Whiting: No extra testing for V6 rules debut

F1 teams will make do with a normal test programme early next year, despite the introduction of radical new engine regulations.

Some of the engine suppliers reportedly want either an earlier or an extended winter test period ahead of the 2014 season, as F1 switches from V8 to turbo V6 engines.

But the FIA’s Charlie Whiting is quoted in Melbourne by Russia’s f1news.ru: “We have been talking with the teams, and they do not want to increase the number of test days.”

Meanwhile, the German-language Spox quotes Briton Whiting as saying he is not expecting the outbreak of any new technical controversies, in the wake of the Renault engine mapping and Williams exhaust stories.

But “In the course of a year, you never know what is going to happen,” he smiled.


Ecclestone now concedes V6s arriving in 2014

Bernie Ecclestone has all but conceded that F1 will say goodbye to its familiar V8 engines late next year.

The F1 chief executive is worried about the tamer tones of the turbo V6 engines that are under development for 2014, and had indicated a delayed introduction of the radical new rules was possible. But when asked about the issue in India, 82-year-old Ecclestone answered: “We’re used to these (V8) engines.

“Maybe we’ll get used to the new ones (too),” he is quoted by the Hindustan Times.

And Ecclestone issued a firm “no” when asked if some V8s might still be allowed on the 2014 grid, as per the ‘equivalency’ compromise of 2006 when the current engine rules were phased in.

“The rules should be the same for everyone,” he insisted.


Prost could be first to test Renault’s V6

F1 legend Alain Prost could be the first to sample the sport’s new V6 power.

In his first F1 test since McLaren in 1996, the quadruple world champion drove a modern Red Bull at the Renault World Series event at Paul Ricard last weekend. Already contracted to the team’s French V8 engine supplier Renault as an ambassador, the 57-year-old could now be first in line to test the new 1.6 litre turbo V6 for 2014.

“It was really helpful to take the wheel of a modern formula one car,” the Frenchman is quoted by the French-language F1i. “And maybe I’ll have another opportunity with the new engine in the next two months. It would be a good experience,” added Prost.

“I am interested in these new engines coming to Formula One. I will work very hard with Renault on this side, it’s our new goal.”


Ecclestone pushing to get rid of V6 engines?

Bernie Ecclestone is determined to scrap F1’s engine regulation change for 2014.

The F1 chief executive recently visited Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters, where he heard the tamer sounds of the incoming turbo V6 engine.

“Even (Ferrari president) Luca di Montezemolo said it sounded terrible and didn’t like it,” Ecclestone told the Hindustan Times.

The 81-year-old Briton tipped FIA president Jean Todt to “get rid of it”.

“I think Luca is also saying we should suspend it for two or three years. I think it is sensible to get rid of it and stick with what we have got,” added Ecclestone.


Engine switch ‘wise’ despite loss of V8 scream – Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali has admitted the F1 fraternity may initially struggle to adapt to the “new noise” of 2014.

The sport is preparing to move from deafening V8 power to the comparatively-sedate turbo tones of V6 engines. One aspect of the radical new rules is the requirement for the cars to be totally silent, relying only on electric power, whilst in the pitlane.

“We are totally against that, and it’s something that is yet to be fully defined. We have to discuss that further with the FIA,” Ferrari team boss Domenicali told the Spanish daily Marca.

As for the new turbo V6 formula, Domenicali said Ferrari is happy. Amid the current V8 engine development ‘freeze’, the Italian team has been complaining for years about the dominance of aerodynamics.

“To me, what I do not like about the F1 of today is that we only talk about aerodynamics,” Domenicali said. “If you ask the fans about the engine – how many cylinders, how much horse power – they have no idea.

“I think it is right for the future to find a balance.”

Domenicali said V6 is a “different technical challenge” that Ferrari finds “exciting”.

“At first I think everyone will say it (the engine tone) sounds a little strange, but probably for the future it is a wise decision, especially talking about the turbo, the recoverable energy, and the less noise.

“F1, being the pinnacle of motor sport, has to be the first to go this way. Some say that in this time of crisis it would be better to wait, and that may be right, but now we have taken a road we cannot return from.”

As ever in F1, however, there are many uncertainties. Red Bull’s Adrian Newey said recently he fears one engine manufacturer could get the upper hand with the new V6 formula, and dominate for years and years.

That risk appears even higher given the fact that the 2014 manufacturers – Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault – are designing their V6s right now amid F1’s strict testing ban.

