After lengthy and sometimes acrimonious negotiations, the FIA and the Grand Prix Manufacturer's Association have come to an agreement on the contentious issue of Formula 1 engine regulations for the future.

To all intents and purposes, the FIA has won the game, proving once again that the inexorable march of motorsports bureaucracy is more than a match for the world's automakers. Here are the key points:
  • no changes to the current engines will be allowed after this year's Chinese Grand Prix. These will be the engines used in 2007 and beyond
  • 2008 will see the introduction of a 19,000 rpm rev limit
  • starting in 2009, regulations will promote fuel-efficiency, including energy recovery and re-use (i.e., regenerative braking systems)
  • down the road, the GPMA, the FIA and engine suppliers will work to define possible new rules that allow a performance advantage to be gained by means of more efficient use of energy. (Alternative powerplants are a possibility.)
The new rules are intended to keep a lid on the cost of competing in Formula 1, hopefully attracting new teams to the grid, and to increase the relevance of F1 technology to production vehicles. Cynics have pointed out that money saved in engine development will now go towards developing energy recovery systems, and unresolved is the issue of where the smaller teams (which get their engines from the manufacturer-sponsored teams) will obtain competitive energy recovery systems of their own.

The fuel efficiency/energy recovery regulations are to be finalized by the end of the year. One thing's for sure - it will be interesting!

[Source: FIA]

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