the fore. And all with engines producing a bit more than 200hp at 12,000 revs. Maybe we can get away from the complication and irrelevance of pneumatic valvetrains.

To those who say that F1 “must” be the most technically advanced racing, with the fastest most powerful cars, that has never been unambiguously the case. Look no further than the original CanAm, in particular Jim Hall’s Chaparrals. Complete with composite chassis and movable wings:

So bring on two-strokes. Bring on air-cooled engines. Let someone try to make a competitive car without wings and diffusers. Let someone try to make a front-engined or front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive car.

Let someone new take on these challenges. I fear that the existing club will just keep messing with wind-tunnels and CFD.


I remember CanAm! Real men driving real, no bs racecars. None of this pc crap that F1 has become (he said with scarcely-concealed scorn.)


Forgot to add that the 1.5 liter GP era was definitively chronicled by Mark Whitelock in “1 1/2 Litre GP Racing, 1961 to 1965: Low Power, High Tech”. Credit where credit’s due!


The team orders issue is a farce. What other self respecting and credible sport ‘fixes’ the result of contests? OK so US TV wrestling comes to mind … is that the company that F1 now finds itself in?


James, it doesn’t say ‘turbo charged’ but it doesn’t say ‘naturally aspirated’ either – surely this is to allow the designers free to consider other forms of forced induction – such as supercharging – or to at least set the 1.6l displacement in stone at this stage and allow for further discussion on what is needed to bring it up to the power levels demanded.

It is worth pointing out that if they are revving at 12,000rpm rather than 18,000rpm there will be a lot less energy wasted; as the maximum power an engine can theoretically generate is down to the amount of fuel burned (not down to engine displacement) then the rev drop will actually help them generate more power per kilo of fuel if they are using forced induction. The drop in displacement will also reduce the frictional losses as there will be less contact area per revolution resulting in greater engine efficiency too.

As for the sound, anyone who saw the Senna tribute on a popular TV motoring show will have seen footage of Lewis Hamilton driving Senna’s MP4/4 around Silverstone. It certainly sounds different, but it still sounds great. And to many people that is the greatest Formula 1 car ever built. The turbos in the 1980s generally ran at a maximum speed of around 12,500rpm, and although the MP4/4 had 6 cylinders, many from the era were 4 cylinder designs.


F1 engineers I’v spoken to say that its interesting that they’ve not said turbo, but the working understanding of everyone is that it is turbo.


Quite suprised that with the change in engine size ‘to refect what is happening with road cars’, that bigger wheels and ultra low profile tyres wasn’t included…………


James it’s pretty clear from the constant rule changes and regulation changes that the FIA do not know what they want F1 to be. It’s F1 run on an adhoc basis season by season and let’s hope for the best.

Anyone know the year in which it suddenly became impossible to overtake? Can we not just go back the year before that and everything will be fine! 🙂


I disagree with that. It’s not perfect, but Todt most definitely has a vision and this engine is the first stage in that. Next will come more hybrid technology and the chassis regs will be framed to work with these engines.


I always think the problem with the four wheels on the track rule is about the definition of gaining an advantage. IS staying in front of someone due to cutting a corner not the same as overtaking them (not literally but practically as it prevents that person having a position). The only way it will work is if the stewards are consistently harsh.


I have the same worries Robert over the consistency of decisions for the “four wheels on the track” rule. I can see a lot of bickering and petulance from the drivers about this… so n so got away with it at race four, but so n so didn’t at race seven etc, etc.

We have so many sensors in the cars these days… there must be a way to “sensorise” this issue too (after all we’re gonna have sensors to determine whether you can “deploy the over-taking wing” or not, aren’t we?); have a device that counts how many times the whole car is outside the white lines; have stewards know which corners are more likely to be attacked, thus the chances of the car leaving the track are increased and “steward” accordingly. 2 “hits\beeps” on the sensors and you’re warned, a third occasion and you’re penalised etc, etc – vary it for certain tracks too. At Monza this year, some drivers were continually outside the track (all 4 wheels) exiting the Variante Ascari onto the back straight – no-one was penalised. Sure the stewards had said they’d turn a blind eye to it… but hold on, they’re outside the track!?!?!? So I won’t be holding my breath…

Hey you could even “sensorise” the engineers so that they can only be within a certain range of the car for a certain amount of time. Heck, we could take it the whole hog and stop the race for a TV replay of said car leaving the track and then have the cameras zoom in as the driver and steward debate the replay, using Hawk-Eye etc… you get 2 challenges! 😉 Ok, so I’m being flippant – ha ha.

