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Haas chief on F1 engine future: “We cannot go back to something like a V8”
Posted By: Editor   |  06 Sep 2017   |  1:16 pm GMT  |  185 comments

Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner praised Romain Grosjean’s performances this season and the direction of Formula 1’s “high-tech momentum” after the Italian Grand Prix.

In a recent interview with Formula 1, the Haas chief called this year’s midfield battle “gruelling” as the American team sits a point above Renault in the constructors’ standings and five behind Toro Rosso.

Though Romain Grosjean finished 15th and Kevin Magnussen finished 11th at Monza, Grosjean’s recent seventh place finish in Belgium particularly impressed Steiner.

“Who would have ever thought that Williams would be behind us in Spa?,” he said.

“That should have been their track, as it is a high-speed track.”

“We had no problems keeping them behind us and I am sure they will think ‘How did that happen?’”

Steiner stressed he wants no repeat of the second half of 2016, when Haas picked up just one point from the last 11 races of the season.

“The second half of last year was disastrous in terms of points.

“And before this year’s summer break we had exactly the same amount of points we had at the same time last year and we had to get the monkey off our backs somehow – and in Spa we did.

“Now we want to keep the momentum…we want to keep the position and try to better it if possible.

“But there is also always the chance to lose the position – the midfield is gruelling.”

The gulf between its two drivers is apparent, as Grosjean sits 13th in the drivers’ standings with 24 points and Magnussen sits 14th, with 11 points.

“I think that Romain is just a little bit more mature and he’s known the team longer. And he took advantage of that, obviously.

“But then Kevin has 11 points and he could have more with a few less mistakes from us and one less from him.”

“We can look back, but should not go back”

F1’s engine specifications post-2020 are continuously being shaped as manufacturers and the FIA met in June with more talks planned for the future.

The Haas chief is content with F1’s current direction but cost control and parity are still two glaring issues for him, with Steiner having cited that Haas spends 20 percent of its overall budget on engines.

Steiner maintained: “Formula 1 has to keep its high-tech momentum.

“We cannot go back to something like a V8. Those times are gone.

“We can look back, but should not go back.

“The engine manufacturers are challenged with coming up with the best ideas – having a firm eye on where the road car market is going. From the side of a private team, it would be great if the costs were under control.

“Of course [equality] has to do with the engines, but I would say it mostly has to do with the aero side, the size of the team and the budget involved.

“Liberty Media is working on it, to make it a more even playing field, I was told. Can you imagine if we were to have five or six teams that were able to win races? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

“Right now the battle is in the midfield – and we are very honoured to play that crucial part right now – but can you imagine a whole championship with fights that you right now basically see only in the midfield? The fans would love it.”

Could McLaren pair with Renault?

Outside of Haas, McLaren’s partnership with Honda is said to be at risk with the relationship between the two strained due to Honda’s lack of power and reliability.

Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa wants the partnership to remain, as he told Autosport, “I’m still trying to make good performances to convince them but I’m not sure it will be enough.

“Honda [will] never give up on keeping this collaboration.”

Both McLarens retired from the Italian GP with Fernando Alonso suffering a gearbox issue and Stoffel Vandoorne stopping due to a broken MGU-K part, after Honda claimed that engine upgrades would be implemented and Alonso took a 35-place grid penalty for the race.

McLaren may announce its split with Honda – and possible alliance with Renault for 2018 – soon, but that leaves Honda in the lurch.

If Honda cannot find a manufacturer to pair with, the engine manufacturer may be forced out of F1.

Toro Rosso has emerged as the team that may pick Honda engines for 2018, and an announcement on that partnership is expected soon.

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You can’t go back? V8 engines should be the only engine in a f1 or indycar, what bullshit, I can’t stand to watch this eco engine crap anymore, have fun losing relevance and ratings because you refuse to make these cars loud and exciting. V6 engines are boring, I guess their is still gp masters and vintage racing.


The high tech momentum he speaks about has caused nothing but headaches. Bring back the V8 and to hell with technology. If he wants high tech he can play with his computer games.


Honda supplies (sorta) reliable engines for the crap Indycar racing series.
Why the hell can’t they deliver an engine for a series that probably has ten times the visibility of Indycar?


The reason that the Indy Car engines don’t have the same problems is simply because Jean Todt and his politically correct green police haven’t been allowed anywhere near.


