Formula One speeds towards radical thousand-horsepower shakeup
The teams, the drivers, the fans, the circuits... few, if any, were satisfied with how Formula One has shaped up since the current regulations took hold last year. But that doesn't mean they aren't working on it.
At a recent meeting of the F1 Strategy Group, the leading parties in the sport outlined a new framework that would radically shake up the cars themselves while keeping costs in check. And the biggest change could see the engines producing around 1,000 horsepower.
Although a proposal put forth by Ferrari to ditch the current V6 hybrid engines in favor of new twin-turbocharged units was rejected by Honda and Mercedes, the members of the group approved in principal to increase the fuel flow in the existing engines to dramatically boost output. As it stands, the current 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engines develop around 600 horsepower, with an additional 160 or so kicked in by the electric Energy Recovery System, for a combined output of about 760 hp. What's not clear at the moment is whether the increased fuel flow would necessitate either the return of mid-race refueling (currently banned) or the installation of larger fuel tanks.
Red Bull and McLaren also submitted proposals to radically redesign the shape of the cars as well, however a more evolutionary approach was adopted instead. Though far from finalized, the new design would keep the same basic form of the current chassis, but with adjustments to make them more aesthetically pleasing while producing more downforce. Wider tires are also said to be part of the mix. With more power and more grip from the tires and aero, the resulting cars would most certainly end up going much faster than the current ones, which are already starting to nudge the lap records at some of the circuits, many of which were set during the V10 era.
The F1 Strategy Group is made up of representatives of the FIA, Formula One Management and six leading teams. The next step will be for the teams' technical directors to iron out how to implement what their bosses have agreed to. If they settle the details fast enough, the revised regulations could be pushed through in time for next season.
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