With F1 engine regulations further handicapping 1.5-litre turbocharged engines in 1988 (their last year before naturally-aspirated engines become mandatory in 1989), an increasing number of leading teams plan to take the non-turbo route from the start of next season, axing costly turbo development programmes to make their engines run competitively on 2.5-bar boost and 150-litres of fuel.
Amongst those taking the long-term view is Ferrari, traditionally a pacemaker when it comes to new regulations, Williams and possibly Benetton — leaving two Honda teams, McLaren and Lotus, as possibly the sole front-line turbo teams next year.
Ferrari has a 3.5-litre V12 under development, to be installed in a brand new John Barnard-designed chassis, while Williams will be using the 3.5-litre V8 developed by Rugby engine specialist John Judd (possibly a medium term expedient); Benetton will almost certainly run a specially-prepared Cosworth DFZ equipped with a five-valve cylinder head on an exclusive basis.
Meanwhile, Honda’s original V10 naturally-aspirated programme has received a few technical set-backs and the definitive non-turbo engine will not be ready until next season. That puts quite a load on the McLaren and Lotus development programmes, as both teams may well be faced with the problem of developing cars for two different engines during the course of the year.