Force India says 2014 F1 engines must not dictate form

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has warned engines must not become the overwhelming performance differentiator when the new Formula 1 regulations kick in next year

Force India says 2014 F1 engines must not dictate form

In 2014 F1 will switch to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 powerplants, with Force India continuing to use engines supplied by Mercedes.

But with the spread of performance relatively tight in recent years, during which the FIA has had a policy of occasionally allowing manufacturers to make changes to their frozen-specification engines for performance reasons, Fernley says the sport must ensure this relative parity is not lost.

"Yes, it is," Fernley told AUTOSPORT when asked if it is important for F1 to maintain this equilibrium of engines.

"It mustn't be like it was in the past when the engine differentiators were overwhelming. It would be a shame if we got there."

Force India has thrived under the current regulations, climbing from the bottom of the constructors' championship to be an ever-present in the top seven in the standings during the past three years.

But despite being keen that engines do not become too big a performance differentiator, Fernley accepts that it is important for the manufacturers to be allowed to play a bigger part in what happens on track.

"We have to take into consideration what the engine manufacturers want to do," he said.

"They are sinking an awful lot of money into the development of these engines and we have to listen to them to.

"There's a bit more scope than we have now, but overall it [engine performance] shouldn't be too big a differentiator."

Discussions are ongoing as to how engine homologation will be approached in F1 from 2014, with the sporting regulations yet to be published.

While the principle of having some form of homologation is accepted, the exact form that it will take is yet to be finalised.

AUTOSPORT SAYS
F1 editor Edd Straw

F1's engine freeze, combined with the reduction in costs of supply deals for customer teams, has created a level playing field in F1 that has made it easier for medium and small teams to compete.

There was a time when smaller teams would run engines that were a step, or multiple steps, behind the works operations. In some cases, minnows would even run at a bhp-deficit measured in three figures.

Under those circumstances, it was impossible for them to be anything other than back-of-the-grid fodder irrespective of how good their cars were.

This limited the benefit of even having a good car, hence the feeling that some outfits were simply treading water rather than seriously going racing.

There's no doubt that the 2014 season will be all about engine performance and it's unlikely that Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes will all come out with units that are as evenly-matched on performance as the long-in-the-tooth 2.4-litre V8s are.

While the performance of engines - or "power units" as they should more correctly but less intuitively be called given the green technology that is included - will be equal across those using the same manufacturer, there is a risk that one or two groups of teams will be at a major disadvantage.

What the sport must avoid is a situation where teams, some of which are already dancing around the edge of a financial precipice, have no chance thanks to the misfortune of choosing the 'wrong' engine supplier and have that weakness locked in by homologation rules.

shares
comments
Has Pirelli gone too far this year?

Previous article

Has Pirelli gone too far this year?

Next article

Mercedes cannot get carried away with F1 form - Toto Wolff

Mercedes cannot get carried away with F1 form - Toto Wolff
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Force India
Author Edd Straw
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021