Major revisions are planned for Formula 1 from 2017 onwards, following heavy criticism of the current 1.6-liter hybrid era. Calls for more power and ‘drama’, with less complication and significantly reduced costs have lead to proposals for an alternative, non-hybrid V6 to be offered alongside the expensive ‘Power Units’.
The new regulations also suggest that the non-hybridized V6 will not be subject to the same fuel-flow rates, or reliability expectations that the existing units are bound to.
As a result, three engine manufacturers have expressed interest with the FIA about supplying the ‘specification’ engine to the series. Advanced Engine Research (AER) (above), Ilmor, and Mecachrome are all known to have spoken with the FIA, whilst Cosworth Engineering has reportedly rejected the idea from a financial perspective, despite initial speculation suggesting otherwise.
AER has stated that its new engine will be based on its 90° P60 V6 GDI twin-turbo engine, which recently powered the Rebellion R-One to the 2015 WEC LMP1 Privateers title. Designed to the ACO’s LMP1 regulations, the all-aluminium engine weighs 115kg and is designed to be a fully-stressed component within an LMP1 car. The British manufacturer states that the proposed ‘P66’ variant will be a higher revving version of that engine. Mechachrome also states that it has a ‘firm’ basis on which to build a 2017-specification engine.
Mechachrome has already won contracts to supply GP3 from 2016, and GP2 from 2017 with normally-aspirated and turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 engines respectively, whilst AER currently supplies the entire Indy Lights field with its P63 turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine. Ilmor currently supplies the Chevrolet-branded, E85 fuelled 2.2-liter V6 twin-turbo to the IndyCar championship.