Formula 1 Engine Rules Are “Completely Broken”



Stefan Johansson has called the current engine regulations “ridiculous” for not allowing enough in-season development for Renault, Honda, and Ferrari to catch the dominant, rival Mercedes team- and he’s not alone.

Mercedes’ push to the front of the F1 pack was several years coming, and the company had been rumored to be spending hundreds of millions to catch Red Bull during the 2010-2013 seasons. Despite the apparent dominance of Red Bull during those seasons, however, the championship came down to the last race as often as not. These last two years have been a very different story, with Mercedes simply crushing everyone and almost forcing Red Bull out of the sport completely with back-office dealings. Meanwhile, the current regulations prohibit Mercedes’ rivals from developing their engine during the season to help close the gap.

Ratings have suffered, F1’s sound has suffered, and F1’s fans have suffered. Now, the sport’s past engineering legends and even ex-drivers who still have a voice are complaining, too. Johansson, who raced in Formula 1 from 1980 to 1991, told Motorsport that the concept is “completely broken”.

“The real problem is this incredibly complicated engine formula that F1 has with penalties for this and that, and you’re not allowed to do any development,” Johansson said. “It continues to make no sense to me. The development ban was initially implemented to keep the cost at a sensible level, but that concept is already completely broken … it’s ridiculous to have a formula where there’s only one successful engine and the others are not permitted to do the development they obviously need to become competitive.”

I totally agree.

I’m just one guy, though- and we haven’t done much F1 coverage this year (largely due to my six month absence, but still). So, I’ll open the floor to you, dear readers. What do you think of the current F1 rules, and how do you think the engine formula should change, if at all? Let us know, in the comments!


Source | Images: Motorsport, Renault.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • Steve Hanley

    It is now a dick measuring contest between Jean Todt, Bernie Ickystone, Toto Wolff and Dieter Makeashitload. All they care about is bludgeoning each other into submission so one of them can become King of the Mountain. ALL the action now takes place away from the track, while these egomaniacs try to bash each other’s heads in.

    Mercedes reportedly poured over a billion dollars into developing its answer to the new power unit rules. It’s not surprising they are jealously guarding their dominant position.

    Red Bull has proven they are the biggest whiners since Alex Rodriguez got banned from baseball for a year. They controlled the whole show for three straight years, but as soon as they stopped winning, they started shrieking about what a bunch of dunces their engine supplier is and threatening to bring thunder and lightning down on their heads. They threatened to quit the sport if they don’t get their way. Good. Let ’em go. We would all be better off without all their sniveling.

    Frankly, a pox on all their houses. They choose to let an octogenarian who doesn’t believe in the internet or social media be in charge of their marketing. If I had my wish, the whole sport would die and be replaced with something that reverts to presenting exciting racing for the fans to watch instead of the snorefests we are treated to today.

    CAUTION: Strongly worded comment to follow!

    • They’re all a bunch of whiny bitches, to be honest. They learned it from watching “futból”, where everyone claims grievous, disfiguring injury whenever someone breathes on them.

  • Ed

    I am a US TV-watching F1 fan. I can keep this simple: I have stopped watching F1. As impressive as the technology is, the racing is not exciting.

  • Marcel

    Yea F1 is lame. Much prefer WEC or Formula E.

    • Formula E still seems terrible to me. Sorry, but the mid-race driver swap is beyond stupid.

  • tridus

    Didn’t even bother watching the last race, and probably won’t bother watching the next one. This isn’t a competition.

    In an actual competition, competitors are allowed to try and catch up. F1’s rules are actively designed to make that next to impossible. That’s the difference between this era and Red Bull’s dominance – there weren’t rules preventing people from doing more chassis work to catch up to Red Bull (which is where their domination came from). In fact, the FIA kept changing the rules to rein Red Bull in.

    The opposite is true now, and it’s made the whole thing a colossal waste of time. Wake me up when these people grow a brain and fix the rules so we have an actual sport. Until then, I’ll join the legions tuning out.

    • Steve Hanley

      Bernie, you olde foole. Are you listening to this? Four out of four people think your product sucks.

      • Zé M. S.

        Make that five!

        • James Rowland

          And my axe!

  • QKodiak

    How about they make it an almost no-holds-barred RACE where the company with the best car and driver combination wins with the only restrictions being a standardized fuel and maximum hp and torque figures (say 1,500 for both)?

    A Formula E where each car has different aerodynamic modifications to the exterior to make certain tones at different speeds so that every car makes a unique sound would draw more people than the current Formula E.

    • So, no-holds barred, but cap a few arbitrary performance metrics to ensure that anyone capable of producing a better engine won’t be able to? Sounds like you should be a fan of the current system, already! 😉

  • smartacus

    They really should open up the cylinder count again. Back in 1994; F1 had V8, V10, and V12 engines. Nowadays with 1.6 engines; it would be easy to also include 4 bangers (including V4, and flat-4)
    …or how about this? Open up the bank angle on the current 6 cylinder formula.
    Allow 180 degree bank angle for flat-6 and 0 degree Straight-6 🙂

  • neroden

    Just replace it with formula E.