In 2014 the engine specifications saw a move from naturally aspirated V8’s to turbo hybrid V6’s. Naturally, opinion has been divided over whether this has been a good change for the sport or not.
Click the read more button to get my thoughts on the current engines in Formula One.
The previous round in Austria was another race where engines were talked about a lot, the first three finishers all ran Mercedes engines, whilst Red Bull criticised their engine partner, Renault, and the Honda engines in the McLaren’s suffered numerous issues.
There is certainly a noisy section of the sport that aren’t in favour of the engines, believing them to be too quiet and wanting to see V10’s or V8’s return to the sport. Some are becoming frustrated at just how bad the Honda engine is and just how good the Mercedes engine is compared to its rivals. Yet, it is important to remember that the longer the current engine rules are in place, eventually the likes of Honda, Renault and even Ferrari will close the gap to the Mercedes engine as the German manufacturer will eventually hit a performance ceiling.
It is worth noting that it is not just the performance of the engine that can contribute to a team’s success. It was noted back in 2014 that the way in which Mercedes packaged their engine in the back of their car also contributed to their dominance.
Although people may be annoyed at the advantage the Mercedes engine has, and the apparent lack in ability of other engine suppliers to catch up, perhaps the problem in part is some people not appreciating how difficult it is to create a V6 engine that is turbo charged as well as has numerous energy recovery systems, not to mention is quick and reliable.
You could look to the initial introduction of the KERS system to Formula One in 2009 as guidance, where at its introduction the KERS system was a disadvantage to most teams that ran it. Likewise there are going to be a lot of problems with the current engines. The issue is that unlike KERS where teams agreed to not use it for 2010, allowing them to iron out any issues for 2011, the resolution of the issues with engines is being done in the full view of the watching public. That isn’t to say that Formula One should ditch the current engines for a few years until they become more reliable, it just means that once again, patience is required as the teams and engine suppliers get on top of the current issues with their engines, as it is important to remember that the manufacturers need to sort out an entire power unit, not just a recovery system, as they did in 2009.