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BMW keen to stick with V10 format 18 May 2004

Mario Thiessen (GER) BMW Motorsport Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice Day, Imola, Italy, 23 April 2004

Williams partners BMW have said they would prefer to extend the lifespan of V10 engines in Formula One racing, rather than see the introduction of a new engine formula. Both ideas are being considered by the teams and the FIA in a bid to reduce costs.

Following the pre-Barcelona summit in Monaco, it was agreed that the aim should be to cut engine expense by 50 per cent by 2008. The FIA had originally proposed a change to 2.4 litre V8 engines to help attain this, but there was discussion as to whether the cost reduction may be better achieved by making the current V10s last longer.

The engine manufactures are currently refining their proposals, which will be presented at the World Motorsport Council meeting on June 30. In the meantime, in an open letter to racing fans published on the official Williams website, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Thiessen has made it clear that the German company favours retaining the V10 configuration.

“The key factor to reduce engine costs - particularly for the independent teams who have to pay for their engines - is the number of engines that are required over the course of a season,” said Thiessen. “We are prepared to extend the mileage of an engine to three race weekends. Should this measure be combined with a limited testing programme, a 50-percent reduction of the engine production costs will be viable.

He added: “Bearing in mind the stability of the regulations and to avoid a further increase of costs, we are proposing a perpetuation of the current 3-litre V10 concept. The increased mileage and technical limitations would reduce the horsepower output of the engines by some 100 bhp, thus increasing the lap times and reducing the top-speeds without losing the fascination of the 10-cylinder engine.”

Thiessen also stressed that BMW fully supports the FIA’s goals of reducing the costs and improving the spectacle of Formula One racing, and added that his company plans to bring further proposals to forthcoming meetings.