F1 set for electric only in the pit lane?
F1 set for electric only in the pit lane?
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Apr 2011   |  11:11 am GMT  |  253 comments

There’s a very interesting story on Reuters featuring quotes from Williams chairman Adam Parr about the 2013 engine plans.

Will F1 cars be under electric power only when they pit? (Williams)

In light of recent comments from those who are against the move away from V8s towards a ‘greener’ engine, including Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo, Parr says that there is no going back on the direction of travel.

He also makes a point I’ve not heard before that with the 2013 engines, when the car is in the pit lane, it will be running on pure electric only, a very interesting step and quite a message, if you think about it.

Criticism of the 2013 plans centres around the lack of noise, but also the notion that it is an empty gesture, paying lip service to sustainability – a ‘greenwash’ in other words. Running on electric only when the car is in the pit lane, would be a big step for the sport.

Parr said the new engine would be turbocharged and turbo-compounded. The KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) will be four times as powerful.

“It will have one fan generating electricity to super-charge the engine, another fan to recover energy from the exhausts which will recharge a battery and then be usable,” he said.

“You are going to have a powertrain generating well over 800hp from four cylinders. I think its going to sound fantastic. It’s going to run on pure electric in the pitlane,” said Parr.

“You’ve got cutting edge technology, I mean really the future of road cars, you’re going to have a very powerful message about environmental performance and what technology can do. And the racing will be just as exciting, if not more.

“Formula One is ultimately defined by its technology and Formula One’s constant reinvention of itself, whether it’s on the chassis side or the engine side, is fundamental to the nature of the sport,” he said.

“The people who don’t want things to change are the people who for whatever reason feel they have an incumbent advantage by not changing things.”

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In this regard you ccan just plug in and charge and then knock around town for an hour or two,

but it really, really want one. This car has two motors;

aan electric motor, that used by automakers like Tesla in its electric cars,

scaling back projected volume car battery hack to a mere 100 battery-powered minicars.

And, car battery hack this has resulted in gasoline,

as well as used ford car dealer Dale Ford in Australia.


Why doesn’t f1 organize the calendar to save on the energy used to travel the globe. Eg. Have Canada, Texas, and Brazil back to back instead of having to fly to Canada then fly back before going back to America later in the year.


I’d rather they just ditch KERS for now because like Anthony Davidson said during the practice coverage at Shanghai, I don’t think KERS is really ready to be run in F1 yet.

I was kinda in support of KERS back in 2008/early-2009 but as 2009 went on I changed my mind. I don’t think KERS really adds anything to F1 except bring in more problems.

I’m fed up already after 3 races of hearing constant radio messages from various teams/drivers about how KERS isn’t working or that its only working intermittently.

The 2013 engine regs Im undecided on right now. I like the idea of going back to turbo’s but am unsure about the 4 cylinder formula.

While to me the racing is most important, I also think the sound the cars make is important. If the cars don’t sound fast or really impressive I feel a series loses something in terms of its appeal.

As an example, In the US Rolex Sportscar series the Mazda RX-8 is very popular amongst fans simply because of the sound of its Rotary engine.



Oh please bring back the V10s, god I miss those days!!


F1 is about speed, sound and thrills. If they want to show off the hybrid/electric stuff, why dont they start a new series for that. I assume they could try not to race and try to rank the winners based on the least fuel consumption/maximum mileage like the hypermilers.


no offense ofcourse to the hypermiling. I myself ocassionally hypermile, with 25 – 30 kmpl on my car.


Any measures to make the cars more efficient is absolutely laughable in the context of the massive carbon footprint associated with dragging the teams with all their kit and people around the globe.

The whole thing is utterly cynical.


I dont want F1 to go to “Greener” engines. Its taking everything out of F1. Its about the speed, the noise ect, Losing the V10’s was a stupid move but to then go on and get rid of the V8’s just cos the world wants F1 to become a greener? No, other forms of Motorsports maybe, but not F1. Using more environmentally friendly fuel and other little perks like that should be enough, but turning the engine down to me is just wrong…. Its not what F1 is about… the Engine just wouldn’t be enough for the pinnacle of Motorsport, GP2 would become the pinnacle of Motorsport. Not to mention that many F1 fans wont bother watching it meaning audience levels will drop.


