Todt against V10 or V12 engines returning to F1

Renault Sport

FIA president Jean Todt says Formula One's next generation of engines must remain acceptable to global society.

The current V6 turbo hybrid engines were introduced to force manufacturers to make their power units more fuel efficient while enticing new manufacturers into the sport. In one sense they have been a huge success, with the current power units achieving roughly 50 per cent thermal efficiency compared to 30 per cent from the old V8s.

However, only Honda has opted to return to the sport under the new regulations, and has struggled to catch up with the development of Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. What's more, fans have reacted negatively to the muffled noise of the V6 turbo engines compared to high-revving V8 screamers of the previous generation.

In 2020 the current engine agreement expires and some stakeholders in the sport have called for a return to more straightforward, high-revving engines on entertainment grounds. But asked in the latest edition of FIA publication Auto if F1 could return to V10 or V12 engines, Todt rejected the idea.

"It will not be accepted by society," he said. "We have a responsibility to run an organisation monitored by global society. And global society will not accept that.

"Indeed, I'm sure if you said, 'let's go back to engines from 10 years ago', many manufacturers would not support such a move. I'm convinced a minimum of three out of four would leave.

"Also, we know that stability is essential -- firstly, to have as much competition as possible, and then to protect the investment. You cannot invest in new technology every year, it is not financially sustainable, and we already complain about the cost of racing, the of Formula One -- a cost that for me is absurd.

"It's something we need to fight. So far we have not managed to find the ideal solution and I'm happy to take part of the responsibility on behalf of the governing body. But saying that, it is not easy because you need to find common ground. For me, I always like to achieve some kind of solidarity when you take decisions."

Todt believes Formula One must be seen to be projecting the right image.

"The heart of the sport will still be there but it has to take into consideration the evolution of society. When you see all of the emphasis that is pit on climate change, on pollution, I feel we have the responsibility to participate.

"It is true a Formula One race will create less pollution than one plane going from Paris to New York, but we must be an example. And to be an example we cannot allow ourselves to create unnecessary pollution because it's the wrong image."