F1 power units are very close to the magical number of 1000 HP, but currently the best engine in F1 2017 doesn’t match that goal – we bring a review of engine power in today’s Formula 1 that are based on GPS data.

Although the precise figures of engine power in Formula 1 have always been wrapped in secrets, the media often get unofficial information from engineers, and the teams closely monitor each other with GPS data and can thus establish some framework values.

Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul said before 2017 F1 season that even  best engines will not have 1000 HP, which proved to be correct, and at the end of the 2017 Mercedes have also admitted that they still don’t have a magical 1000 HP despite a stunning efficiency of 50% on the test bench which is an improvement over the initial 44% in 2014 when a hybrid turbo era began.

Today’s F1 power units consist of a 1,6-liter V6 internal combustion turbo engine and the energy recovery system consists of MGU-H, MGU-K and batteries. The entire system is controlled by control electronics.

As ERS system strength is limited to a maximum of 163 HP for 33.3 seconds in one lap, which means that for a total power of 1000 HP the engine itself must have at least 837 HP.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Mercedes power unit M08 EQ Power + develops the highest power of 949 HP while Ferrari has 15 HP less (934 HP).

The third is Renault with a 42 HP gap to Mercedes (907 HP) while  Honda with their latest specification of RA617H drive unit has 881 HP.

Mercedes is the strongest, most reliable and needs less fuel

These are impressive figures due to the small engine capacity of only 1,6 liters, but also because fuel flow limit of 100 kg/h and and the maximum of 105 kg of fuel in the race.

The old V10 engines from the mid-2000s developed a similar power but with a thermal efficiency of only 30%.

In addition to having the greatest power, Mercedes is the only manufacturer that has been able to finish the 2017 F1 season with up to four units of each of the six elements of the power unit (with the exception of deliberate changes to the Hamilton car in Brazil) with all six cars, which will be extremely important next year with only three engines available.

Another Mercedes’s advantage is fuel consumption. In Mexico, the Mercedes drivers started with about 10 kg of fuel less than their rivals, which is a huge advantage (reducing towards the end of the race), which results in better start and lower fuel and tyre consumption.

It should be noted that the low fuel consumption at the Mercedes is also contributed by their chassis that uses a very low floor slope and has a very narrow rear end due to its long length (the longest leg of the car in F1 2017)

Apart from the fact that other manfacturers have to aim for power, they must also achieve incredible reliability and low fuel consumption, which is putting them under even greater pressure to be brave with technical solutions.

F1 2017 POWER UNIT OVERVIEW


TOTAL POWER (V6+ERS)
ONLY V6 GAP
Mercedes M08 949 HP 786 HP
Ferrari 062 934 HP 771 HP 15 HP
Renault R.E.17 907 HP 744 HP 42 HP
Honda RA617H 881 HP 718 HP 68 HP

McLaren Honda F1 2017 RA617H V6 engine Honda museum

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