The engines should be 4L v12’s that run in the pit lane with only electricity. Best of both worlds.


When the quickest car of the grid is the one with the “worst” electrical system (KERS) speaks volumes of how gimmicky these green technologies are. Formula 1 fans are not your average dumb sports fan, they know that batteries are anything but a “green” component. These ideas will end up destroying what Formula 1 is and turn it into something different.


It isn’t any cheaper but a new formula shift in engine format allows a new manufacturer not to be as far behind in development as coming into a mature v8 format.

Vw etc wouldn’t fancy coming into f1 and try to outdevelop a v8 from mercedes (ilmor) or Renault.


Electric cars are NOT green: due to the battery’s required for a Toyota Prius which are not only assembled all over the world but also require nasty chemicals it is actually much greener(read environmentally friendly) to buy a second hand 1968 ford mustang. And that is without considering where the electricity comes from. I say yes to increasing kers capacity, but no to running pure electric and NO to 4 cylinder engines. A better idea would be to double the number of cylinders allowed and limit the amount of fuel allowed for one race.


Why are they doing this?


I have a greener Idea. Why not employ people to push the cars out of the pitlane. The engines may be turned off when they enter the pitlane. This way it will surely be greener (perhaps reduce the capacity of the Kers battery)

The people who push the car get to touch an F1 car and is good exercise for them!!


that would be priceless! I’d even subscribe to sky sports to see that…


As long as the green energy is developable that then it good to go for F1.

In F1…

Aero is highly developed
Mechanical parts are highly developed
Parts used to make the car are highly developed
Engines until the freeze were highly developed

KERS is just a bog standard stick it on and unless you put it in a hot cramped place (see: Newey’s cars) then you don’t hit problems (see McLaren’s or whomever)…

In F1 everything is about development, for F1 to have a green component then it needs to be developed too.

To stop too much money being spent the rule should be
‘Any team can buy the system for use on their car at the maximum cost of $XXXXXXXX’.
That way Ferrari or Mercedes wouldn’t spend massive amounts just for Torro Rosso, Sauber or Force India to go and stick in on their cars for a fraction of the price.

Any development means that it has been integrated into F1 rather than just a stick on thing.


Thanks for your comment. Sorry about your posting issue. We’re looking into it.


No problem. Understand. Part of it was as much about others who maybe aren’t checking this site as much as I and are missing posts too, and a bit myself.

But thanks anyway!


here is an idea: why not let the cars drive electrical to the pit, and on gasoline out of it? that would be a compromise i could live with, also, if the starter fails the car would bi in the pit, not cluttering the end of the pitlane…( safety )

or is this a political comment towards Red Bull, who seem not to stick to the agreement on kers 🙂


I am all for it. That is what F1 is all about. F1 is the test bed to develop new technologies that can and do trickle down to road going cars in the end. And this formula of electric running is brilliant! I cannot wait for 2013 to be honest. I want to see what marvels the engineers can come up with. The thing is, F1 needs this more than anyone can imagine. F1 was and will always need to be the fore front of technology. If F1 stays with naturally aspirated V8’s, they run the risk of loosing their place at the pinnacle of technological advancement and therefore will become some obscure racing series were reruns are shown as a gap filler at 3 in the morning. All the F1 “purists” are up in arms about this, but if they were real purists, shouldn’t they welcome this technological change? Isn’t that what F1 is about? Using and racing technology that no one else races with? Isn’t F1 all about taking a certain set of rules and creating something amazing within those confines. Isn’t it exactly what the F-Ducts, blown diffusers etc are all about in the end? Now I hear everyone say what these developments have to do with a normal road car? Just think about it, if a fluid switching device like the f-duct can be used to create a car with less drag, then that would have been worth all the development time the teams spent on it. All the aero developments and knowledge gained in F1 has it’s place on the real world. It will make cars in future have better drag coefficients and therefore make these more efficient. The same is with KERS and 1.6 liter turbo charged engines. Just imagine what kind of impact this massive development within F1 will have on the hybrid technology of today’s cars. That way is the way of the future, lightweight small and very powerful engines. And to imagine what this little engine will sound like when the turbo is screaming like a bat out of hell at 18000rpm’s at full throttle… I am sure the noise will still be sufficient to raise those goose bumps and make you shiver with delight.

