FEBRUARY 13, 1995
Will the FIA ban V12 engines?
The International Automobile Federation (FIA), which runs the Formula 1 World Championship, is thought likely to vote for a ban on V12 engines in Grand Prix racing.
The governing body of world motor sport has been trying to reduce F1 power outputs for the last 18 months and tried hard to ban V12s in mid-1993. At the time Ferrari refused to accept the ban, but now the famous Italian racers has decided that a V12 cannot be competitive and is designing and building a V10 engine. The FIA will thus have the chance to ban V12s once again, and it is unlikely to miss the opportunity.
If fact, the FIA would probably like to ban V10 engines as well and force the big manufacturers to all build V8 engines. This would have the effect of narrowing the performance gap between the various engines and recreating - to some extent - what was in effect a V8 formula in the 1960s and 1970s. F1 was tremendously successful in those years, but the arrival of big manufacturers saw the development of a horsepower race which culminated in the turbocharged era of the early 1980s. Since the return to normally-aspirated engines, the manufacturers have been split between V12s, V10s and V8s.
But the banning of V10s will remain unlikely as long as major manufacturers such as Renault, Peugeot, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Yamaha are all building such engines. If, however, more car-makers decide to adopt the V8 route, the FIA is likely to take the opportunity to insist upon V8s.