F1 power unit manufacturers have finally reached an agreement with the FIA regulating the new Formula 1’s power units between 2017-2020, one day before the deadline whereby the sport’s figureheads bosses were supposed to agree on proposed regulation changes for 2017.
The current engine formula – a 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged hybrid ‘power unit’- has come under heavy criticism since being introduced in 2014 for its cost, complexity and lack of noise, which it is claimed has discouraged new manufacturers from entering the sport and has even prevented Renault and Honda from catching up to their rivals.
The power units were also criticised for being too expensive for privateer teams to afford.
The agreement hopes to address these concerns by guaranteeing a gradual decrease in costs while also aiming to bring about a more competitive field. This would be achieved by shifting development away from the current ‘token’ system and capping turbo boost pressure.
The agreement also guarantees supply for teams to prevent a repeat of last year’s – largely self-inflicted – dilemma experienced by Red Bull Racing.
The FIA statement in full:
Agreement has been reached on a significant reduction in the price of power unit supply to customer teams and a reduction in cost to manufacturers over the coming years.
- In 2017 the power unit price for customer teams will be reduced by €1m per season compared to 2016.
- From 2018, the annual supply price will be reduced by a further €3m.
- Cost reduction on power units will be driven by changes to the Sporting and Technical regulations in 2017 and 2018, with a progressive reduction of the number of power unit elements per driver per season.
Supply of power units to customer teams will be ensured, as the homologation procedure will include an “obligation to supply” that will be activated in the event of a team facing an absence of supply.
The new agreement includes a package of measures aimed at achieving performance convergence.
- The token system is to be removed from 2017
- Additionally, constraints on power unit part weights, dimensions and materials, and on boost pressure will be introduced in 2017 and in 2018.
Manufacturers are currently conducting a promising research programme into further improving the sound of the current power units, with the aim of implementation by 2018 at the latest.
Image via Red Bull Racing