Red Bull's Christian Horner wants to see the next generation of Formula 1 engines go down the route of sustainability, but wants to ensure they are high-revving and noisy. The current hybrid engines are in place until 2025, but meetings have begun between the sport and manufacturers to discuss what the next power unit regulations should be.
Horner wants to see Formula 1 stick with the internal combustion engine, saying that the sport needs to keep its entertainment factor in mind, but going for high-revving, emotive engines that generate plenty of noise.
"So I think the owners of Formula 1 and the governing body need to decide where do they want to place it because, on the one hand, you've got full electrification," Horner told media, including RacingNews365 at Silverstone.
"You can look at a middle ground which is effectively some form of hybrid that potentially may not have relevance longer term or you say Formula 1, we are here to entertain, the combustion engine does have a future and a part of Formula 1, but we're going to do it in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner."
With Red Bull joining the engine talks as a manufacturer in light of their new Red Bull Powertrains company which comes onstream as an independent manufacturer from next year, Horner said that there is a slightly different thought process at his company due to the fact that they don't make consumer roadcars.
"We're slightly different because we don't have an automotive range of vehicles. We're not selling millions of cars per annum," he said.
"And so what was interesting was that the future the combustion engine is certainly feels like it's limited in certain areas. And then, if you take that to its extreme and if, by 2035, everybody's going to be driving an electric car, what does Formula 1 become by then?
"Now, obviously, we've got an interim period between now and that point, but that's why I feel we're very much at a crossroads where we need to decide what is right for the sport. I think every fan out there, when you hear Fernando Alonso running his V10 Renault around Abu Dhabi, the emotion and noise is still, for me, such a key factor that is missing from the sport, we need to turn the volume up, we need to do it in a responsible manner in a cost effective manner, in a way that's sustainable, that is environmentally friendly, but it needs to be entertainment, and that's why people turn the TVs on. That's why they watch this sport."
As well as Red Bull, Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes, Volkswagen and Audi have joined the round table discussions about the future of the Formula 1 engine. Given that neither VW or Audi have made any sort of commitment to joining Formula 1, Horner said there shouldn't be any particular desire from F1 to take their recommendations on board if it goes against what the existing F1 manufacturers want.
"There is always that risk. And therefore, I don't think we should bend ourselves out of shape to accommodate a specific manufacturer," he said.
"I think what we have to do is come up with something that's right for Formula 1, that's right for the long term future of the sport.
"We've seen manufacturers come and go over generations, the team that's been the most consistent factor has obviously been Ferrari that's been there from the start. So I think the fundamental question is, where do we want Formula 1 to be? Where does it fall?
"If you follow the theory of where OEMs are going, the electrification, one could say that we could end up in Formula E in eight, nine years time. Now, that isn't Formula 1, Formula 1 for me is about noise, is about entertainment, it's about the fastest cars in the world.
"And I think the fact that we're going this bio fuel route, and the sustainable fuels, I think that the combustion engine does have a future. And I think there's no reason to think that why not introduce high revving engines that sound fantastic that are doing it in a environmentally friendly manner? And I think the biofuel and sustainable fuels enable you to do that."
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