Under a sweeping set of new Formula One rules just approved by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the world's premier racing series will switch from the existing 2.4-liter V8 engines to new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder alternatives effective with the 2013 season. This dramatic recasting of F1 regs is the latest move by the FIA, which has become increasingly proactive of late in encouraging more energy efficient innovations in motorsport, including the mandatory implementation of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology in Formula One starting in 2011.
The 2013 F1 engine rules mandate this new strain of direct-injected 1.6-liter turbos be constrained to 12,000 rpm -- a major reduction from the current 19,000 rpm rev limit. According to the FIA, their smaller displacement and lower revs should generate about a 35-percent reduction in fuel consumption. However, with the addition of KERS, total powertrain output is expected to remain at current levels.
In a related cost-reduction effort, the new F1 rules will also require engines and gearboxes to last longer. Today, teams are limited to eight engines per season and must run each in at least two consecutive races or face grid-position penalties. Starting in 2013, they'll only be allowed five engines per season, and will have the use of just four in 2014. Transmissions, which currently must be used in four consecutive races, will have to make it through five events without a changeout come 2013.