Fans of seemingly every sport like to talk about how good things used to be, and how terrible the modern iteration of their beloved competitions are. However, you can’t recreate the past.
Formula One is entering its fourth season of the V-6 hybrid era, and fans still are calling for the return of the high-revving V-10 engines of the early 2000s.
Many of these people take issue with the volume of the current power units, which are significantly quieter than the V-10s used in F1 until 2005. They also are much lower in pitch.
These same people, though, like to tout F1 as the “pinnacle of motorsport,” meaning it’s the fastest and most-technologically advanced category of racing, which it would no longer be if it were to revert to the archaic 10-cylinder formula.
FIA World Endurance Championship also uses hybrid powertrains in the LMP1 class, so going back to only internal combustion engines would make the sports car series the more innovative. Many people in the F1 paddock, drivers included, already think F1 cars are too closely matched with LMP1 racers, so that would be a huge blow for the sport’s reputation.
Many also overlook the simple fact that the modern hybrids are the superior power plants. They might not have the same deafening scream as the engines that came before them, but they produce roughly the same power, more torque and use roughly 30 percent as much fuel.
Plus, let’s not forget, the manufacturers asked for these hybrid power units. Fans often can forget while F1 indeed is a sport, it’s first and foremost a proving ground.
Considering few automakers still produce 10-cylinder engines for their road cars, the hundreds of millions of dollars spent developing a V-10 for racing essentially would be flushing money down the drain. By contrast, the money spent developing a hybrid power unit will directly benefit future vehicles, as is evident from the Infiniti Q60 Project Black S Concept that has a powertrain developed with the help of Renault Sport Formula One Team.
That’s why we weren’t surprised when FIA president Jean Todt said he believes three of the four engine manufacturers — presumably Mercedes, Renault and Honda — would pull out of the sport if it brought back V-10s, according to NBC Sports.
“Again, we have a responsibility to run an organization monitored by global society. And global society will not accept that,” Todt told the FIA’s publication Auto.
F1 isn’t the only series moving with the times either. NASCAR reportedly also is considering making its engines quieter in the coming years, and it’s receiving similar push-back.
Still, it seems especially odd that fans of F1, which prides itself on being a cut above the rest, are so resistant to changes that benefit performance solely because they make the cars quieter. F1 has moved on from V-10 engines, and so too should its fans.
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool