Today, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) is regulated by the Concorde Agreement. It establishes the parameters by what Formula One is based on. The seventh version of the agreement since 1981, has been signed back in 2013, expiring by December, 2020, at the end of that season.
Eight months after The Liberty Media Group acquired Formula One, the basis of a new set of regulations for the Power unit to apply from the 2021 season, have been presented today in Paris, in the presence of FIA President Jean Todt and the manufacturers representatives.
In other words, the main objective is to make the Power units cheaper and accessible, but of course, it sounds easier than it actually is.
The goal of making Formula One easier, cheaper and louder is something you can call the “Everest” of goals, these are some of the steps presented by the FIA and Formula One in order to get right to the top.
1.6 Litre, V6 Turbo Hybrid (a Bi-turbo engine will not be adopted, continuing with the Single V6 turbo Hybrid, with dimensional constraints and weight limits, removing the MGU-H (energy recovery system).
3000rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound (the increase in rpm is a clear intent to bring back the characteristic Formula One “sound experience” and as a result, to make it more appealing to fans.
More powerful MGU-K (Kinetic system, introduced in Formula One by 2009, as an option, for the aspirated V-8 engines) with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing.
Standard energy store and control electronics .
High Level of external prescriptive design to give ‘Plug-And-Play’ engine/chassis/transmission swap capability .
Intention to investigate tighter fuel regulations and limits on number of fuels used .
It´s important to highlight that in the document presented today by the FIA, did not mentioned which manufacturer´s representatives were present at this particular occasion.
During previous meetings, representatives from Porsche, Lamborghini or Aston Martin were present and took part at the meeting discussing the changes in the Power Unit regulations.
The FIA also stated that “during the remaining part of 2017 and 2018, the FIA and F1 will also work with the teams to establish power unit test and development restrictions as well as other cost containment measures.”
A second meeting is scheduled to be held 7th. November 2017, between Liberty Media, FIA and team principals.
At this point, some team principals (specially those at the top) may not fall in line with the vision they´re going to be presented with.
Altough the FIA estated that: “ The proposals shared today have been developed jointly by the FIA and by F1 using data and input from teams, power unit suppliers and outside experts,” Liberty Media does not need the teams’ approval.
Recently Niki Lauda commented on the matter saying: “They have decided something, they will tell us, we will listen, and then we will decide if it’s good for us or not."
BUDGET LIMITATIONS – THE CONTROVERSIAL SIDE OF THE STORY
The idea to establish budget restrictions has been going around for quite some time now, in fact, it´s an issue Team principals never seem to agree on.
There are those representing the teams at the top (the usual winners), those who struggle with budget and sponsorships (supporting teams) and those at the back, struggling to even secure a point during a Formula One season.
That´s why a consensus on costs reductions won´t be easy to reach.
Mr. Bernie Ecclestone knows about these ideas pretty well and during an interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he commented: "I gave them a five-star restaurant and they are turning it into McDonalds."
Formula 1, Managing Director, Motorsports Ross Brawn said: “The 2021 power unit is an example of the future way the FIA as regulators, F1 as commercial right holders, the teams and the manufacturers as stakeholders will work together for the common good of the sport. The proposal presented today was the outcome of a series of meeting which took place during 2017 with the current teams participating in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the manufacturers who showed their interest to be part of the pinnacle of motor sport. Also, we’ve carefully listened to what the fans think about the current PU and what they would like to see in the near future with the objective to define a set of regulations which will provide a powertrain that is simpler, cheaper and noisier and will create the conditions to facilitate new manufacturers to enter Formula 1 as powertrain suppliers and to reach a more levelled field in the sport.
FIA Secretary-General for Sport, Peter Bayer, said: “Today was a key step in the development of the Power Unit regulations for 2021. The FIA has been working with the Commercial Rights Holder to define a positive step forward for these regulations which maintain Formula One’s place at the pinnacle of motor sport technology whilst addressing the key issues facing the sport such as cost, road relevance and fan experience at the racetrack. We felt it was important to bring the teams into the discussions today and explain the direction we are taking and I’m pleased with the response we have received.”