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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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I really miss the engine technology wars. I think that although they cost a fortune it was cool to see how different manufactures got more and more horsepower from there rigs. How awesome was it when Ferrari had a V12 and Renault had a V10 and Ford had a V8. They should let them go hell for leather on there engines. They should have to submit a block that they want to use for the year and then say you can do whatever you want to the rest of it. I would like to see a 3 cylinder turbo with 1000hp vs a 6 cylinder turbo with 1100hp and less torque. Its stupid now all you have is teams modifying for reliability. Boring


Pretty simple really...

limit fuel consumption

limit overall cubic capacity

all engines to last a min of 5 races

after that - do as you wish

let the fun begin.


+1, the sound produced by the V12's was something you'll never forget.

Especially the 18K rev limit killed the technology war. Imagine where we would have been without this limit!

Because of that, nowadays the engines are incredible reliable that it is boring.

We want blown engines so once in a while.


Manufacturers don't want what you say. How silly would it look for Ferrari to get beaten by 4cyl engine?

How silly would it look for engine to keep blowing itself up like the Mclaren of 2005 (I think) when Kimi could hardly finish a race.

We have to admit that cars finishing is a manufacturer goal. We have to admit that 6 cars finishing a GP is not ideal either. I remind you it was the Schumi dominated era. But it sure was fun. Quali engines built for 8 laps. Crazy noise at nearly 20k rpm.

As for 4cyl vs current 8, both are not exotic in their configuration. V10 and v12 was. Once those were done v8 or v4 turbo - same difference in the end.


What I meant to say is: Leave the 18K rev limit alone and you'll see more blown engines than todays races. Manufacturers don't want this negative publicity of course but on the other hand they do like to have the best performing engine of the field.

Btw what an incredible race of JB today.


The big drawcard, for me, was when Andrew Benson reported that the 2013 turbo regulations would mean smaller front wings and doing away with the tall skinny rear wing.

Now, I would argue immensely that giving up the high pitch sound of F1 engines is a price worth paying, if it's the case that we can return to proper-looking Formula 1 machines.


But I thought the narrow rear wings would not change or am I wrong ? I hope so because they look pathetic.

These modern day F1 cars are far too low down, narrow and feeble looking. I saw the Renault R29 in Basingstoke a year or so back and I was not impressed one bit. It was so narrow, low down and long it looked like a bed on wheels.

For the same reason I hate the idea of the new engine formula. Carry on like this and F1 cars will soon look and sound like GP3 cars.


I saw a picture of the pre-tall-skinny-wings cars the other day and I thought they looked funny. Guess I'm used to the new cars already and they don't look that bad.


Obviously these fans don't remember the turbo era, which was one of the most spectacular in the history

of F1. This was not a boring era, to put it mildly.

FOTA and FIA should do what they think is best.

The fans will still be there, regardless of engine size,

and regardless of their feelings about smaller engines.



A great quote from Henry Ford, regarding the first car he ever built:

"If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse."

Fans are not always right. Those dreaming of (a return to) 6-8-10-12 cylinder engines need to wake up!


+1 Most people have no idea what the turbo era was like, an none of us know what the new one will bring.


Except that screaming V engines do sound a whole lot better. Nobody is arguing that the turbos won't be loud and throaty. The point is that they WON'T sound as good. The Subaru comment is artistic licence - he's not being literal. He's just making the point that they won't sound as good as now.

And why should the fans have to suffer this just because somebody calls it progress? The racing won't change, it'll just make watching a GP in person a lot less enjoyable.

Stick Tessla engines in them if you want progress - except I suspect you lot would suddenly find your progression mantra a lot less palatable all of a sudden.

Alexis Vallance

Yep, not saying they sound bad. Just saying they don't sound as good as a N/A V engine.

My opinion.


How do you know?

BMW's turbo I4 sounded pretty awesome, from the videos I've heard (and those who heard it in person would likely agree). Even if the Ford I4 sounded pretty awesome as well.


You're right, most of the objectors have no knowledge or recollection of the turbo era - it was fantastic.

Once, in the early days of motoring, a man had to walk in front of a 'horseless carriage' (car) with a red flag,so that it could not go faster than walking pace. Because it was new, it was not understood.

A fear of change will halt progress. The vote at the moment is 70-30 in favour of No Turbo.

