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Video: FOTA Fans Forum Part 1 – Fans argue against 4 cylinder engines
Video: FOTA Fans Forum Part 1 – Fans argue against 4 cylinder engines
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jun 2011   |  11:24 pm GMT  |  117 comments

Here is a short video with a highlight of the first part of the FOTA Fans Forum from Montreal, featuring McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh and Renault boss Eric Boullier.

In a unique face to face meeting, US and Canadian F1 Fans were given the chance to set the agenda and give their points of view.

This clip starts with a fan, Tristan Baker, asking the team bosses what they say to fans who do not like the idea of the proposed 4 cylinder turbo engines for 2013.

Watch the video then leave your comment below and please vote in the poll.

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A turbocharged-V8 engine is the way to go


Still dont understand why F1 and the FIA do not consider rotary engine technology


There have been some comments about bringing back engine development on a constant basis like we had in the early 2000s.

I have to admit that the crazy development race between Mercedes, Ferrari (and occasionally Cosworth and BMW) was very thrilling. I loved the qualifying special engines, race specials, engines blowing up etc. They added to the drama.

On the other hand, the engine freeze and limits on the number of engines in a season has been directly responsible for the rise of Red Bull and Brawn. 1010 years ago their engine options would not be at all competitive. Year old Mercedes or Ferrari engines or even older Supertec(Renault) ones, generally uncompetitive choices. Now many more teams have competitive engines and can fight at the front with the works teams. Heck, even McLaren is a customer team now!

I think the sport has made a good tradeoff with the current engine regulations, despite the excitement we gave up.


as a f1 for near 30 years i got to see and hear some of the turbo era. The sound was good, the racing was close and exciting. The main difference between that era and now was not as many restrictions were placed on the teams/cars such as development through what seems now like unlimited testing time and an unlimited budget and what the teams were allowed to do with the engine regularions e.g. chose between a certain amount of litres what the were going to use the. I believe the turbo change could benefit the sport if it brings the racing closer, but to do that they will have to give the cars back more mechanical grip by looking at aerodynamic regulations and bring back another jnknown into the sport like refuelimg so pit strategy can also play a big part i the race. All up as an f1 fan what i want to really see is most over taking done on the track (senna and prost days style), pit strategies an unknown, and a chance for more testing so the teams who are not performing at the start of the season have some chance to catch up.


Why can’t we have more tech competition and go back to having regulations that give the power back to the manufactors.

Give them a capacity, induction and let them deal with the rest. Ferrari can develop their V8 V12 (will sound amazing) Cosworth can do their 4 cylinder blown engines etc. Have maybe a maximum power output just to keep things on par.

F1 should be a hub of technology not full of rules.


If the FIA, in its *infinite wisdom, wants everyone to have identical little engines, why don’t they just *say so?!

Then they could buy them all from one supplier (maybe Subaru?) and save tons of money.

And they could buy all the chassis from one supplier and save tons of money.

And then we’d have a *proper spec series like the IRL Indycars, and the drivers championship would *mean something!

And then we could all go watch Curling for excitement!


If we are to have a Turbo era again, the engines should be open with V8’s, V6’s & V4’s and the RPM and the Horsepower should be increased not too low.

I hope that they would re-introduce the V12 & V10 engines with the fuel limit increased to 3L and at over 18,000 rpm with 900bhp and the engine freeze is lifted.

The engines should be mixed instead of just one type and the ban should be lifted for the engineers to actually have a challenge of building and developing better engines.

Formula 1 racing should not be road-relevant but should continue to share ideas with car companies to use their technologies with KERS etc.

I just hope we can get those V12’s back, the last time I heard it was in 1995 with Jean Alesi & Gerhard Berger racing in Adelaide. That great sounding V12 can never be forgotten, and being a big Ferrari fan you just want to hear the V12 back in a Ferrari again. I’m sure the millions of Ferrari fans around the world would like the same.

Patrick Labrosse

The problem with multiple engine formats is that one ends up dominating, and then the governing body comes up with silly ways of leveling the playing field (read: le mans and diesels)


Yeah, that’s true. But you have to say it would be good to have a variety of sounds instead of just one. Listen to this Larrousse Lamborghini V12 from the Adelaide GP from 1993:

And the Ferrari 412t2 from 1995:

They sounded amazing, James if you can reply. Do you miss these engines? And if so would you like to see them return?

part time viewer

If anyone wants to know what a 4 cylinder turbo will sound like, go to an F2 race.

