‘Big line in the sand’ coming in 2022 PU development

Finley Crebolder
The McLaren garage at Monza. Italy September 2021

The McLaren garage at the Italian Grand Prix. Italy September 2021

Craig Scarborough says the 2022 power unit homologation date is a “big line in the sand” for F1’s engine manufacturers.

The time prior to the start of the 2022 campaign is the last chance each manufacturer will get to make major engine changes for a long time.

After that, an engine freeze preventing any significant developments will come into effect and last until 2025 or perhaps even 2026.

Given that, Scarborough – a well-respected journalist and technical expert – sees the point at which 2022 designs must be finalised as “a line in the sand”.

“They need to homologate a new engine so they’re also going to probably try to be quite aggressive because they’re going to get locked in,” he said on Peter Windsor’s YouTube channel.

“And that engine then will run until at least 2025 with the ability to make some limited changes to their engines for various reasons through that period. It could even now extend to 2026…

“So you can see that this homologation date is that big line in the sand that each of the engine manufacturers is really going to have to be really careful of, that they’re getting the right package introduced.

“If they miss something on that package, you can’t introduce it. If they introduced something too soon and it’s not ready, then they’re going to have reliability problems which they will be able to resolve but they’re locked into that design now.

“So there’s quite a bit of jeopardy here.”

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Once the development freeze ends, new and most likely very different engine regulations will be introduced. It has yet to be decided what they will be exactly, but it is likely that the sport will move towards electric power.

Speaking to Scarborough, McLaren’s Richard Saxby said the best approach would be a 50-50 one rather than emulating Formula E and going completely electric.

“I think it would be good to have a 50-50 balance initially and not just jump straight into electrification,” said the head of the team’s Motorsport Accounts division.

“Because I still think we have certain fanbase out there that likes the noise, that likes the drama of Formula 1 and I see engine can provide that.

“And they can also provide the efficiency too. Efficiency is currently running at about 50% but that all depends on how you manage your parameters.

“But yeah… I think 50-50 is not too far away.”