Category Archives: Technical

F1 technical regulation changes for 2014 season

The FIA has released the technical regulations for the 2014 season, with innovative changes regarding the cars’ actions in the pit lane.

For a start, the cars will only be allowed to run on electrical power while in the pit lane, with no ignition or fuel supply to be engaged in the pits. Here is the breakdown of the changes:

Pit lane adjustments

As previously stated, one of the larger changes will be the introduction of electric-only F1 cars in the pit lane.

Self-starting motors will be mandatory on all cars, meaning that stalled cars can continue racing, as they will restart without outside assistance. This of course applies to stalls both in the pit lane and out on track.

Two energy recovery units

For the first time in motorsport, two different energy recovery units will be used at the same time. KERS will now be joined by the ability to recover energy from exhaust heat.

The KERS unit will not remain the same, however. Its power output will double, with 120kW being available.

It is currently unknown how much power the exhaust recovery unit will produce.

Expected engine changes

As expected, the engine in a Formula 1 car will undergo drastic changes. As previously reported, 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engines will be used. The turbocharger must be inside the “V” of the engine (the 90 degree angle “V” shape remains for the engine), while the exhausts must be outside of the engine “V” area.

RPM output will be restriced to 15,000rpm, as opposed to the current 18,000 rpm.

A fuel flow limit will be introduced, restricting cars to 100kg/h (kilograms per hour). This goes with the FIA’s intentions to reduce dependency on fuel for the sport.

Weight and front wing adjustments

The minimum weight of the cars will be increased again – from 640kg to 660kg. This coincides with the much larger KERS and new exhaust recovery units, also taking into mind the reduction in engine size.

There will also be a minimum weight for all power units (engine, KERS, exhaust recovery) – 155kg. In previous years, only the engine was set a minimum limit of 95kg.

Current-generation “snowplough” front wings will become smaller, from 1,800mm wide to 1,650mm. This means that the front wing will no longer be wider than the width of the main car.

Eighth forward gear added

2014 will see 8-speed gearboxes in F1 for the first time. No fewer gears will be allowed.

The FIA also notes that:

"Each competitor must nominate the forward gear ratios (calculated from engine
crankshaft to drive shafts) to be employed within their gearbox. These
nominations must be declared to the FIA technical delegate at or before the
first Event of the Championship. For 2014 only, a competitor may re-nominate
these ratios once within the Championship season, in which case the original
nomination becomes immediately void. Ratio re-nominations must be declared as
a set and may only be effected by the substitution of change gears."

Williams to use Renault engines from 2012

The coveted Renault RS27-2011 engine which Williams will use next year

The coveted Renault RS27-2011 engine which Williams will use next year

Williams F1 have announced that they will switch to using Renault engines from the start of the 2012 season.

This will cause quite the case of nostalgia for the sport’s more experienced fans, as the last time Williams and Renault teamed up were the glory days of 1989-1997. In this time, the team won 5 constructor’s titles and 4 driver’s championships.

This new deal will cover 2012 and 2013. With the engine regulation change set for 2014, talks are already underway to extend the contract past this time.

Frank Williams has stated:

We are delighted and excited by our new partnership with Renault. This reunites the 
F1 team with a leading car manufacturer and complements our new relationship with 

At the same time, we are grateful to Cosworth: they have been a fair and reliable 
partner both on and off the track for the past two years and we look forward to 
working with them across our business in the future.

Our previous relationship with Renault was one of the most successful in Williams’ 
history but we will not allow ourselves to dwell too much on the past.

We must look to the future and continue to re-build our on-track reputation, which 
I am hopeful that today’s announcement will help us to do.

Apart from Williams themselves, who will now use the same power plant as world champions Red Bull, the biggest winner here is Renault. The French manufacturer will now supply engines to 4 teams next year, a third of the entire grid.

On the other hand, Cosworth have now been dealt a huge blow, with Virgin and HRT now their only customers, which will do them no good for their image.

Over the last few years, it has been believed that Renault have been allowed to make minor modifications to their engine package, despite the engine freeze since 2008. These changes were to balance the power output between their engines and those of Mercedes.

However, since the refuelling ban last year, it has emerged that the Renault engine is much more conservative in terms of fuel efficiency. It is claimed that teams with Renault engines can run with 10kg less fuel than their rivals (excluding modifications which increase fuel consumption, such as hot blown diffusers).

FIA explain V6 decision in Q&A

The recent announcement of a 1.6 litre V6 engine by the FIA has not been universally commended, with many questioning the benefits of such a change.

With this in mind, the FIA have released a Q&A session, in which they explain the thinking behind the engine regulation change, as well as state the detailed engine specifications:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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)

8. 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 turbo-charger 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

FIA approves V6 engines for 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

The FIA has today approved the change in engine regulations for the 2014 season.

The move will see the sport switch from 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engines to more efficient 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 power units.

It has also been confirmed that this new engine formula will feature several energy recovery units, though this detail has yet to be elaborated on.

The last time turbocharged engines were used in F1 was back in 1988.

A statement issued today from the FIA reads as follows:

"Following a fax vote by its members, the World Motor Sport Council has ratified the
engine regulations recently drawn up in consultation with the main stakeholders in
Formula 1.

“he new power plant will be a V6 1.6 turbo unit with energy recovery systems. This
new formula will come into effect as from the start of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world
championship season."

It has been revealed that the original push for 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines, which was rejected several  days ago, was being put forward by Audi, a prospective engine supplier to F1 teams from 2013 onwards.

