Head – New F1 hybrid turbo engines “too expensive”

Head – New F1 hybrid turbo engines “too expensive”


Formula One’s new 2014 turbo hybrid engines are “far too expensive,” according to Patrick Head, the former long-term Williams Technical Director.

Patrick Head, FOTA Fan Forum

Head, who co-founded the Williams team in 1977 and led the team to nine constructors’ and seven drivers’ titles over 27 years, has spoken out against the sports new engine formula, which he believes has sent costs shooting up.

“I think the engines are fascinating pieces of kit, but I think they are far too expensive for what they are supposed to be doing,” Head told the BBC.

“You could produce 800hp for 2 million euros a team each year. I think the teams are having to pay about 10 times that amount.

“It’s a very expensive way of powering Formula One cars.”

Head, who resigned as Williams Director of Engineering in 2012, insists that the focus of the sport should remain on providing entertainment, rather than promoting hybrid technology, of which in his mind road car manufacturers already cover to a good standard.

“I think it should be more about the drivers and more about entertainment on the track, which sounds like saying the easy thing, but the road car people are doing a perfectly good job on hybrid anyway at the moment.

“I’m not sure that it needs Formula One to demonstrate hybrid technology.

“I think technically [the sport] is still as fascinating as ever, and although I’m not directly involved in Formula One now I certainly wouldn’t look back and decry it,” he added.

“But I’m not sure that really where it is, is what it is all about, because in truth, for all the talk, I think Formula One is more about entertainment.

“I think some of the way it is going is not sound, but that’s another matter.”

“It’s very good to see,” replied Head, when questioned on the topic of the Williams team’s resurgence this year, the Grove-based outfit having already scored 48 more points after six races in 2014 than it did in the entity of 2013.

“I think Pat Symonds and the other people who have come in, and the two drivers are doing a great job.

“I’m very pleased to see Williams, or at least a few of the people in Williams, albeit they know they need to do better, with a bit of a smile on their face.

“Whereas going into a Williams garage last year was no pleasure for anybody.”

Image courtesy of Octane Photographic

  • Dan

    Well yeah they will be.expensive at first. But look at the bigger picture.

    Technology used in f1 is now relevant to road cars. This certainly wasnt the case last year. This.way F1 pushes the boundaries and creates new technologies to be passed down to road cars. In another 20 years we may hardly have any combustion engine road cars. It will be.all electric. He needs to open his eyes.

    I’m guessing he thinks formula E will be a waste of time too.

  • E Hulm

    So, does F1 want to be a sport people watch or a sport that corporate sponsor race between themselves? People want to a driver to drive a machine not operate an F-18. F1 isn’t out to save the world, solve world hunger or race Prius hybrids. If that is it’s goal, then I’ll watch something else.

  • charlie w

    Dead on target, Patrick. Gas/electric hybrid technology does not need F1 for promotion. This idea of F1 being a test/development ground for road cars is ludicrous. Auto manufacturers have development & test centers to do that. If any F1-based technology has any relevance to modern road cars, it’s in fuel & lubricants. Gas/electric hybrid cars have been around for 25 years(yes, even KERS pre-date F1 by years). Dump MGU-H, MGU-K and DRS and get back to racing.

  • Bob C

    Green racing? If they want to be truly green why don’t they just force them to race pedal cars! Many of the new technical regulations are turning the “pinnacle of motorsport” into nothing more than a spec series. Formula 1 has always been about technology, innovation, creativity, dedication and superlative driving skill. Give the teams some freedom and let them do what they have always done best – innovate, develop, push the boundaries! Give them the choice between engine designs and let the competition decide whats best. Give me back the F1 that I love. If I wanted to watch a spec series, I’d watch NASCAR (god help me!)

  • WhataMack

    So, what is the list of technology transfers from F1 to road cars? I don’t recall ever seeing one. Ultra-high-tech aerodynamics? Perhaps for million dollar supercars, but not for ordinary street cars. LeMans-class sportscars have had much more direct contributions. F1 will always be “relevant” if they focus on racing technologies and entertaining racing, with a more level budgetary playing field across the teams.