FIA issues official “Call for Expression of Interest” in new V6 Engines

indycar-2014-engine-twin-turbo

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.

official tender page

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:

tender/expression of interest page

here is a direct link to the official PDF:

official expression of interest 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.

source

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.

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30 responses to “FIA issues official “Call for Expression of Interest” in new V6 Engines

  1. An EOI is a standard mechanism by a tenderer to find parties interested in the project while the details and specs are defined and full tender docs drawn up. I imagine they’ll get a response from a good number of major international manufacturers, as it’s not a big task to respond to these sorts of things.

    Let’s be honest – they haven’t got the faintest clue what the next engine spec is actually going to be, however much they claim to want a cheap “spec” engine for the midfield teams.

  2. Leaving aside the mandated / controlled boost, I read that spec and I think of mid-80’s Megatron grenades…mmmmmm…

    …err… excuse me a second while I quickly pleasure myself in a quiet corner….

    *blushes*

    Then, as now, it all sounds great but and it will be fantastic fun for a short while but is more than likely going to blow up in someone’s face.

    • It’s starting to sound like the unlimited hydroplanes in the late 80’s. I loved hearing the Rolls Royce engines, but the Lycoming T55’s were too powerful. Mercedes and Ferrari will not let these newcomers show them up, thus the childish imposed boost limits. I don’t see anything wrong with 5.5 bar, just ditch the stupid fuel limiter and boost limiter and let them have at it. It would eliminate the need for that ridiculous DRS abomination. Isn’t F1 supposed to be the pinnacle of auto technology? Bring it on and turn it up!

  3. Interesting. The problem with Expressions of Interest and a technical spec being drawn up in the future is that the FIA can tailor the technical spec to who ever they want to supply the engines! The might not chose the cheapest or the company with the best commercial record but might chose the company they ‘like’ the most!
    Unlimited fuel and unlimited engines sounds a bit too open but I guess they have a budget in mind for a teams engine supply.
    This sounds more like Bernie getting the engine he wants, i.e. no electrical power, without going back to a v8 which would see some manufacturers thinking about withdrawing from F1.

  4. Chevrolet is dominating IndyCar with its turbo v6 cool for USA… But sorry they still sound terrible. The other issue I see with this is the disparity on the starts. The new electric motor launches these cars harder then the old v8s.

    Maybe Ford?

        • Craig Scarborough idly suggested the following motorsport engineering companies, (though I’ve no idea if they would qualify):

          Ilmor (the most obvious, since Mario had expressed interest in his famous AMuS interview)
          Judd
          Zytek
          AER
          Mechachrome

          Others mentioned (perhaps jokingly):
          Mugen
          Gibson
          TAG
          PURE

        • Judge (not TJ13 but the engine builder), Mario Illien (who has already declared to be interested), maybe even AVL… don’t if any of them are truly independent since it is known that Illien is associated with Chevrolet and AVL is hired by a lot of manufacturers…

    • “The other issue I see with this is the disparity on the starts. The new electric motor launches these cars harder then the old v8s.”

      The MGU-K can only be used during a race start once they hit 100km/h

      • —-“The other issue I see with this is the disparity on the starts. The new electric motor launches these cars harder then the old v8s.”
        –The MGU-K can only be used during a race start once they hit 100km/h

        Which mean they can’t use it in approximately the first 2 seconds… which by my maths equates to roughly the first 28m…

        I think most F1 starts have substantially more than 28m to the first corner!

  5. “with a KW output greater than 640, which may be detuned to 530 in qualifying and race levels.”

    Given the Merc PU apparently puts out just under 1000hp in qualifying trim (and I’d guess Ferrari are within 40hp of them), this normal engine is going to have similar performance to the Honda surely?

    • There is much speculation about the hp of the Mercedes PU (which one, AMG’s latest vs the customer version?), but 740kw (992hp) is one of the highest estimates I’ve seen. Others guess the Mercedes is closer to 640kw (~860hp).

      But the more important point is this less expensive alternative engine is required to produce more than 640kw.