I'll bet that the balance of 'fans' who have not experienced F1 turbos is more like 90-10.

When people make remarks like 'They'll sound like Subaru Imprezas', it' clear that they just have no knowledge of F1 turbos, so stand against change for the sake of it.


Did we forget that one of the most powerful engines ever seen in F1 was a turbocharged 1.5L BMW 4-cylinder that used production blocks with over 125,000 miles on them? Those engines made nearly 1000 hp in race trim and nearly 1500 hp in qualy trim?

Fans are not always right.


Very true...but thats not what they are looking at bringing back. 1.6L 4-cylinder turbos turning 650 Hp is hardly exciting, I could build one of those.


I heard otherwise. Maybe 650 hp with turbo alone, but these engines will also be charges with an ERS supercharger delivering a total of over 800hp. This makes them as powerful as the turbo engines of the eighties.


Well, if I remember correctly, the original turbo engines could barely crack 550 hp. Then the 3.5L engines thst replaced the turbos couldn't make 600 hp. Those engines crept up to almost 850 hp before the cut to 3.0L took 200 hp out of the equation. By tje end of the V10 era, the engines were making close to 1000 hp. The current V8 era started with the engines making around 650 hp, and I'm pretty sure that despite the FIA's best attempts, the power has crawled up. I'm sure it will be the same with the turbos.


...and all of those engines sounded great.


Didn't sound as good as a V8 though did it?


And a V8 doesn't sound as good as a V10 or V12, but we got used to that right? Frankly, those turbo engines are still plenty loud, and under full throttle sound pretty damn good. Just YouTube Nakajima Spa or BMW F1 Turbo and tell me turbo engines can't sound good.


Wow,knew BMW had the fastest turbo engine but I didn't realise that the blocks had big mileage on them.

Nobody likes to see change but this is what f1 is all about,bring it on!!


Not only that, but legend has it that BMW would hang the engine blocks outside to weather, like hanging meat to age. The reason they utilized used engine blocks was that they figured that with that many miles, any production stresses would have been worked out. If it was going to break, it would have done so by then.


...and a little bit of case hardening couldn't have hurt either. 😉


I'd like to see different types of engines allowed. Perhaps a limit on overall displacement that could be distributed on 4, 8 or even 16 cylinders.

But even if that's not possible, no rev limit and no freezing, please.

One idea I like a lot is that of a limit on the allowed annual fuel volume and make the most out of it. I think it meets Mr. Boullier's idea of challenging the engineers.


I am not a great fan of Bernie ( I had a arument with him years ago ), but you have got to respect him for knowing what makes F1 popular.

He says the new engines won’t do, and here is why. F1 must in first place to appeal to car nuts and racing fans (who then bring others), if it does not, they, the sponsors and the money will fade away.

What does your typical fan aspire to ? Decent sports car, starting with BMW, Jaguar, and heading for Ferrari 458. What do they all have in common ? 5 litre V8’s !

Are these cars likely to switch to 1.6l 4 cyl. turbos ? NO, no one would buy them !

The notion of F1 reducing fuel consumption (and saving the planet..oh.. yea ?), is utter nonsense. F1 ‘carbon footprint’ is far, far bigger then the fuel used by the racing cars.

Just consider the new sets of wings for each car at each race and the worldwide transport of thousends of tons of stuff and people.

There is a very simple way to save HUGE anmounts, just swith to 5 litre engines (V8’s, V10s, or V12’s) and set the rev limit to 9000.

This will give ~750bhp as now, the engines can be based on normal production ones, and many manufacturers would be happy to give them away FREE.

Very little development costs, just 2 engines per car per year, job done, everyone happy !

In any case I hope Luca di Montemezolo will veto the “Formula Renault turbo” nonsense.



one time F3 driver


I don't buy to F1 use sport car engine.

F1 to be unique, the engine should rpm more than that. 12000-13000 will separate F1 from sport car 9000 rpm and 4 cylinder turbo is good, with no muffler it's sound will awesome. If it's not lound enough, they can develop some exhaust pipe to make it louder. 650 hp is powerful (if they can made it) combine with huge down force (if they can made it) will make F1 car faster than any car.

At the end the F1 have a limit on speed to make it safe for driver except you build new race series that driver drive a car by remote control and virtual reality technology.

