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Horner: F1 'at crossroads' over future engine

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pit wall during qualifying for the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit on June 24, 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pit wall during qualifying for the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit on June 24, 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Aug.9 - The swarms of carmakers flocking to Formula E is a chance for F1 to think about going back to the future with its next engine.

That is the view of Red Bull boss Christian Horner, as the sport looks to move on from the controversial 'power unit' era post 2020.

Talks about the 2021 engine are already taking place, and it appears F1 will simplify the current V6 engines by adding another turbo and reducing the hybrid elements.

But Horner told Auto Motor und Sport: "I hope we do not end up with a bad compromise.

"The manufacturers are all going to Formula E, which is their playground for future technologies. Porsche, Mercedes, Renault, Audi, Jaguar -- that's already more than formula one ever had.

"The cost of Formula E is 5 per cent of a F1 budget, so what I can imagine is that the mass scale manufacturers go there and the sports car manufacturers like Ferrari, Aston Martin and Lamborghini are in F1. That's their place.

"So I see formula one at a crossroads," he explained.

"If you believe the politics, we'll all be driving electric cars in 2030, so formula one should be the counterpoint -- pure racing, man and machine, a competition of the best drivers in the world with combustion engines," he added.

Horner said the ultimate call may be made by new F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn, who "needs the courage to make the right decision".

He said Red Bull has done "a lot of market research" for the Aston Martin supercar project, which shows that "the overwhelming majority want a V10 or V12 and not a hybrid".

"And I did my own survey at one of the fan forums, and everyone cheered when I said do we want to go back to the V10s.

"I doubt we are going to do that," Horner acknowledged. "We'll have to be content with the bi-turbo V6. But the sound is the key.

"Of all the criticism of the current engines, the most important thing for the fans is the sound."

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