Adrian Newey, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Newey unimpressed with hybrid F1 rules

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In the round-up: Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey doubts the value of F1’s engine regulations.

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  • 44 comments on “Newey unimpressed with hybrid F1 rules”

    1. Just like how aerodynamics has a huge role in road cars hey Adrian? lol

      1. @ivz I know what Adrian meant but indeed Adrian has made “this” hypocrite mistake often.

      2. Im fairly positive that what Adrian newest is trying to say, is that formula 1 cars shouldn’t be bending towards being Road relevant. They never have been. Things trickle down from f1 into road cars, but they shouldn’t be going the other way round. I think a good thing that f1 could do to make it’s self more relevant while not compromising it’s self would be to open up the engine regs slightly. By this I mean cap the petrol engine as a v8 2.4 litre engine with all the regulations that generation of engine had, but open up the rules to use any other non petroleum fuel source with completely open regulations on those engines. All of a sudden, the technical side of f1 becomes interesting again and it becomes a valuable test bed for manufacturers on a world stage.

        Any thoughts @keithcollantine ?

        1. Personally I think that Adrian is saying what a) his employer wants him to say and b) what gives him and his team the best cards to win.

          Off course Newey would be happy with a formula that is just about Aero, because he knows he is good at it, and would not face much “unfair” competition from other engineers that know how to build the best engine, or those that find the best complete solution to engine, suspension and aero, or just the engineers who build a solid car that is far more reliable etc.

          But the competition is only interesting if cars compete because they have very different strenghts. And we will certainly not get that with an aero focussed formula.

        2. New fuels seems like it would be interesting

      3. The point Newey makes is a valid one, the point he ignores is that manufacturers would rather focus their efforts in the one direction they feel will be beneficial to their future product line, this way they amortise the cost of f1 through the research program they have to undertake to remain competitive on the road rather than having 2 different programs running unrelated products like an old school V8.

        1. No, what you’re ignoring is what he’s actually saying.

          He’s saying that if these PU manufactures don’t end up with ultra effecient PU’s on road cars in 5 years then they have been lying and using F1 ONLY as a marketing stunt and not for actual development.

          Given that Newey knows a thing or two as the most successful technical director in the sport, you should believe him.

          1. Having the most efficient PU is probably not the only measure for the investment. While hybrid technology in modern road cars looks to become a norm (before full electric / hydrogen cars take over), manufacturers can develop their technology assets in F1 and mabye shave some costs from road car development.

          2. @The Duke I think Paddy Lowe is better then Adrian Newey.

          3. THE DUKE, no, your self appointed Excellency, read my opening statement again.

        2. @TheDuke

          That’s not all he’s saying and I agree with how you read it but there’s more. He’s also saying, these types of pu’s in road cars should produce superior results that are measurable/provable against their competition within 5 years in the road car sector. @Hohum, is also correct imo. If they can run one program and get results in both F1 and for their car lines, of course they’ll do that. Newey is actually saying all the things we 3 are. Newey is just suspicious of the car makers true intent and is a valid point. If car manufacturers competing in F1 can’t demonstrate a clear superiority in the road car sector and they’ve been hollering about the “benefits” to their product lines, at what point does F1A, say we’ve been had and then make F1 cars the spectacles they have always been? Someone else here has already commented that, they or Newey is/are wondering why F1 is trying to be road relevant and it shouldn’t be. Newey is just giving it time.

    2. Vijay Mallya has worse haircuts than Jacques Villeneuve.

      1. Yeth indeed.

      2. Nice one mate! lol

    3. I don’t see why he would say that. The purpose of saying the technology trickles down is to advertise to the type of consumer who that will appeal to. Whether it actually trickles down is irrelevant. I mean, he should know, why does he think Aston was so keen to work with him? The end goal wasn’t to build a one of line of supercar. It was to shape the brand perception.

      Surely he must know that. So why say it?

      1. knoxploration
        2nd January 2017, 4:07

        Because unlike many F1 personalities who only know how to toe the company line, Newey isn’t afraid to speak his mind when he thinks the sport is headed in the wrong direction.

        1. The he should say it verbatim.

          1. The sad truth is that, if Newey were a contracted employee of a F1 competitor. A competitor which also made road cars under the same brand name…. he would most definitely not be making those kind of critical remarks. He would, no doubt, still think that way, but he would have to keep his critical opinions to himself. Whereas his current main employer does not actually make road cars…except indirectly of course….do they ? And then there’s that interesting high-speed machine he’s involved in with America’s Cup isn’t there …….and that’s called a boat by some people. …… Hmmmmmmmm !

