New F1 engines can excite without being V8s
Formula 1 can deliver engines that excite fans in the future without reintroducing V8 units, say leading figures involved in future rule discussions.
While F1's chiefs continue talks about new engine regulations for 2021, which will likely be for a twin-turbo V6 hybrid without an MGU-H, there remains an appetite in some quarters to bring back V8s or V10 power units.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff and F1's motorsport managing director Ross Brawn are adamant that improvements to the current generation of engines can please manufacturers and fans in delivering excitement and noise.
"I strongly believe F1 stands for high technology and innovation, performance," said Wolff.
"If you go back to the 1980s and '90s just because you liked it so much, it is the wrong strategy.
"The discussions we are having are really good in so far as we see what we want to keep from the current regulations.
"Cost of development needs to be under control, it needs to be high tech, hybrid, the power-to-weight ratio needs to be better than it is now, and we need to look at the quality of sound.
"We are looking at the variables of how we can achieve that, and so far everybody has been pretty much on the same path.
"I believe by the end of the year we can come to a close and say 'this is what we want to do in 2021'."
Brawn, who is working to make F1 more attractive for fans, believes calls for a return to V8s need to be put into context.
"We have a lot of fans who say we want to go back to normally aspirated engines, but then you have to ask the next question: why is that?" said Brawn, speaking last month.
"It's because it creates more emotion with the noise and the revs.
"So can we create a hybrid engine that has that noise, has the revs and has that appeal? The manufacturers involved in F1 know that that's a key element.
"They need to have a successful F1. There is no point having an engineering exercise that demonstrates your technology if nobody is watching it.
"The manufacturers know there has to be a balance of relevance, but still be able to engage the passion of the fans."