As Formula One looks to its 2026 regulations this will be the first opportunity for the engine regulations to change. The long term plan is to get the teams closer together and encourage more manufacturers to enter F1…
Abiteboul believes power unit battlefield in 2026
Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says that 2026 power unit regulations will be the “next battlefield” as alternative proposals are discussed over the next couple of years.
The current V6 hybrids are set until 2025, and the teams have agreed that the next set of engine regulations should offer the manufacturers a more affordable format, with a strong sustainable element.
F1 motorsports managing director Ross Brawn noted last week that all options are still possible for the 2026 regulations, while also conceding that no new manufacturers will enter the championship before then. Abiteboul says recent tweaks to the current power unit rules are a good step towards saving money and stressed that the 2026 regulations should go further.
He told Motorsport.com, “There is probably more work to be done on the power unit side. We’ve contained the arms race on power unit development a bit by limiting the number of new homologations per year, and by limiting further the number of dyno hours.”
“It’s good, but it’s still bloody expensive to maintain and operate these engines. The next step is to have a good look at what can be done in order to make sure that the next generation of power unit is a more economic sell.”
Abiteboul says that the team is beginning to study the future of the sport, and their objectives. Renault’s future is likely to be decided on the economical sustainability of the next power unit because clearly the current one is very difficult.
Adding “The next thing we need to think about is the technology involved. We see the pace at which electrification is gaining everywhere around the world, and therefore we need to think very hard about what that means for F1.”
He says that the big principles of the new engine need to be agreed in 2021 or 2022 so that the development can begin in 2023, Abiteboul downplayed suggestions that removing the MGU-H from the current V6 hybrid would be a simple solution.
Saying, “We have the MGU-H for the fuel efficiency of the engine. Are we prepared to say that we will lose something like 20-30% of fuel efficiency? I don’t see us carrying more fuel, because we already know that the cars are even heavier in 2022.”
The shooting dead a month ago of George Floyd has now prompted a response from F1. Next weekend the teams will display a number of messages including Black Life’s Matter will be on the cars…
Teams will show support for Black Life’s Matter
F1 drivers and teams will have the opportunity to show support for Black Lives Matter and diversity when the season begins. It’s understood F1 will be supportive of shows of solidarity at Grands Prix, such as individuals taking a knee or teams carrying messages of support on their cars.
Lewis Hamilton has led F1 response after calling out his fellow drivers for not speaking out following the shooting death of George Floyd by US police in Minneapolis last month. F1 and the FIA are also working on their plans.
According to Sky Sport’s Craig Slater reported, “While Lewis has been the leading voice on this topic, Mercedes and other teams as well recognise that this is an issue for the entire sport to address.”
Lewis Hamilton tweeted “This week, I have felt so inspired by the thousands of people across the globe using their voices to speak out against racial injustice. Fighting for real change starts with us, whether peacefully protesting, showing support on social media or signing petitions. #blacklivesmatter”
Other teams and drivers, including Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, have issued messages in support. Hamilton speaking about this is hoped to think why the sport is white male dominate, and to educate the sport on racism.
Yesterday President of the governing body the FIA, Jean Todt in his annual vision statement said they were determined to fight against discrimination of any kind, and sought to improve diversity in motorsport
In a speech outlining its goals for the year ahead, Todt declared the “FIA is a global actor and its role doesn’t stop at the frontiers of motorsport and mobility”.
Todt said: “Our Federation will continue to be guided for all motorsport and mobility matters by the Fundamental Principles of our Statutes which state that the FIA should fight any form of discrimination and notably on account of skin colour, religion, ethnic or social origin.”
Data is key for Formula One and a new biometric underwear could be brought in a few years time. How does it work and what will it do to help in the event of an accident?
FIA homologates biometric underwear
Marelli and OMP Racing have received FIA homologation for a fire-retardant undershirt that features an integrated system for measuring the vital parameters of a driver.
The Vital Signs Monitor, VISM, is the result of a joint project between the two companies. It is the latest step in a move by racewear manufacturers to measure biometric data, which began with gloves.