Patrick Labrosse

The argument for 4cyl turbos isn't really about being "green". Racing isn't green and everyone with a working brain knows it. That said, V8's , 10's and 12's are dying technology. A new challenge needs to be applied. And you know what? The argument that no one would buy a 4cyl ferrari is rubbish for a few reasons. Number 1 is that it's still a ferrari, and if you or any other motor car enthusiast claims they don't want one, they're either lying, or so old they constantly wax poetic about the "good old days". If you show me a ferrari with a 4cyl turbo with 650 bhp and a kinetic energy system that pumps out another 400 bhp whenever I want it, I tell you right now, I would sell a kidney to drive it. You know why? Because it's cutting edge, it's fast, and it's a ...[mod] ferrari. So don't tell me your opinion speaks for everyone who likes to drive the wheels off a car you washed up former f3 driver. I think Nascar still have big blocks. Why don't you watch that?


I have to agree with Martin here 100%. A low revving 5 litre V8 wont use any more fuel than a 4 banger revving its nuts off. But the sound... wil be so much nicer!

And how anyone can say than V8s aren't road relevant is a mystery to me, as V8s are still one of the most commom engines on the road. Perhaps not here in the UK (although there are still plenty around as ambulances have them). But in the US theyre everywhere. I've got a Trans Am with a 5.7 V8 and its the sound which is the most enchanting thing about it. The idea of a an F1 car with a suped up 1.6 and a loud exhaust is a nightmare to me. What will the next road relevant tech be? Spinning hubcaps and undercar neons? An F1 car is supposed to be a hypercar on steroids, it should not have the same engine as a Ford KA and sound like its got a Halfords baked been can exhaust stuck on the back.

If theyre concerned about fuel (which is fair enough) give them a limit of the fuel they can use for each race. If the engine is too thirsty then the engineers will have to come up with ways of making the existing engine more economical. That is much more road relevant and useful.


Everyone with negative views towards newer technology needs to wake up.

Yes there are lots of cars still running big V8's and I love them but they are the past. If anyone thinks that in 5-10 years time you will still be able to buy sports/sepercars with these engines then you still need to wake up!

ALL road car manufacturers are going down the route of smaller capacity forced induction engines today. Go to your local dealer and ask them the manufacturers future plans and they will all tell you that big V8's will be replaced by 6cyl turbos and V6's and inline 6's will be replaced by 4cyl turbos.

This is not something that might happen it WILL happen.

The noise is very important to the sport but so is relevance and I want the engineers to push the tecnology. I have just been lucky enough to go Le Mans again and the most impressive thing is the freedom within the rules for engineers and engine manufacturers.

There were a number of 4 and 6 cyl turbo cars that sounded great, popping, banging and spitting flames. I challenge anyone to stand in a forrest and listed to a WRC car and not be impressed by the sound of a 4cyl turbo. Then think that all these Le Mans/rally engines have a very low rev limit which will be double in Formula 1 and the noise will incredible.

the tech has to move on and the tech will happen in road cars so stop bleating on about your old Muscle car having a great big V8 and realise that times change.


No way, why don't they take the wings off and drive around in tractors. Your living in the past.


F1 should, in my opinion, embrace the most modern efficient technologies to maintain its status as the pre-eminent global motor racing format. So I'm all for turbo's, superchargers, kers and anything else that gets you further and faster down the road.

Ross in Bali


So that'll be an electric engine then.


No it won't. Fully electric vehicles need MUCH more work before they are competitive with current F1 cars; however, a highly advanced hybrid would not only be fuel efficient, but very fast as well.


The whole 4 cylinder engine vaguely concerns me. I have 4 cylinders in my car, a run of the mill Ford Fiesta.

Part of the appeal of F1 is that it's exotic, it's unobtainable to the majority of the world. To turn the engine into something that I have already (albeit terrifically turbocharged and finely tuned) takes away a vast attraction of the sport.

At least if it was even a 6 cylinder engine!


Does your fiesta put out 1400 bhp in qualifying trim like the BMWs did in the 80s?


You're missing my point entirely.

One of the things that makes F1 so spectacular is that it has things completely ouy of my reach as a normal everyday guy.

