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Cylinders have been dropping off Formula One engines like limbs off the leprous over the past several years. Where twelve cylinders once ran soon became ten, then eight for the current formula and plans are now set to switch to just four by 2013. And Luca di Montezemolo, for one, is not happy.

The Ferrari chief, whose company builds twelve- and eight-cylinder engines for its road car division, has emerged as a leading figure in opposition to the new regulations. And while he reportedly initially said his disappointment would not turn to interference, the powerful former founding president of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) has now said he's looking for allies among other team leaders and engine suppliers to push back the implementation of the new turbo four regulations.

He may, according to reports, find an ally in Norbert Haug. The Mercedes-Benz motorsports chief notes that the current V8 engines are relatively low in cost as it is, not to mention the fact that starting a new engine design from scratch – no matter how cost-effective it might be in isolation – will still cost more than continuing with the same engines already in place.

Are Luca and Norbert right? Is the FIA throwing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater in implementing the new regulations? Or will turbo fours bring only good things to the world's grand prix circuits? Share your thoughts in Comments.

[Source: ESPN | Image: Giuseppe Carace/AFP/Getty]


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  • 65 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      next F1 regulation: cars must be built with go-cart chassis
      • 4 Years Ago
      The problem with making rules to make racing more competitive is that rules don't change a clever engineer vs. a less clever one. A smarter (better paid) engineer is going to find a better approach the "restrictions" (that generally costs a lot more to implement) than the underpaid guy working on a relatively shoe-string budget. Restrictions amplify the distinction between the rich and poor in racing. I say minimal restrictions designed to keep drivers safe, and other than that have at it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I sorta of understand where the regulation coming from. With petrol costing more and more these days and all the enviromentalist crying for mother nature, it makes sense for F1 to go replace displacement with turbos. These turbo charged F1 cars will trickle down to Ferrari supercars and eventually lead to a trend of more economical supercars.

      However as a fan of F1 i think going turbo charged 4 cyl is just stupid. Theres no replacement for displacement. The sound, the way the engine revs and the power delivery is just totally different.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think in this case it's not a question of if they can make power, the turbo sixes of the 80's proved what black magic F1 engineers can work on turbo mills, it's just that a turbo four seems to lack some of the majesty that makes Formula 1 so special, it is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, not a passenger car R&D lab.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should remove this waste of a limited resource immediately.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wouldn't care if the spec mandated a 1.5L two-stroke - what's broken in F1 isn't the motor, it's the action. There's no passing for the lead in most races, and hardly any passing for position unless there's a crash.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Thipps -- I grew up around NASCAR. I have no shortage of criticisms of the series - but it's really just gripes with upper management.

        What NASCAR offers is lots of lead changes at insanely high speeds (think Daytona, Talladega) and a connection with the fans that few other racing series can touch.

        Brian France may be doing his best to destroy what his dad and granddaddy built, but even with all his brain-dead maneuvering and continued economic decline, it's still the biggest series in motorsports.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You can have more passing if you slow F1 cars down, or force them to run on an oval - and neither of these 'solutions' are acceptable.

        You can get a little bit more passing if they would emphasize mechanical grip more instead of aerodynamical grip, but it is not going to make much of a difference unless they slow down the cars too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        F1 has long lost its sexiness for me. what happened to letting manufactures be creative and come up with radically different machines? (remember 6 wheel cars? remember a H16 engine?) what happened to actual racing? look, in my eyes regulation in government kills business and regulation in racing kills its appeal.

        ALMS better be paying close attention to other racing organizations and noticing there failing because of over regulation.

        Call me a hick, redneck, hillbilly or whatever else you want but i still enjoy Nascar, not because its popular on the blogs or with others in my age group, (racing for most is as trendy as starbucks and scarfs) but because i still get to witness ON TRACK RACING that many many other series are lacking. I would love to see the cars being based on actual street cars like GT2, but i think we are past that.

        ugg i feel a down grade coming because i just hated on Turbos, F1, and starbucks while somewhat supporting nascar........o well at least i have my own thoughts
        • 4 Years Ago
        @phoenix, lead changes on the track are rare for sure, but F1 is about the world's best drivers, manufacturers, engineers and the most expensive sponsors battling no holds barred on different tracks around the world. How many caution flags do you see in F1 as compared to Nascar? If F1 had as many caution flags as in Nascar, I bet you would see as many lead changes (only better) as in Nascar. About all those losers coming over to Nascar from F1?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Of course Luca is correct. The FIA and many other motorsports bodies were infected by the eco-freaks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1

        Its top flight racing, the purpose isn't to see what MPG can be obtained, or 'relate' to a street car!

        After all, racing saves so much fuel its unbelievable, yet nobody pays attention. When 70,000 vehicles are parked and not turned on for a day, or two BECAUSE of the racing, when naturally many of those would other wise be out and about burning fuel, it doesn't matter how much fuel the relatively few racing cars burn! This goes for all forms of racing that attracts big crowds, and its time eco credit is given where credit is due.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree!
      Typical FIA always doing stupid stuff to try and make the sport 'better'. If you want to reduce costs in F1 then stop front and rear wing in season development. Don't decide that everyone needs to spend £1,000,000+ developing KERS just to ban it the next year and then bring it back again!!
      Also by reducing the complexity of the wings and the cars reliance on their aerodynamics you'll creat closer, competitive racing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I disagree. Who has a V8 in their sedan these days?

      If F1 does it right, manufacturers can make the claim that racing technology directly impacted production. Everyone is going to turbo tech to get the power and economy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @JayP
        Who has F1 engines in their cars anyways? F1 engines have nothing to do with street cars, regardless of whether they are V8s and I4s. Only the startup procedure for a F1 engine takes 45 minute, and after that they last about 1000 km, be more realistic in your expectations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We have a V8 in the family hauler...
        • 4 Years Ago
        E39 M5 in the driveway
      • 4 Years Ago
      high revving turbo 4's rock.. i'm not cryin' over here!
      • 4 Years Ago
      4 cylinder would be fine with me as that will be the normal engine here in the USA soon and is already the choice in Europe, South America and Japan. Why not?

      However, I cannot see how Ferrari would stay in the series since they do not sell 4 cylinder engines. So, perhaps in F1 wants to / wanted to keep Ferrari in F1, they should have thought about this detail.

      Now Ferrari can chase Lemans and other endurance sports cars, actually they should do quite well since those race cars are very similar to their Production Cars. It may make more sense in the end.


      • 4 Years Ago
      Why don't they just go all out and simplify instead? If you want pinnacle, then really let the engineers go nuts. Why not have each car make X max hp give and each team x joules of energy? How about an AI driver? What about active aerodynamics that can change the shape of the car to optimize air flow for passing or whatever. At least I think it'd be interesting.
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