          2. why, it would only cost him in fines, a potential law suite, political hacks hounding him, bad ‘karma’, bad press by all those who just tow the party line, etc…

            F1 is, only, in between the lines. There are very few ‘personalities’ in F1 who actually are at liberty to speak their minds with out fear of severe reprisal. Fortunately for F1, most people who watch F1 don’t really care what is going on, or what the drivers think.

            F1 is about promoting Mercedes, at any cost. And Mercedes will do anything to keep the ‘viewers’ coming back, even if it means not giving two ****s about someone’s reliability. Just look what happened to Williams last year after Toto was forced to divest. The real entertainment is seeing how long this will go on for, and how many other teams will be on the brink of starvation, and how far down they will bow to keep their pay checks coming in….

        2. Eh, knoxploration, when I read what Newey says about this for the last few years, he has been exactly towing the company line that the only thing that should matter is aero.

    4. AMR (@aiera-music)
      2nd January 2017, 2:30

      I had to look twice at Vijay’s picture in that tweet. He’s got so much gear on his wrists I thought he was already in handcuffs.

    5. Newey says: Get rid of wind tunnel tests completely and limit CFD runs.
      I hear: Red Bull think they’ve developed the best CFD program.

      One might think CFD is more cost effective than a wind tunnel, but make no mistake, developing the world’s best CFD program that simulates more accurately than anyone else’s would have would have a lot of room for investment in the world’s top engineers and leave the small teams just as far behind (if not more so) as with aero development through a wind tunnel.

      Newey has a great point in bringing to light the overall picture. F1 has lost its road relevancy. FE arguably has the greater impact in that sphere, or at least definitely will as time continues.

      Formula 1 needs to find a reason for its existence beyond pure entertainment (or other spectacles will find ways to outshine it) and furthering CFD simulation (a near limitless pursuit with a wide range of applications) is one such possible avenue.

    6. Guybrush Threepwood
      2nd January 2017, 5:14

      They should just put in a horsepower cap and let the engine manufacturers develop whatever they want. 12 cyclinders, 6 cylinders, naturally aspirated, turbo, KERS, Hybrid, whatever. That would be far more interesting and would naturally direct manufacturers to create the most effective and efficient engines.

      1. That’s a great idea but many manufacterers in F1 are not in line to developing engines/pu’s that won’t ever see the light of day in a product line. That’s what they’re telling us anyway. Is it true? Newey is certainly questioning it.

    7. @COTD: Hate to be that guy, but Bottas drove Renault engines in 2013 at Williams.

    8. Rather ironic that Newey is criticizing the value of pure marketing babble given that the economic foundation of his team is precisely that.

    9. Willem Cecchi (@)
      2nd January 2017, 9:09

      I don’t know the reason behind the delay of Bottas’ announcement, but it is great for Mercedes marketing.

      The empty seat has been dominating the media coverage this past month.

      1. i think you answered your own question….

      2. And it is over now. It’s going to be Bottas at Merc.
        Wehrlein just signed for Sauber.

        1. You are right.

          I really wanted to see wehrlein in the williams, but since this is not the case I would prefer is Nasr got it.

    10. Newey translation : The 2017 Red Bull is slower than the 2017 Mercedes, but it’s not my fault.

    11. Newey should read up on Mercedes’ new hybrid I6 engine which features an electrically assited turbo. I wonder where they tested that tech…

    12. Newey talking through his hoop again because his aero advantage has gone, and we’re not massaging his smooth bonce every week.

      This discussion, in essence, has been going on in another form of Motorsport for over 10 years: Motocross. It’s got everything to do with these manufacturers wanting to been seen as ‘green’.

      In around the early/mid 00’s in MX, the major manufacturers, Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki started making 4 stroke engines (less wasteful with fuel/oil) and ceased producing 2 stroke engines – which where, per CC, much more powerful than their 4 stroke counterpart, but the manufacturers carried on developing the 4 stroke and have no plans of going back to producing 2 strokes because it just does not fit with the global image they want to put out there, which is that we want to produce engines that gives as much power output, with less wastage.

    13. Just a point that doesn’t often get mentioned when discussing engine manufacturer’s wanting to push road relevance & tech that may end up on road cars.

      It’s also about convincing the board that the significant investment there going to be making will be beneficial to the company as a whole in some way. Back with the previous N/A engines it was a hard thing to do unless you were winning with the marketing benefits that has as the only advancements coming back were in relation to new fuel & oil mixes that were been passed onto the road cars. If your sitting on a board of an engine manufacturer about to write a massive check for 1 or more seasons budget just having some benefit from oil’s isn’t of much importance.
      With the hybrid turbo’s there is a lot more opportunity for things to be found that will end up directly influencing road cars, Mainly in the hybrid & battery systems but also the turbo & ICE.