A 4 cylinder, no matter how powerful, is just too run of the mill and the basic technology is effectively the same, but, as I previously said, much more engineered and fine tuned.

And no, no 4 cylinder engine has made 1400HP in qualifying trim on an F1 car, if memory serves it was a 6 cylinder.


Also, what is out of reach about a V8? Or a turbo-v6? Even V12's can be had for reasonable prices in some Japanese cars.

Whatever ends up in an F1 car, apart from perhaps the driver's gloves and shoes, will be out of reach for just about anyone else, no matter what rules package comes into play...

...and they will still sound awesome.


BMW used inline-fours, and had some of the most powerful engines in F1 history (their dyno went up to 1400 hp, and they pegged the needle in a few tests).

This site says 1300 bhp, so I may be off by 100 bhp in terms of what they ran at the track, but I know in testing on the dyno they pegged the dyno at 1400.


I don't think they intend to use a Fiesta engine, even with a decoke.


Every car manufacturer on the planet is developing KERS systems, they don't need F1 to drive the technology as it will always be hidebound by the rules of the day and with little thought to the cost of the systems used. Just think, F1 does not allow traction control, anti-lock brakes, automatic transmissions, dynamic stability control, active suspension components, all of which are commonplace on the road and several makers have had hybrids in production for years. F1 is a sport and entertainment, pure and simple.

Adoption of KERS in F1 is no more than a political 'green' statement and saving 10% of race car fuel (the target for 2013) by reducing the engine size and increasing the allowable KERS capacity is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

The 24 race cars at a place such as Albert Park use about 2,500 gallons over the weekend. The eight 747s used to transport the cars and pits equipment to and from Australia burn about 1,152,000 gallons of AVTUR, and the international spectators plus the 560 team members and large press contingent would use about the same, call it 2,000,000 gallons in total approx. Carrying the circuit infrastructure from the yard in Altona to the circuit uses a fleet of trucks which cover 66,000km, so burn about 4,000 gallons of diesel. The total fuel used for the event is around 2,006,000 gallons of various fuels so the engine rule changes for 2013 are aimed at saving 250 gallons, or 0.012% of the total! To achieve this the teams will have to spend mega-dollars on new engines.

Another thought, sports such as World soccer, tennis, golf, the Olympics etc do not burn fuel directly but are as polluting as F1 due to the fuel used to transport the people involved around the world.

The factor in F1 which makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up when the first cars fire up is the sensational noise. I think once the 2013 4 cylinder turbo F1 cars with a rev limit of 12,000 come in, (firing frequency of 4kHz vs the glorious 1.2kHz of the current cars and the 1.6kHz of the 3 litre V10 BMW) the teams will NEED to inject fuel into the exhaust just to relieve the boredom! Not only will the noise be at a frequency which we do not hear very well, but the turbo will remove much of the energy from the exhaust. Maybe the teams could have powerful sound systems to make racing car noises!


Go green it's just a signal or method to communication to people. Fuel use by air plane is responsibility of transport industrial not F1 (Sport and entertainment industrial).


That's all nice and everything, but you do realize it has more to do with the image and role of the sport in enhancing the image of hybrid vehicles, right?

Right now, when you say hybrid, people think Prius. In the future, people should think F1, Porsche 918, speed and performance, along with efficiency.

Remember the 80's where every manufacturer had a turbo car on the market because F1 made it cool. F1 can do the same with hybrids... and I think they should.


Don't forget the Jaguar CX-75 hybrid car. With more power and less pollution than the average sports car.

Besides, the sound of the turbo engine in the eighties was pretty impressive, I can say from first hand. I've been to a couple of Grand Prix when these engines where used.

And the rev limit of the 4 cylinder BMW 1.5 liter turbo (probably the most powerful F1 engine ever) was also about 11.500 revs. See no problem there.


Is it unsurprising that North Americans don't want 4 cylinder engines? Back in the 80's when they ran 4 cyl turbos, they were brilliant sounding and only 1.5 ltr. Why should the new ones be any different?

Engineers will overcome any shortfall to produce engines that will keep us all going back to the track. After all, this is F1.

Either engine is fine with me, but if a certain formula is going to be "proven" to bring more manufacturers into the sport, then shouldn't F1 pursue that option?


