Suffering from shrinkage

For the last several years, Formula One racers have used small (no larger than 2.4 liter) V8s, amazingly oversquare, with a rev limit of 18,000 rpm. For 2014, F1 is expected to go to a turbocharged 1.6-liter V6, the blower presumably serving as a replacement for displacement. (Then again, Ferrari’s first racers had a 1.5-liter V12.)

It must be noted, though, that what F1 was originally planning was a four-cylinder engine, apparently for the sake of Perceived Greenness. If that’s the goal, Tim Blair suggests a better way of getting there:

…a simple fuel rule that would give all competitors a fixed amount per race — setting engineers the challenge of extracting the best performance from that amount, by whatever means they choose.

You can’t get a whole lot greener than that, since the penalty for using too much fuel is the worst possible for a racer: a DNF. But F1, like present-day NASCAR, is obsessed with reducing the differences between cars, under the delusion that it will put the audience’s focus squarely on driving skill. Anyone who’s ever been to a “run what you brung” event is probably already laughing.

And speaking of F1, they’re bringing their road show to Austin, Texas, a place I dearly love, but you may be certain that Portland-on-the-Colorado is getting in its Greener Than Thou licks.

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