Is Formula1 Dying To Have More Car Manufacturers In The Sport?

I have been waiting to write my thoughts on the new engine regulations that have been agreed for the sport 2014 and onwards. After much deliberation and discussion, the FIA has agreed to change regulations to introduce a V6 engine scrapping the initially proposed 4 cylinder configuration.

The title of this post was actually going to include the word ‘engine’ in it, but after knowing the influence behind the engine changes, I think this title is more apt.

The nature of Formula1 means that it will constantly fight two battles. First, would be to keep car manufacturers and sponsors invested and interested in the long term. They usually stay away due to the heavy costs involved in buying and running a top grid F1 team. Second, would be to constantly fight off its non-environmental friendly image. Most of the current technical changes it undergoes are by keeping these challenges in mind.

We all know the exits of BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault in the last couple of years. We also know of Porsche and Audi’s interest in sport and of course Volkswagen’s disinterest. While privateer teams are important to Formula1, the charm and money is brought mainly by the manufacturer teams who also use the sport as a marketing platform to sell their road / luxury / sports cars.

Red Bull Racing’s Technical Director Adrian Newey in a recent interview with BBC revealed that the scrapping of the 1.6 litre 4 cylinder configuration was because of Audi’s U-turn on joining the sport. This also means that the 1.6 litre configuration was an attempt to lure more manufacturers to the sport rather than improve the spectacle or even better its environmental friendly image.

As most F1 fans would think, the decision was not because the ‘exhaust note’ or the ‘firing’ of the engine wouldn’t be ferocious enough by earlier Formula1 standards. More thoughts to follow on the change of engine regulations in Formula1

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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