We were told that the new IndyCar engine is really the last of a dying breed – based strictly on decades old technology, whereas the new F1 engine will be a clean sheet of paper for an internal combustion engine.
06/26/11 While a lot of effort was made to make the 1.5-liter turbo inline-4 engine an engine that, with minor tweaks, could be used by many race series globally. It would save the manufacturers money by not have to design so many different engines, thereby allowing them to participate in more racing series to promote their brand.
However, IndyCar was the first not to adopt the 4-cyclinder engine because it would be too highly stressed to meet the goals IndyCar set for power, durability and cost. They instead adopted a 2.2L turbo V-6 engine.
Now that F1 has also rejected the turbo 4-cyclinder engine in favor of a turbo V6, it remains to be seen if they adopt the same 2.4L displacement. While the IndyCar engine will run around the 12,000 RPM range, F1 is concerned about damaging their 18,000 RPM 'screaming engine' brand and will likely opt for a higher RPM goal than 12,000.
How much higher is still open for discussion, but it would be a win-win for auto racing globally if the two engines can be as close as possible in design to allow the concept of a World Racing Engine to get off the ground. While IndyCar has opted to use the turbo boost to power the push-to-pass feature, F1 could still use KERS, neither of which mean the base engine has to be significantly different.
Will common sense prevail?