If all goes according to plan, Formula One stands to lose its loud, distinctive 2.4 liter V8 growl. A decision has been made to switch to V6’s but will be tuned to deliver the same power as the current V8’s which is around 750bhp. The whole point of this change is to make Formula One race a more environment friendly affair. Many have criticized F1 for racing inefficient fuel guzzling cars. The change of engine to a smaller one aims to cut down the use of fuel and reduce emissions as well.
Many people have been against this move, including F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone who said that it would result in the sport becoming less exciting and make a less dramatic noise. Many of the circuits that hold the races in a season, have also voiced their concern about this radical change stating that this move will result in a drop of spectator numbers, reducing source of income.
After receiving a letter from some of the tracks expressing their views, FIA have decided to increase the rev limit from proposed 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm.About 600bhp of the 750bhp produced by the engines will come from the six-cylinder single-turbo engine itself, with the rest being provided by energy storage and power-boost systems. Usually these are called Kerbs system now, which will be increased in the 2014 season from the current 60kw to 120kw power. This will increase the fuel efficiency of the cars by a large factor. Apart from a smaller engine, the fuel flow will be limited and a maximum capacity will be introduced for each race. In subsequent years, compounding, a new turbocharging technology may be introduced.
In the mid-nineties and very early twentieth century, F1 cars were powered by a massive 3.5L V12. During this time cars produced power ranging between 800bhp tp over 900bhp. The speeds that the cars then could achieve then were incredible. It was a time when in a race record lap times were set and broken, apart from providing a thrilling race. Cars then touched rev limits between 17,000rpm to over 19,000rpm. But with all this power and oomph under the hood, reliability of the car was a huge issue. One could witness many engine blow outs during that time which also added to the excitement of the race outcome.
Then towards the start of the twenties, the cars shifted to a smaller and more reliable V10 engines.In 2005, the rule stated that the 3.0 L V10 engine may have no more than 5 valves per cylinder.Also, the FIA introduced new regulations limiting each car to one engine per two Grand Prix weekends, putting the emphasis on increased reliability and decreased power output.In 2006 season FIA introduced the 2.4L V8 engines and had a rev limit for the teams that could not make the change into a V8 but continued with a V10 from the previous season.For 2007 the engine specification was frozen to keep development costs down.
As the world gets more and more concerned about its natural resources and the impact of the burning of hydrocarbons on the environment,this change has come more as a means to show Formula One as a sport, doing its bit, ready to change and adapt to the changing world. This may be a good sign, but it kills the real essence of motor sport. There was a certain charm about F1, which seems missing now, most of it cause of its loud roaring engines that had a certain growl like that of a Lion to pronounce its domination in the jungle.