As expected the F1 Commission, which met today, has delayed the introduction of a new engine formula to 2014, rather than 2013.
And compromise seems to have been reached on the layout, with the 1.6 litre turbocharged engines likely to be V6 rather than in-line 4 cylinders, to which Ferrari was vehemently opposed, among others.
This looks like a sensible compromise to me. I was struck by the strength of opposition from fans to the 4 cylinder units at the recent FOTA Fans Forum we hosted in Montreal.
As far as I know, the other elements of the new engine package which the FIA were so keen to see, such as the potent energy regeneration systems known as ERS, have been maintained. The compromise package will now be presented to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council for approval.
There had been suggestions before the meeting that Bernie Ecclestone may seek to embarrass FIA president Jean Todt over the issue, as happened recently with the U Turn over the Bahrain Grand Prix, by suggesting that the vote by which the 4 cylinder engines had been agreed had not been carried out correctly. But compromise was in the air today and the outcome seems reasonable for the sport.
It is still an exciting challenge for the engineers and will keep F1 at the sharp end of technology, whilst also putting energy regeneration at the heart of the story.
The solution is palatable to Ferrari – whose legendary V6 turbos powered Gilles Villeneuve in the 1980s – and Mercedes as well as Renault, who had threatened to leave the sport if it didn’t move to small turbo engines. Cosworth is a versatile engine builder with experience of engines of all sizes with and without turbos. For them it will come down to a cost analysis of customers and price point versus development costs.
The compromise package is likely to be a hot topic among fans at next week’s UK edition of the FOTA Fans Forum, which is taking place at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.