Just imagine the engine capacity restrictions would never have been changed since the 20’s… They had 20 liter engines back then… Then the racing fraternity began with developing lighter, more economical engines for racing out of which F1 was born. These days you get more power out of a road going 1.6l engine that uses a fraction of fuel the old behemoths used. Just imagine were we will be in 20 years time thanks to the development happening today in F1. I think to embrace this change in F1 is the most “pure” way of being a true F1 fan.

F1 forever. 🙂


Technology doesn’t trickle down from F1. Complete myth. Look to the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 series for where the next road going technology will come from.

A 1.6 turbo doesn’t scream either – it’s too gruff and quiet in comparison to proper V NA engines.

As for F1 being at the pinnacle, it’s a hollow notion. People tune in to watch racing. People go to races to see the spectacle. People don’t stop watching a racing series because they suddenly decide it’s outdated. If F1 becomes too gimmicky or the spectacle is ruined, it suffers.

Imagine if 2013 was a technological marvel. But the racing was crap and there was little spectacle because of the feeble noise.

People will look back at the days of 2007 – 2011 and wonder what went wrong.


Technology does trickle down from F1. Maybe not the night vision and pre-safe and massage chair technology from the BMW and Mercedes S-class but it is all rather hidden technology. I am sure that carbon ceramic brakes and clever adaptive suspension all have their roots in F1. But, opinions may differ… So suit yourself.

Naturally aspirated engines are stone age technology, do you want F1 to continue clinging on to an outdated mode of propulsion just for nostalgia’s sake? Look at Nascar, they still use push rod carburetor engines!! That kind of technology was outdated 40 years ago! Do you want F1 there as well?

On the noise side of the whole issue… If the noise is so important, why do people wear hearing protection to muffle the noise? You might as well tone the noise down to the level were hearing protection is not necessary…


Nice! Hope to see EV F1 soon!


No, What’s the point? How long is the dash in and out of the pits? Less than a minute…All the extra batteries and weight just adds to fuel consumption right?


I think the smartest thing the F1 guys can do is test this engine formula elsewhere prior to trying to get Formula 1 to be the test bed. If this becomes a disaster,then the impact to F1 will be catastrophic. Whereas, they can test the engine formula say in GP2, or F2, or the likes, and see how it affects the racing, the noise and the likes. If it works, then they can bring it to F1. Otherwise it would just be a disaster to have all the teams gear up for this for 2013, spend all the money required to do it, then turn up for race 1 and it turns out to be unwanted by the fans. What will F1 then do for a whole season? Loose fans interest, and eventually sponsors. How can they then recover?

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I can’t help feel that Parr is grabbing at straws in order to please the new Williams shareholders.

This green stuff just doesn’t sound genuine. I’m sure that Parr would change his tune if Total decided to switch over from Renault.

With a new formula of engines he probably feels that this will level the playing field and give Williams a new lease of life.

Without some engineering and sponsorship miracles, Williams seems settled to remain a midfield team.

F1 is about the noise, the sex, and the gladiatorial atmosphere. F1 in 2013 will be like taking away the rock music from Glastonbury and replacing it with Celine Dion or Chris de Burgh.


“F1 is about the noise, the sex, and the gladiatorial atmosphere. F1 in 2013 will be like taking away the rock music from Glastonbury and replacing it with Celine Dion or Chris de Burgh”.

Mike, you could be dead right about this.

The Yanks know a thing or two about pleasing spectators and they aren’t planning any dramatic changes to NASCAR to please the green lobby ( Who don’t go to races anyway ).

I’m all for technology but four cylinder 1600cc engines ? At the very least they should be testing the format in other race series first.

Is there any reason why a new 3 litre V12 can’t be just as high tech ….. ?

Think about the customers, engine manufacturers : I for one would never buy an M5 or an AMG Mercedes with a 12 speed auto box and a 1600cc turbo engine.


I met a young English man at Sepang, while we were discussing about the current rules and at one point we came to almost a whisper “**** we don’t want F1 to be green”.


