• 2013 season

McLaren backs move to four cylinder engines

ESPNF1 Staff
September 8, 2010 « Twenty-race 2011 calendar unveiled | »
Turbocharged four cylinder engines are set to return in 2013 © Sutton Images

McLaren fully supports plans to introduce 1.6 litre, four cylinder turbo engines to Formula One.

The new formula appears to have the backing of most teams, as the smaller capacity engines with restricted fuel flow will be more relevant to the future of road-car technology than the current V8s.

But Italian reports suggest Ferrari wants a 1.8 litre V6 engine, because it would be easier and cheaper to develop from the current V8 designs. Ferrari engine boss Luca Marmorini is concerned there is not enough time between now and 2013 to design an all-new engine "with the necessary reliability to have only four units (per driver), as they would like". He also argues that the 4-cylinder engines will require a complete overhaul of the chassis designs.

But Tim Goss, chief engineer on the McLaren MP4-25, said his team is backing the four cylinder idea.

"On the engine, I think it's entirely the right thing to do," he said. "The Formula One technology has been locked into a currently specification for a number of years now and clearly other series cars have moved on. So I think the right thing to do is for Formula One to show it's at the cutting edge of technology when it comes to engine technology. And I think the right thing to do is to promote efficiency.

"The fact that we're making a significant change and going to four cylinder turbo charged engines with a lot of freedom in terms of how exhaust systems are concerned means we will develop fuel efficient technologies that, all being well, will spin off into series road cars. So in terms of the engine regulations, I think it's entirely the right thing to do and we back that."

Goss also contradicted Marmorini's claim that there isn't enough time before 2013 to design the new engines.

"Yes, it's enough time," he said. "As long as the decisions are made shortly and everyone's in the frame of mind to bring it to a conclusion promptly. The FIA are working hard at it, but I'm sure things will be decided relatively swiftly."

However, Goss urged caution over plans to shake up chassis design and reintroduce ground-effects in F1.

The hope is that ground-effects will allow cars to run closer to each other by taking the emphasis on downforce away from wings and the top body, which are vulnerable in the wake of another car. But Goss urged for the decision to be held off until next year when driver-adjustable rear wings are set to be introduced to encourage overtaking.

"As far as the car regulations are concerned, my personal view is that we've got to wait and see what happens next season," he added. "We've made some significant changes for 2011 with the adjustable rear wing, and what we need to is pay careful attention to how we allow Formula One to develop to keep an exciting show.

"We've had a fantastic season so far, we've got to make sure we maintain that and we really need to see how we get the most out of the active rear wings next season before we jump into any regulation changes for 2013."