What are the current Formula 1 power unit engine rules? : PlanetF1

F1’s hybrid power units are the most technologically advanced engines in the world, delivering astonishing levels of efficiency and power.

Current Formula 1 engine regulations state that each team must be powered by a 1.6-litre V6 four-stroke engine, which includes a turbocharger and hybrid electric trim, and sees a maximum allowable rpm of 15,000.

The technical details of these engines are very prescribed, as shown in the Current technical regulations.

The current engine formula was introduced for the 2014 season, with the pace of progress since then seeing manufacturers achieve incredible efficiency and remarkable power.

The current rules will remain in place until, at least, the 2025 season, with discussions currently underway to decide which next-gen rules will roll out for 2026.

Who makes the current F1 engines?

There are currently four manufacturers of power units homologated for use in Formula 1.

  • mercedes: Based in Brixworth and manufactured by Mercedes High-Performance Powertrains, these engines are used by the Mercedes works team and McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin customer teams.
  • Ferrari: Manufactured from Ferrari’s base in Maranello, the factory team is just one of three teams using these engines. Joining them are Alfa Romeo and Haas customers.
  • Honda: Although officially withdrawn from Formula 1 as part of a factory effort, the Japanese manufacturer’s engines are still manufactured from their Sakura base and shipped to Red Bull and AlphaTauri for use during the 2022 season. Red Bull’s new engine department, branded Red Bull Powertrains, will eventually take over manufacturing of its own engines.
  • Renault: Based in Viry-Chatillon, the current Renault powertrain is only used by Alpine factory equipment (owned by Groupe Renault).

How powerful are the 2022 F1 engines?

F1’s 2022 engines produce over 1,000bhp, with all manufacturers hitting similar figures. Exact numbers aren’t offered by the manufacturers, which means the most powerful calculation is an educated guess, rather than a measurable public metric.

Despite this incredible power, the engines only consume around 130 liters of fuel for a Grand Prix distance of 300 kilometres.

The power output means the F1 cars accelerate from 0-100km/h in around 2.6 seconds and reach speeds of around 380km/h in the lowest downforce configurations the teams will use over the course of the season – the top speed could be much higher if the downforce is reduced further, although this would be dangerous for use outside very specific circumstances.

F1’s incredible hybrid engines

With the older naturally aspirated V8 engines phased out at the end of the 2013 season, the hybrid era has given rise to a whole new approach to powering F1 cars.

More simply an ‘ICE’ (internal combustion engine), F1’s ‘power units’ are made up of various components that have the ICE at their heart.

  • Internal Combustion Engine (ICE): The ICE refers to the 1.6-liter V6 which alone develops around 700 horsepower.
  • Turbocharger (TC): The turbocharger is attached to the ICE and uses the same technology found on any turbocharged road car. The turbo increases the density of air absorbed by the engines, which increases power output. The turbo is powered by a turbine from the exhaust, creating more power from the engine’s heat energy.

These mechanical parts are skillfully supported by the ERS (Energy Recovery System), which forms the hybrid part of the powertrain.

The ERS works to harness the energy produced by the car during track driving, stores that energy, and is then able to redeploy that energy as part of the power unit’s output. The ERS alone is around 160hp and is usable for 33 seconds of a lap.

The main energy harvesting components on the ERS are the MGU-H and MGU-K, with captured energy being sent to be stored in the energy store.

  • Energy Store (ES): Simply put, this is the car battery, albeit slightly more complicated than what you would find in a road car. Any energy generated by the ERS is sent to this battery for storage, until needed for redeployment. Batteries can store up to 4 megajoules of energy per turn, with this amount also being the amount allowed for redeployment during a turn.
  • MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit-Heat): This is driven by exhaust gases. The energy, in the form of heat, being dissipated by the exhaust system, the MGU-H captures this energy to transform it into electrical energy. As engine and turbo rpm increase as the driver accelerates, the MGU-H captures energy and sends harnessed electricity into the ES.
  • MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic): This is an electric generator and motor that is connected to the ICE. Capturing braking energy, including heat from the brakes, this energy is redeployed as power during acceleration.
  • Control Electronics (CE): This component is the control “computer” of the ERS, ensuring that all systems communicate properly with each other to interact with the mechanical components of the drive unit.

Each of these components is of crucial importance for the absolute performance of a car. An ERS failure doesn’t necessarily mean a car can’t drive anymore, but the resulting loss of power can trigger stunt car issues, slower lap times, increased fuel consumption and, for all intents and purposes, means the car is likely to be retired.

However, a famous example of a driver overcoming ERS issues was Daniel Ricciardo’s infamous victory in Monaco in 2018 where, despite a failed MGU-K, he was able to massage his handicap. Red Bull house opposite.

F1 has strict rules for using power unit components

F1 manufacturers can’t just throw new components on their cars as they wish, with each part having to last for a certain time.

Here are the component allocations for 2022.

  • ICE: Each pilot is entitled to three internal combustion engines.
  • TC: Each driver is entitled to three turbochargers.
  • ES: Each driver is entitled to two energy reserves.
  • MGU-H: Each driver is entitled to three generator-heat units.
  • MGU-K: Each pilot is entitled to three Kinetic-generators.
  • CE: Each driver is entitled to two electronic control devices.

If a driver changes teams during the season, he will inherit the power unit usage figures of the car he is riding in. So, for example, if Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc swapped seats at any time, Hamilton would switch to Leclerc’s numbers, while Leclerc would switch to Hamilton’s numbers.

If a new driver is introduced at any time during the season, he will inherit the power unit components of the car he is riding in. For example, if Oscar Piastri got on Daniel Ricardo‘s McLaren at all times would be subject to Ricciardo’s usage figures.

These power unit components can be swapped and swapped as much as a team requires in order to keep their car running, but introducing new components outside of the allocation incurs a grid penalty.

The first time a new component outside of the allowance is used, that driver will serve a 10 place grid penalty. However, they will only serve a five-seat grid penalty for each subsequent introduction of that same component.

It is not possible for a team to stockpile parts by introducing multiple identical components during a single Grand Prix weekend, and serve only one penalty. To address this potential loophole, if a team introduces, say, three out-of-clearance MGU-Ks in one weekend, only the last one introduced is allowed to be used without penalty at a future Grand Prix.

F1’s 2022 engine freeze explained

Engine regulations have been changed for 2022, to allow the introduction of a more sustainable E10 fuel, made of 10% sustainable ethanol alongside 90% fossil fuel.

However, a key change for 2022 is the introduction of an “engine freeze”. Manufacturers were required to submit a final design of their power units by the start of this season, with no further performance-related development allowed.

Manufacturers are still allowed to make changes to enable reliability or security updates, but there is a strict process in place for doing so. The regulations have been tightened to ensure that manufacturers cannot simply pretend they are unreliable in order to introduce changes.

If a manufacturer wishes to make changes to the architecture of its engine, it can submit a request to the FIA ​​Technical Department to explain why it is requesting it. Evidence of research into the problem, as well as a proof of concept is required, with the FIA ​​then passing this request and documentation on to other manufacturers.

If the other manufacturers agree that the request is justified and the modification concept makes sense, authorization will be granted. However, the changes allowed are still quite minor.

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