The emphasis on fuel economy has even hit the upper class of motorsports: starting with the 2013 season, Formula One cars will no longer use 2.4 liter V8 engines, capable of revving to 18,000 rpm. Instead, all F1 cars will be powered by turbocharged four cylinder engines, displacing only 1.6 liters. To keep fuel consumption down, the engines will have a redline of just 12,000 rpm, or just 2/3 of today’s engine speeds. Unlike the F1 turbo days of the 1980s, where huge amounts of boost produced massive powerful (if short-lived) engines, boost will be limited and additional horsepower will come from the use of energy recovery systems, similar to the failed KERS system employed by teams in the 2009 season. Teams will be allowed just five engines per driver, which makes engine management a key component of driving these new cars.
The net result of the changes is said to be a 35% reduction in the amount of fuel used, which F1 officials see as a powerful marketing tool in the EU and other parts of the world. A “greener” F1 series, it’s believed, will attract a wider range of sponsors, bringing in additional revenue. FIA president Jean Todt was the driving force behind these changes, and steadfastly refused to consider a delay in engine formula changes beyond the 2013 season. F1 has historically been a proving ground for engine technology, and the new regulations will ensure that remains the case for the coming years.