Newey: It was Audi that wanted a 4-cyclinder engine
Adrian Newey has revealed that Audi was the driving force behind the aborted plans for Formula One to switch to four-cylinder engines in 2013.
Last December the FIA's World Motor Sport Council agreed on the switch to four cylinders, only for the F1 Commission to change its mind last week and propose V6s be brought in for 2014 instead. Newey said Audi's wavering commitment had contributed to the switch from four-cylinders to six, after the German car giant made a u-turn on a pledge to join the sport if it switched to four pots.
"The initial decision from the engine working group was for a four-cylinder turbo to be introduced for 2013," said Newey. "The big driver behind that was Audi. They said they would come into the sport if there was a four-cylinder turbo, and that's what everyone agreed in order to get Audi in. They subsequently decided that they won't bother after all, thank you very much, and we were lumbered with a four-cylinder turbo."
He said a V6 turbo is a much more practical solution due to its dimensions.
"You can then get into the politics of the whole thing," Newey added. "Certainly from an engineering point of view a four-cylinder turbo is not a nice engine to install, you've basically got to put a space frame around it, you can't make it a properly structural. A racing V6 is a much nicer engine to package. That will now be the 2014 engine."
Under the original four-cylinder the engines were only going to be allowed to rev to 12,000 rpm, but Newey said that might be increased amid concerns that the engines will sound too muted.
"The revs are still being debated, but it looks as if it will probably be around 14,000 or 16,000," he said. ESPN F1