Isn’t ‘Green’ about using only what’s needed with little to no waste?

Well, don’t they THROW AWAY the battery packs after each race?

Aren’t batteries (all of them) very toxic to produce?

Seems there’s lots more waste messing with the ‘Green’ stuff.

If you want ‘Green’, then give them half the fuel they have now and let them develop an engine to use it most efficiently.

An MYT engine comes to mind….



First of all, I would like to congratulate you for establishing this forum.

To be true, I am sick and tired of the constant green slogans raised by people to introduce green technology in F1. Most of these people are delusional and should follow some other sport. Please leave F1 alone. First FIA got rid of V12s, then V10s, now V8…wots next V2s….the green parade should follow the new electric car racing series that is being planned by the FIA. The very reason Williams is not doing well is the philosophy of Sir Frank Williams. He has to realize that he is living in 2011 and not 1980s anymore.

Cars are no longer as challenging to drive as they used to be in the past. Even with V10s drivers used to think twice before taking Eau Rouge on full throttle, but with V8s…many fast corners became a joke. Compared to the past, we have very young champions now. One of the reasons is that the power differential between F1 engines and feeder series is no more as big as it used to be. The only teams who are in favor of green tech are those who are yet to start engine manufacturing or are mass manufacturers of cars a.k.a Mercedes and Renault. I simply don’t see V4 or even V6 as a motivation for a team like Ferrari to stay in F1.

DRS in my view is artificial way of over-taking. Overtaking has always been minimal in F1. I would like to see drivers push like hell, lap after lap…just to be able to overtake someone around pitstops …but now overtaking is a joke…


The very concept of F1 being “green” makes zero sense whatsoever. The change from 8 to 4 cylinders and the drop in displacement won’t affect a thing in that regard.

The argument could be made that a smaller engine could reduce the weight of the car, resulting in better efficiency, and I believe the minimum weight of car + driver drops to 540kg in 2013. However, I’ve zero doubt in my mind that if the current 640kg limit were reduced, the teams wouldn’t have too much difficulty in getting the cars down to that weight in very short order with the current V8 powerplants.

And besides, regardless of weight, the vast majority of the energy required is needed simply to get the car up to 200 mph or so whilst overcoming the drag from the downforce-generating aerodynamics, not to mention the open wheels and cockpits.

No powerplant tweak is ever going to change that – the energy input required is colossal, and the only way to reduce that is to either make the cars more aerodynamic (realistically either by shedding a pile of downforce or enclosing the wheels/cockpit) or by forcing everyone to run more slowly. I’m not sure F1 would still be F1 if you did either of those.

I’m not necessarily arguing against the new engine rules as such, just that any talk of an 750 horsepower engine (regardless of displacement) at full throttle being “green” in any sense of the word is simply ludicrous. It’s smoke and mirrors, especially when you compare the amount of fuel burned by the cars during the race with the amount consumed getting everything *to* the race.

As for KERS, bring it on, I say. The wisest thing F1 could possibly do would be to throw away almost all the current rules and let the teams have at it.

If they want a system that can run for more than 6 seconds per lap, then let them find a way to shoehorn more battery capacity into their cars and come up with a more efficient way of harvesting energy. If they want a more powerful motor, then by all means, but don’t forget to deal with the cooling problems, plus the higher demands such a system would place on the battery. If a team wanted a system that was more than just a pushbutton and delivered power in a more variable way determined with the driver, then let them go ahead.

For that matter, if a team wanted to come up with a way of harvesting braking energy from the *front* wheels, then I’d let them have a go at that if they felt like it. Weight transfer under braking dictates that’s the sensible place to do it, rather than at the back wheels.

Throw away some of the rules, and I’d bet we’d be amazed at some of the things the teams come up with…the modern equivalents of 6-wheeled Tyrrells and Brabham BT46B’s, no doubt.


F1 has always promoted itself as developing the technologies of the future,so why not. Does anyone remember the turbo ira?

The other aspect is this could bring a lot of manufactures back to the sport after the GFC, they would see a long term benefit from investing in the development of technologies for the future. Williams are keen to do this because they can see this is what will bring long term investments from the big car manufactures.

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