I agree that north Americans will favor large engines as these types of engine are common in the cars that they drive. It's ridiculous to believe that more cylinders = faster cars. Anyone remember the era of large American muscle cars in rallying. That was brought to a close by smaller lighter and ultimately faster European cars with much smaller engines.


Why don't we all just stay at home then?


I have no problem with small displacement supercharged engines.

I do have a problem with limiting them to four-cylinders. I do have a problem with mandating number of valves and the cylinder layout, as in the current V8s. I do have a problem with limiting them to 4-strokes. I do have a problem with mandating turbos only, and not including mechanical superchargers.

In my view, the engine formula should be as open as possible: Number of cylinders, number of valves, number of cylinders and cylinder layout (two-stroke, rotary, flat, V, inline, H, 2cyl, 4cyl, 8, 12, 16, air cooled, 2 valve, four valve, five valve, flathead, pushrod, what have you) should be free.

But get rid of the pneumatic valvetrains. Pointless, always has been, and an easier way to keep the revs down than artificial means like a rev limiter. Desmo is okay.

To those who say small engines can't sound good: Go listen to an Alfa 158, Coventry-Climax FWMV, BRM (V8 or the incredible supercharged V16), Porsche 804, or any Ferrari from the 1.5 litre F1. For that matter, any number of rally cars.

I mention the 1.5 GP formula because that's the nearest comparison to the current controversy. Nobody wanted it, especially the British racing industry. But Chapman (the REAL), Lotus and Jim Clark - to say nothing of Graham Hill and John Surtees, all became legends during that period. Go check out Mark Whitelock's book on the period.

Make it 1.5 litres. No pneumatic valvetrain. Anything else goes.


Nobody is saying they won't sound good. They just won't sound half as ..[mod] good as a screaming V engine!


Gotta add: The last of the 1.5 litre GP cars were reaching of the order of 220 - 230 hp. Without turbos. Current MotoGP engines are getting that out of 4 cylinders and 800cc. Superbike engines are at or near that at 4 cylinders and 1000cc. Suzuki's 1300cc Hayabusa engine has been turbocharged to 500 horsepower or more. The last of the 500cc GP motorcycle 2-strokes were making 200 bhp.

You cannot tell me that the 46 years from the 1.5 GP formula, and all the small displacement/high power racing motorcycle engine expertise that's developed since then, would be wasted on another small displacement F1.

And, just to remind people of how good a small engine can sound...


Excellent points about why 4 cylinder engines are a BAD idea. I couldn't agree more! I especially like what Martin said. The sound is the first thing that drew me to F1 and just blew me away and to this day it brings a smile to my face when I hear it. There's nothing else like it!

All of the other great points aside, the sound would change by going to the lower revving 4s, and they couldn't possibly make the same distinct sound that draws so many to this great sport.


Patrick Labrosse

Just out of curiosity, how long ago were you "drawn" to F1? This sound argument doesn't hold water to anyone who's ever heard the old turbocharged engines. They were awesome and so will be the new breed. They arent suddenly going to sound like lawn mowers...


My initial exposure came in 2000 so admittedly I've never heard the old turbo engines first hand. I have seen plenty of video and and although they sound ok they just aren't the same as the high revving 8,10, or 12 cylinder engines. When you limit the revs (11-12k rpms)on these things I have yet to hear one that sounds the same. They just don't send chills up my spine.

I certainly have no doubt that the F1 engineers would make the 4 cylinder turbos do great things but I just can't see them sounding anywhere near as good.

If you can point me to a video of one of the old turbocharged ones you're referring to I'd love to give a listen and would be happy to be proven wrong.


Sound wasn't an issue (for whomever) in the eighties and won't be an issue now.


I don't beleive this is a good move for F1 for the reasons mentioned at the fan forum. The sound that the cars make is part of the identity of F1 and changing that now seems tantamount to shooting ones self in the foot.

F1's popularity is growing globally so why would they want to make such a radical change

that could make fans lose interest.

With that said I understand that the manufactures need the tens of millions they spend on F1 to be justifiable to their core business somehow. However, I think they could find a happy medium. It seems to me with some less radical modifications to the regulations they could achieve this. They could perhaps lower the displacement or reduce the output of the engine by way of limiting the amount of fuel the car can start a race with but keep the current V8 engine format.

