Adrian Newey has criticised the direction F1 has taken, saying it “should be about man and machine performing at its maximum every single lap”.
The new V6 turbo power units feature complex energy recovery systems and are limited by a maximum fuel flow rate in an attempt to make the sport more relevant in terms of road car technology. However, Newey – who has designed all four of Red Bull's championship winning cars – believes the new regulations are flawed and are the wrong direction for the sport to be going in.
Asked how he rates the new regulations compared to previous eras of F1 he has worked in, Newey replied: “Ah well, that's a very complicated question is the truthful answer to that.
“I guess the other obvious answer to that is probably whether you have a Mercedes engine, a Ferrari engine or a Renault engine will cloud your answer to it, in truth. Such is the nature of Formula One. My opinion of it is that from a technical aspect first of all you have to question whether…the whole thing behind.
“When you get into things like batteries then an electric car is only green if it gets its power from a green source. If it gets its power from a coal-fired power station then clearly it's not green at all. A hybrid car, which is effectively what the Formula One regulations are then a lot of energy goes into manufacturing those batteries and into the cars which is why they're so expensive. And whether that then gives you a negative or a positive carbon footprint or not depends on the duty cycle of the car – how many miles does it do, is it cruising along the motorway at constant speed or stop-starting in a city. So this concept that a hybrid car is automatically green is a gross simplification.
“On top of that there are other ways, if you're going to put that cost into a car, to make it fuel efficient. You can make it lighter, you can make it more aerodynamic, both of which are things that Formula One is good at. For instance the cars are 10 per cent heavier this year, a result, directly, of the hybrid content. So I think technically, to be perfectly honest, it's slightly questionable.
“From a sporting point of view, to me, efficiency, strategy etc, economy of driving, is very well placed for sportscars, which is a slightly different way of going racing. Formula One should be about excitement. It should be about man and machine performing at its maximum every single lap.”