With no manufacturers currently interested in creating a power unit, Formula 1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn concedes that there will not be any new manufacturers until the rules change in 2026.
The current power unit regulations are scheduled to be in place through 2025, and Brawn hopes that new power unit specifications will entice manufacturers to join the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, and Honda.
“It’s not that far away when you think you’ve got to do a new engine,” Brawn told Motorsport.com.
“You will have to be starting your engine design in 18 months if you want to get one for then.
“So with the FIA and with the manufacturers we’re now looking at what the next powertrain should look like, and I think that’s the opportunity to get new manufacturers involved, and we need to find a design specification to do that. We’re looking at what we feel is a relevant powertrain for that period.
“No one is going to invest in the current engine, because it’s going to finish in that time, and it’s a very substantial investment to get up to speed.”
With 2026 still six years away, there is no rush to completely define the new regulations, but Brawn stated that experts from Formula 1 and the FIA have already begun the process of throwing ideas around.
“Funnily enough we were having a discussion about it this morning,” Brawn said.
“Pat Symonds, Nick Hayes, Gilles Simon, Fabrice Lom, Nikolas Tombazis, we’re all working on what the powertrain should look like for the future.
“We know what the objectives are – relevance, the economics of it, and it’s got to be a good racing engine. We know what we want to achieve, we just haven’t defined yet what that will be.
“We continue to believe that there are alternative approaches to solutions to the future. We don’t think there’s one solution.
“We believe we can occupy a very relevant space. Sustainable fuels are a big thing for us, because whatever engine we have, that will be a major part of it.
“With some of our partners we’re now working on a strategy for introducing sustainable fuels into F1. So that will be a big element for the future. But really for the moment I don’t have an idea on how the engine should look.”
When asked if the engines would look similar or radically different to how they do now, Brawn said: “I think for the moment we feel it will retain similar technologies to what we have now.
“There are a number of radical engines on the horizon, but we don’t think they are well enough established that in 18 months you can commit yourself to them.”