FIA explains V6 turbo thinking

The FIA has interviewed itself on the subject of the new turbo V6 rules, and while these things aren’t always very useful, in this case the Q&A does give a good idea of what the governing body was thinking when it agreed to the proposal put by the teams and engine makers.

This is what it has to say:

The World Motor Sport Council voted on 29 June 2011. What did it decide?

Following consultation with the various Formula One stakeholders and the current Formula One engine manufacturers, the WMSC has ratified the adoption of a V6 turbo engine to be used in Formula One from 2014 onwards. This required changes to the regulations initially adopted by the World Council on 3 June 2011. The full regulations applicable to the 2014 season will be published in due course.

Will a V6 use more fuel, or have inferior economy compared with the original proposal?

No. To push the engineers to develop engine efficiency, the technical regulation imposes a fuel flow control. When evolving the regulation to fit with the manufacturers’ new request this parameter has not been changed. Thus the efficiency requirement will be unchanged.

Why has the rev limit been increased from 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm. Is this purely to enhance the sound of a Formula One car?

No. This parameter has been updated from 12000rpm to 15000 rpm to allow engineers more flexibility in power and energy management. However, as a consequence of the new architecture (V6) and the change in rev-limit, the engine will sound different, but will remain representative of Formula One.

Will the increase in rpm alter fuel consumption?

Absolutely not. As mentioned above, the fuel flow limit will stay the same. The technologies are the same and as a consequence any increase in rpm will constrain the engineers to work harder on reducing friction and gaining on engine efficiency. The challenge will be even bigger than originally planned and will therefore enhance the technological lead of Formula One.

Has the FIA retained the energy recover devices originally intended to be used in conjunction with the I4 engine?

Yes, the concept initially presented is respected. All of the technology intended for the I4 is still present. This new power plant will be a dramatic step forward in both fuel efficiency and in energy management.

Will those manufacturers already engaged in the development of a four-cylinder engine face increased costs now they need to redirect their resources toward designing a V6?

To our knowledge, five manufacturers were working on the proposed 4-cylinder engine. They will all need to adapt their project and this will surely involve some additional costs, depending on how advanced each project was. This evolution has been proposed and supported by all four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One.

Why is the introduction of the new generation of engines now being delayed by year?

The decision to delay the introduction until 2014 comes at the request of the four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One. Their request for extra time is linked to the change in architecture but also to ensure their projects are more robust (one of the goals of the project is to enhance engine durability to c.4000km)

Will these energy recovery systems and other efficiency devices ultimately influence the development of road cars?

Yes. The clear need for the automotive industry to reduce emissions means energy management will increasingly become a key factor in the development of more efficient powertrains. Kinetic energy recovery is already applied in Formula One and the introduction of exhaust energy recovery will add another technology route to be explored. Formula One will also return to its role as a developer of turbocharger technology. This research will have real-world benefits, contributing valuable knowledge that will be of use to future road car development.
Combustion engine specifications:

1600cc, V6
15000 rpm max
Direct fuel injection up to 500bar
Single turbocharger
Controlled fuel flow

Energy recovery and storage systems specifications:

Kinetic, 120kW on the rear wheels
Exhaust energy recovery linked to the turbocharger


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19 responses to “FIA explains V6 turbo thinking

  1. BasCB (@Logist_BCB)

    This piece is great, if only to applaud the FIA on communicating with the world!
    Keep up the information flow Todt, it will help a great deal for the general motorsport public.

  2. Mike C

    If the FIA would remove limits on KERS we would see huge advances in battery and other “green” technologies.

  3. Bob

    I still think they risk being slower than Indycars on road/street courses, who will use 2.2L turbo V6’s. 1.6L is too small for what should be the quickest cars in the world and not relevant to top end road cars. Why aren’t they giving a bhp estimate?

    • stt

      You remember that one of the last turbo F1 cars, mainly the McLaren MP4/4, driven by Senna also, had a Honda engine 1.5l V6 with 2 turbos, 1250 hp race-tuned /and capable of a bit more overall/, And that was 22 years ago from now. With current technologies i really doubt 1.6 V6 with single turbo will be slower or worse in any way than any naturally aspirated engine used for the same period.

      • The ’88 cars were boost limited to 2.5 bar so they would make 800 bhp. But before boost was limited from 1987 from 4 bar and then 2.5, a Benetton with BMW 4-cylinder, single-turbo 1.5 l engine allegedly made 1350 hp (source “1000 hp Grand Prix Cars”). So if your point is next year’s F1 cars will be quicker than Indy cars, I agree.

    • Pitmonster

      The last generation of F1 turbo engines were just 1.5 litres but some could produce well over 1000bhp

      IndyCars of the early 90’s were 2.65 litres (turbocharged) but were no more powerful than the smaller capacity F1 turbos, despite having 75% more cubic capacity.

      It all comes down to boost, but the new engines should be just as powerful as the current ones.