They sound awefull.

F1 is becoming a spec formula in so many ways. The only way forward is to limit the amount of fuel used and let the teams decide how to use it.

F1 should be about inovation, the more you regulate then the less inovation you will get.

And the green argument is laughable and should not be the reason to change anything in a pr knee jerk

Patrick Labrosse

F1 won’t sound like F2. You know why? because it’s F1.

Alexis Vallance

That comment makes no sense.


Exhausts spitting flames, blow-off valves, throaty sounding engines… who wouldn’t want to see any of these?

I would welcome the new engines, I think people would be pleasantly surprised by them and grow to love them. Remember how many other times F1 fans have predicted the death of the sport, just because of something called change? Well, that all turned out OK, didn’t it?

About the new engines, I think that:

– The old V8s sound fantastic in real life, but sound like pathetic buzzy mosquitos on TV.

– The new turbo engines will sound very throaty and powerful on TV, but won’t be quite as ‘shocking’ in real life as the V8s (but still very impresive).


IMO they are going in totally opposite direction. I have my reasons;

1. I don’t want F1 cars to sound like vacuum cleaners.

2. Those engines will be down on torque on low RPM, so say goodbye to Hamilton sliding on low speed corners.


I’m not even close to being old enough to have seen the cars from 70s and 80s but I mind on top gear one night they had Emerson fittipaldi’s lotus I think it was on a track over in Spain. The sound of the onboard camera on it was incredible whatever size and make and stuff it was. Some of you older dudes on here will know what it is but if cars sounded like that I wouldn’t complain.

Patrick Labrosse

Here Here! Finally some good sense!


it doesn’t matter what rules will be in place, what we can be assured of is the teams will make them as fast as possible, i think everyone is getting worked up for nothing. F1 changes everyday, no one is moaning about the engine over running for the defuser & making a farting noise, everyone is listening to find out more.

F1 is racing at its best, with the best people in all aspects & we can be assured that whatever rules will be in place its not going to detract from the sport.

people have to stop comparing the turbos of the 80’s. traction, sequential gearboxes, engine mapping, downforce & trye technology are a few things we have now that they didn’t. Turbo lag will be a thing of the past and loads of new thing will make it to our daily road cars as they already have.

stop being negative guys, the rules are coming or 1/5 of the grid won’t have engines.

can i add, one rule needs changing & thats the spare car, they should bring it back & have a testing hour each race strictly for rookies. having pedro stand in is crazy, though he did a fantastic job & thanks to mclaren, but imagine if pedro wasn’t there. sauber would only been able to run one car. it seems wasteful bringing all the parts and putting them together when there is an accident while some new blood can get to know an f1 car.


Hi James, what do you think of this idea for the new F1 engines? F1 wants to be seen as being more environment friendly and looking to the future. Why don’t that put a cap on how many liters of fuel you can use in a race, and decreases it by 10% each year. And to compensate using 10% less fuel each year they can use KERS 10% more each year.

Plus putting a cap on fuel would this in turn make the blown diffuser go away because they would tight on fuel?


Just wondering why the step straight to 4 cylinders instead of the loss of a couple of cylinders as we’ve had with recent engine regs.

How about an 1800cc V6 with 2 turbos, either in a twin or sequential configurations, rev limited to 15,000rpm with the same hybrid systems already proposed and a maximum fuel allowance for the race.

Just a thought, which might keep both sides happy.


Apologists for the new spec engine specs keep using the word “fear”.

What bs.

Trust me, NObody ‘fears’ a little sissy spec engine.

No doubt FIA lawyers are busy hammering away at the massive regulations required to enforce this new absurdity.

If they *must have a spec series just go the gp2 route and be done with all the posturing.


I agree a move to 1.6 litre turbos would be disastrous, to the people who are saying the turbos from the 80s sound fantastic compared to a V10 or a V8 are you kidding me? and besides, those engines were much, much more powerful than what these new ones will be, because they will be stuck at such a low RPM…

I’m tired of F1 having to step backwards because of stupid rule changes or to make the sport ‘road relevant’, its all …[mod]… what I want is awesome sounding engines, the best thing they could do for the sport is bring back 3 litre V10s!


