Formula One racing engines have been dropping cylinders like advanced trigonometry classes over the past couple of decades. The V12s gave way to V10s in the mid 90s. Those were replaced in turn by the current V8s in 2006, and now it's been confirmed that by 2014 two more cylinders will drop off the block for V6 propulsion.
Confirmation comes from the FIA, whose World Motor Sport Council adopted via fax vote the suggestion put forth by the Formula One Commission after consultation with the teams. The new regulations will take effect in 2014 instead of the four-cylinder formula that was set to take hold in 2013.
Displacement will drop as well from 2.4 liters to 1.6, but don't expect a big drop in performance, as the lost cylinders will be replaced by a turbocharger. The overall package, then, marks a little bit of history repeating. Until they were dropped in 1989, many of the cars on the grid were powered by 1.5-liter turbocharged V6 engines (like the '84-spec Honda unit pictured above), although this time they'll be coupled to a new Energy Recovery System that will replace the current Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). Official announcement after the jump.
FIA Formula One World Championship Power Unit Regulations
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 One. The 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 One World Championship season.