    • Geoff

      There is no way that Indy cars will be faster! The downforce levels are completely different and the F1 engines will rev much higher and produce around the same power as the Indy cars and presumably will be lighter than their American counterparts (the chassis, not just engine).

      Indy cars will be quicker on ovals obviously because of the different balance between drag and downforce but not because of the engine regulations.

  4. Pitmonster

    Is ‘single turbocharger’ a typo?

    While that’s a fine layout for an inline-4 surely a twin-turbo layout would be much more logical for a V6, with one for each bank of cylinders?

    Any chance you could check that please?

  5. Stone the crows

    As I recall the 1.6 V6 is supposed to be about 650-700 bhp. The difference in RPM and horsepower with current architecture is supposedly made up by an increase in KWH for the KERS.

  6. Martin,UK

    Bob you do know that the most powerful engines ever in F1 were 1.5l turbo engines don’t you? So capacity isn’t an issue.when it comes to bhp

    Anyways the F1 cars will prob still be faster round road courses because of better cornering, not pure engine performance.

  7. These engines are going to be gutless at lower rpm. In fact, Brundle was saying the current V8s are gutless and very peaky. (and they sound it) 1600cc, that’s about the size of the engine in my motorcycle lol

  8. Funnyname

    Are the engines going to be limited in output power by the “Controlled fuel flow”, or as the statement “from 12000rpm to 15000 rpm to allow engineers more flexibility in power” suggests, not?
    Because the thought of standard output engines sends shivers down my spine ..

    • john g

      Severely limited in output power. The 15000 rpm limit was just to keep fans and circuits happy about the proposed changes. In reality i’d be very surprised if anyone got their engines up that high as the torque curve will just be massively flat (and i think will charge the ERS where torque is not required – you’ll notice that they have dropped the K from KERS). I asked the FIA why they didn’t just want a fuel volume limit for the races, and they replied that teams would increase the power for qualifying. Personally I didn’t see the problem with that!!

      We’re looking at between 600 – 650BHP from the engines, plus 150bhp from electric.

  9. Mark

    Would be nice to see those engines slightly detuned for use in Rally cars as well , I am sure Mr. Loeb wouldn’t mind !

    • niksoft

      Mr Loeb has retired from rally. Also rally cars are 1.6 liter, though inline 4s, their biggest restriction is a 34mm restrictor plate on the intake, and the fact that the casing of the engine has to come from a production engine, so the rally engineers have other sort of problems to solve. For one, they have a different load, F1 track elevation changes may be 300 feet over the circuit and are usually much less, and the cars go 200mph, rally stages can change over 900 feet and cars rarely top 120mph and can easily have 45 degree inclines. F1 cars don’t jump, don’t drive in dust, mud, through water crossings, in freezing rain or snow, at 120F or at -30F. F1 tracks have less than 2 dozen turns, rally stages have much much more, and there are many rally stages, which tend to have a great range of fast flowing and very slow and technical, windy sections, so the crews have to balance torque with power, and since power is heavily restricted at the intake, and there really isn’t a lot of straights to attain really high speeds (or traction for that matter to maintain said high speeds safely), they focus more on torque and reliability. So while the displacement is the same, rally engines rev to 5000-7000 rpm, stage mode idle being around 2000, gives them a 3000 to 5000 rpm running range, and only make 300-350hp, where they need to perform is out of corners, so they run 2.5 bars of pressure, ALS to not loose boost in corners making power immediately available on exit, they stroke the engines increasing compression, change cranks, port intake and exhaust valves, run different cams (typically ones that keep open longer), running fairly rich most likely, and as a result, push over 400ftlbs of torque. And they do this in any condition.

      What i wont argue is ERS, i think it would be interesting to see ERS in rally cars…

      The problem with letting rally cars use 1.6 liter v6 turbo would be the same problem that group b faced, cars will be extremely fast, too fast to handle, I mean they decreased displacement from 2l to 1.6 just a couple of years ago to detune the cars again… Also with the factory casing rule, we would go back to bigger cars again (think going mazda 5 vs mazda 2 currently (not saying mazda races, just making a point))

  10. Monaro800

    15,000 RPM @ 500Bar Fuel Pressure, you can expect 15 to 1 compression or better, the V6 units will produce less top end end of rev range power, but they make up for that (if the FIA approve anti lag later in the year) in tourque, these V6 units will provide superior drive, the units will also be a smaller package, better to balance and weight distribution and most of all aero dynamics.

    F1 Modern Turbo Era, 1500BHP???? Williams tested a 1400HP Turbo Engine many many years ago, this aint backwards step, its F1 doing what F1 does best. RE DEFINING STANDARDS

  11. Paul Barrass

    What a fascinating article. I still don’t understand how a single turbo unit will work well. I just presumed that it would be a biturbo, like most v-turbos that I know of. (If not all…. I can’t offhand think of an engine which is single turbo v layout.) A (very) quick search of the internet is only showing aftermarket units. I know this is an old thread, but there has been recent activity, so wondered if anyone knew of any single turbo v6’s already out there?

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