      Given how wide open the specs are, (unlimited fuel flow, unlimited boost, no limits on endurance, unlimited rpm, up to 2.5l, etc.), the expertise of the likes of Cosworth, Ilmor, Judd and others may be able to exceed the power of the current F1 engines while remaining within these given requirements.

      I doubt that the FIA’s tech department came up with this figure by throwing darts at a wall…

      • With that unlimited fuel flow comes the question of tank size to contain a race’s worth of fuel: how many liters will be needed for the longest/most-fuel-consuming race? What is the longest wheelbase allowed? Can that tank be fitted? Does it have to be taller rather than longer or wider?

  6. F1 really dropped the ball with this new formula, it could have worked with a less restriction on development (so that natural parity is reached), and with a cost limit. they also killed the sound of the sport.. why couldn’t they have just added fuel flow limit and turbo and hybrid to the already great sounding v8s??? it would have cost less also, but the cars would still be rod car relevant (which is ridiculous, F1 has never been road relevant, look at the glory v12 and v10 era). now F1 is making rules to save face, no one wants to see Mercedes dominate for the next five years, which is likely to happen with how the restrictive rules are, the rules now need to be relaxed (they should have been from the start) to let the completion catch up. the development restricions which allowed Mercedes to have this domination from February 2014 have actually cost every engine manufacturer more money, by trying to catch up behing the rules in little increments at great cost. modern F1 is pathetic and un sporting, in the past it was great because of technical development (chassis and engine), now we have no development on the engine side, and one team has a locked in advantage because of the limited development, this is not a sport.

  7. The FIA are just mad.
    They said no going back on the hybrids.
    I see no reason why the FIA / FOM can’t spend $300 million plus developing a hybrid PU with an independent engine manufacturer and then sell it at low cost to the teams.

  8. Interesting, I really think it’s Larry likely this is a play to potentially get buy in on Red Bull developing a hybrid engine. If it’s true Red Bull have the expertise to build the hybrid components, and if they can work with Ilmore to integrate these elements into the ICE of a Renault, Ferrari or Honda. Then potentially the play is, we’ll introduce an “open”, “non hybrid” engine formula if you guys don’t get behind another engine coming out of Red Bull. Perhaps Red Bull can offer it for less or perhaps other teams will be allowed to do likewise, namely purchase the ICE and use their own tech to do the rest.

  9. I am a little surprised at the requirement for a team of 5 OEM personnel per team. As this is a fairly simple ‘crate motor’ one might think that the team’s own staff could install them with maybe a single technician on hand at each race. I wonder how may staff the current complex power units require! It is clear that the FIA’s idea of ‘low cost’ will still be a lot of money.

    • If they went with a team of 6 then 1 guy could be responsible for each cylinder.
      Maybe they will have 1 guy for each bank of cylinders (so 2 there), Another guy covers the turbo (that makes 3), another guy is the “block guy” (thats 4), and the 5th guy changes the light-bulb.

  10. I for one have been wondering how a highly developed ice would compare to these current units. I have a sneeky suspicion that its closer than the FIA would like to admit. Fortis had a valid point about the sheer grunt of the Merc Pack and given that an electric motor gives an instantaneous power delivery compares to a ICE the starts/stops would be the hunting ground of these predators but over a distance I would pick the ICE with a blower every day. Things will be interesting

  11. Their seem to be almost zero restrictions other than V6 less than 2.5L and less than 135kg. They allow unlimited fuel and revs and two turbos! There is a big scope for lots of power, a small turbo for low down grunt and big (lots of lag) turbo for high power. I can imagine these ‘simple’ V6 to be capable of significantly more power and torque than the hybrids. So much so that existing teams will want the new V6 and manufacturers will lose customers and Bernie will have his wish of simple engines and he regains the power over the manufacturers. Down side is if new V6 is allowed to be too good manufacturers will start to quit. They wont be seen to be beaten at their own game for long.

