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2014 engine regs 'necessary challenge' for F1

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says that he thinks the overhaul of F1's engine regulations in 2014 will be a big challenge for the sport, but is crucial to keeping F1 relevant.
McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh has described the changes to engine regulations scheduled for 2014 as being "particularly challenging for F1," but he added that he supported the far-reaching revisions.

"I think they were and are an appropriate set of regulations," Whitmarsh insisted. "F1 has to do a better job at promoting the development of technology and engine efficiency. Looking forward, we have to develop technology that is relevant for society and the major automotive manufacturers."

For Whitmarsh, it was obvious that F1 needed to be leading the way from traditional technologies into greener fields, using the same sort of environmentally conscious approach that road car manufacturers are already doing.

"Clearly at the moment we like relatively large capacity, high-revving, normally-aspirated engines. As racers we enjoy those," he said. "But there's quite a big difference between those and what the manufacturers have in their cars today and what they are concentrating on in the future."

Whitmarsh pointed to the use of KERS, which was problematic and unpopular when introduced into F1 but now just a fact of life in the paddock, while energy retrieval systems are also now commonplace in road cars around the world.

"Looking ahead to 2014 though, there will be a lot of emphasis on fuel efficiency, downsized turbo-charged engines, and an increased emphasis on kinetic energy recovery and exhaust energy recovery," explained Whitmarsh. "All of those things - if you look into the R&D programmes of major manufacturers - are what they are working on.

"It's important that F1 is interesting and relevant to manufacturers and a major sport like F1 must demonstrate that it's addressing the issues and challenges that face the whole of society," stressed Whitmarsh. "We know that Ferrari, Renault and Daimler are working very hard on this.

"It's a big challenge," he admitted. "I think, inevitably, whenever you make a change, there will be some people who are uncomfortable. But we've reached a point now where there is sufficient commitment from those manufacturers that the F1 community have to get behind them and support them."

He added: "We must make sure that we reward those who are making that investment in the sport."

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