I’m sorry but the 1.6 turbos are a real problem for everyone I know who watches the sport. They sound terrible. That excuse that F1 needs to be more in line with road cars just baffles me. It is a sport, not a reality TV show of Joe Blogs driving from London to Birmingham. In fact F1 ONLY exists as an entertainment event, just like every other sport, so making cars sound as bad as they do was a poor move. There is no argument for it. Cost was not one given the investment and unit price. The environment is not one given that other sports like football have a larger carbon footprint. The road car alignment is not one given that there are MANY cars with engines over 2.0 litres. I know personally that I was a hardcore fan up until the last few years. I am not sure what has changed that but everyone I associate with has a problem with the current regs.


Hybrid engines ruined the sport. End of story.


It would be good if McLaren Renault allowed Alonso to race Dan n Max. Bring back competition amongst real racers.


Any news on mclaren renault?
Could the deal be done just to get mclaren through to 2020. Then when the new simpler engine regs start mclaren could build their own engine.?
Maybe redbull could do the same with Aston Martin helping of course.


I take the statements from Haas as we’re determined to kill the series and we’ll be damned if we take steps in the opposite direction.


I don’t really like F1 being made to be relevant to road cars, but I can certainly see why manufactures would. Renault won 4 straight constructors titles with a V8 but never had one for a road car.

But F1 needs to be the best of motor sport and while its technology may run down into our road cars I don’t think it should be the main reason for it.

I don’t think is also has to be at the edge of technology, but certainly needs to be sophisticated. If Honda cant get it together after 3 years and Renault still struggling a bit maybe the new regs are too much?

Red Bull & McLaren now cant get top notch PU’s as they may beat their supplier so if they cant grab a ‘default’ cost/performance effective one why spent the coin they do?

I am not suggesting a homogenised F1 where Adrian Newey designs all cars and Mercedes powers them all but there must be some happy medium.


Unless red Bull and McLaren can come up with a power unit strategy that gives them chances of winning they will not stick around for ever. I can see Red Bull pulling out for sure if they have no chance of winning after 2020.


And who would blame them. They are there for one reason only…to win. Being saddled with an engine that is not up to the standard of excellence provided by Mercedes and Ferrari they are well within their rights to up sticks and go somewhere else where they can be successful. They should be able to gain access to whatever engine they need and want as should all teams. For too long the series has been controlled by the manufacturers and we have all been help captive by it. I really do want to see at least 6/8 car/ drivers each in with a chance, each and every race.


Steiner is completely blind to what F1 has to become.

Unless F1 wants to go to full electrification it’s going to lose any relevance to motoring technology. F1 has a choice – move to electrification – or accept that it’s purely a sport and choose it’s engine technology and regulations with an eye to making the racing exciting.

Gareth (the Philadelphia one)

It is purely a sport! It’s driving in circles as fast as possible for fun and entertainment – that can never be “green”. The sport should stop pretending otherwise.


Well, to be frank. As long as F1 retains spectator count in tens of millions it’s ecologically rather neutral…Each F1 spectacle stops quite a bit of traffic for 4-5 hours every race weekend.

Of course, from a bigger perspective, the F1 fuel consumption during the race is in essence irrelevant, because of the transit costs between the GPs. Back in the 80s when it was more ‘European’ on old tracks the business was probably a bit more carbon neutral than nowadays.

On the other hand, it is all about how it looks rather than how it is.


We ll see what Ross brawn @ liberty can pull a masterstroke to have a win-win-win solution for Honda-McLaren-F1


He ought to – Honda made him a very rich man and he owes them a few favours!


One of the reasons I agree with Steiner


It seems that a lot of people seem to have forgotten that oil is finite and will only get more expensive.

The big players have not! The change started as a trickle it will end in a flood.
That does not mean that F1 will be boring in fact i think it will be an exciting future with power/torque unthought of before. The sound will take some getting used to by us oldies. But at my age I’m definitely used to change.


JohnH, you sound comfortable with the Formula E future! Most of us are not.
I don’t buy the peak oil argument. F1 should give up trying to be road relevant, and just be a sport.


I don’t understand about “going back to the V8”. We have a V6 now! Except all the turbo gubbins have strangled all the noise and excitement out of them. Going back to a V8 and going twin turbo would at least improve the noise, even with the same MGUK etc. And give more power. I’m all for swapping the V6 for a V8.


F1 needs to decide what it wants to be on the engine front. If it is really serious about leading cutting edge technology for road cars of the future then really they should be pursuing all electric solutions now, rather than having a Formula E series.

If traditional/hybrid units are what they decide, then it should be the most impressive possible, and for me that is a minimum of a V8. The V10s of the late mid 90s to mid 2000s were easily the most impressive in virtually all aspects and frankly I’m amazed they have moved away from something so popular.

The current engines feel completely bland and unimpressive. I remember sitting in the grandstand in 2006 for the start of the British GP and the sound was absolutely incredible, like a space shuttle launch! With this current engine formula there is absolutely no way I would pay the same amount of money to sit in those seats.


It is purely commercial interest that says we can’t go back to v8/10.
The pre-condition of the large manufacturer involvement is that they get to use F1 as a marketing vehicle for their road cars in the belief that the brand recognition and road relevance of F1 “technology” will generate sales.
I would love to see the day where F1 teams were “racing enthusiasts” and the competition was between traditional racing teams -Brabham, Lotus, Tyrell, etc, as well as the current teams, with a relatively homogenised engine, but development allowed in aero and no testing bans.

Championships would be decided by good chassis development, good driving and good strategy and teamwork.
Naive? Yes, maybe -a hell of a lot people would need to take a haircut without manufacturer money -but i don’t see how that would reduce the appeal of the F1 product to fans (on the contrary), and the manufacturers are not the only corporate sponsors in the sport.


@ LKFE…Steiner says ‘we can’t go back to V8’s/V10’s. That is a complete nonsense. F1 can decide to do anything it wants to do regarding the prime source of motive power. Whether or not they would decide to revisit previous engine philosophy that was brought up to date is the point really. So long as Todt et al push this political farce re the ‘economy of F1 and the supposed road relevance’ we won’t see truly great engines ever again. He is totally wrong. It is a losing battle and F1 is all the poorer for it.


F1 has been Hijacked and in a strange case of Stockholm Syndrome, the FIA are aiding and abbetting the Hijackers!!


twin or single turbo 1.6 v6 with KERS…… ticks all the boxes:
-small and perceived fuel efficiency in line with global down sizing
-still retains a hybrid element


might be rude to say this, but it should be said. anyone wondering why we cant go back to naturally aspirated engines in some v arrangement needs to go back to high school physics class, conservation of energy is a real and accepted law of physics. the fuel and oil reserves are not there to permit decades of this type of energy consumption unless a different and more cost efficient and reliable fuel becomes available for the masses to use.


What is the reserves for all the natural resources used to make batteries projected to be and/or last? Or is this a solution until we deplete those as well? And then look for the next solution? Considering we use batteries to power so much now as opposed to the past the demand for them should rise significantly. Also how will we dispose of these batteries once they have expired and no longer useful?


@ Aiyanah…I think that you’re confused. If the general concensus is that F1 should not and need not be a benchmark /test bed for road relevancy are you saying that if F1 maintains a dependence on fossil fuels that this will impact Energy Conservation globally? That is just plain wrong. Hybrid/electric may be the future of mass consumer motoring but F1 motorsport is, by sheer weight of usage, a non starter.


Kenneth, it is the case that motorsports in general are a test bed for future technologies.
that is simply the way it is, there is no debate to be had about that detail, whether it’s what motorsport should or should not be is another discussion but for as long as it remains the case that motorsports at large is a glorified test bed then it will always be the case that projected technologies end up in the racing cars.

that technology does not thereafter have to reach the layman on the ground, it could just as easily go laterally for military application for instance.

the scale of the f1 operation required to get this tech working is irrelevant as the outcome is only centred on how efficient the technology itself is, thereafter progression leads to progression and the developed tech as well as the next projected tech can be manufactured and designed in that order.


@ Aiyanah…I think that you’re missing my point altogether. Some time back Audi were touted as being interested in F1. When questioned about why they weren’t competing alongside Mercedes,who were reaping the benefits of hybrid technology for their road cars, they responded by saying that ‘We get everything we need to know and more from our LMP1 program’. That is far more relevant to road cars than F1 will ever be’. How very true. That is the case in point. No one [ me included ] has said that technologies created in F1 are not able to be utilised in other fields. You then say that the scale [size/personnel numbers/investment capital ] is irrelevant, wrong again. The scale is wholly dependent on the specifications on hand and in demand. The more complex the greater investment.


