F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports because it uses the most advanced and expensive means to create the race car. Throughout its history, F1 has used technology to boost the power output from relatively small engines. In 2014, F1 elected to switch away from the V8 engines and mandated that all teams race with 1.6 litres V6 engines, which runs alongside an advanced energy recovery system, which basically meant that they have to run a hybrid system.
The main reason F1 switched from a conventional combustion system to a hybrid system was to have some vague notion of relevance to modern-day car technologies. They also focused on efficiency, which they achieved by regulating the maximum fuel consumption for races and giving a lot of importance to hybrid technology.
The switch from V8s to hybrid-V6s was less than popular among many groups because of a lack of exhaust noise and the total cost to make them. It’s quite possible that these engines are totally misunderstood because they are truly incredible pieces of machinery that are capable of producing nearly 1,000 horsepowers.
The engine is made up of two parts. The first one is a tiny internal combustion engine – 1600cc V6, which is turbocharged and has direct fuel injection. The engine is capped by a fuel flow meter to limit it to around 850hp(depends on who makes the engine). It also has a max rev limit of just 15,000.
The second part is the hybrid system, which itself is made up of two parts. One of the hybrid systems recovers the car’s kinetic energy under braking (ERS-K), and the other one recovers the kinetic energy of the turbocharger attached to the V6(ERS-H).
When combined, these two systems allow F1 drivers to have around 1,000hp whenever needed during the race weekend. Despite the huge output the engine gives, an F1 car burns just 110kg of fuel in the race, which is a third less than what the previous generations of V8s used to burn.
Since the turbo-hybrid power units were very challenging to develop when it was initially introduced in the F1 paddock, it meant that any team that was able to create a power unit that was far more innovative and powerful than the rest of the grid would end up dominating F1 at the start of the turbo-hybrid era. And if the rest of the teams took time to catch up to the leading team, that would allow them to win everything without anyone else bothering them at the top.
This is what happened at the start of the turbo-hybrid era- Mercedes dominating. The one thing that no one expected was how long they would dominate F1 because, since 2014, Mercedes have taken home the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championship every year. And almost every single time, they would win the championships well before the end of the season. The main reason Mercedes were so dominant was their engine which was widely considered to be more powerful and efficient than the rest of the grid at most of the races. The Mercedes power unit was so much better than the competition because of the team’s innovative split-turbo system.
Another reason they have been so successful is because of their star driver, Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton has won 6 of the 7 Drivers’ Championship that Mercedes have won since 2014. With Hamilton at the helm, they have gotten more than 100 pole positions and have won more than 100 races since the start of the turbo-hybrid era. At the same time, F1 giants Ferrari and Red Bull have combined won just under 40 races.
There have been a few seasons where a team has come close to ending Mercedes’s title run, that team being Ferrari in 2017 and 2018. But in the end, they were unsuccessful. This season, Red Bull seems like the first team in eight years who can actually fight with Mercedes for the top spot, mainly because of the Honda power unit, which has improved a lot over the past few years and has been the best power unit on track on quite a few occasions this season.
Hopefully, for F1 fans all around the globe, Red Bull can stop Mercedes’s reign of domination, or entertain us by giving them a run for their money.