      If your going to the board able to say that giving them the budget for the F1 program will bring some benefit to the road division then it’s a far easier sell than simply asking for a massive budget just to go racing with no potential benefit unless they win as eventually you reach a point where the board will be less willing to give you the budget you want.

      Additionally in the current era where a lot of the manufacturer’s & society on the whole want to show green credentials & that they care about the environment etc.. Been able to say that fuel efficiency is a lot better than it was, That there using half the fuel with more power & all those green sort of things really does help convince some of the higher ups to continue the program.
      If you go back saying there producing engines that are only doing 2mpg & that are causing the amount of pollution the old units actually were it again becomes a much harder sell.

      Final point, People often say that if that is the case ditch the manufacturer’s & rely on private suppliers such as Cosworth. It’s actually probable that they would have some of the same concerns, Especially from a PR point of view.

    14. AN is a very smart man so I’m sure given a bit more space for conversation some things could be made clearer.

      ‘It’s a marketing blurb’…of course it is. Motor racing wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for companies tagging their brands to it for advertising purposes. That we have known for decades. And saying within 5 years a manufacturer of domestic cars would be dominant if in fact there was a trickle down effect ignores that they have to keep their cars affordable too, and can’t just go ahead and make everything they do a supercar, or at a minimum something out of their target market’s reach.

      I don’t see how a restriction on resources promotes creativity but I’m sure there’s more to his point. It’s just that there is always going to be strength in numbers be that numbers of dollars or numbers of brains.

      I don’t mind what he is saying wrt it being a driver and engineering creativity series, as at least they are about to start making the driver count more with faster cars on tires on which they can actually push themselves and the cars. And hopefully it is no longer a PU formula now that tokens are gone and more parity may result. But if AN’s version of engineering creativity is about more aero, he should know by now how damaging that is to the product on the track. He makes no mention of how crucial the tire philosophy is, nor how hated DRS is by it’s damage to the integrity of the sport as a poor bandage to try to mask the dirty air effect.

    15. I think AN’s comment would be different if RB were Mercedes powered. Mind games.

    16. On the photo of Vijay Mallya, has anyone told him his mullet hairstyle, oversized gold watch, rings and chains went out with the 1990’s?

    17. WeatherManNX01
      2nd January 2017, 16:06

      The problem here is not the engines themselves but the way they were introduced. As always, FOM and the FIA managed to completely miss the big picture and take the rosiest magic-bullet solution that will fix everything.

      I have no problem with the V6 turbo hybrids nor the engine token system of development. I have a problem with the way they were implemented: immediately.

      Engines: Things became very complicated (and very expensive) very quickly. We went from V8s with KERS one year to V6 turbo hybrids the next. Mercedes got it right, and everyone else had poor also-rans. I think it might have been better to either slowly phase in the various elements over the course of a number of years or open and rewrite the rules in such a way as to guide the development over a similar period.

      Tokens: “We’re going to introduce a very complicated power unit then completely limit the development to effectively lock things in. What could possibly go wrong.” Well, as we saw, Mercedes went wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it). One team dominated out of the gate and was effectively locked into that dominance thanks to the development restrictions, while the others had limited ways they could catch up. Any time an FIA or FOM official complains about Merc’s dominance hurting the sport, they need to look in the mirror, because they did this to themselves.

      A better system would have been two years open development to let the engine manufacturers room to keep competitive before introducing limits to slowly lock things down. I get that development was limited to keep costs down, but it completely backfired (and limited development was never going to be a financial magic bullet anyway).

      As we saw with knockout qualifying, the FIA and FOM have a blind spot to the big picture, and that is part of what ails the sport right now.

    18. Rather unimpressed by Newey his comments. Surely hybrid power is the most exciting thing to happen to road cars since power steering. I mean as much as Newey wants to be challenged on the aero part of a car there’s plenty of engineers who want that on the engine too. I’m hardly impressed by the newest Bugatti that can hit whatever straight line speed, on the other hand absolutely wow for the 918, LaFerrari and P1.

      I do agree that the guidelines for the engine should be left more open to allow actual competition, as in the WEC. Aero is free for interpretation as long as you limit yourself to a set of rules, the engine however is what it is, and nobody is ever going to build a better 1,6L Turbo V6 than Mercedes, end of story. That’s why I liked Bernie’s idea of having an independent engine manufacturer providing smaller teams with engines, and in the meantime the big boys like Renault and Mercedes can experiment with 2,4L NA V8 whilst the other can play with a 1,6L Hybrid V4.

