Slowly and steadily, Formula 1 is shifting its train of thought towards the future. This comes after the sport elected to continue with V6 hybrid power units until 2024 or 2025. However a future after V6 hybrids needs to be considered, and F1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds believes that two-stroke engines could be the answer.
Admittedly, two-stroke engines are primarily used in outboard motors and small bikes. However, Symonds thinks that issues with these small engines are irrelevant and they would boost efficiency and solve F1’s noise problem.
“We need to look at what our future power units will look like,” Symonds told Motorsport Magazine at an energy-efficiency conference. “At F1 this is what we are engaged in at the moment. I’m very keen on it being a two-stroke [engine].
The British engineer cited higher efficiency, better exhaust sound and much more, to support his argument. He noted that the opposed piston engine is already in road car form and operating at around 50 per cent efficiency.
As per the new engine rules, a switch to synthetic eco-fuels could see Formula One become greener than its all-electric cousins Formula E. Symonds was confident that there is still a use for the combustion engine in the near future. However, he surmised that hydrogen could be used as a fuel alternative.
At the same time, he affirmed that he was not arguing against electric vehicles. However, he is of the opinion that electric cars are not the solution for everyone.
Could F1 be competing against Formula E?
The all-electric series is currently in its 6th season and has been attracting numerous manufacturers. In fact, the big four German automobile giants, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes are competing in the ongoing season. So, will Formula One finally embrace the future and attract more manufacturers like FE? If so, will they become direct competitors with Formula E?