Sebastian Vettel cracked open the debate on a possible return of old-school V10s when he demonstrated behind the wheel of Nigel Mansell’s former FW14B at the British Grand Prix on fully sustainable fuel.
The four-time champion questioned whether Formula 1 should continue betting on turbo-hybrid engines if it could bring back simpler and more exciting engines like those of the old school.
“I love cars. I love the feeling of driving a V10,” he said after the demo. “I think it’s a necessary discussion that we should have, what is the best direction?”
“Which solution is also cheaper? Because these [turbo hybrid] engines cost a lot of money, they cost a fortune to develop.”
Vettel ‘s comments about going for simpler, louder engines received support from some big names on the grid, including Red Bull boss Christian Horner .
However, Formula 1’s top officials don’t see it as a viable solution for the sport in the long term, and believe that going back to those older engines would put manufacturers off.
Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com about Vettel’s words, F1’s general manager of motorsports Ross Brawn said: “I understand what you are saying.
“I think we are interested in getting various OEMs to support the philosophy of a very efficient hybrid engine because there are other factors here: there is the consumption and the type of fuel that we are using, the efficiency of the engines, etc.”
“Efficiency is still an important factor. So even if you use fully sustainable fuels, you are still looking for efficiency. So we are still going for a hybrid solution.”
“It’s an attractive thing for the manufacturers, in fact they are supporting and funding the research. I don’t think there is any OEM at the moment that puts money into researching a V10.”
Ross Brawn was also skeptical that the new generation of fans is really yearning for the return of loud engines in cars of the past.
“There’s a new set of fans who think they’re a bit weird,” he said of the V8s and V10s.
“People like different things, and there are a lot of fans who like the idea of being able to talk in the stands as cars go by. It’s not so important to them about sound.”
“We come from a time when we liked to hear the noise of a V12, but it was painful,” concluded one of the heads of current F1.