Renault has become the first F1 engine manufacturer to confirm that it has reached 1000 horsepower, which means Mercedes and Ferrari have also reached that magic milestone.
In the first year of the new hybrid turbo era in 2014, Mercedes was a class in its own, with Ferrari being the first to cut the gap and in recent years they have emerged as the leader in peak power figures.
Although it has been rumored since 2017 that the best powertrains are quite close to the magic limit of 1000 hp in qualifying modes, reducing the number of engines from four to three in 2018 has slowed the progress in power.
The energy recovery system has maximum power of 163 HP which means that for a total of 1000 HP the 1.6-liter V6 engine should produce at least 837 HP.
Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul then correctly concluded that even the strongest Formula 1 engines in 2017 won’t have 1000 bhp, but ahead of the start of the F1 season in 2018, Mercedes claimed they were very close to that figure.
But even though Mercedes and Ferrari are still the leaders in terms of maximum power, Renault has made a big leap forward of around 60 HP ahead of the 2019 F1 season and is the first manufacturer to confirm it has reached 1000 HP.
“There is just few peaks in power in qualifying where we achieve 1000 HP,” said Renault’s head of engine development Remi Taffin.
“We can’t have that performance all the time. It depends on a lot of factors like the ambient temperature.”
“Ferrari in qualifying have edge over Mercedes and us.”
Renault broke the 1000 HP barrier with their latest specification of their power unit (B-spec) introduced in France and German publication Auto Motor und Sport reported that Mercedes had also broken that limit with its second spec power unit introduced in Montreal.
Although they cannot use 1000 HP for a longer period, the power they use in the race is still higher than last year’s qualifying maximum.
“In a race we use more than 950 hp, at certain stages we use 960 or 970 hp for overtaking purposes,” Taffin said.
Honda has also made steady progress this year, especially in terms of reliability, but in terms of maximum power they remain fourth.
But after conservative settings in the first third of the season, in which they showed their new partner that they had reliability, Honda began to use its engines more aggressively, which, with Red Bull’s chassis improvements than Austria, enabled Verstappen to fight for victories.