The switch to efficient turbocharged engines is not a surprise, considering the FIA has been keen to improve the “green” aspect of the sport in recent times. It is currently unknown how this regulation change will affect total power output, but it is expected that the energy recovery systems (KERS, exhaust gas recovery units) will compensate for any loss in engine power.

Update: The FIA has confirmed today that these new engines will use a 15,000 rpm rev limiter.

F1 to delay new engine rules until 2014

Formula 1 looks set to delay new engine formula

Formula 1 looks set to delay a new engine formula

Formula 1 chiefs have today agreed to postpone the introduction of new engine regulations, which were due to be enforced in 2013.

The original plan was to use 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines, with turbochargers and various energy recovery units featuring. However, after mixed opinions from engine manufacturers, the FIA has agreed to change the new regulations, and delay them for a further year.

The new plan is to use 1.6 litre V6 engines, but still retaining the “green” technology that the FIA has been keen to introduce. Turbochargers are expected to remain as well.

While this change will not be enforced for some time, it has already been approved by the F1 Commission, which is made up of the teams and other of the sport’s representatives. The regulation change will now go to a vote at the World Motor Sport Council.

Mercedes and Cosworth were concerned about the cost of developing new engines, while Ferrari disagreed with the proposal of 4-cylinder engines. Only Renault was in favour of the original plan, however they have since agreed to the new engine formula.

Longer lasting medium tyre to be tested in Canada

Pirelli's medium tyre will be tested in Canada and debuted in Valencia

Pirelli's medium tyre will be tested in Canada and debuted in Valencia

Pirelli’s revised medium compound tyre will be available for testing by the teams in Canada next weekend.

Friday Practice sessions 1 and 2 will see the first running of the medium tyre in 2011 (in an official session). This compound was originally tested in Valencia in February testing, but was dropped after complaints of heavy wear after a few laps.

In the actual race in Canada, Pirelli will bring the soft and super-softs. Valencia will see the debut of the medium tyre, alongside the super-soft. Britain will see the hard tyre used in Spain return, as well as the soft compound.

The objective of this new medium tyre is to keep the same performance as the original mediums, but with a longer life.

Compounds used so far in 2011 race-by race:

Option Prime
Australia Soft Hard
Malaysia Soft Hard
China Soft Hard
Turkey Soft Hard
Spain Soft Hard
Monaco Super-soft Soft
Valencia Super-soft Medium
Great Britain Soft Hard

FIA make changes to blown diffuser rules

The exhaust blown diffuser has been limited by the FIA

The exhaust blown diffuser has been limited by the FIA

The FIA has informed all F1 teams of changes to the technical regulations concerning blown diffusers, which will come into effect at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

One of the main points of development for the teams this year has been the blown diffuser, which channels exhaust gases onto the diffuser, which initially only brought downforce benefits while the driver was on the throttle.

However, several teams, particularly Red Bull, have been believed to have exploited the blown diffuser, by allowing the system to work even while the throttle is not being used. A constant flow of gas through the exhaust system is rumoured to be the cause for this.

This is the innovation that the FIA will soon ban. They have written to all the teams, instructing them that the use of the throttle is only to increase torque, not for aerodynamic performance.

If any team is caught to evade this ruling, they will have broken Article 3.15 of the technical regulations, which bans movable aerodynamic pieces or devices.

McLaren believe that this exploitation may be the key to Red Bull’s scintillating qualifying pace, so it will be interesting to see how Vettel and Webber perform in Barcelona this weekend.

Update: The FIA has decided not to go ahead with this regulation for this weekend, after several “unforeseen and unintended consequences” were brought to their attention. However, they are planning to move ahead with the new ruling as soon as possible.

Shorter DRS zone for Turkey

The DRS zone for the Turkish Grand Prix

The DRS zone for the Turkish Grand Prix

The FIA have set the DRS activation zone for the Turkish Grand Prix.

While a specific figure has not yet been announced for the activation point, it appears to be much shorter than in previous races.

The detection zone, where cars must be within 1 second of the car ahead, is in the braking zone of Turn 9. The DRS device can be deployed just before Turn 11, a right-handed kink on the main straight.

DRS zone is 900 metres for China

Availability of the DRS system in China

Availability of the DRS system in China

The FIA have announced that drivers will only be able to use the Drag Reduction System on the back straight for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.

Being the longest straight of the year at 1170 metres though, they have also taken measures to restrain the system. Therefore, the zone for enabling the DRS system is 902 metres.

The rear wing device can now be activated several hundred metres after the long Turn 13. The detection zone – whether a car is within 1 second of the car ahead – is at the very start of the long right hander, Turn 12.

As usual, the DRS is free to use in practice and qualifying. However, it will be deactivated at any point during the weekend if the car using it is on intermediate or extreme wet tyres.

1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines confirmed for 2013

The FIA has confirmed the new specification of Formula 1 engines to be used from the 2013 season onwards.

The current 2.4 litre V8s will be replaced with 1.6 litre 4-cylinder power plants. They will be assisted by high-powered injection, up to 500 bar. The engine rev limit has been reduced to 12,000 rpm.

The number of engines each driver can use will be brought down to 5. From 2014 onwards, this will be reduced to 4 per year.

The FIA claim that these new engines will deliver up to 35% reduction in fuel consumption, while providing the same amount of power (currently around 800 hp).Energy recovery systems and energy management will also be introduced, hinting that the FIA is looking at exhaust gases recovery systems to team up with the KERS unit used at the moment.