Why Formula 1 Should Move To A 4 Cylinder Power Unit In 2025

Sergio Alberto Romero, M.S.
3 min readDec 30, 2021
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Depending on who you ask, it’s either awesome that Formula 1 is still using an internal combustion engine or it’s really dumb. While it would be interesting to see Formula 1 shift to an all electric drive train, it’s simply not feasible this early in the technologies lifespan. With Formula E locking up that idea for single seater racers for at least another decade, it’s time for Formula 1 to really figure out the future of their powertrains. That’s where the classic 4 bangers come into play, here’s how!


A general rule of thumb these days is that smaller engines offer far more efficiency compared to their giant V12 siblings or in this vase, V6. Sure they probably don’t sound nearly as cool but they can offer similar performance, all the while improving efficiency of the vehicle. Whether we’re talking about mechanical simplicity, weight or overall size there are a lot of factors that make 4 cylinder engines very efficient for Formula 1 racing. Paired with the hybrid power units we see in the cars today and it would ultimately be a match made in heaven with a 4 cylinder.


Formula 1 cars have an issue when it comes to size. Looking at the incredibly long Mercedes Petronas AMG vehicle that Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas have been driving for several years now, it’s clear to see that longer vehicles are outpacing their shorter alternatives. This is a problem because it adds additional weight to these vehicles and likely reduces their ability in lower speed cornering. With the new 2022 regulations coming into play soon we’ll see this changing with the maximum vehicle length being shortened in order to improve what the FIA refers to as “race-ability” through the Formula 1 series. Pair this way of thinking with a 4 cylinder engine in 2025 and it seems that Formula 1 teams may be able to reduce their car sizes even further, making them more like the road cars each of us drives on a daily basis, allowing for more technology to trickle down to the consumer but also for a better spectacle when it comes to racing. As much as I love watching Lewis Hamilton, it can get a little boring when he wins a race simply because his car can go faster in the straights.


Sergio Alberto Romero, M.S.

The elements compose a magnum opus. My modus operandi is amalgam.