As for the rest of it, well although some tech does dribble down to road cars from F1 – a lot doesn’t. For me, I always view the “green” issues within F1 as purely as being seen to be green – as that’s the big buzz at the mo (we’ve gotta be green \ sustainable etc, etc). Supposedly we were having budget cuts and caps, but my word the amount of development last year certainly gave me the impression that cuts\caps didn’t exist.


James, I always thought you a bit of a [mod] when you used to shout in that fake manner in a vain attempt to step into the giant shoes left by Murray Walker, however I was hoping that in this non vocal medium you might have at least spoken some sense from time to time. Alas my hopes were dashed.

What I don’t understand is how you or most other commentators of our once great sport can’t see that constantly changing the rules of the sport only serve to diminish the show and more importantly its credibility as a World Class sporting spectacle. When was the last time FIFA changed fundamental rules in Football? You can look at teams’ records today and by in large compare them with great teams of yesteryear; not so with F1.

Not only do the technical rules keep changing but even the scoring system!! And for what. If you were to award points for this season based on what I consider to be the classic 10,6,4,3,2,1 of the 1990’s and early 2000s the final standings would read as follows; Vettel 84, Alonso 81, Webber 76, Hamilton 76, Button 62; in short then, exactly the same!

As for the latest installment of the now annual changes in technical regulations, what in the name is the rationale behind this ridiculous moveable rear wing? How can you sit there and type codswallop like…..
“On the entertainment side you have the moveable rear wing, which will mean that a slightly faster car should be able to pass a slower car without losing the chance in the aerodynamic wake
…without so much as a mention of the utter nonsense behind having some FIA computer deciding when and where a driver may use moveable wing?? Or how about a mention about the KERS system whose use will no doubt be computer governed again by FIA race control??? Or the continuation under Pirreli of the mandatory use of two compounds?????? why??? The whole thing is so manufactured it is not funny.

Where have all the purists gone? James, you have immersed yourself in our sport for your entire adult life and yet are you seriously trying to tell me that this pathetic gesture is the best ‘analysis’ you can come up with? Seriously?

You were were around in the 1980s and 1990s; the ‘hay days’ of our sport; has it never occured to you, what it was exactly that made the sport such compelling viewing back then?

Yes in Senna, Prost, Mansell, and Piquet we had some fantastic characters, but it was the sport that enabled them to become characters, it was the simplicity of the sport that enabled them to become heroes. You chose your tyre compound and set off on a race to the chequered flag. If you gambled on the gripier softs you ran the risk of having to make multiple pitstops, if you took the less grippy hards you tried to make your track possition count at the end. This lead to some epic battles such as Silverstone ’87 or Hochenheim ’92, where on both occasions you had a lightening fast Nigel Mansell on fresh rubber hunting down Piquet and then Senna on used in the closing stages… had this situation because on both occasions Piquet and Senna were not mandated to make a ‘fake’ pitstop in order to use the ‘green rimmed option tyres’….I mean what is that???! Retarded that’s what it is.

Please James, get your head out of your [mod], think for once and give this blog some purpose……


I’ve written before on what I think of adjustable rear wings – I think it’s debatable whether it crosses the line into artificiality. There is an analysis of them and how they work coming up on the site soon.


If you’ve never been to a GP with normally aspirated engines, make sure you get to one before they’re banned. The sound of an F1 car will never be the same again!!


My beloved sport is being micromanaged to death. Tell you what, how about a cap on the finances as the ONLY rule (apart from all the safety stuff) ?

The new rules will produces the same kind of squabbling we have now, only they will be slightly different. I can hardly wait.

Cheesed off for the winter,


Mike from Medellin, Colombia

The engine changes are really getting me down.

A turbo charged engine that brings on power in leaps, rather than progressively, is hardy relevant for road use.

I hope that F1 is not going to turn into the Toyota Prius Challenge Cup.


I’m hoping the changes are positive, in that in encourages a couple of more manufacturers (sorry engine producers), back to the sport.

I doubt very much any one of them is willing to come back in with Mercedes, Renault so well settled in the sport.

I’m not actually against the turbo idea, but what I dont like is the long life nature of the engines.

Are we going to start seeing such long life engines that they never fail, and therefore no boundaries are being pushed.

One has to question, how many of these changes that keep being made are being made for the sake of improving the sport, and how many are just gimics. The rear wing thing to me is more playstation than F1.


James, you said “That said the fuel consumption will still be only 7 mpg – a modest improvement on the just under 5 mpg currently and a long way from road relevant.”

