Ross Brawn believes Formula One should look to change its engine regulations in 2020 to move away from being relevant to road cars, and says a decision needs to be made soon.
Turbocharged V6 hybrid engines were introduced at the start of the 2014 season in an attempt to make F1 more attractive to road car manufacturers and increase the development of technology for use on the road. While Brawn is impressed with the power units and the performance they provide, the former Mercedes boss believes F1 should set out its future plans to ensure the next engines are more relevant to the sport itself.
”F1 has to take a hard look at what it wants from an engine,” Brawn told the FIA’s Auto magazine. “What we’ve done in the last few years is align ourselves with road cars. We’ve got this revolution going on, and the road cars we’ll have in five to 10 years’ time are going to be very different.
“Can we maintain the technological marvel of F1 but acknowledge that perhaps now is the time to start diverging from where road cars are going? If we don’t, logic says we should have electric or fuel-cell F1 cars in a few years’ time. We have Formula E and that’s establishing its place, but for me F1 isn’t just a technological demonstration, it’s a whole circus, and what’s the best way of maintaining that?
“It might be time to say, ‘We’ve had this technological marvel, but we’re going to step back and think about what F1 ideally wants from an engine, which may have to contain some technologies that are relevant.’ We have to sit down with the manufacturers, teams and interested parties and decide what we want beyond 2020.
“Maybe it’s what we’ve got now but refined in terms of cost and complexity, because the engine is too expensive. In some ways the current engine is a technological marvel and it did re-engage the manufacturers, but if F1 starts to look at 2020 now there’s time to do it without anyone feeling any competitive disadvantage, with the investments and plans being made correctly. You need two years to sort an engine out.
“By the end of next year, Formula One needs to know what sort of engine it needs for the future.”
Brawn has been linked with a role overseeing the technical direction of F1, and has previously said he is open to taking on such a project having been away from the sport since the end of 2013.