|BMW's F1 block design was derived from their robust road engines |
and the road engines lasted for more than two decades
With Formula 1 returning to four cylinder engines with capacity of not more than 1.6-litres maybe Proton can go into F1 in a meaningful way. After all Proton has four cylinder expertise and Lotus can help them design a four-pot turbocharged unit for racing.
OK I was kidding, but only half kidding because the four-cylinder rule can generate a lot of interest among mass market car makers since most of them live and swear by four-cylinder engines so most of them understand the idosyncracies of the format like the back of their proverbial hand.
The decision to return to 4-cyl in 2013 is seen as yet another way to reduce the cost of racing, presumably with less cylinders there are less moving parts and this, logically, means less expensive engines, especially since there is a lost of prohibited exotic materials accompanying the specifications.
Engien speed has been limited to 12,000rpm, which should also eliminate the use of exotic metals, while the planned reduction from eight to five and later to four engines per driver per year would also mean that the engines would be as robust as a good diesel.
BMW gained modern fame through their 4-pot F1 engines which were basically derived from the 1.6-litre Neue-Klasse engines that appeared in everything from the 2002 to the larger sedans of the 1960s.
That basic engine block survived two more decades before being out to pasture in the late 1980s, so there is very real reasons for thinking that F1 could not make real sense for companies like Proton. After all, the same engine block can, with modification, be homologated for use to power their saloon cars and rally machines.
|Proton's F1 engine can be used for homologation specials|
which then can be used to rally and race in touring car, endurance
and maybe even DTM
Imagine a Proton Satria Neo with a 1.6-litre race block, all-wheel drive or front wheel drive with LSD and all the rest of the kit sold for around RM150K, a car with real Proton racing pedigree
Imagine the Lekir concept with a race-bred Proton block pulsating behind the driver, an engine forged in eeh extreme heat of F1 battle.
Like everyone else, Proton has two years to develop the engine, unlike production engine, race engines are less expensive to develop since they do not have to last 200,000 kilometres between servicing, but that is not the same as saying that they will be cheap to develop.
At the very least, if Proton spends a few hundred million ringgit on an F1 engine block (together with Renault for example) the whole exercise is not entirely without grounding in the real world, as Is aid earlier, since the engine can be used for a small-run race homologation specials which can take part in touring car, rallying and endurance racing