This could be offset by a higher boosting KERS

system like they already plan on. The technologies developed would still be relevent to road cars without having to put a highly modified version of an engine that belongs in a "grocery getter" in an F1 car!



It should sound good. F1 team will make it loud enough to entertain their fan for sure.

Patrick Labrosse

If radical changes and F1 are opposites I believe you may have missed one of the core aspects of F1... Aside from that, most people who cannot understand that a 4cyl turbocharged engine is well at home in a race car already do not understand much of the technology at work in an f1 car anyways and probably won't even notice a difference.


Off topic James,

the watch you're wearing is a present from the sponsor ?


You didn't say that to Joe Saward.


I don't know Joe's have one. Besides my relationship with Saward is a bit tense.


I'm all about no engine regs, just regs that state 'here's a finite amount of energy. Race with it.'

Then we can have technological innovation, which is the very definition of F1, rather than spec racers, which is the antithesis thereof.

Jonathan Lodge

I think you are totally correct Bill.

I do not understand this ridiculous "sound is everything" stance. I would far rather see a good race than be forced to watch a pathetic attempt at a "sporting" experience just because most of those who keep demanding more overtaking would really rather hear a loud noise.

Those who partake in the lower levels of all sports do so for the enjoyment of the sporting experience. Even some F1 drivers have become bored of winning when unchallenged.


And as such, i can not find a poll option to vote.


Couldn't agree more with the fans, please leave 4 cyl turbo for touring cars or feeder open wheel formulas.

F1 is power, noise, technology frontier, in short, does not need to be relevant to street cars.

I don't see myself getting goosebumps from listening to the buzzing low pitch 4-turbo...

Patrick Labrosse

For gods sake, you noise people need to drop it and youtube some old 4cylinder turbo era f1 car noises. Get a grip!


I completly agree with the fans in regard to this engine change its crazy and will lose lots of fans,i will be one of them, the f1 noise its non negociable. 4 to 5 times a year i pay good money to f1 so i can get to hear the sound of these fantastic machine and whithout it i will rather find something else.

Patrick Labrosse

I have a hard time comprehending the logic behind a fear of a 4cyl turbo. As though the teams and manufacturers would be daft enough to make F1 sound like a subaru? Ludicrous. It is high time there was some new room for development in F1. Road relevence is not the issue for me, but as Eric Bouiller stated, a new challenge for the engineers. This is an opportunity to shake up the order and re-energise some development on other things than aerodynamics (not that those are bad).

Just like always, people fear change. Too bad for them the world, and F1, do not stand still.


If it ain't broke...

Patrick Labrosse

But in a way, it is broken. F1 has always been about inovation, technical advancement, and development, as well as motor racing and competition. The current engine format is played out and stagnant. My personal opinion is that I'm bored of a frozen engine which may as well be a spec unit. In a series devoted to being the pinnacle of motor racing, not moving forward is akin to moving backwards. I say bring on something new!

Alexis Vallance

Considering the amount of money it would cost, the fact it wouldn't affect the actual racing and that the man on the street doesn't care what kind of engine is in there, what's the point?

The only reason for it is to encourage the manufacturers back because they can advertise that their 1.6T Ford Fiesta has the same kind of engine as an F1 car.

Last thing we need is another manufacturer era spending spree.


I think it's pretty clear that we don't want 4 cyl engines. If there's any element of sport left in F1 and any consideration for what the fans want then surely they'll just leave the V8's as they are. From a cost perspective it's surely cheaper to leave the format as it is. Why can't new technologies be tested on a V8? The answer given by the teams that they need to test their engineers creativity is just a ridiculous answer. The FIA needs to think very clearly about where they want to go from here. F1 needs to retain that wow factor and currently it barely has it. Introducing watered down formats like small capacity 4 cyl engines with low rev limits etc is just the completely wrong direction.

I wonder if NASCAR or Australian V8 super cars would be as popular if they were 4 cyl 1.4 litre Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics running around. I suspect not.

That's just my 2 cents worth.

Patrick Labrosse

Put these in your sound system and crank it

Really REALLY getting sick of this noise nonsense. [mod]F1 will always rip your ear drums apart. ALWAYS.

God that brabham sounds good...


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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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).

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.


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?


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


A turbocharged-V8 engine is the way to go

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