Formula One - Future

Future

The FIA is responsible for making rules to combat the spiralling costs of Formula One racing (which affects the smaller teams the most) and for ensuring the sport remains as safe as possible, especially in the wake of the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994. To this end the FIA have instituted a number of rule changes, including new tyre restrictions, multi-race engines, and reductions on downforce. Safety and cost have traditionally been paramount in all rule-change discussions. More recently the FIA has added efficiency to its priorities. Currently the FIA and manufacturers are discussing adding bio-fuel engines and regenerative braking for the 2011 season or from the start of the 2014 season. Former FIA President Max Mosley believes Formula One must focus on efficiency to stay technologically relevant in the automotive industry as well as keep the public excited about F1 technology.

In the interest of making the sport truer to its role as a World Championship, FOM president Bernie Ecclestone has initiated and organised a number of Grands Prix in new countries and continues to discuss new future races. The first Indian Grand Prix was held in 2011 and the United States Grand Prix will celebrate its return onto the Formula One calendar in 2012. Another American race, the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey, will join the calendar in 2013. In October 2010, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin signed an agreement with Ecclestone establishing the Russian Grand Prix in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi from 2014, with the circuit to be run in and around the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Park.

Formula One is also exploring the potential for a revival of the South African, Argentine and Mexican Grands Prix while proposals for races to be held in Vietnam, Ukraine, Croatia,Thailand have also been put forward.

In December 2010, reports emerged detailing new engine regulations set to take effect from 2013. The 2.4-litre V8 engines used since 2006 will be reduced to 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engines augmented by the KERS device, with projected power outputs predicting that the new engine formula would remain constant from the 2006 design. The new engine regulations emphasise efficiency and eco-friendliness, and have been designed in an attempt to lure new engine suppliers back into the sport – with the mass exodus of manufacturers Toyota, Honda and BMW ahead of the 2010 season, the number of manufacturers on the grid was at a thirty-year low, with just Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and the independent Cosworth supplying engines, the lowest since 1980. The new engines will reportedly consume 35% less fuel than the pre-2013 engine formula. However, after discussion among the teams, the FIA agreed to postpone the introduction of the new engine regulations until 2014 with a revised formula; rather than the previously agreed-upon four-cylinder turbocharged engines, the teams will instead use 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines limited to 15,000 rpm, with the power of energy recovery systems – such as KERS – to be doubled.

It has also been reported that ground effects – banned since 1983 – are being considered for a future return. In December 2010, a proposal created by Rory Byrne and Patrick Head emerged, which outlined design specifications that included the re-introduction of ground effects in addition to greatly reduced downforce, and much smaller front and rear wings. It had been estimated that the cars would become harder to drive – where drivers in 2010 can spend up to 70% of a lap at full throttle, they would have been only be able to spend 50% of the lap at full throttle from 2013. Byrne and Head speculated that their proposed regulations would make overtaking easier as a driver following another would lose less downforce when following closely courtesy of the car's shaped underside. These proposals were abandoned in favour of only changing the aforementioned engine regulations in 2014.

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