“We’re not agreeing to introduce any new test sessions that would use mule (V6-equipped) cars,” said McLaren’s Paddy Lowe at Spa.

Ferrari’s engine boss Mattia Binotto is worried.

“It’s clear that we are very keen to run the new power unit earlier because what you can find on a car is never equal to what you can find on the dyno,” he said at Spa.

“We are all afraid that by the start of the (2014) season you find out that you have a big issue with the engine and you have no time to sort it out.”


Ferrari fires up V6 on test bench

Ferrari has confirmed reports it already has a V6 engine up and running.

We reported a fortnight ago that F1’s likely three engine manufacturers for 2014 – Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes – are hard at work on their new turbo designs for the radical new regulations. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said their plans are now “in phase two”, meaning they are no longer working only with prototypes.

“We have now run a V6 and the programme is more or less in line with our planning,” Renault Sport’s Rob White said recently.

Italy’s Autosprint quotes Ferrari’s engine boss Luca Marmorini as saying a 1.6 litre F1 engine is now running on the Maranello test bench. He said it is therefore an unusually busy time for engine makers, as they are still working on 2012, preparing for the final V8 season in 2013, and developing the V6 at the same time.

“Our V6 has just gone onto the dynamometer, and ourselves and our suppliers are learning a lot of things. Although 2014 seems far away, making an engine from scratch is a long process and the deadline is closer than it seems,” said Marmorini.

It is believed Mercedes has also begun bench-testing its V6.


2014 suppliers now running real V6 engines

F1’s three engine manufacturers for 2014 are hard at work on their new turbo V6 designs, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reported.

The publication said Craig Pollock’s new venture Pure is no longer operating, while it is now common knowledge in the F1 paddock that HRT and Marussia supplier Cosworth is unlikely to still be on the grid for the radical new rules. That leaves just Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, with Auto Motor und Sport saying the manufacturers are now “in phase two” of the development process for 2014. It means they are no longer working only with mere prototypes.

“We have now run a V6 and the programme is more or less in line with our planning,” Renault Sport’s Rob White said recently. “Our intent is to be ‘race intent’ in the course of 2013.”

Toto Wolff, a Williams shareholder and the Grove team’s new executive director, told motorline.cc the British squad will “definitely” still be powered by Renault’s existing V8 engine next year.

And then into the V6 rules and beyond?

“That is what we would wish,” he said. “Renault has decided to remain in formula one for the long term and talks (between Williams and Renault) are in progress,” he added.


Pollock’s Pure offers best price for 2014 engine

Customer engines will be much more expensive in 2014.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that, for example, Sauber currently spends EUR 8 million on its Ferrari engine, and another million for KERS. But for 2014, with F1 switching to ‘green’ turbo V6 power, the price is reportedly going up to between EUR 18-23 million.

Offering the best price is Craig Pollock’s new venture Pure, who are asking EUR 14 million for the Gilles Simon-designed engine-plus-KERS package.

“Even that is too expensive,” Sauber managing director Monisha Kaltenborn said.


Small teams worried engine price to skyrocket

F1’s ‘customer engine’ teams are worried that the price of power is set to skyrocket.

According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, teams like Force India and Sauber currently pay around EUR 10 million for their engine-plus-KERS packages. That is reportedly set to increase to about 18 million when the turbo V6s debut in 2014.

“That is clearly too much,” Sauber co-owner Monisha Kaltenborn is quoted as saying.

The magazine said Williams, Caterham, Toro Rosso, HRT and Marussia agree and have asked the FIA to impose a cost-cap for their 2014 packages.

“We have to ensure that, looking back ten years ago, we don’t go back to a point where engines were so much more expensive,” she added.


Small teams push for V6 rules delay

Many teams are reportedly pushing the FIA to delay the introduction of F1’s new engine regulations. All-new turbo V6 rules are currently scheduled to debut in 2014, but Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport and Italy’s Autosprint say some of the midfield teams are opposed on cost grounds.

“It is being heard from sources at (engine suppliers) Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault that the development of the turbo V6 is more expensive than expected,” said the German report. “Since no limit for the engine renting costs from 2014 has been set, the (small) teams fear that they will incur additional costs.”

Currently, each non-works team pays about EUR 8 million for 16 normally-aspirated V8 engines and a few test engines, and up to 5m for KERS.

Another factor is the speed of the F1 cars, which is already beginning to be rivalled by the junior GP2 category. The new V6 turbo engines will be about 25kg heavier.

Italy’s Autosprint speculated that the dispute could mean the V8s stick around in F1 for “one or two more seasons”.