Jean Todt and the FIA have made good on their promise to seek an alternative engine for the 2017 season and beyond, well sort of.
The official way of seeking a new supplier for anything in Formula 1, is done through a process called “Tendering”. A tendering document is issued by the FIA and posted on their website.
The very first line on this web page is as follows:
“New invitations to tender will be announced by posting them on this website.”
So we know all official tenders are listed there, yet there is no tender for this “new v6”.
What the FIA has actually issued is a “Call for Expression of Interest”, which a link to can be found on this page:
here is a direct link to the official PDF:
From the document:
The FIA has decided to launch a consultation among the engine manufacturers in order to potentially identify for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons of the aforementioned Championship an exclusive alternative engine manufacturer which will be solely entitled to supply this alternative engine to the competitors entered for said seasons of the Championship.
The FIA is now calling for expressions of interest to identify candidates interested in becoming the exclusive supplier of the alternative engine to the competitors.
The FIA asks candidates to show their experience in manufacturing engines, their industrial capacity, and their financial and economic strengths, including a three year business plan for this motor. Interestingly the technical requirements weren’t provided in this document, but instead the candidate is asked to go to the FIA Technical Department to obtain the requirements.
TJ13 has been unable to obtain the official technical requirements of the alternative engine, but we have found the following information on an un-official website. We are in the process of confirming this information:
- 2.5 Litre (or less) turbocharged V6, with a KW output greater than 640, which may be detuned to 530 in qualifying and race levels.
- Total weight of the power unit being less than 135kg.
- The FIA will impose no limits on Maximum RPM, engine durability or fuel flow.
- The power unit solution will feature no hybrid power.
- Hydraulics for the engine must be the same for all teams supplied.
- The unit must be compatible with the standard F1 ECU and data logger.
Manufacturers expressing interest in candidacy to become sole supplier of the alternative engine supply will have freedoms around:
- Number of turbochargers – 1 or 2
- Turbocharges must be able to cope with the maximum boost pressure imposed by the FIA.
- Freedom around cranktrain and valvetrain in all areas except crank length.
- Freedom is given on the exhaust system, although a variable exhaust system is not permitted.
The financial boundaries include (but are not limited to) all engine sub assembly, all PU pressure charging components (turbo), PU Waste gate and air inlet system, the fuel system and electrical components.
Candidate manufacturers must provide support of 5 personnel per team supplied at all race and test events, along with sufficient power unit supplies for up to 20 events and 5000 km of testing.
Candidates have until 17:00 CET November 23rd to register their interest and capability to meet these requirements with the required supporting documentation.
If these tech requirements are accurate, many will note “…no hybrid power”. F1 has in recent seasons evolved from straight petrol power to KERS hybrid to recovering energy from both braking and turbo. And now these advanced motors may have to compete against a straight petrol, non-hybrid engine.
But just as interesting is that these rules are wide-open in comparison to the current engine regulations. Here are some highlights:
- Light weight – The new alternative motors must be at least 10kg lighter than the current power units, and can be as light as they want.
- Unlimited RPMs – No restrictions on RPM.
- Unlimited fuel flow – Power will be regulated by turbo boost.
- No durability requirements – No grid penalties for new engines.
There is no way a new engine could be designed, tested, and built to these specifications in time for even the 2017 season. It is obvious this “Call For Expressions of Interest” is written specifically to define engines which already exists, and can be modified to meet the FIA’s specifications.
Being that this entire process is only in the early stages, it can still be seen as more of a threat, than a real alternative.