But I think a F1 engine is very efficient, with very lightweight parts etc. The cars as whole is thirsty because of downforce – let’s not forget that these beasts could run on the ceiling of a tunnel from 200 km/h onwards, and that is pretty expensive in terms of fuel consumption


All of these nonsensical so-called “green” initiatives in F1, other FIA governed motorsport, and the geo-political arena as a whole are nothing more than pathetic attempts by the world political elite to trick the masses into believing that the sky is falling because man-made CO2 is a pollutant (which it is not) and that we must accept radical changes to our lifestyles and interests or risk giving them up entirely.

When you wake up to the facts that…

…the UN/IPCC is full of liars and frauds, (Anyone remember Climategate?)

…that WE LIVE ON A PLANET with a naturally occurring variable climate and not the starship Enterprise where it’s 85 degrees F year round,


…that the hypocritical global elites pushing this “do without” agenda have more cars, jets, yachts, women, castles, mansions, power, wealth, etc than the poor dumbed down rabble have fleas,

…that you realize the notion of 1.6L four cylinder ‘low carbon’ turbocharged Formula 1 racing engines and roving electrocution deathtraps is farcical at best.

The time is ripe for a true free market form of minimal restriction motorsport to replace F1, and for brave automotive journalists to admit that the current pinnacle of motorsport and its governing body is nothing more than sham and a tool of mass propaganda.

Get a clue people. It ain’t hard.


Love it. Reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday where someone told me i didn’t live in a democracy, and I just hadn’t noticed all these years.


You may wish to do some googling for facts before making statements such as:


The science does not back you up. Volcanic activity produces less than 1% of total yearly CO2 emissions from human industrial and transportation activities. A volcanic eruption doesn’t even create a spike in the total measurements. (Volcanoes do have some other effects which are fascinating.)


Obviously F1 is your prime concern when writing this!

Christopher Snowdon

James would honda come back as Mugen or as Honda? Possible Mclaren tie up there?


As Honda I would imagine


James!!!, related question I have really wanted answered by someone with f1 knowledge for a while.

Q: There are Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Cosworth engines in f1 currently, but due to the engine dev ban there are also 3 others up to current spec, (Honda, BMW and Toyota). Why would teams like Williams go from Toyota to unknown and untested Cosworth? And why would all 4 new teams (USf1 included) go for cosworth?

and pt 2. I heard a rumour during last year that the FIA wanted all new teams to indicate they want Cosworth engines as part of a deal with cosworth, is that true/as true as ferrari’s team orders this year/false/etc..?

Mereceds have managed without a Mercedes team in F1 (share in mclaren only) before now, and Renault will run the engine for RedBull and Lotus without a Renault team, so surely BMW/Honda/Toyota wouldn’t mind leaving a few already trained engineers at ….. to run already fully developed engines.

Sorry for the !!!, I asked elsewhere, but I think you must have missed it, and it seems something so obvious and something atleast my friends and Ican’t work out.

Thanks so much if you could answer that! Been on my mind since williams went with cosworth


THANK-YOU so much for answering!

Sounds so strange though that Williams would go for unknown quantity over Toyota. Perhaps some money from elsewhere guiding their hand given what you have said about cosworth needing 4.

thanks. Makes sense about honda, bmw only left last year though so surely they still have the mechanics trained up and their engine didn’t seem too bad. Oh well.

thanks once again.


1. Cosworth was a good value deal for them. Honda, BMW etc shut down the engine operation so no staff to run it. Toyota kept some people on but the engine wasn’t the best, not powerful and quite heavy and Williams thought Cossie a better bet.

2. There is some truth to that, Cosworth needed four customers to make the programme viable, but as you see, Lotus has now switched to Renault, so it’s clearly not compulsory


Would be great to see them back in F1 as an engine supplier.

They are one of the manufacturers that belongs in F1!

You have to wonder what might have happened in 2009 if they had not pulled the trigger.

If a good engine makes half a second per lap, they’d have been in with a chance of a constructors and WDC.

Always ifs and buts…


I agreethat it is a little ridiculous but lets put a different spin on it… If the major manufacturers can only justify the F1 budget if there is a “percieved” relevence then it is still worth doing bexause if there’s no funding, there’s no F1.

Besides i’m actually interested to see what the F1 engineers can acheive in making more efficient technology, i think it will add a whole new area of development and competition.


Surley with the moveable rear wings then if cars are close to each other then the one behind is easily going to get overtaken on a straight which could lead to the car in front purposly conceding position in a corner leading onto a straight so he can easily repass on the straight to maintain position.


*easily going to overtake on a straight


I think the lack of information re the 2013 engines is quite interesting. At this point in time it allows an amazing amount of possible innovation with configurations, boosting and regenerative power.

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