Insider’s guide: F1’s engine rules –

Insider’s guide: F1’s engine rules –

Formula 1 is at the cutting edge of engine technology and its latest power plant is one of the sport’s most complex yet.

In fact, the current engines are so complicated they need to go through a pre-start routine involving laptops, remote operations and a bunch of clever engineers before they can be kicked into life.

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What is in an F1 power unit?

First things first, a modern F1 engine is no longer called that, it’s called a ‘power unit’ – and that’s because it’s a hybrid. It consists of a petrol internal combustion engine and electric motors powered by an Energy Recovery System. (ERS).

When introduced in 2014, they were criticised for their lack of noise compared to the popular ear-rattling V8 and V10 monsters of the past, but these are some of the most powerful and efficient power units in Grand Prix history.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35, Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB16, and the rest of the field away at the start

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

How much horsepower does an F1 power unit produce?

The total power output from the combined petrol and electric elements is around 1,000bhp – significantly higher than a normal road car. The petrol engine runs at 15,000rpm – again, significantly more than a road car.

This all means an F1 car can cover 0-60mph in around 2.6 seconds and top out at around 230mph, depending on the amount of drag it is running. When BAR (which via Honda and Brawn GP eventually became Mercedes) stripped its car of as much drag as possible, it hit 246.9mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2006.

What type of petrol engine does the power unit use?

The engine is a four-stroke 1.6-litre turbo V6. It is designed to a strict set of dimensions and material limitations, with the cylinders arranged in a 90-degree ‘V’ configuration and two inlet and exhaust valves per cylinder.

The turbocharger works by using a compressor to pressure charge the engine. It’s driven by airflow from the car’s exhaust, via a turbine that is connected to the outlet system.

For those who understand engines, the compression ratio for each cylinder must be no higher than 18, the fuel pressure in the injectors is 500barG or …….