Third Manufacturer Wants F1 Alternative Engine Deal



According to this exclusive report, you can now add Mecachrome to the ever-expanding list of companies who are bidding for and “submitting tenders” to build the next generation of “low tech”, non-hybrid F1 engines.

When the FIA, led by president Jean Todt, forced hybrid technology onto F1 teams a few years ago, the justification was that the technology would make F1 cars seem more relevant to manufacturers’ road cars and lure more OEMs into the sport. Since then, Toyota and BMW have both left the series, and the only new entrant, Honda, is finding it difficult enough to support one team, let alone several. To combat the engine “shortage” and rising costs of KERS and ERS technology, the powers that be in Formula 1 announced that they would look into adopting an all-new “alternative” engine … assuming that anyone was interested in building it, of course.

You can almost imagine the embarrassed looks being issued across the meeting tables at the FIA offices, can’t you? Mecachrome, of course, were the shop responsible for the Renault-branded engines that powered Red Bull to four consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ double-championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, as well as Williams’ and Bennettons’ dominant, championship-winning cars in the 90s. As such, you can probably expect that they have a few ideas.


Michael Schumacher’s Mecachrome-built Benetton Renault

1993 German Grand Prix. Hockenheim, Germany. 23-25 July 1993. Michael Schumacher (Benetton B193B Ford) 2nd position. Ref-93 GER 05. World Copyright - LAT Photographic

The question now, of course, is whether Mecachrome, Ilmor (who have a history with both Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz), or AER will get the nod. The even bigger, unanswered question, however, remains: with all this interest in an alternative engine, is it time to admit the hybrid solution was wrong for F1 in the first place?

We have a comments section, you have opinions. You know what to do, guys.


Source | Images: Motorsport.

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.
  • Termin8r

    So lemme get this straight. The world is on the brink of a car propulsion system revolution. Everybody except oil barons and cognitive dissonants agrees that the future is electric, be it battery or H2. Volkswagen has just been severely slapped for desperately trying to mislead us all in believing that their dirty little engines were clean enough to be admitted on the roads and not cause us any harm. The engines we’re talking about are mechanically still based on steam engines, only more complicated and without a flat torque curve. In light of recent developments and the near future, they’re ridiculously complicated, dirty and inefficient.

    So if I understand this correctly, F1 is now talking about how they will carry on using dinosaur juice engines. Are these people for real?

    Don’t get me wrong. I have have a 1957 car in the garage (my rolling Meccano kit) and I love the spine-tingling feeling I get from a 1929 Bugatti T35B screaming past at full chat. But it’s a sound from the past. In order to survive the future, F1 should be looking forward, not back.

    • James Rowland

      The question is whether ICE noise or actual competition is more important to the spectacle. Formula E seems to suggest it’s the latter. I look forward to seeing how much it cannibalises F1.

      We should focus on what the core problem in F1 is though; lack of close racing, not lack of electrification. If the drama of highly-tuned ICEs singing their guts out has any value, getting rid of that isn’t actually a good first move.

      • Formula E, in 2016, is a long way from pulling off the kind of spectacle needed to wrest the crown from F1. That said, once they figure out how to pull off a battery swap, in place of the stupidulous car swap mid-race, they’ll be more than halfway there.

    • The future may be electric, sure- but if there’s a competitive advantage to KERS/ERS and other electric whiz-bang tech, don’t you think there is something in letting those technologies prove themselves on a track the way they did in WEC?

  • Steve Hanley

    The big teams have told Bernie and Jean to take their alternate engine plan and shove it! Dieter Makeashitload has renewed his thinly veiled threat to quit the sport.

    Here’s the real problem. For years, all the significant action in Formula One has taken place far away from any race track in board rooms and fancy eating clubs. The powers that be seem to think we fans want to watch a high stakes dick measuring contest between obscenely wealthy and senescent white men rather than competition between race cars.

    May the dung of a thousand camels infest their nasal passages!!!

    • They didn’t approve the hybrids, either- and here we are. Bernie has the money, Jean has the EU-sanctioned authority, Dieter has a mouth full of camel shit, anyway. He also has Adrian Newey, though.