I said all motorsports is a test bed.
everyone is skinning the same cat that guy over there just so happens to be using a razor, the other is using a scalpel, the other is using his teeth, some other guy is using a robot to do it.

and you have the purposes of scale backwards, the scale of an operation indicates competitiveness not the value of the product or tech in r&d


@ Aiyanah…Sorry to spoil you picnic. Read what i have said again re ‘scale’. The scale of an operation is directly proportionate to costs associated with the production of what the regulations call for. Why do you think that the current crop of engines cost infinitely more than the the previous iterations. Complexity. That is a direct result and has nothing to do, primarily, with competitiveness. That aspect only comes after the event. The R & D and costs of process are the dominating factors.


the engines cost more because inflation is real, 1 guy gets fired for Honda’s engine woes, the factory does not go through a redesign or massive staff overhaul.

and much like conservation of energy the Fiat money required to stay on top of a global economic crisis inflates global prices of goods and devalues money itself.
if we were developing hybrid engines in the 90’s then whatever we had now would cost what it does right now.

and that aside if you introduce cheaper engines tomorrow suddenly teams are spending that money on something else in order to remain competitive.
it’s folly to fail to recognise this with the testing ban not curbing costs in a time of relative stability.
same for the homologated v8’s
same for banning third cars running in free practice.

so like I said, it’s competition that dictates the order of magnitude to anything, the operation is huge because everyone wants to win.
people would have a truck just for racks of v10 engines back in the day, no Parc ferme rules, engines only had to last 1 race, t-car in every garage, costs were high nonetheless on both resources and the relative amount of bank at that time.

study the reality of what motorsports is instead of the narrative.


Since we are not supposed to be bouncing future ideas around on this site I will talk about now. Smaller teams don’t care if they ever win championship. All they want is to win one ever now and then.

Nobody likes grid penalties as they are now. To fix this rules should cut costs because teams will follow rules that can be enforced and ones that can’t don’t matter because the money will go right around that.

All these teams and Ross Brawn agree no you can’t turn back time but hey the future is pure electric.

Isn’t merely having the fastest race cars that race enough? I just like to see good racing and F1 is good but used to be even better.

The lack of specs on the halo from the FIA is going to hurt small teams too. Some of this Gene HaaS said recently.


What’s important to the engine manufacturers is less fuel consumption and fewer emissions because both those translate directly to the consumer market.

So, why not set the limits for each and let the engine manufacturers meet these limits in their own way?


Out of all the engine manufacturers in the world only 4 decide that F1 is the go.Personally I would like to see alot more but with the costs and complexity of these rules it will not happen.Make it simpler and cheaper and who is to say that making a v8 or v10 n/a engine rev to 25 thou is not technologically impressive.


I would like to see rules for an f1 engine to last the entire season. Maybe they f1 can use their need for hi-tech to get that right. Bring back v8 20rpm!


More politically correct speech from these guys. The only relevance F1 cars have to road cars is they both have 4 wheels.


What, your car doesn’t have DRS??


Mine does: It’s called winding up the windows 🙂


Yeah, you can’t even turn the stereo up with the buttons and knobs on a F1 steering wheel.


“We can look back, but should not go back” This was not the case when they had traction control or ABS? why did they go back if it is not advancing technology? Why did they go back when they introduced that amazing qualifying last year?


This is so true. People cling to the V6 hybrids because “we can’t go back.”

But we’ve gone backwards with things like Traction Control, Active Aero, Active Suspension, ABS, tire longevity, race start procedures…..the list of technologies F1 has gone backwards on is nearly endless.

And why was allbthis done? All in the name of the “competition.”

However when it comes to PUs, we must keep beating the “advancement of technology” drum, even if these PUs are the single crystal clear #1 reason F1 is so uncompetitive on track at the moment.

We might as well put these PUs into a shopping cart and call them the “most advanced racing karts of all time.”


Poor honda. Not. Pathetic a massive company like that with – I assume, a proud history would find themselves in a situation like this. Failing twice in F1 despite all their resources.


Since the 50s, who has failed in F1 more times, Ferrari or Honda? Remember when Merc went running with their tail between their legs because they chucked s motor into a full grandstand at Le Mans?

Yup, Honda’s definitely the only company to fail in F1.


Why exactly can we not go back to V8s? Anyone? What’s stopping us from coupling a 15,000 RPM V8 with existing hybrid technologies? We’ll get the magnificent sound back + fuel economy, no?


You wouldn’t get the fuel economy, which is the sticking point. Apparently it’s important, even though nobody has mentioned it since Daniel Richard at the 2014 Australian GP! I agree with your idea though!


That was done. It was V8 with KERS. Drivers controlled it and deployed it.

Then we went to PU and it went all automated. Improvement?

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