      1. @xtwl, whilst comparisons are often drawn with the WEC and the upsides of having relatively open regulations, that series has also shown quite a few drawbacks.

        The hybrid systems on cars like the 919 may be impressive bits of kit, but the cost inflation which has resulted from that has now reached the point where the potential investment that would be required to get up to the same level as the remaining factory teams is becoming prohibitively expensive. Peugeot and BMW have both publicly written off competing in the WEC because the LMP1 class is now not economical to new manufacturer entrants – moreover, they’re understandably wary given that Nissan’s high profile attempt at a low cost and radical entry was spectacularly unsuccessful.

        It says something where Audi can’t give the R18 away to a privateer to run because, even if the car was free, the running costs alone would bankrupt an independent entrant in the factory class – similarly, the cost of trying to convert the car to a non-hybrid car for the privateer class is unaffordable.

        Moreover, there is the issue that the rise of the manufacturers and their hybrid entries have come at the expense of the privateer entries into the LMP1 class, which have dwindled in the past few years. With the demise of Rebellion, there is now just one privateer entrant left (the ByKolles car which, having originally started out as an LMP2 spec car in 2013, is getting pretty long in the tooth now) and we’re now in a situation where, at Le Mans this year, it is highly likely that you’ll be able to count the number of LMP1 cars on one hand (two Toyota’s, two Porsche’s and one ByKolles).

        The problem there is quite simple – because the ACO has publicly committed itself to promoting hybrid power units, it is effectively in a situation where they have to ensure that hybrid systems will always be the more competitive option, otherwise they undermine the marketing hook line for themselves and the teams which compete in the WEC.

        All the time they compete, the privateer LMP1 team is effectively barred by the regulations from directly competing with the factory teams to avoid creating the wrong public image – so whilst it is all well and good to have an independent supplier, why should a privateer compete when they know that the rules deliberately cripple them? They won’t – they move into something like the LMP2 class, where costs are fairly minimal and the standardisation of the cars ensures that they will be competitive, or they leave for entirely different series (such as the Blancpain GT series).

        It is essentially the same problem that immediately came up when Bernie floated the idea of having an independent engine supplier – if it is too competitive, then there is no incentive for the manufacturers to develop a hybrid unit and either they will switch to the new engine (thereby giving you a new standard engine format) or they leave altogether, risking triggering a major walkout that would damage the sport.

        If, on the other hand, the independent engines aren’t competitive with the hybrid engines, then the privateers which can afford to buy the hybrid engines will buy them and the independent engine manufacturer will probably withdraw from the sport in the long term due to a lack of sales. It sounds like a nice idea, but it is unlikely to be a stable long term dynamic (and, indeed, many felt that Bernie and the FIA only suggested it because they knew that it would be such a disruptive idea and to force the manufacturers to give ground in their negotiations).

        In some ways, the current situation is a little reminiscent of the end days of Group C – the cars might have been extremely impressive for their time, but at the same time the cost factor associated with them progressively killed off the viability of that class. We seem to be seeing a similar situation now – most sportscar series abolished the LMP1 car years ago because they weren’t affordable (the WEC is the only series with LMP1 cars), and even there the same influx of cash which has made the cars so impressive has also driven out the privateers and resulted in a progressive dwindling of the field.

    19. Sorry but why is a engine not allowed to play apart in a team’s success? Can anyone come up with a reasonable argument as to what would the point be of having different manufactures if the engines are the same?. Is there not supposed to be competition between the manufactures? If engines are equalised shouldn’t we have 1 sole manufacturer for everyone?

    20. Whenever Newey comes out and makes statement like these, both of these applies:

      1 – They’ve screwed up the car design
      2 – they’re looking to have some rules changed.

      And it’s also funny, when you take into consideration that the FIA clarified a grey area surrounding the cars rear suspension which is said will affect the Red Bull design the worst.

    21. And this is why teams should not be aloud to have any say in the regulations too many vested interests, if Red Bull had as competitive an engine as Mercedes you would not hear a whisper from Newey.

      F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport technology wise, and the pinnacle of engine technology these days is hybrid and electric engines that’s just the way the world is moving. If F1 stayed with pure combustion engines it would be seriously lagging behind other motorsports out there, when it comes to innovation F1 always needs to be pushing the latest technology. Yes I miss the sound of the old engines but everything has it’s day, if the sport is to stay as the pinnacle then it needs to push the latest technology otherwise you might aswell go watch Indycar.

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