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Newey: New F1 engines don't meet aims

2014-04-06 12:18

DRIVING UP TO POLE: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg heads for pole on April 5 during qualifying for the 2014 Bahrain F1 GP. Rival team Red Bull's boss reckons new engine rules don't work. Image: AP/Hasan Jamali


SAKHIR, Bahrain - Red Bull's master designer Adrian Newey believes Formula 1's new engine rules have not only made the race cars slower but also failed to achieve the intended "green" goals.

Newey designed the cars that won Red Bull the previous four Drivers' championships. These claims were made ahead of Sunday's 2014 Bahrain GP; the new 1.6 V6 turbo/hybrid 'power units' increased costs and slowed the cars - for little benefit.

The environmental aims of the hybrid units, he claimed, could have been more efficiently met by reducing the cars' weight without compromising speed; there were more ways to be relevant to commercial automobile production than fuel-efficiency alone.


"The cost has gone up hugely to create this," Newey said. "If you put that cost into weight-saving you might be better off. To automatically say this is some huge benefit for mankind is taking a big leap.

"There is a relationship between cost, weight, aerodynamics - all sorts of factors - if you're going to go into road-relevance. How you weigh that, how you proportion it, is impossible for an open-wheeled single-seater. It's a very different beast."

The new engines have been criticised not only for their muted sound but also for producing a processional style of racing with running in fuel-saving mode to stay under the fuel limit of 100kg/race.

"F1 should be about excitement," Newey said. "It should be about man and machine performing at maximum every lap. OK, they're using 50kg less fuel (per race), but they're going a lot slower to achieve that."

Rival engineers disagreed, saying the sport had risked becoming too far removed from normal commercial engines and that the technological innovation should be celebrated rather than criticised.

Williams' technical chief Pat Symonds said: "There was a great danger... that we would become irrelevant, we would become the focus of gas-guzzling and having no social responsibility. It was really important that we moved away from that."


Paddy Lowe, technical chief of Mercedes which has dominated the early stages of the 2014 season, thanks in part to its apparently superior engines, was surprised by criticism of the changes.

"I don't understand it because there are so many positives around this formula," he explained. "For an engine to deliver power similar power to that of 2013 using better than 30% less fuel is an incredible achievement - something we should celebrate

"Our fans like that richness in the sport. I hope they also appreciate what's been done on the cars and its relevance to the future in the automotive industry."

Bob Fernley, deputy chief of the Force India F1 team, said the efforts to make the engines more relevant to road-car production had already borne fruit. "Honda is coming back in 2014 - the first major automaker to return to F1 in a long, long time.

"That's a tick in the box that says F1 has got it right. Fans are going to embrace this in years to come."

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