F1 to Replace Turbo Engines With a Cheaper, Noisier Power Unit


Jean Todt. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

A plan is in motion for Formula 1‘s current turbocharged hybrid power unit to be replaced with a cheaper but noisier alternative from 2021.

FIA president Jean Todt held a meeting in Paris on Friday that was attended by the current manufacturers and a number of external representatives. The group discussed what direction the sport should take in the future in regards to the permitted power unit.

An agreement was reached during the meeting that will most likely result in the current turbocharged hybrid units being abandoned. Although any final decision will be as a result of years of discussions, the FIA has stated that a broad agreement on long-term goals had been drafted.

The engines are to become simpler in design and cheaper to manufacture. They will have a meatier sound and high power output. There is also a ‘desire to allow drivers to drive harder at all times‘, possibly in reference to a move away from the current fuel limitations.

I was very pleased with the process, and the fact that so many different stakeholders were able to agree on a direction for the FIA F1 world championship in such an important technical area,” Todt said.

Now we must sit down and work through the fine details of exactly what the 2021 power units will be.

“But we have begun on the right foot, and I am looking forward to working through the process to come up with the best decision for Formula 1 into the future.”

  • Adrian Locke

    Todts crazy experiment has cost F1 dearly, both in teams and fans lost.
    Bernie was correct when he warned about the noise of the Hybrids!

  • Johnny Higgs

    ……………… but for christs sake , dont take years about it !

  • Salvu Borg

    “Bernie was correct” now that the last part of the one half cancer of F1 is gone most of F1’s problems followed him out the door.

  • Roger Flerity

    Nothing in the statement from the FIA indicates it is abandoning turbos or hybrid components. Construing from the statement that “simpler” means NA engines with no hybrid components is wistful thinking by those who would have F1 roll back reality to serve some romantic ideal of the sport. Simpler could mean fewer controls on fuel use and more standardization of the PU components to create a more uniform approach similar to what happened in the V8 era. More noise might simple come from smaller turbos on larger engine displacement, or other method, with no fundamental change in the core platform at all. There will be no return to shouty NA V10’s or V8’s, as that would cause an exodus of interested manufacturers, which would likely end in a single engine spec series similar to F2 now, or a limited 2 engine series like Indy – neither holding the attention of enthusiasts and fans like F1. I personally do not believe the hype that the current PU spec has lost a single fan. Motor sport attendance has been down across the board, while F1 has enjoyed a growth in profit that eclipses all others. The move to pay TV, the high cost of tickets and weekend attendance, the spreading out of racing to distant countries, and the procession racing caused by the artificial tire degradation coupled with a stupid system that limited PU development for teams to catch the leader for 3 seasons – now that has all been costly.