The FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) has officially approved proposals for F1 to switch from its current 2.4-litre V8 powerplants to more efficient 1.6-litre, turbocharged V6s from 2014 onwards.
Having ditched unpopular plans to introduce 'hybrid' four-cylinder turbos as soon as 2013 – in the wake of stern opposition from commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone and the majority of manufacturers – a compromise was reached during a reunion of the F1 Commission near Heathrow last week that resulted in unanimous agreement amongst the sport's major powerbrokers [see separate story – click here
KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) will be replaced by the more powerful ERS (Energy Recovery Systems), a move that – allied to the return of turbocharging – has been designed to retain overall power at a similar level to what it is at present by offsetting an anticipated drop in the permitted rev limit to somewhere in the region of 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm.
'Following a fax vote by its members, the World Motor Sport Council has ratified the engine regulations recently drawn up in consultation with the main stakeholders in F1,' read a statement issued by the governing body. 'The new powerplant will be a V6 1.6-litre turbo unit with energy recovery systems. This new formula will come into effect as from the start of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship season.'
The last time turbos were heard in F1 was back in 1988, a season utterly dominated by McLaren pairing Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, whose MP4/4s were powered by 1.5-litre V6 Honda engines. A normally-aspirated, 3.5-litre era was ushered in the following year.
Presently, Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Cosworth supply three teams on the grand prix grid apiece.