Discussions continue on Formula 1 engine performance leveler
Nikolas Tombazis, the technical chief of the FIA, said there was no agreement yet on how to manage the performance of the engine in the frost.
The green light has been given for engine development to be frozen at the start of the 2022 season, meaning teams have one last shot with their engines before those specs are locked down.
A new generation of powertrains are expected to arrive from 2026.
Of course, the problem with such a move is that if any one of the four engine manufacturers – Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Renault – were significantly behind schedule, their disadvantage would be stuck for the next four seasons.
Discussions are therefore underway on how Formula 1 will react in order to call into play any manufacturer who has slowed down.
At this stage, Tombazis has no such information to give.
Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, he said: “We have yet to come to an agreement between the manufacturers on how we should react if one engine is far behind the others.”
The 2022 season sees the introduction of heavily redesigned Formula 1 challengers, but with only simulation data to draw on at this time, talking about how they will stack up against 2021 cars in terms of speed is all predictive.
In addition to the new cars, a new E10 fuel will also be introduced, based on 10% ethanol instead of 5.75% as before, as well as new 18-inch tires which will replace the 13-inch models.
Tombazis wants to see how all of these factors influence the speed of the new Formula 1 machines rather than offering predictions.
“I’m cautious because we still don’t know what effect the 18 inch tires, the E10 conversion of the engines and the handling will have due to the different aerodynamic characteristics,” he said.
The ambition of Formula 1 for 2022 cars is to reduce the gaps between teams and make it easier for drivers to follow each other, thereby generating more overtaking and emphasizing driver ability.
As to whether the 2022 cars will be more difficult to drive, Tombazis is not sure but is hopeful that it will be.
“If the cars are more difficult to drive it would be good for Formula 1,” he said.
Design freedom with the 2022 cars has been curtailed to reduce the chances of teams overriding FIA targets.
It was common in the past for a particular team to find a loophole and break away from the pack.
With the FIA now more in control of innovation than ever before, Tombazis said timing will be of the essence when it comes to deciding which teams’ ideas will be accepted or not.
“It makes a difference whether someone passes the milestone in December or next March,” he said.
“Now we would still have time to change something. In March, it would be more difficult. The longer the lead time, the more strictly we will deal with it.