TODT WANTS ENGINE CHANGE
Meetings this week to find cost-cutting solutions for F1
FIA president Jean Todt is expecting positive news of the future of Formula 1 engines this week after holding crunch talks with motor manufacturers.
Todt was due to meet with F1 manufacturers Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari on Monday and Tuesday of this week as Motorsport News closed for press. The meeting represented the deadline for the brands to put forward new solutions to tackle the cost, supply and performance of the current power units going forward.
The current engines are believed to cost in the region of 20million euro (£15million) per season and, since the established manufacturers voted down the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone’s suggestions of bringing in a budget unit as an alternative, Todt set the current suppliers the task of finding ways to change things.
“I want to put people in front of their responsibility,” said Todt at last week’s Autosport International Show. “I asked engine manufacturers to come back on some proposals to address some of my concerns over the powertrain. I am unsatisfied with the situation for clear reasons, we will see what will be the next steps.
“Let’s try and be optimistic and hope we are discussing with sensible people who understand the problem and who participate to solve the problem. I hope positive steps have been taken.”
One, smaller area of Todt’s concern is with the noise of the current V6 power units.
Last year, the World Motor Sport Council approved changes to the exhaust system to add a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe to duct gases and create extra volume.
Williams’ Pat Symonds said he hoped cars would be up to 25 per cent louder this year.
“In the past everyone has run wastegate pipes into the main [exhaust] tailpipe of the engine but we have to separate them this year,” he said. “Before, we had a pipe joining the turbo wastegate to the main exhaust, which acted like a silencer. Getting rid of that will make it louder.
“With the wastegate closed you’ll perceive it at around 14 perc ent louder, but with it open it’ll actually be 20-25 per cent louder, so quite significant.
“We haven’t heard the cars on circuit yet, but I think we may hear a few of the old signature noises from the turbos, the whistles and the pops – but we will have to wait and see.”
New rules doubt
Another area of discussion will centre on the new technical rules for 2017.
The sport’s heads want to make cars up to five seconds per lap faster by adding bigger tyres, more power and different aerodynamics.
However, in the last eight months since the plans were tabled, many of the radical changes have reduced to make them more feasible.
Symonds added: “We now have a car that is two metres wide and has larger tyres – 300mm front, 400mm rear – it has an attractive look to it but the bodywork was meant to be 1800mm and has come down to 1400mm, which is what we have now. “It was going to have a very big diffuser, but that has been made smaller and is basically the same as now. In fact the underbody of the car is very similar. “We still have more freedom around the front bargeboard area, but it’s a bit of a halfway house from the original proposal.”