Formula 1 teams want to begin discussing the future power unit that will eventually replace the current hybrid V6 system as soon as possible, with the date for its introduction drawing closer.
An agreement to continue using the current power unit will expire in 2022, and although it could be extended, team bosses believe it would be wise to begin looking at alternatives for the future, now.
With so much to consider, Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe believes starting discussions immediately over what path F1 should take with its engine or power unit would be wise.
“I think it is about time we started to talk about the engine beyond this one,” he said. “And it does raise some very big considerations: how do we define an engine or power unit that is correct for the sport but also relevant to the kind of power units that we will see in the future in road cars?
“Do we remain in some way attached to that technology which is increasingly electrical or do we go our own way? So there are some very very important questions there.”
Lowe believes the issue of noise will be a major factor with the rise in silent electric cars, versus the desire from motorsport fans for louder engines.
“I think road cars of the future, at some point not that far off, will be completely silent if they are all electrical so will we want noise, will we associate noise with performance or not? There are some very interesting debates there and I think we need to start that process.”
Ferrari’s Jock Clear believes it’s vital the sport learns from the previous mistakes it made with the current spec and gives themselves enough time to get it right.
“I think what we have learned from this cycle and this era of hybrid engines is that the power units now are very complicated and it needs a lot of planning and I think we’ll go into those next negotiations with eyes wide open this time.
“I don’t think there’s anybody who didn’t fall into the category of underestimating what might have been involved, and as such, the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll be aware and the sooner we can come to a solution that will be the best for the sport.”
McLaren’s Matt Morris wants urgent talks in the hope it might entice other manufacturers to get involved in F1.
“I think it is good to start the talks now because it’s important for the engine manufacturers that are already in to see what is happening in the future, because they need reassurance that what we are going to do in the future is still relevant to their business.
“I think also having visibility of the future could also potentially attract more engine manufacturers into our formula. So I think for our side, the sooner we start discussing this, then the better.”
When Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer was asked what he wanted from a new engine, he replied: “A cheap one! Clean sheet of paper, it’s got to be affordable.”