Under-pressure FIA adopts V6 engine rules

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Under-pressure FIA adopts V6 engine rules

The battle of wills over the future Formula 1 engine rules between Jean Todt on one side and Bernie Ecclestone and the teams on the other has ended in compromise, with both the engine format and the date of its introduction changed. Instead of introducing inline-four turbos in 2013, the sport will now switch to V6 turbo power in 2014, giving the existing V8s two more years of life. The focus on fuel consumption and an expansion of energy recovery technologies such as KERS will remain. The new 1.6-litre engines will have a 15,000rpm limit, Even though all parties had agreed to the original rules, confirmed in December last year, teams and engine manufacturers had

since had second thoughts. Ecclestone added to the debate when he complained consistently that the engines would not sound exciting enough, although many observers regarded his vocal opposition as part of a bigger

political game with Todt. The FIA president had insisted the rules would not be changing, although he left the door open by saying he

would listen to the arguments. Justifying the change, the governing body said the move to a V6 and a higher rev limit has created a bigger challenge for engine makers to meet unchanged fuel

consumption requirements. The manufacturers are happier with the V6 formula, not least Ferrari. Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said the inline-four was of no interest to Ferrari, and while it doesn’t have a V6 in its current model range, the format does have a history at Maranello. Company sources haven’t ruled out a V6 turbo

road car in the future. “Clearly there has been a lot of discussion about the future of engines and it is healthy now for Fl to point forward to 2014 having all parties agreed to the new regulations,” said McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh. “There was some desire to increase the number of cylinders, to increase the rpm, to stipulate a single turbo, and all those measures were about

enhancing the sound. “Everyone is aware, and we have made sure that the engineers developing these regulations are aware, that the very visceral engine

notes are important to Fl.” “Fl ended up making the right decision,” said Red Bull’s Christian Homer. “The V6 is a far better engine to install in a car. Hopefully

they will sound great.” No customer teams have confirmed deals for the turbo era — indeed for many 2013 is still up for negotiation — and it remains to be seen whether Renault can still supply four

teams in the new era. As for the independent suppliers, Cosworth is down to just Virgin and HRT for 2012, but the company is adamant that it is excited about the V6 format and will

be ready to compete. Craig Pollock, who is trying to get his new PURE company off the ground,

was frustrated by the delay. He insists that not only would he have had a four cylinder ready for 2013, but that he could have readied a

V6 in the same timespan. Adam Cooper