This is no way step backwards.

Do you know about 16 cylinder F1 engine that used in F1 long time ago? Why? because in old age technology they need more cylinder to make power.

More step backwards more cylinders.


I don’t think anyone here has said that the turbos from the 80’s sound better than the V10 ‘s or V12’s. We’re just using the 80’s turbos to illustrate that they are not going sound half as bad as many make it out to be. The alarmists would have you believe that the sound of a turbo would suck the life out of F1. We’re just trying to say rhat F1 has done it before, and that turbos can sound pretty good.

Yeah ideally, I would love to see a return to 3.5L multi-cylinder engines. The best sounding engine ever had to be the 3.5L Lamborghini V12 (yes, even better than the Ferrari V12). But I know that will never happen, so a turbo 4 that uses the latest in engine tech with huge power potential. Sign me up.


Personally, I don’t really mind what type of engine go in the cars. Bigger doesn’t always mean faster, smaller doesn’t always mean more efficient. But I’m no engineering mastermind so I’ll keep my presumptions to myself. But what I do want to say is to get rid of the engine development ban! New engines being introduced = not always a 100% success rate initially. To me, the teams should be allowed to develop their engines as well as chassis, because as the end of the day, developing cutting-edge, world-class technology is what the sport’s about.


Lets look at the pros and cons.

Current V8 – Cheap, works well, sounds great.

Turbo 4 – Cost plenty to develop, will also work well, will sound good I’m sure.

I would like the current V8 to remain, but open up the rules to allow teams, if they choose, to divert funds to a Turbo motor. I would love to see turbos/versus n.a. with their different fuel loads/ torque delivery/ other characteristics… If no-one takes up the turbo, we could gradually increase the allowed specs. so it was more attractive.

I also agree with other posters, that the turbo should not be restricted to 4 cylinders.

If the point is to make the new engines more road relevent, then why not require the engine to be based (loosely) on an existing road engine, like what happend with BMW engines in years gone by.


Hear me out on this one – the world loves 5 litre V8s, we hold these truths to be self-evident. The world also needs light trucks, buses and SUVs which would all benefit greatly from energy recovery.

F1 could step outside of its euro-centric smaller must be better mentality by making a commitment to the workhorses of the auto industry and gain an exciting racing series that will appeal to the enthusiasts and propellor-heads alike.

5 litre, quad-turbo mechanically connected to flywheel alternator), direct injected et al but instead of a conventional transaxle you are basically running a large alternator. Wheels are 22 x 11 running in-wheel motors with 335/40/22 tyres.

The F1 cars will carry half the fuel needed to complete the race with the remainder made up with a battery and capacitor banks. The wheels will require heavier suspension to deal with the unsprung mass which will allow some minor biffo when racing in close quarters and the all wheel drive will bring a new dimension to F1 driving style.

The incentive to manufacturers will to be to squeeze as much efficiency out of the V8 as possible to reduce the fuel mass they have to carry and to optimise the power flow from and to the battery (and perhaps a vacuum flywheel as well)

Having F1 directly relate to the motor industry can only be a good thing and assisting the heavy vehicles has more green potential/fuel savings than worrying about small cars and small motors that have been done to death anyhow.

Getting 1 hp per cubic centimetre was a big deal 30 years ago – who but the uninformed would give a damn nowadays. But 4 tyres smoking as desperate drivers hit the boost button, V8s that can get 40/50 mpg and powertrains that make a future platform for fuel cells and bio-fuels-I’d like to see that.


Who really cares about the engine? Do you really think about 2.4L V8? I don’t. I used to. I started when there were true engine wars. The McLaren TAG Porsche, the V12s, the Chrysler/Lamborgini engine, the V10s, the exotic fuels (that could cause you to pass out in the heat), and now the V8s.

The worst are the current engines. Why? Because there’s no competition. Development is frozen. The engine is effectively stock.

Let’s go Turbo!!! Let’s have some competition.


