Red Bull situation prompts call for V8 return in 2016

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Formula 1 has had two different engine formats in the past. Turbo’s running against normally aspirated engines for example. The WEC at Le Mans has multiple types from hybrid to normally aspirated as well and that is gauged by the Balance of Power restrictions the sport establishes.

According to a report at Motorsport, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone may be trying to force an engine change for as early as 2016 as he attempts to solve the Red Bull Racing (RBR) situation. It seems that Ecclestone, who has never been a fan of the current hybrid engine format, is seeking another engine alternative for RBR. Something akin to the Cosworth engine supply and possible a V8 or another 3.5 V6 turbo with a more traditional KERS component.

The article goes on to suggest that it could simply be a ploy to get Ferrari to supply RBR because neither they nor Mercedes would want some teams to run a  much cheaper alternative having spent millions and millions on their hybrid power units. Now would the FIA support any move because they are not about to admit they got it all wrong with the turbo hybrid format (so their pride is killing F1 then?).

Why not have a multi-format series? If teams can’t afford these flatulent hybrid power units, why not allow Sauber, Force India and Manor to engage a V8 restricted or a V6 turbo with simple KERS to compete? Oh…and that would bring the “noise” back to F1 too.

That is one element of WEC that I do like and while the Balance of Power (BoP) is not perfect, it is really good and I like the race-what-you-brung sort of vibe of the series. Even their hybrid systems have seen three different approaches to the technology with Toyota, Porsche and Audi. It seems like F1 could determine a similar system.

I’m sure it would be challenging but hell I’d piss on a spark plug at this point if it could get F1 back to competitiveness and real racing. The elephant in the room are these new engines. They’ve killed teams, costs jobs and I say let the alternative engine market flourish in F1 so privateers can compete with manufacturers who spend millions on their road-relevant hybrid tech. The privateers have no road cars to build and have no interest in road relevance so let them have a format that is 100% focused on racing at an affordable price. Far easier to allow an alternative engine format than re-negotiate all those contracts in order to give the small teams more of the prize money.

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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longshot

The big question here is whether Todt’s on board. The Auto Motor Und Sport article implied that he might be, as he recognizes the threat to F1 if RB leaves. And unless I’m mistaken, if he joins force with Bernie they can outvote the teams on the Strategy Group. Then it gets more complex – the F1 Commission votes, then if that passes the FIA World Motor Sport Council has an extraordinary vote via fax, of all things. I have no idea whether Bernie and Todt would have the numbers to quickly force it through those bodies as well –… Read more »

Yeti

I think, because this is a rule change for 2016 all teams must agree to this before it gets passed to the WMSC.

longshot

Hmm, I was under the impression that the 2016 season & onwards only requires majority votes to pass the strategy group, not unanimity.

Wahoo

Agree 100%. “I say let the alternative engine market flourish in F1 so privateers can compete with manufacturers who spend millions on their road-relevant hybrid tech. The privateers have no road cars to build and have no interest in road relevance so let them have a format that is 100% focused on racing at an affordable price. Far easier to allow an alternative engine format than re-negotiate all those contracts in order to give the small teams more of the prize money.”

Brantly

Would it be too much to say that this may be what Red Bull wanted all along? Wouldn’t they be at an advantage returning to old form such as when the sport ran the V8s BTW “hell I’d piss on a spark plug at this point if it could get F1 back to competitiveness and real racing” was hilarious and 100% agreed.

Patrick Chapman

I take it he meant while the engine is running. What a rush.

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

Great post. Agreed 100%. I also think it is a play by Bernie to get Ferrari to supply them.

F1Racer

It would be nice to hear the V8’s again, but having them back in 2016 will NOT happen. No way. They could pencil it in for 2017 I suppose. So while this is a nice story, it’s got no swing behind it.

MIE

Why limit to V8’s?
V10’s or V12’s would increase the variety of sound from the various cars.

F1Racer

Those won’t return.

charlie white

I thought the latest draft of the 2016 Sporting Regulations would not allow anyone to use previous year older specification engines for 2016. If approved as law, that would shut the door on any aspect of running older V8s w/ KERS or even 2015 Mercedes or Ferrari power.

Patrick Chapman

V8’s for 2016? It might be on Red Bulls wish list but I can’t see it becoming a reality. Red Bull might have some gearboxes in stock from the V8 era but where are the engines going to come from? As far as I know the engines were leased from the manufacturers and had to be returned at the end of each season. (can somebody confirm this or correct me) and I doubt Renault are going to haul out old engines and supply them to Red Bull. So where then? I doubt it would be in the interest of Ferrari… Read more »

Negative Camber

As much as I may or may not like to see this, I think it’s a long shot however, it could be decent leverage. Speaking of longshot: This linked article implies that Todt would be against it for having egg on the face over hybrids, interesting that Auto Moto says otherwise. I would tend to agree with Motorsport on the Todt front, I don’t think he’d like to admit that being green nearly killed F1. As for Ferrari, Mercedes & Honda, I say the answer is really quite simple. You invest in F1 with hybrid tech because that’s been championed… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

If it comes down to a choice between the goose-killers and the money-makers, I’ll take the egg-on-face like a man and tell the goose-killers where they can go. It should be simple enough to split F1 into a works division and a privateer division and let the chips fall where they may.

Tom Firth

Using the WEC as an example is great when comparing Hybrid technology mixed with different engine configurations, but the FIA/ACO made a fairly terrible job of balancing normally aspirated cars with Hybrids … now the situation in WEC is different to that in F1, obviously as F1 privateers have far larger amounts of investment, and team size at the disposal so it could work but I wouldn’t say copy the WEC model on balancing Hybrid/non Hybrid. The other problem with BOP is the amount of arguments it would inevitably create, especially in F1. It’s not exactly happy families between the… Read more »

longshot

Yep there’d be a lot of public arguments, but arguments mean publicity and, (for those of us who like F1 soap operas), entertainment!

peter riva

Do you and all F1 fans realize the depth of chagrin in this statement (so true): “…I’d piss on a spark plug at this point if it could get F1 back to competitiveness and real racing.”

Schmorbraten

Red Bull has done a huge lot for F1 over decades now. Mercedes and Ferrari shying away from supplying their only real competitor is way more prissy than anything Red Bull could (or did) come up with. I really want Red Bull to **** the **** out of Mercedes and Ferrari next year because of that. Is it really too much to ask to look for a competitive engine these days? Why aren’t the manufacturers required to supply anyone who wants their engines? What that says is that the FIA is ok with having only manufacturer teams going for titles.… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

I take it that you’ve never seen this sign in a restaurant before: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

Coji

This could solve multiple problems. RBR gets an engine, we get a more simple format for teams to develop, us fans will see a greater variation between strategies and application per circuit, and no more 35 place grid penalties! Yeah getting 35 places is no different than starting from the rear, but at least the rule will be amended. We’d have to get rid of it if some teams are using three components compared to five or six.