More noise, less cost and more competition – those are the key objectives of the vision for Formula 1’s 2021 power units. On paper, the rules look very similar to what the sport has now, but the devil is in the detail.
The 1.6 litre V6 internal combustion engine format will stay – albeit with changes – as will the energy harvesting, power boosting hybrid systems introduced in 2014 - but they too will be revised.
The MGU-H will be scrapped, and the MGU-K will be made more powerful, and allow drivers to store more energy over several laps to give them another tactical tool to employ during races.
Cost cutting has been another focus. The energy store will become a standard component across the field, as will the control electronics, while certain internal engine measurements will also be made standard across all manufacturers. And restriction on fuels will be investigated.
It will also be much easier for teams to switch engine manufacturers. The rules will specify external dimensions so chassis designs won’t have to be radically changed to accept a different power unit.
But best of all for the fans, the 2021 engines should sound better thanks to a 3000 rpm boost throughout the rev range.
F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn says they’ve listened to both fans and manufacturers in drafting the new vision.
“The new F1 has the target to be the world’s leading global sports competition married to state of the art technology. To excite, engage, and awe fans of all ages but to do so in a sustainable manner,” said Brawn.
But manufacturer reaction has been mixed. Ferrari has threatened to veto the rules or even quit the sport entirely, while both Mercedes and Renault feel F1 would be better off sticking more closely to the existing rules.