Since Formula 1 made the switch to turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 hybrids, no other team has been able to hold a candle to Mercedes. It’s won four constructors’ championships in a row, and its drivers have taken both first and second place in three out of the last four drivers’ championships.
Part of that success can be attributed to the drivers, but Mercedes has also been able to get incredible power out of these new power units. In fact, engineers are reportedly close to exceeding the 1,000 hp mark.
Motorsport.com reports that according to Andy Cowell, Mercedes’ head of engine development, the team was able to get a total of more than 900 hp out of its power units. This year, it’ll likely surpass 1,000 hp soon, perhaps in the next season. “We’re close,” Cowell said. “I’m sure that’ll happen at some point.”
As Motorsport.com points out, last year, Mercedes also managed to get its engine to pass 50 percent thermal efficiency.
Essentially a measure of how much power an engine can make from the energy it consumes, thermal efficiency has become a more important engine factor in the last several years now that F1 limits the amount of fuel an engine can use per hour.
But while 50 percent thermal efficiency was only seen on the dyno, Mercedes expects to know soon how long it will take to achieve it during an actual race. “It’s an answer for the early part of the next year,” said Cowell.
“We need to see how the power unit development goes through the winter and our prove-out goes through the winter, and it’s a balance with the car as well,” he continued.
“There are engines running on the dyno—that’s one thing. When you go to total car lap time, that’s the bit where there’s work being done to improve the technology on the car to enhance both aerodynamic and power unit performance. Let’s see how it all works out.”