The Brazilian Grand Prix wasn't short on farewells as mentioned. And among the most prominent of these was that it was the scene of the final bow of the current engine spec: V8 2.4 litre units which are to be replaced by V6 1.6 litre turbo hybrids next campaign.
This got rather a lot of ceremony: tributes in the TV coverage throughout the weekend ('let's listen to these engines one last time' seemed a common refrain), references on the internet to 'the glorious V8 era' as well as even some teams revving their units until they went pop, or very nearly pop, after the Interlagos race. But I for one refrained from offering a fond send off.
|V6 turbo units are to return to F1 in 2014|
Credit: Morio / CC
Further, I am an unashamed enthusiast for the turbo units that await next year. The new engines are absolutely in keeping with a key part of F1 (and for a lot of motor sport more generally), that it improves the breed. The turbos with ERS and the like is exactly the sort of things the car industry is looking to develop right now and for the immediate future, with V8s precisely what they are not looking to. To quote Ross Brawn: 'We're not going to get manufacturers to come in with the V8 normally aspirated engine that we have now. No-one's interested. We've got to create fresh opportunities for new manufacturers to come in because who's going to come in and build a V8 18,000rpm engine? The new engine gives a fresh opportunity and it's a more relevant specification for manufacturers.'
And I'm really excited about how the big brains of F1 move the turbo/hybrid technology on. F1 attracts the best and the brightest and this, combined with the intensity of competition, usually ensures rapid technological progress (only war rivals it, and F1 for all of its faults is much less harmful than war!). We have witnessed already that in a few months of the 2009 season wherein a handful of F1 teams used KERS that the technology went from something almost entirely abandoned by the car industry to something that features routinely on cars in the showroom. How F1 advances such hybrid technology will also be a fantastic, and overdue, good news story for the sport.
F1's all about looking ahead, and in the case of the engines I believe we have plenty of reasons to do so eagerly.