Today in Paris, the FIA and F1 announced a roadmap for its , which have the aim of increasing volume and decreasing cost. F1 will stick with 1.6-liter hybrid V6s, but the sport's governing body will take measures to reduce complexity, ideally leveling the playing field between current and future suppliers.
To discourage early development of 2021 powerplants, full technical information won't be released until the end of 2018. However, the FIA and F1 outlined a handful of key features of the 2021 power unit today, which are quoted below:
- 1.6 Liter, V6 Turbo Hybrid.
- 3000 rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound.
- Prescriptive internal design parameters to restrict development costs and discourage extreme designs and running conditions.
- Removal of the MGU-H.
- More powerful MGU-K with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing.
- Single turbo with dimensional constraints and weight limits.
- Standard energy store and control electronics.
- High Level of external prescriptive design to give ‘Plug-And-Play’ engine/chassis/transmission swap capability.
- Intention to investigate tighter fuel regulations and limits on number of fuels used.
Currently, F1 engines spin up to 15,000 rpm, whereas older, much-loved V8s and V10s topped out at nearly 20,000 rpm, creating an incredible shriek that defined the sport. An increased rev limiter isn't a replacement for adding cylinders, but it could help sweeten the sound of F1's V6s.
The removal of the MGU-H (electric turbocharger) is interesting too. The FIA and F1 clearly want to put more emphasis on KERS systems, which harvest heat energy otherwise lost by braking, and deploy it for a power boost. With drivers now required to lean more on this electric boost, it seems like the sport is trying to encourage more passing.
These new regulations show that F1 is trying really hard to get more engine suppliers into the sport. Porsche is reportedly interested in F1 now that its WEC program is over, and both Aston Martin and Cosworth have gone on-the-record saying that they too might join the party in 2021.
Now that the FIA and F1 have outlined their 2021 power unit roadmap, meetings between the sport's governing body, and both current and potential future engine suppliers will commence. With any hope, these engine regulations will push the sport in the right direction.