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Formula 1's current engine technology "too incredible"

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Formula 1's current engine technology "too incredible"
By:
Jun 1, 2019, 8:23 AM

Racing Point technical director Andrew Green believes the current Formula 1 engines are "too incredible" and reckons the sport could benefit from a simpler power unit.

The current hybrid V6s that were introduced in 2014 have been labelled as an "incredible piece of engineering," the Mercedes power unit becoming the most efficient-ever racing engine by breaking the 50 percent thermal efficiency barrier.

The normally-aspirated F1 engines that preceded the hybrids had a reported 29 percent efficiency.

But Green, whose Racing Point team runs Mercedes engines, feels the technology of the current powerplants is too sophisticated.

"I think what we have now is an incredible piece of engineering in the back of the car," said Green. "But it could just be too incredible.

"I think what we have is potentially something where the technology bar of the power unit is just way too high and I think I would like to see something that is just slightly simpler. That's my view.

"I think I'd never say no to more horsepower. I think the sport can't have enough horsepower. We need to make the cars harder to drive. I think more power; a simpler power unit. That's where I would be going."

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he would also welcome a return to the high-revving engines of previous years, but admits his view might be too "romantic" as the push for greener, more efficient technology continues.

"Emotionally, a normally-aspirated, high-revving V10 or V12 engine would be a wonderful thing to have back in Formula 1, but unfortunately I think they're rather outdated now," Horner said.

"I think as Andy was saying, the technology in these engines is phenomenal. We've now got a period of stability with the engines until 2023 I think or 2024, so it's important that Formula 1 makes the right decision for the future.

"Obviously the automotive sector is moving an awful lot at the moment and what technologies are going to relevant then?

"Because when that engine comes in in 2025 that's going to have to be for a five to 10-year period, so we're actually talking up to 2035, which is a long way down the pipeline.

"The romantic in me says go back – loud, noise, high revs, normally-aspirated."

Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul conceded the idea of returning to normally-aspirated engines was too optimistic for Formula 1, even though he says the highly-efficient power unit currently used is "less exciting".

"The romantic in me would say the same thing, but obviously in 2025 the world will be different, that's for sure," Abiteboul said.

"Clearly we need more power and sustainable power and long races, but there will be new forms of fuel coming up in the next few years, whether you are talking about more bio-fuel, so a different composition, or even synthesis fuel, coming from non-fossil sources, that could be attractive and that would require new development.

"So, probably the way forwards. Less exciting, obviously, than a very high-revving, normally-aspirated engine, but still probably the way forward if we want to be relevant, not just to car makers, but to society."

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Series Formula 1
Author Pablo Elizalde