It has been more than two decades since a turbo last spooled in a Formula 1 car. In the face of rising environmental concerns, however, Pitpass.com reports that the FIA is reconsidering forced induction with a mandatory small-displacement engine for the 2013 season.
The 2013 turbocharged engines will reportedly be restricted to 1.5 liters, just like those from the F1 turbo era of the 1970s and 1980s. This time around, only the inline-four configuration will be allowed, compared to the six- and eight-cylinder mills that formerly roamed the racetracks. The new engines would only need half the amount of fuel currently required to go the full race distance.
Pitpass.com sources also believe the smaller race engines would sway the opinions of hesitant sponsors and manufacturer works teams. These unnamed sponsors are rumored to be concerned with F1’s “green” credentials and would need more environmentally friendly cooperation from the teams and FIA governing. As is the case with most professional motorsport, the importance of sponsorship funding cannot be understated.
Volkswagen, long on the F1 radar, would also supposedly look for an entry spot if the turbocharged engines are deemed mandatory.
From 1977 to 1988, the F1 grid was filled with turbo engines from a variety of builders. Forced induction really took off in 1983 and, for the next five years, extra wide-tired Formula 1 cars pushing over 1000 horsepower each would travel all over the globe. In 1988, the turbo engine would take its last gasp behind World Champion Aryton Senna’s McLaren, powered by a turbocharged Honda V-6.
F1 constructors and engine builders are currently restricted to normally-aspirated 2.4-liter V-8s.