I agree, go Turbo. When was the last time somoene chose their road cars because of F1? Most people cant afford a Ferrari or Mclaren, and Redbull make fizzy drinks, which wont drive you to work. Le Man is Turbo driven and is way more relevent to day to day driving then what we see in F1. I think that the regs need to state its 1.6liter engines and give the teams a chance to choose what engine, if its L4t or V6 or whatever. We get variety, we should get cars that are different in looks and push designer. Ferrari can use the V6 engine to make another Dino roadcar, well thats what I reckon they should do 😉

Alexis Vallance

“When was the last time somoene chose their road cars because of F1? “

Then why do you want a formula designed to help the manufacturers advertise that their cars have the same kind of engines as F1?

The turbos aren’t for you – they are so Volkswagen can enter the sport and shout about their 1.6T Golf.


This is F1 not WTCC or junior rally. Should reverevert to V10 engines.


Only two options, which excludes the alternative….

How about: “I haven’t got the foggiest idea what an ultra-high revving 4 cylinder would sound like”

I think everyone agrees that we don’t want to lose the roar of F1 cars, but does anyone know for sure that 4 cylinders would not sound good?

Surely it’s possible for the FIA to simulate this, to some extent at least??


They sounded fine in the 80’s so I really don’t know why so many people have a problem with it. They probably listen to scare mongers too much and believe everything they hear.

Alexis Vallance

They sounded fine in the 80’s because nobody knew what a formula with V12s and V10s would sound like.

It’s like saying people were fine watching black and white TV.


I wouldn’t go as far black and white TV, and they didn’t sound as bad as some people are making them out to be. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, that’s the point.



One of the biggest development issues for many years has been the engine freeze. One could argue that engine reliability in cars has been a rub from the need to develop longer life F1 engines.

Whilst I do agree with the noise issue a greater benefit to me is that this would open up another area that would add to the mix of development for the cars and enhance the formula.

Red Bull have had it too good this year and whilst this has been a great season it is focused on the 2-3-4 places where the action has been.

Bring back Engine development and it again increases the opportunities for speed enhancement through engineering rather than aero.

For me this out-weighs any argument about the noise.


At the time I voted in the poll, roughly 71% were against and only 29% for changing to a 4cyl engine. That seems like serious potential to lose a few fans. (And it would only ever be a few.) A die-hard formula 1 fan will still be a fan even if the cars sound like glorified Subarus. And their the ones who spend the money.

Though I hope FOTA listens to the fans, I have serious doubts. F1 is first and foremost a business that *MUST* make money, regardless of who watches. The threatened loss of Renault’s investment in F1 and loss the present investment in technology partners such as PURE will weigh heavily in the decision making process. Somebody *will* be calculating the loss in revenue from lost fans vs. the loss of investment due to these other interests. It would take the loss of a lot of fans to make up for the loss of two engine manufacturers and the other technology partners mentioned by Boullier.

So like it or not, we’re almost surely headed for 4 cylinder turbos. I hope we won’t be in the desert long.


How do you know it sound like Subaru.

Subaru use boxer engine not inline 4, right?

and also no voter to know what the new engine come to be.

It’s easy to have conservative vote but the world should be advance anyway.


@krieng: “How do you know it sound like Subaru.”

Please re-read my post. I didn’t make the claim that it would sound like a Subaru. I was alluding to the comment made in the FOTA fans forum.

@krieng: “the world should be advance anyway.”

In what way is a 4cyl turbo engine an advance? F1 had them back in the 80s.

@krieng: “and also no voter to know what the new engine come to be.”

I’m not sure what you mean by this comment, but we do know the engine spec for 2013 which is why we’re having this debate.


Regarding the 4cyl turbo, I’ve asked this before but didn’t get a reply. So I’m going to ask it again because I think it would be helpful for those against the 4cyl turbos.

Formula 1 ran an engine like this in the early 80s. Does anyone know of a good Youtube clip or an audio clip of such a car? I’ve looked without success. Since the biggest objection seems to be the engine sound, let’s hear it!


And here is how a little sissy engine can sound like

Patrick Labrosse

Pretty good. I still think the brabham bmw sounded better though. I posted a couple just above this as well.

Alexis Vallance

Sounds like a go kart.


The car in this video has a Renault Gordini V6 turbo.

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