    • In 1987 there was a 195 L/race fuel limit, 4 bar maximum. Horsepower was about 850.
      In 1988 the fuel dropped to 155 l/race with a 2.5 bar limit. Horsepower was abut 680.

      So, with unlimited fuel and revs, and maybe a 3 bar pressure limit we could easily see 1000 hp. Of course, the previous turbo era was running toluene not petrol. But still …….the 2.4 L atmosphere engines with a rev limit were putting out about 750 hp; adding a turbo(s) and removing the rev limit? Who knows, but a lot of hp.

      This will not happen.

      • Also, the 155L limit was only about 17 L more than the 100kg limit now in effect. They weren’t doing so badly BITD and today, with the improvements in friction reduction, pneumatic valve systems, fuel. electronic controls, direct injection, etc. it would be very easy to generate more power than the current PU without too much more fuel. This would just embarrass the current manufacturers and will not happen.

    • Good points.

      It’s important to remember that Bernie’s view was that of a dinosaur, he was interested in screaming normally aspirated engines with too many cylinders. Thanks to modern technology such as computer controlled electronic ignition systems, variable valve timing, direct injection, etc, there is no need for over-square multiple cylinders. Instead, engines use fewer cylinders, a longer stroke, and charged air for more power, more efficiency, and much better torque curves.

      It’s significant that this is a FIA action, with Jean Todt visibly leading the effort (for once). These specs, (light-weight turbo V6 with only crank length specified to create a drop-in replacement), reflect a fairly practical approach designed to be more easily implemented by the teams.

      Regarding the manufacturers, three things are significant:
      1) Other manufacturers are not coming to F1 with the current regs because they’ve been watching Renault and Honda.
      2) There are only two organizations stridently against the alternative engine plan, because they have the most to lose, Mercedes and Ferrari.
      3) Ferrari isn’t going anywhere. They’re not primarily a road car manufacturer, but a racing organization that manufacturers road cars on the side. Their historical raison d’etre is F1, and it continues to be so.
      4) The Board of Directors for Mercedes approved a business plan which involves selling their motors to other teams to recoup some of their massive investment. They don’t want to reduce that revenue stream.
      5) Road car manufacturers come and go from F1 and all top tier motorsports, as it suits their needs. The smart motorsports series plan accordingly so that they can do two things, first, survive the exit of all road car manufacturers, and two be able to entice road car manufacturers to also come back. Since the current engine regs are failing on both of those, this new, simpler, much less expensive alternative engine may be a basis of the new engine regs starting in 2020.

      Seriously, look at F1’s current engines:
      * The Mercedes engine for the Mercedes team is the best
      * The Mercedes engine for its customers (comparable to the engine in the Ferrari team perhaps)
      * The Ferrari team’s engine
      * The unimproved Renault in the Toro Rosso, and Kvat’s car
      * The 2015 customer Ferrari in the Sauber
      * The improved Renault in Ricciardo’s car
      * The Honda
      * Last year’s Ferrari customer engine in the Manor

      It doesn’t matter very much what order one places this list of the current engines, the point is that each team wants to win the championship, and obtain the best motor they possible can. But the variance in performance between these motors puts all teams except for Mercedes (and perhaps Ferrari) at a disadvantage. In addition, teams must spend more of their budgets on motors. That money would normally be spent developing their chassis, their aerodynamics, their personnel, even their drivers, but instead it is given to overpriced engines.

      As a sport, F1 consists of only two championships, a drivers championship, and a team championship. There isn’t an engine championship. With the heavy additional financial pressure that these current engines place on teams, Jean Todt finally came to the conclusion that there is only thing to do to save the sport which is to drop the price of the engines. Todt’s performance as a leader is mediocre at best, but this move is certainly a step in the right direction for F1.

  12. I don’t get this? The beginning of a two-tier formula 1, with tier two teams using a spec engine?

  13. I don’t think that tourdog’s interpretation that any tenders submitted will be visible on the page. It says that INVITATIONS will be posted there, ie, the FIA’s invitation to submit tenders, not those submitted.

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