From 2013, Formula 1 will switch from the current 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engines with energy recovery systems and fuel restrictions. The move is an attempt to mirror the trend towards fuel-efficiency in road cars and to popularise it, increasing public demand for such engines.
Rob White has moved to allay fears about F1’s current engine roar becoming a GP3-style buzz when the regulations change dramatically in 2013.
Bernie Ecclestone has already expressed his opposition to the new rules on the basis of the engine note, but Renault’s White insists the F1 cars of 2013 will still make noise.
“Motorcycle engines are also at 12,000rpm and sound good,” F1 engine supplier Renault’s technical boss told Auto Motor und Sport.
Mercedes’ Norbert Haug agrees that smaller engines are likely for reasons of consumption and emissions, but warns that high technology needs to remain a crucial focus.
“If you fly from Europe to Japan on a 747, you would use more fuel than an entire F1 season. We need to see the whole picture,” he insisted.
Renault may also be pleased to see the end of the current development ‘freeze’ of the 2.4 litre V8 era, with customers Red Bull constantly complaining they are down on power.
“We do not have the most powerful engine,” admitted White, “but there are other things with the engine that play a role in the laptime.
“For example, the driveability. We have worked hard to perfect the engine characteristics for the drivers,” he added.