Which type of engine is used in F1 cars?

Rate this Entry
Much of the team specific engine information about custom components and setup is not available to the public but general info about how the cars will be propelled is laid out in the Formula 1 rule-book; some from the 2018 season I have quoted below. The regulations for engines usually change every year so an “engine” setup from a few years ago (or maybe even last year) is probably illegal use use in the current season though some less well funded F1 teams have historically used previous generations of engines under-license from the main engine manufacturers while those manufacturers factory teams (Mercedes, Ferrari etc.) used the newest generation engines (and usually won). This has not always been the case though as many times the new tech has failed while the older, better tested engines have survived races.

There are many very specific rules which determine the exact specification of F1 engines and up until a few years ago they were all based upon an F1 race-car being powered by only an Internal Combustion Engine; this is now not the case as electronic propulsion (via electric motors) has been introduced in various forms. Formula 1 cars now use what is known as a Power Unit which is a combination of mechanical and electronic devices as explained in detail in the paragraph below [Quoted technical info pasted from the Formula 1 website[1] and refers to F1 engine regulations for the 2018 season. ] >>

The power unit is deemed to consist of six separate elements: the internal combustion engine (ICE), the motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), the motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE).

An extended description of what is allowed for the Power Unit is below. The full regulations are here [ ].

What the technical regulations say:

The internal combustion engine of a Formula One car must 1.6-litres in capacity and rev-limited to 15,000rpm.
The engine must also have six cylinders arranged in a 90-degree formation, with two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder and a single turbocharger.
Engines exhaust systems must have a single tailpipe for the turbine and either one or two tailpipes for the wastegate.
Fuel flow to the engine is limited to 100 kilograms/hour.
The use of any device, other than the engine and one MGU-K, to propel the car, is not permitted.
The overall weight of the power unit must be a minimum of 145kg. The Energy Store must be installed wholly within the survival cell and must weigh between 20kg and 25kg.
The crankcase and cylinder block of the engine must be made of cast or wrought aluminium alloys - the use of composite materials is not allowed. The crankshaft and camshafts must be made from an iron-based alloy, pistons from an aluminium alloy and valves from alloys based on iron, nickel, cobalt or titanium.
The MGU-H must be solely mechanically linked to the exhaust turbine of the pressure charging system. The MGU-K must be solely and permanently mechanically linked to the powertrain before the main clutch.
A maximum of 4MJ per lap can be transferred from the ES to the MGU-K (and then in turn to the drivetrain).
A maximum of 2MJ per lap can be transferred from the MGU-K to the ES.
An unlimited amount of energy can be transferred between the MGU-H and the ES and/or MGU-K.
With the exception of cars starting a race from the pit lane, the MGU-K may only be used during a race start once the car has reached 100km/h

An answer to the question could be that as there are for the new season 3 engines used in F1 cars, one Internal Combustion Engine (which uses a slightly modified form of petrol available to the public), one electronic engine/motor which is essentially a reversible alternator (called an MGU-K or motor generator unit-kinetic) and another motor generator unit which harvests energy from the spinning turbo and can boost turbo speed on-demand where permitted (called an MGU-H which means motor generator unit-heat).

However, a specific answer to the question can only be given with the inclusion of the following crucial information:

which F1 racing season is the engine from (example: 2018)
which racing team is in question (example: McLaren)

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags