F1’s new V6 engines for 2014 in numbers

F1 technology

Mercedes 2014 V6 F1 engineFormula One engine technology is about to take a great leap forward.

This is the final season with 2.4-litre V8 engines and fairly low-powered KERS. In their place next year will come 1.6-litre V6 units with turbochargers, direct injection and energy recovery systems that are more sophisticated and powerful.

If F1 gets it right, this will provide an absorbing technical challenge, improve the sport’s credentials as a test bed for environmentally-friendly technology, and enhance both the strategic dimension and spectacle of the races.

Details have begun to emerge of how the new engines will run, look and – of course – sound. Here’s what we can expect from them and how they will change the sport.

V6 engine and turbo

1.6l Engine capacity, down from 2.4l
6 Number of cylinders, down from 8
100kg Maximum amount of fuel teams can use per race from 2014 (around 140 litres). They currently use around 160kg
100kg per hour Maximum fuel flow rate
500bar Fuel injection pressure limit
15,000 Maximum rpm, down from 18,000

Formula One is following the lead of the road car industry by downsizing its internal combustion engines. In addition to lopping off two cylinders, the capacity of each has been slightly reduced.

The loss of power from this reduction in capacity will be recouped in part by the addition of a turbocharger. In this sense, the configuration is not dissimilar to the 1.5-litre turbos used by many teams from 1977 to 1988.

But most significant in terms of racing is the introduction of a fuel rate limit. This links power output to fuel consumption meaning drivers and strategists will have another variable to juggle to make sure they don’t empty their tanks too quickly.

Energy Recovery Units

161bhp Power boost from ERS, up from 80bhp
33.3s Duration of boost available, up from 6.7s
2MJ Maximum energy that can be harvested from ERS, up from 400kJ
4MJ Maximum energy that can be used from ERS, up from 400kJ

Toyota TS030 Hybrid, Le Mans, 2012The most radical changes are in the realm of Energy Recovery Systems. The change of name reflects the fact that heat as well as kinetic energy may now be recovered.

The regulations refer to the two devices as the ‘Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic’ and ‘Motor Generator Unit – Heat’. The latter uses heat energy from the turbo to generate electrical energy.

With two sources of recovered energy to use the limit on the amount of power they can generate has been raised. Drivers will now get a bigger boost for longer, which in addition to the thrust from the turbo engines should make for quite a spectacle.

The maximum amount of power that can be drawn from the ERS is in excess of the 500kJ currently permitted in the World Endurance Championship, where Audi and Toyota race hybrid cars. However by the time F1’s new engines are introduced they will also have had a power boost – to 8MJ – keeping endurance racing ahead of F1 in this respect.

Complete units

5 Maximum units per season, down from 8
145kg Minimum weight of engine and ERS, down from 95kg excluding KERS

Producing a competitive engine in this specification will be enough of a challenge, but the teams will also have to cope with more demanding reliability requirements.

At present each engine has to last three race distances with some units needing to do four. From next year most if not all engines will have to last four race distances, assuming the calendar remains at around 19 or 20 races.

How powerful will they be?

The one thing everyone wants to know about the new engines is whether they will be as powerful as the current ones.

F1 engine manufacturers stopped issuing details of their power outputs during the 1990s. But since F1 engine technology was frozen with the introduction of the current V8s in 2006, the consensus view is today’s cars have around 750bhp.

Their replacements are expected to produce the same – before the addition of further power from ERS is taken into account.

But drivers have become used to a degree of refinement in the current V8 engines they will not enjoy with the new ones – at least, not at first.

The ‘drive-ability’ and power delivery of the new units should prove a challenge. And how well the drivers and cars handle that extra power will be fascinating.

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136 comments on F1’s new V6 engines for 2014 in numbers

  1. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 24th January 2013, 21:28

    With so much technology involved it is oficial: NASA F1 is entering the 2014 F1 season :)

  2. Their replacements are expected to produce the same – before the addition of further power from ERS is taken into account.

    @keithcollantine what’s your source for that? The articles I’ve read suggest about 600 horespower for the petrol engine component of the drivetrains, with current power levels matched only when KERS/TERS is fully deployed.

  3. Kimi4WDC said on 24th January 2013, 22:35

    Overall very mediocre stats, I guess they are freezing the development off the bat. Don’t expect any difference in engines, they all will be pretty much identical.

    Road Car technology in F1, that the new moto.

  4. I don’t know about anyone else, but I genuinely cannot wait to hear these engines in action. Frankly, if they sound anything like the Indycar engines, I’ll be happy!

  5. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 25th January 2013, 6:40

    This might be a daft question – sorry if it is. But the max amount of fuel per race is 100kg; any race? No difference between Monaco and Monza?
    And are there any restrictions on the amount of fuel used in practice or qualifying?

  6. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 25th January 2013, 14:22

    I don’t like the idea of fuel limit. It was very embarrassing for the image of F1 in the 1980s to see cars regularly run out of fuel in the dying stages of the races. Of course, it provided some excellent spectacle, drama and it can be an interesting strategic variable, but still, F1 once deemed it is not in the best of its interest to see cars trying to outlast themselves while running 60 km/h during the last two laps.

    Personally, I’m for the reintroduction of refuelling and the introduction of some very serious penalty if a fuel-related accident happens in the pits. Refuelling was a great idea, masterminded by Ecclestone & Co at Brabham in 1982, I think it has a place in F1, it would be a key strategic variable as well without deteriorating the image of the sport, while its shortcomings (accidents) can be eliminated by cleverly-mixed rules package.

  7. JB (@) said on 25th January 2013, 15:40

    @atticus-2

    It was very embarrassing for the image of F1 in the 1980s to see cars regularly run out of fuel in the dying stages of the races

    Technology back then was not as advanced as it is now… so I guess that won´t happen as much…. but if it did, it´s great for racing…. it´ll be heartbreaking for some but it´ll make races much more exciting since you will never really know if they´ll make it to the end!

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 25th January 2013, 16:45

      @catracho504 Yes, I have already mentioned that agreement basically under ‘spectacle, drama and strategy’ and it is a valid point.

      But although technology is far more advanced by now, I think the fiercest competition will do result in 1980s-ish finishes, simply because teams will want to make use of every ounce of fuel in the tank.

      I expect more Barcelona 2012s and Abu Dhabi 2012s, but this time not during the Q3 inlaps, but during the last lap of the race – even more of them in one year, because the race will be longer than the Q3 runs and it will be harder to calculate.

      • JB (@) said on 25th January 2013, 17:05

        @atticus-2

        although technology is far more advanced by now, I think the fiercest competition will do result in 1980s-ish finishes

        Bring it on!!! I shouldn´t be rooting for this since mack then… Ferrari had a big issue with fuel consumption….. but hey…. that is definitely a big part of motor racing and I welcome it whole-heartedly!!

        I expect more Barcelona 2012s and Abu Dhabi 2012s, but this time not during the Q3 inlaps, but during the last lap of the race

        Could be… but, again, those where cases in which the teams deliberately(undeliberately, depends on how you choose to see it) underfueled the car in order to claim pole. Some argue and blame a robot…. in the other case thay said it was an “honest” mistake for the second time! So yeah…. I think the team can really manage the numbers nowadays, they sometimes choose to overlook that so I wouldn´t be too worried about that… besides, turbo´s do have a better fuel efficiency compared to N/A engines…

        One thing is for certain…. This is gonna be a whole new ballgame once these engines hit the track…. I want to see how they use the exhaust gases on these since they say it´s gonna be 1 exhaust directly in the middle pointing or exiting near the rear wing. That´ll definitely make a big difference. I honestly cannot wait till 2014 let alone for this season… The off time is just tortuous!!

  8. I don’t agree with the people that say that v6 are going to make cars slide more in corners because they have more torque than the v8.

    Torque measured in the engine doesn’t matter because the final torque that reaches the wheels is changed by the gearbox. The only important thing is power, which is the same at the engine and at the wheels (a little less here because of mechanical loses). The power on the wheels is the real torque (the torque the wheels applies to the ground) plus the spin velocity of the wheel. So, the maximum real torque for any given speed is the power given by the engine divided by the spin velocity of the wheel.

