Formula 1 Engine Technology – Explained

Formula 1 Engine Technology – Explained

Did you ever thought why an engine in your car is not as much fast as those Formula 1 cars, If yes than we have explained the formula-1 technology for you.

Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! Is the continuous echo that one gets to hear if he/she is present in an F1 Grand Prix Stadium. The same race car sound is no less than music to the ears of car lovers. The source of the sound is the heart of F1 cars i.e. F1 Engine. Located in the rear of F1 cars, it has helped in breaking a plethora of formula 1 records and flipped the history of Formula 1 racing oodles of times. The Formula 1 Engine has undergone transformation numerous times and has an interesting history to trace. Apart from that, its technology and working methodology is sure to woo you.

What marked the beginning of Formula 1 Engine and where is it now?

Formula 1 engines have descended from a variety of configurations as well as specifications through the years. Let’s pick some interesting years that changed that revolutionized Formula 1 technology.

1947- 1953: 4.5 L atmospheric and 1.5 L supercharged F1 engines are considered as the ancestors of today’s Formula 1 technology. These beasts were developed and tested by racing freaks during this era.

1954-1960:  The f1 engine size reduced to 2.5 L and 750 cc supercharged were also given a green signal for production. Though no manufacturers of Formula 1 engine built one.

1961-1965: This period witnessed the foray of mid f1 engine cars (earlier the Formula 1 engines were in front). Also, the size of engine reduced to 1.5 L.

1966-1986: Racing cars with much more powerful engines forayed in the racing car industry. The players of the same industry also started producing turbo-charged engines.

1987-88: Following the turbo domination, the FIA limited boost pressure to 4 bar for 1.5 L turbo and allowed 3.5 L engine.

1989-1994: Turbochargers were banned and only 3.5 L F1 Engine was allowed. Many players started to put 10,000+ RPM race car in World Championship Grand Prix.

1995-2005: The era used 3.0 L formula 1 engine. Also, the FIA introduced new regulations limiting each car to one engine per two Grand Prix weekends, laying the emphasis on more reliability and decreased power output.

2006-2013: This span of 11 years witnessed engines of 90° V8 of 2.4 litres maximum capacity with a 98 mm (3.9 in) maximum circular bore. The year 2009 not only saw the Honda bidding adieu from Formula 1 but also was a spectator of constructors of F1 Engine being allowed kinetic energy recovery system, which can be stored as mechanical or electrical energy.

2014-Present: For the 2014 season, FIA announced the transformation of formula 1 engine from 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines. The new announcement also had energy recovery system and fuel flow restrictions so as to make World Championship Grand Prix environmentally friendly and also to attract more commercial partners to F1 Grand Prix.


So, How the Formula 1 Engine Works?

The heart of F1 race cars zooming at F1 Grand Prix is now the 1.6-liter V6 turbo revving at 15,000 rpm. It has also been blessed with practically unlimited boost that could turn fuel drops into a whopping 600 horsepower. Backed by an electrical system, the formula 1 engine pumps out another 160 electron-charged horses. Stating that this is a pinnacle of Formula 1 technology won’t be untrue.

The architecture of formula 1 engine (V6) is totally different than that of its predecessor (v8).The pressure within the combustion chamber is almost twice. The turbo formula 1 engine rotation at 1,00,000 rpm sends a lot of heat energy that gets converted into electrical energy. The same energy is stored and further deployed to avoid too much slowing down of the engine on applying brakes at F1 Grand Prix, thus, reducing lag time to near zero and match instant delivery of torque.

 Kinetic Energy Recovery System

A Kinetic Energy Recovery System, often called KERS, is an automotive energy recovery system that helps moving vehicles in recovering their Kinetic Energy after the application of brakes. The energy so recovered is then stored in a reservoir (mostly a flywheel or batteries that have high voltage) so that it could be used later under acceleration. However, the latest F1 Engine has Kinetic Energy Recovery System missing. It has been replaced by 2 motor generating units called MGU-H and MGU-K. MGU-H recovers energy from the exhaust while MGU-K recovers it from braking.

What happens on acceleration?

As and when the racers at World Championship Grand Prix accelerates, the internal combustion Formula 1 Engine uses its reserve of fuel and turbocharger starts to rotate at maximum speed i.e. 1,00,000 RPM.

MGU-H instantly act as a generator and recover energy lost in the exhaust and the pass the same to MGU-K.  The MGU-K, connected to the crankshaft of ICE, act as a motor and deliver the energy passed onto it to pull harder, save fuel or control electronics, thereby, offering a great pickup at F1 Grand Prix.

Post brake acceleration leads to more gas production and same delays the turbo to return to full rotational speed. In order to avoid this, MGU-H powers the turbo and keep the rotational speed as close to optimum. When the rider gets back to throttle, MGU-H picks the energy from the active turbocharger and exhaust the gas. 

The aforementioned process helps in maintaining the balance between the harvesting of energy, deployment of energy and monitoring of fuel burn.

Interesting Formula 1 Records

F1 Grand Prix is the survival of the fittest. Brands with powerful Formula 1 Engines have always made it to an apex position in World Championship Grand Prix. Here are some interesting excerpt from Grand Prix Results till date.

Ferrari has been active in F1 Grand Prix since 1950. With its first win at 1951 British Grand Prix, it still stands on the top of the table with a total of whopping 224 wins. Then comes the prominent constructor of United Kingdom – McLaren – which is active since 1966 and has a total of 182 winning records. Number 5th of the table has Mercedes with 54 wins. Honda has 3 wins under its record and stands at number 21. Last on the table (27th position) is Toro Rosso of Italy with 1 win under its name.

Formula 1 Engine: One-of-its-kind Beauty in the world of Automobiles

Formula 1 history has witnessed many regulations and technical advancement. Sophisticated yet powerful technology has played a pivotal role in formula 1 records

 and the same has been the basis of competition between the automobile brands of the world. What started with merely motor racing in the 1930s emerged from European racing scene has now complex engineering and advanced techniques involved.

Formula 1 Engine sound not only symbolizes modern engineering but also has given birth to a sport that is adored by a large chunk of the population. Full of action, energy, fervor and enthusiasm, every lap at World Championship Grand Prix has a twist in it.

With so much coming forward for F1 Engine, the future is still uncertain. The FIA regulations also play an indispensable role in deciding the fate of Formula 1 Racing and Formula 1 Engine. Whether it is going to be an upgrade for the F1 engine or the constructors will be asked to eliminate certain components from it will be something interesting to wait for.


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