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2013 Engine pecking order & philosophy


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#1 Buttoneer

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 15:14

I remember that in the noughties when we were regularly being updated about the new bits and pieces that were being added or adjusted on the then-current manufacturers engines and related peripherals. Comments from Mario Theissen that in qualifying trim the BMW units were revving 'through' 20k rpm or that the Renaults had traded revs for economy and low-end grunt etc. These were fantastic times for those of us who love the technical aspects of F1.

These days we don't seem to hear anything at all about the engines. We might be able to work out how many have been used, and we see when they spectacularly (and rarely) let go, but the rev limit and longevity rules, plus spec electronics have had a hugely detrimental effect on development potential.

However, they are still being designed and built by different manufacturers and that means they are being built to different standards and philosophies. What information is there about how relatively powerful the 2013 units are and whether they have particular traits because of this? Are the Ferrari fast starts an engine thing and why are AMG Mercedes seemingly suffering from heavy fuel use?

They all have 'around' 750hp but if one manufacturer decided to go down to 720 and instead concentrate on economy what sort of difference would that make to their llaptimes anyway?

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#2 F1Champion

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 17:54

Totally agree, I used to love the days of engine talk in the press releases and all the rumours around engine materials, designs etc. Its all gone to the wall now and its all about aero. There has been a bit about exhaust gases, but that isn't that interesting IMO.

Regarding engine output, Renault say they are down 25 hp on others which equates to 0.3 sec/lap. Sounds like a large deficit, but it is a very frugal engine with very good low end drivability. If they can save 10 kgs less than others then they gain 0.1-0.2 back again, so pretty much they're all level with each having its pluses and minuses. I know Renault made a couple of efficiency improvements with the homologation rules.

#3 paulrobs

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 18:43

I used to love the escalation in power for sure!

The escalating power levels from naturally aspirated F1 engines was incredible. Each year the power levels went up as they found ways to get them to rev higher and reducing internal friction. Amazing stuff and so different to today's control ECUs and rev-limited engines. I hate to hear an f1 car on the rev limiter all the way down a straight. I know it's cost saving through engine longevity but it's not F1.

I remember back to the last turbo engines in the 80's. The Honda enginese were nowhere near the most powerful but they had the best power:consumption ratio meaning that in race trim they could go lighter on fuel and faster than anyone else, by choice I guess - trading horsepower for economy as the OP said. Could we get this next year? I'm not sure whether the powertrain includes the engine ECU although I'm guessing it would given the unique demands of each powerttrain? I guess the FIA will be keen to police launch control and maps that allow off throttle exhaust blowing mind. Wouldn't it be great if we had higher qualifying levels of boost too. I have so many memories of the last turbo engines - spectacular blowups, unbelieveable acceleration, that puff of black smoke from the exhausts as the drivers pushed the overboost button out of a slow corner onto a straigh, and they still sounded good too. I'm excited about the new stuff coming next year because it's new and the development potential is huge and we might well see some clever stuff with perhaps at least one manufacturer trading ultimate performance for economy and driveability.

#4 ElJefe

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 08:43

It's a shame really that F1 is now all about aerodynamics rather than mechanical engineering. I loved the diversity of the engines and indeed the speculation about the horsepower, the revs and why the wide-angled V10 of Renault would not work out. Now it's all about Pirelli, flexi-wings or double diffusors. F1 has become a spec-class from a mechanical point of view.

#5 Buttoneer

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 09:05

It's not far off that, I agree, but as F1Champion points out above, there are still possible compromises to be had. I'd like to know where the 25hp figure comes from. Someone somewhere must have said something about the engines. I am probably just trying to fruitlessly rekindle some of the interest I used to have in this area.

#6 Rybo

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 17:36

It's not far off that, I agree, but as F1Champion points out above, there are still possible compromises to be had. I'd like to know where the 25hp figure comes from. Someone somewhere must have said something about the engines. I am probably just trying to fruitlessly rekindle some of the interest I used to have in this area.


I think that is the accepted figure in the paddock, I've heard Brundle mention similar figures. The Renault unit is down in peak horsepower and peak torque but has better fuel economy pre blown diffuser. The Renaults use 10-15 kgs less fuel than the Mercedes units over the race distance. With the blowing of the diffuser it isn't as cut and dry depending on engine mapping.

#7 STRFerrari4Ever

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 22:43

Those days were beautiful, the engines were being pushed to amazing peaks with all the various developments that manufacturers would add to them. The BMW engines used to be my favourites just because of how they just seemed to consistently produce the most power and the best sounding IMO as well.

Edited by STRFerrari4Ever, 17 May 2013 - 22:46.


#8 W154

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 09:45

On 24 November all the current engines will be obsolete. Perhaps the FIA could require each engine manufacturer to provide an engine for "post race scrutineering". This of course would be done at an independent dyno shop and the results of power/ torque/ fuel consumption testing inadvertently "leaked" to the motoring press.... :blush: