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1 May 2015

It has been suggested over the last few days by lets call them the smaller teams that in an effort to save costs that the V8's return and run in parallel to the V6 Hybrid units.  I mentioned the same back in November:

However, after I made those off the cuff remarks (albeit about new teams like Manor, not the likes of Force India and Sauber who've now come out and think it's a good idea) I actually sat down and looked into the problems that could cause.

The video comparison above shows the difference between the 2013 V8 and KERS powered W04 with that of the 2014 V6 Hybrid W05, what we must remember in both the case of this video and what Mallya etc are trying to compare is apples and oranges.  The power delivery of the 2014/5 cars is different to that of the V8's owing to the way in which the Turbo and ERS provide power up until circa 12,000rpm.  The V8 in comparison makes much less power lower down the rpm range but pulls through until 18,000rpm and as with any highly tuned N/A car requires you stay within a narrow powerband.

Whilst power is one consideration another is weight, there are two targets to look at and somewhere you find a cross-over point.

2013 2014 2015
Minimum Weight 642kg 690kg 702kg
Fuel 150kg+/- 100kg 100kg
Total 792kg 790kg 802kg

That means in qualifying trim the 2014/5 cars weigh around 50/60kg's more than their predecessors, whilst fully tanked they weigh roughly the same, albeit with no fuel limit in the V8 era, at some circuits they'd be running more like 170kg's.  So those heavier cars that people keep talking about isn't entirely accurate all the time.... ;)

It's not as easy as just bolting in a V8 and off you go then as clearly we are already at a stage where concessions are being made in the regulations in terms of weight, but how about aero?  One of the largest factors in the modern era of Formula One is how teams deal with aero and we all know just how much downforce the teams lost in the 2014 regulation change.  Paramount to this was the reposistioning of the exhaust, with the FIA choosing a singular centreline exhaust placement to reduce its downforce yield.  The teams are still using the exhaust plume to generate downforce but not to the level they previously got with the twin exiting V8's.  Having employed the 'coanda' exhaust solutions during 2012 and 2013 the teams were blowing the gap alongside the diffuser, creating a seal that gave an increase in the downforce generated by the diffuser.  IF we are suggesting a return to V8's for the lesser funded teams are we also suggesting that they'll be able to run 'coanda' solutions and therefore have an unequitable aero advantage over the Hybrid runners?  I'm not even sure it would be viable for the V8 configuration to be run with a singular centreline exhaust layout as the engine wasn't designed with that in mind, unlike the V6T.  Furthermore, even if they can run with that configuration the plume generated by the N/A V8 will be significantly different to that of the V6T and harbour the chance of further gains.

Has anyone thought about tyres?  The 2014 regulations were met with a new construction of tyre by Pirelli, able to cater for the increase in torque the new hybrid powerunits generated.  Running a V8 means that those teams will either need a new (old V8) construction or have an unfair advantage over the Hybrid runners.

Whilst the V8 did cost less than the new hybrid units, suddenly starting up production of the V8 again will also be a costly exercise to the engine manufacturers and frankly one they won't be keen to do, given the powerunits meet with their marketing agenda.  Here lies perhaps the crux of the debate, with the smaller teams simply looking for a better deal when purchasing their powerunit.  The manufacturers have done their numbers in terms of recouping their R&D over the lifespan of the units (until 2020) and so they'll be the biggest loser in the battle but surely better a compromise on price than equality in racing?


  1. There were so many changes... not just power. I'd be interested in how a V8 would do in this years chassis... but honestly, what is so hard about allowing the teams to develop whatever engine they want, like the ACO does with sports cars... different fuels, different engine configurations.. still great racing.

  2. Nice explanations of everything. But I have one doubt - what about transmission? F1 now have 8 gears, and gear ratio is locked for all the season. How would F1 with V8 will be with that kind of gearbox?


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