The 2013 Formula 1 season is still over two months away from beginning, but there is already plenty of talk swirling around the 2014 season. Most of it is naturally focused around the new engine regulations that will be introduced for that year.
As F1 fans likely already know, 2014 is when Formula 1 is slated to change from the current 2.4-liter V8 engines to 1.6-liter V6 engines. The majority of motor sports fans reading this have probably already started laughing at the thought of dropping a V6 into an F1 car, and I must admit that I am a little bit skeptical as well. However, we must all remember that this is Formula 1 and if anybody on planet Earth can make a V6 worthy of having a place within a 7.5 million dollar car, it is an F1 engineer. One team is actually very excited about the new engines, though: Mercedes-Benz.
The developers over at Mercedes are aiming to create an engine that abides by the 2014 regulations and produces 750bhp, which is the same amount of output as the current engines, all while consuming less fuel. Andy Cowell, who is the High Performance Powertrains managing director for Mercedes-Benz, is also saying that Mercedes is expecting the in-development engines to produce lap times similar to what will be seen in 2013 from the V8s.
Performance is not the only cause for concern when it comes to moving to smaller engines, though. Sound plays an enormous role in the appeal of a motor sport, and FIA top dog Bernie Ecclestone has been one of the most outspoken opponents to the new engines when it comes to that subject. According to Ecclestone the new engines sound “terrible”. Cowell tried to lay those fears to rest by saying that the V6s will be “loud, but sweeter sounding”.
With Mercedes talking such a big game, you can rest assured that the boys at Red Bull Racing, Ferrari, Lotus F1 Team, McLaren and every other F1 team have their evil geniuses working around the clock to churn out engines capable of out-performing what Mercedes is claiming to have underway. Competition breeds results, and that always makes for great racing.
We will have to wait over a year for the first of the 2014 cars to be unveiled and even longer to get a first look at how the V6s perform on the track, but as the 2013 season gets underway and rolls on we will surely start to see test data on the new engines. Until then we will just have to entertain ourselves with one more year of V8 racing in Formula 1. Poor us.