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GDI, gas turbines proposed as F1 engine of future

Gasoline Direct Injection and gas turbine engines among the suggestions being made for F1 engine of the future.
With Formula One considering a likely change to its engine regulations in the coming years, various sources are putting forward ideas that they would like to see incorporated into the new rulebook.

While all are keen to embrace a more environmentally-friendly outlook - indeed, this is something that the wider world would almost certainly force on the sport - how that aim is achieved, whilst still retaining powerful, technology-driven and cost-effective units remains to be seen.

Ferrari, which is expected to be the one major manufacturer that will see out any coming storm regardless, has made a case for the inclusion of Gasoline Direct Injection technology should the sport make the return, as expected, to turbocharged engines in 2013. GDI is essentially a form of fuel injection, but highly pressurises the fuel and injects it via a common rail fuel line directly into the combustion chamber of each cylinder. The technology can both improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

"If F1 has to develop something helpful for real driving conditions, then the best solution is for an engine that is turbocharged and GDI," Ferrari's CEO Amedeo Felisa told Autocar magazine, "That is what we would support. It is the best solution for driving efficiency and utilisation of the engine in a positive way."

Elsewhere, however, there are proposals afoot for a complete change of technology, albeit suggesting a return to an idea first tried back in the early 1970s.

A company called Project 1221 says that it has approached F1's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone with the design for a gas turbine engine which it believes could be the future of F1. CEO Andreas Andrianos claims that, if the idea gets the green light, the engines would be ready for 2013.

Andrianos also points out that gas turbine engines would be cheaper to run than an internal combustion unit, fuel consumption would be higher than with the current breed of petrol-fuelled V8s. However, the inefficiency would be more than offset by use of bio-diesel fuel, which would make the engines more environmentally friendly. With no traditional cooling required, the engines present fewer 'packaging' problems, although the units could not be used as 'stressed members' of the car and would also cause headaches with the gearbox.

Lotus' genius Colin Chapman introduced the concept of gas turbine engines to F1 in the early 1970s, having seen similar powerplants racing in the US. Despite having Emerson Fittipaldi at the wheel, however, the 56B started just three times, with a best result of eighth, before being consigned to history.

Andrianos is not advocating a single type of engine either, suggesting that with the correct equalisation, the turbine units could run happily alongside both the proposed turbo or current normally-aspirated powerplants.

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Alan D - Unregistered

April 26, 2010 12:33 PM

Already they seem to be talking about rules which specify exactly what sort of engine will be allowed. I would much rather see rules which say how much fuel they are allowed (maybe measured in KJ to allow for petrol, diesel, gas, even batteries), and how much emissions they are allowed, how long the engine has to last, and leave them to design what they want within those parameters. If someone wants to build a four cylinder four litre and someone else wants to build a 7 cylinder 500cc and they both think they can race with those engines, it should be up to them. I don't want to see rules which say engines must be 1.5 litre V6, max revs 17.2K, using GDFI etc.


April 26, 2010 12:18 PM

I am all for a "run what ya brung" series but thought the issue of money was the major factor in not having this happen. Having said that, LETS DO IT! Talk about interesting! Turbos, normally aspirated, turbine, supercharged. Bring'em all. That would be interesting no doubt about it. Even diesel.!! :p

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