F1 engine switch came after Audi bailed
According to Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey, Audi had indicated that it would be ready to join the F1 grid if they switched to turbocharged four-cylinder engines as proposed. So in order to entice the German automaker to join, the others agreed to the switch. However, once Audi reportedly pulled an about-face and withdrew its commitment, the plan fell through. And, as a V6 would reportedly be easier to package into an F1 chassis than an inline-four, the remaining manufacturers backed the new format instead. So there you go.
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