    To work with some crude figures we can estimate that the current V8’s produce around 220 lb/ft X 18,000rpm /5252 = 753BHP

    V6 Turbo – 600bhp @ 10,500rpm would be 300lb/ft

    But when you take into account the gearbox the real torque applied to the wheels that move the car is grater in the 750 BHP car. Imagine two cars with the engines working at Those points and at the same speed, a wheel spin speed of 10500 rpm (random number for easier operations). In the v6 the gear ratio would be 1/1 so the real torque would be 300 lb/ft. In the v8 the gear ratio would be 18000/10500 so the real torque would be 377 lb/ft.

    I’m tired of seeing reviews where they say one car is better because it has more torque. Of course a diesel has more torque than a similar petrol engine because it works at lower revs. But if both cars have the same power, similar power/rev graph and the same weight they would get the same exact acceleration.

    So people please forget about torque, power is what matters!

    PS: Torque and power are indeed the same, but you can use power to compare different engines always and torque only when they work at the same revs.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 26th January 2013, 14:44

      I understand what you are saying but usually forced induction engines have a “fatter” torque band, ie more torque at lower rpm and sustained to higher rpm, a bit like a bigger capacity engine that does not rev so high can have more “grunt” but ultimately less horsepower, think Chevy Corvette V Ferrari, comparable power but the Corvette is much easier to drive in traffic because of its low rpm torque superiority and we notice the same effect when we drive a turbo diesel. But of course you are correct to mention the effect of gearing and as Somers points out, this year they will have 1 extra ratio (same as Hyundai) and a fatter torque curve.

  9. glen turnbull said on 13th May 2013, 14:34

    Hi, will the new V6 still give us the “ear busting” sounds you get from the V8

  10. At the moment ,in my opinion ,GP2 cars are the benchmark for driver comparison since they are almost identical in specifications. They are also less complicated and much cheaper than F1 cars in all aspects.
    If FIA were to support this series and present it globally in a better way, it could be a platform which separates the best drivers from the runner ups more accurately than the existing F1 championship where everything else besides Driver talent comes into play…

  11. mitch penn said on 19th November 2013, 8:57

    500bar Fuel injection pressure limit???????????
    this must be a misprint I have never heard of anything over 4bar??
    I run 1.2bar in a sr20det(4cl 2L turbo) and im making a little under 380 at the wheels.

  12. David 321 said on 12th December 2013, 7:29

    I am not too worried about the engines or ES thing. I think the 5 engines is good so maybe we will see some cars getting some failures!

    The next year will be terribly boring. Every race will just end with the cars saving fuel and not racing. The driver should be the limiting factor in F1, not the tyres or the amount of fuel it has. Bring back refueling, get rid of the DRS. It is actually making the races boring as people wait till the straights to overtake and dont do it in other corners. They have to stop making these rules to manufacture “exciting” races, thats why we have the crap tyres (not all Pirellis fault), no refueling, this stupid DRS, 100kg of fuel.

    NEXT YEAR WILL BE BORING

    We should look back and get the rules from a good year and do those again

  13. Juan Luis Elgueta said on 3rd February 2014, 14:54

    I miss the sound of the v8′ :(

  14. Harry said on 11th May 2014, 13:51

    It is about racing? What does racing mean to you? Looking at “vehicles” running on a track?

    F1 is the TOP level of motor sport. An F1 race should be when you stand next to the track and a F1 car passes that you will put your fingers in your ears. That is part of it. The sound, the smells the ambiance and the fact that it is the top level motorsport in the world. If we all change this to some silly “regular” standards we just might go to a DTM race instead of F1. Because it is all the same and not “the F1″ anymore.

    How many times you go to a moped race each year? You don’t go? Why not? Because you have/had one at home. We don’t have 20.000rpm V10 engines at home like they had in 2008. And this is why we go to F1, to experience that.

    Now they just sound like freakin whistles these F1 cars. Engine sound is the same as MotoGP. And this ERS, great for being green. But we don’t see much of that when we stand next to the track.

    Starting to wonder if the V8 supercars in Australia will be 4cil supercars in the next decade.

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