Late last year, the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) approved new regulations which will see 1.6-litre four-cylinder engines replace the current 2.4L V8s from 2013 in Formula 1. It didn’t really go well with Bernie, the teams and the fans, with some fearing that F1 will be much less of a spectacle with the “green move”. Now it looks like everyone will meet in the middle.

The WMSC has ratified the adoption of a 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine to be used in F1 from 2014 onwards, in place of the four-cylinder plans. FIA says that “the engine will sound different, but will remain representative of Formula 1” and the redline has been increased from the initially mooted 12,000 rpm to 15,000 rpm. It will also feature direct fuel injection up to 500 bar, and not more than one turbocharger is allowed.

Efficiency is still a key target, though. The governing body says that the V6 will be a “dramatic step forward in both fuel efficiency and in energy management”. Kinetic and exhaust energy recovery will feature.

FIA’s communications department has released a Q&A that explains the move, read it after the jump.

The World Motor Sport Council voted on 29 June 2011. What did it decide?

F1 engineFollowing consultation with the various Formula 1 stakeholders and the current Formula 1 engine manufacturers, the WMSC has ratified the adoption of a V6 turbo engine to be used in Formula 1 from 2014 onwards. This required changes to the regulations initially adopted by the World Council on 3 June 2011. The full regulations applicable to the 2014 season will be published in due course.

Will a V6 use more fuel, or have inferior economy compared with the original proposal?

No. To push the engineers to develop engine efficiency, the technical regulation imposes a fuel flow control. When evolving the regulation to fit with the manufacturers’ new request this parameter has not been changed. Thus the efficiency requirement will be unchanged.

Why has the rev limit been increased from 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm. Is this purely to enhance the sound of a Formula One car?

No. This parameter has been updated from 12000rpm to 15000rpm to allow engineers more flexibility in power and energy management. However, as a consequence of the new architecture (V6) and the change in rev-limit, the engine will sound different, but will remain representative of Formula 1.

Will the increase in rpm alter fuel consumption?

Absolutely not. As mentioned above, the fuel flow limit will stay the same. The technologies are the same and as a consequence any increase in rpm will constrain the engineers to work harder on reducing friction and gaining on engine efficiency. The challenge will be even bigger than originally planned and will therefore enhance the technological lead of Formula 1.

Has the FIA retained the energy recover devices originally intended to be used in conjunction with the I4 engine?

Yes, the concept initially presented is respected. All of the technology intended for the I4 is still present. This new power plant will be a dramatic step forward in both fuel efficiency and in energy management.

Will those manufacturers already engaged in the development of a four-cylinder engine face increased costs now they need to redirect their resources toward designing a V6?

To our knowledge, five manufacturers were working on the proposed 4-cylinder engine. They will all need to adapt their project and this will surely involve some additional costs, depending on how advanced each project was. This evolution has been proposed and supported by all four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One.

Why is the introduction of the new generation of engines now being delayed by year?

The decision to delay the introduction until 2014 comes at the request of the four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One. Their request for extra time is linked to the change in architecture but also to ensure their projects are more robust (one of the goals of the project is to enhance engine durability to c.4000km)

Will these energy recovery systems and other efficiency devices ultimately influence the development of road cars?

Yes. The clear need for the automotive industry to reduce emissions means energy management will increasingly become a key factor in the development of more efficient powertrains. Kinetic energy recovery is already applied in Formula 1 and the introduction of exhaust energy recovery will add another technology route to be explored. Formula 1 will also return to its role as a developer of turbo-charger technology. This research will have real-world benefits, contributing valuable knowledge that will be of use to future road car development.

Combustion engine specifications:

– 1600cc, V6
– 15000 rpm max
– Direct fuel injection up to 500bar
– Single turbocharger
– Controlled fuel flow

Energy recovery and storage systems specifications:

– Kinetic, 120kW on the rear wheels
– Exhaust energy recovery linked to the turbocharger