Since Austria, chatter has swivelled somewhat in the direction of F1’s future engine regulations. Here’s a recap of what’s happened and what it means for the future.
Head of Porsche Motorsport & Volkswagen Group Motorsport Eritz Enzinger was recently spotted at the Styrian Grand Prix paddock in the leadup to a major meeting on the future of engines in Formula One. Representing Porsche & Audi, he joined Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault & Red Bull in discussions for the 2025 engine regulations. Further talks are yet to happen later on to iron out more details.
In an “on-the-grid” interview with Natalie Pinkham before the Austrian GP, Stefano Domenicali declared that the focus on future power units would be around V6 turbo hybrids with biofuels to be used to a certain extent. Hydrogen power was fully ruled out, with Domenicali stating that it would be “too early” to investigate that as a potential source.
Red Bull Powertrains has also recently come out with aims for a more clean slate, likely so that they can level the playing field and start the development race from a closer point to their rivals.
What does this mean?
Volkswagen is a major force in the automotive industry, with the German brand owning Skoda, Lamborghini, Ducati and part owning Audi, Porsche, Bentley and more. They have also been vocal in recent times on their direction for sustainability, with Volkwagen aiming for a 70% European market share for the sales of EVs. Stefano Domenicali and Ross Brawn will certainly be happy to have captured the interest of Volkswagen. This would also hopefully mean more may be joining in the future. Whatever happens, competitor brands will be interested in the recent news from the Formula One sphere and at least take note.
A major overhaul with the engine regulations would be of benefit to newcomers into F1. It would allow a similar starting point to their competitors and would help provide closer racetrack performances. This can be done to a certain extent with the use of biofuels but may be hindered by the existing team’s previous knowledge of the engine’s architecture, inefficiencies etc. Still, the more high-value companies looking into F1’s future, the more media attention and the more eyes drawn not only to F1 but also the search for efficient and sustainable energy usage.