F1 Racing to Downsize from V8s to 4-Cylinder Engines in 2013

f1 racing photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
The FIA's World Motor Sport Council has approved new specs for Formula One, and starting in 2013, F1s will see a huge engines downsizing (more details on this below) and the addition of new fuel-saving technologies. This is welcome news not only because it should reduce the fuel consumption of F1s by about 35%, but because it will turn this the sport into a kind of R&D; lab for small engines. This increases the chances that improvements will find their way into mass-market vehicles more quickly.
f1 racing photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

The FIA wrote:

Following dialogue with the engine manufacturers and experts in this field, the power units will be four cylinders, 1.6 litre with high pressure gasoline injection up to 500 bar with a maximum of 12,000 rpm.

The engines will deliver a 35% reduction in fuel consumption and will feature extensive energy management and energy recovery systems, while maintaining current levels of performance. [...] (source)

Right now, F1 engines are 2.4-liter V8s spinning up to 18,000 RPM, so we're not talking about just a small change. Engineers will have to squeeze a lot more performance out of the smaller engines to keep performance up, and that's exactly the kinds of improvements that can be used to squeeze more miles out of every gallon in non-racing vehicles.

Eventually, internal combustion engines will be replaced by more efficient and versatile electric motors, but until then, it can't hurt to make ICEs cleaner and more efficient as long as this is not used as an excuse for inaction (that's why a carbon tax would help).

See also: Planet Green Gas Guzzlers View & Vote
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