The idea is to provide real-time measurement of vital signs, allowing a driver’s team to monitor stress and fatigue, via sensors that measure the heart rate and breathing.
The makers believe the shirt has three main applications; performance monitoring, data collection for training and safety features thanks to the constant monitoring of vital parameters in all the different situations encountered during racing.
Also, attention has been paid to ensuring confidentiality and privacy concerning the data collection.
Riccardo De Filippi, CEO of Marelli Motorsport, told Motorsport.com, “VISM is a tool for professional drivers to monitor biometric data. It is designed with a direct interface to the data acquisition and telemetry systems of a race car and includes end-to-end protection of sensitive data, giving the user full control of its use.”
“We believe this experience is a major step forward in the development of safety systems as well as active driver aids, for passenger cars too. The cooperation with Marelli is that kind of teamwork that makes you bless the moment you decided to pick up the phone and propose the project.”
Paolo Delprato, OMP Racing CEO, added. “It’s a mutual enrichment and it has produced a great device, which combines safety and performance.”
The next set of regulation changes are designed to close the gap between the top three teams and midfield. Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes that will end in 2022 as well as having a lasting impact on partnerships between teams…
“two-tier” systems will end in 2022 – Abiteboul
Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes that the sport’s current “two-tier” system will end in 2022, impacting relationships between the big teams and the partners with whom they share technology.
Abiteboul believes that the lowering of the cost cap and other changes when the new regulations are introduced will lead to closer competition in 2022. He anticipates that the level playing field will, for example, make Mercedes less open to helping customer partner Racing Point.
Renault is likely to head into the new era without a customer team, unlike some of its main rivals in the midfield who share technology such as gearboxes and other systems. The team will be further isolated in 2021 when McLaren switches to Mercedes.
Abiteboul told Motorsport.com, “It was a worry when there was either no budget cap or the budget cap was sufficiently high that the grid would remain under a two-tier system.”
“Now that we a budget cap that is low enough that the grid will be much more competitive I’m curious to see what will happen to those collaborations between teams. I think right now Mercedes is happy to let Racing Point copy its car.”
He says this will be interesting to see what happens when the big teams become more competitive when the budget cap is brought in. Saying that when the smaller teams are more of the game.
F1 is a data and information driven sport, from next weekend and through out this season the sport will be giving more information to fans. So what are they and what can we learn from these new sources of information…
Real-time graphics to be rolled out
Formula One has unveiled new real-time graphics designed to give more information to fans which will be rolled out at next weekends Austrian Grand Prix.
In collaboration with Amazon Web Services, it has been revealed that F1 will roll out six new real-time graphics during the 2020 campaign. The first of these, which will be in place for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, will offer fans a ‘Car Performance Score’.
This will be based on statistics relating to the car’s strengths including power, grip, downforce and drag. There will be four core metrics on offer: Low-Speed Cornering, High-Speed Cornering, Straight Line and Car Handling.
From the second race at Silverstone in August, which is known as the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, there will be an Ultimate Driver Speed Comparison to help compare current drivers from the past. The data runs back to 1983.
From the Belgian Grand Prix, a High-Speed/Low-Speed Corner Performance graphic will allow fans to see how well drivers tackle high-speed corners (that above 175kph/109mph), and slow speed (below 125mph/78 mph).
Later in the year, three new graphics will include, one for Driver Skills Rating, one for Car/Team Development and Overall Season Performance and a final one for Qualifying and Race Pace Prediction Graphic.
The Driver Skills Rating will aim to identify the best total driver by taking into account various performances, like qualifying, starts, race pace, tyre management and overtaking/defending styles.
Rob Smedley, F1’s chief engineer told Autosport, “The F1 Insights we’re delivering together are bringing fans closer to the track than ever before, and unlocking previously untold stories and insights from behind the pit wall.”
“We’re excited to be expanding this successful relationship to bring even more insights to life, allowing fans to go deeper into the many ways that drivers and racing teams work together to affect success.”
That’s all from Reporters for this week, we’ll be back in August.