The FIA, Formula One’s main controlling body, has approved the use of new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines from the 2014 F1 season onwards. The new engines replace the current naturally aspirated 2.4-litre V8. Last week French supplier Renault became the first engine manufacturer to show its hand in this regard.
The Renault power unit disperses about 560kW in total and uses energy recovery systems that contribute to that total. Only about 440kW of the total comes from the V6 itself. The rest (120kW) is derived from these recovery systems, including an updated KERS.
While to the untrained eye it may appear that 560kW is stunning from essentially the same size engine as a MINI Cooper or Mercedes-Benz C180, the trick here is these engines are not built to last as long as normal cars’. Therefore even though Renault’s F1 1.6 V6 turbo will rev up to 15 000rpm, it cannot even begin to compete with Renault’s everyday 1.6-litre turbo for of longevity. The latter should stay with the car for well over 300 000km if taken care of properly. On the other hand, the F1 motor will only be able to last about 6 to 8 races at a time. Drivers are to be limited to 5 engines per year from 2014. At the same time, fuel efficiency must improve by up to 35% compared with the current 2.4-litre V8s as the cars will only be allowed 100kg of fuel per race.
Among the teams who are currently supplied with Renault engines are Red Bull, Caterham, Lotus and Williams.