Bernie Ecclestone has for sometime disapproved of Formula 1 adopting the FiA’s “world engine”. You know, the one that is a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine to be used in racing. I mean why not? A four cylinder that is green and pushes the FiA’s green initiative would be perfect. The engine is already used in the World Rally Championship and it runs well. Even sounds good for the rally cars. Compare that to the loud and over stressed naturally aspirated 2.0 used by IRC and SWRC (that sounds like a pissed off swarm of bees) and it is music to the ears. Drivers have praised the engines performance and power to this point. So why would Bernie Ecclestone and now the almighty Ferrari disapprove? Simple…it is not Formula 1.
Formula 1 has been known for its loud engine and ridiculous horsepower numbers. I remember the first time I heard the Ferrari V-10 go by at Indianapolis. I literally had tears of joy streaming down my face. I had never heard such beautiful music (never got the chance for the V-12). I remember the level of disappointment I felt when the decision was made to go with the V-8 option as well. I thought that it was no way big enough for F1 and was pleasantly surprised that it went over pretty well. However, moving to a turbocharged four cylinder is crossing that line in the sand that you DO NOT cross.
While I understand that times do change, and the world we live in is changing for the greener; I cannot allow one of my favorite forms of motorsport to change with it. I cannot allow the reason I fell in love with F1 to be nothing more than an overpowered rally engine. I like Formula 1 not only because of the posh and ritzy glamor, I like it because it is noise. It is loud and the cars that run in it are meant to be powerful as well. While modern technology is seeing ridiculous horsepower out of turbocharged four cylinder engines, I do not agree that is a reason to move the pinnacle of motorsport to that power plant.
Formula 1 is the realm in which manufacturers bring out all the stops. It is the pinnacle of not only open wheel racing, but all of motorsport. Manufacturers that enter should bring top of the line equipment to the dance and really show their ability to engineer. It doesn’t even make business sense for a team like Ferrari as they have no four cylinder cars in production. McLaren also has no four cylinder cars at the moment. You are now asking the manufacturer to go out of their way to produce a whole new engine for F1. Why would they do that? It does not make business sense at all. The only team that would even remotely agree to the engine platform is Renault. That is obvious as a majority of their cars are four cylinder or will have a hybrid/turbo version of the engine eventually. Even then, they are one brand out of four. Formula 1 is not all completely about road relevance. If you want that to be your business focus, then go to rally. Formula 1 is about power and cutting edge technology on these massive lumps that propel the cars. My friends, Formula 1 is about bringing your biggest, baddest, and fastest technology to the track. This move I am afraid will only hurt F1 as a brand. It tarnishes the now gimmicky spirit of the series, and for that reason I cannot support this move at all.
One Thought to “F1 – Bernie/Ferrari: No World Engine…I Agree”
I agree fully. I’m all for green power for street cars all over the world. I am also having multiple racing series that help to develop and perfect the technology to produce them. However, I am also in favor of having a couple of top-tier series that are still about providing the best racing technologies that the current state of engineering can provide without artifical limitations. I don’t care if they are gas guzzlers with obscene horsepower numbers. We need to know how a far racing technology can take us.
F1 and Indycar are the series that need to carry the truly badass technologies forward. They have pretty much no relationship to production technologies anyway (outside of $750,000 status symbols that only about 100 people in the world own anyway). Its not like 50 cars running a combined 40 races per year are going to have any significant environmental impact. Let them loose! I want 900 horsepower monsters running around Indy again. I want to see a true arms race in F1 again, with each team pushing itself and its competitors to the very limit of technology. That’s fun and interesting. And it has a place in the world.
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