F1 to have noisier engines from 2021

The news that Formula One fans the world over have been waiting for has been announced by the FIA today, after a meeting between the governing body, engine manufacturers, Liberty Media and other key stakeholders led to a “broad agreement for the future evolution of Formula One power units” including cheaper, noisier engines.

F1’s pull in recent years has been somewhat diminished by the lack of noise generated by the current 1.6-litre turbo hybrid engines and there have been calls from fans to have a re-think. It’s fantastic that F1 technology trickles down to road users but this should not be to the detriment of the sport. Finally, sense has prevailed and we have some positive if tentative first steps. Four main points were agreed upon for how to move forward:

  • a desire to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport technology, and as a laboratory for developing technology that is relevant to road cars
  • striving for future power units to be powerful, while becoming simpler and less costly to develop and produce
  • improving the sound of the power units
  • a desire to allow drivers to drive harder at all times.

FIA President Jean Todt chaired the meeting and shared his thoughts following its conclusion.

“I was very pleased with the process, and the fact that so many different stakeholders were able to agree on a direction for the FIA Formula One World Championship in such an important technical area,” Jean Todt, FIA President.

This serves as further proof that ushering Bernie Ecclestone out the door was the right move by Chase Carey and all sides can seemingly come together without becoming entangled in a political tug-of-war. Are we about to finally see an F1 where decisions can actually be made? It’s early days but we at least have a better picture than we did before.

2021 is the earliest opportunity for a new power unit configuration to be introduced. I think we are all agreed that the prospect of noisier engines returning to the sport will add to its allure and benefit fans and their experience of F1. Liberty and the other key players are at this point actually listening to fans which is a welcome change from the norm and the long-term health of our sport appears to be improving day-by-day.


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