The Formula 1 World Championship has suffered throughout the history great variety of changes in the regulation that has affected the engines. This has led to the use of different types of propellers since 1947, at which time the current International Automobile Federation (FIA) met to specify the rules that drivers and single-seaters had to obey.
Currently, Formula 1 uses internal combustion engines of 1.6 liter V6 90 ° four-stroke turbocharged.
The power produced by a Formula 1 engine is obtained by operating at a very high rotation speed, up to 15,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). This contrasts with the road car engines, which with a similar size of engine, usually does not exceed 6,000 rpm. The basic configuration of an aspirated Formula 1 engine was not modified in large part from the Cosworth DFV 1967 and the average effective pressure (PME) remained around 14 bar. Until the mid-1980s, Formula 1 engines were limited to around 12,000 rpm due to the use of traditional metal springs used to close the valves. The speed required to operate the engine’s valves at higher rpm required stiffer springs, which increased the power loss to drive the camshaft and valves to the point where the loss did not compensate for the power gain by increasing the power. the turns per minute. They were replaced by pneumatic valve springs introduced by Renault, which have an increasing rate (progressive speed) that allows them to have an extremely high spring rate with larger valve strokes without increasing the driving power requirements in small runs, thus decreasing the general power loss. Since the 1990s, all manufacturers of Formula 1 engines have used pneumatic valve springs with pressurized air that allow engines to reach speeds of more than 20,000 rpm.
Short stroke engine
Formula 1 cars use short-stroke engines. To operate the engine at high speeds, the race must be relatively short to avoid catastrophic failures, usually from the rod that is under great stress at these speeds. Having a short stroke means that a relatively large diameter is required to reach a total displacement of 1.6 liters. This results in a less efficient combustion stroke, especially at lower revolutions. The stroke of a Formula 1 engine is approximately 39.7 mm, less than half the cylinder diameter of 98.0 mm, which is known as a super-square configuration.
In addition to the use of pneumatic valve springs, the high speed of rotation of the Formula 1 engine has been possible thanks to advances in metallurgy and design allowing lighter pistons and connecting rods to withstand the accelerations necessary to reach such high speeds. The development in the design also allows for connecting rod ends and narrower main bearings. This allows higher rpm with less heat buildup detrimental to the bearing. In each stroke, the piston goes from a virtual stop to almost twice the average speed (approximately 40 m / s), and again go back to zero. This occurs once for each of the four cycle times: an admission (down), a compression (up), an explosion (on-down), an escape (up). The maximum acceleration of the piston occurs at the top dead center and is around 95,000 m / s2, approximately 10,000 times the standard gravity (10,000 G).
Formula 1 engines have gone through a variety of regulations, manufacturers and configurations over the years.
1943 – 1953
This used the regulation prior to the war of voiturette engines, with engines of 4.5 L atmospheric and 1.5 L supercharged. The Indianapolis 500 (which was a citation in the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship from 1950 onwards) used prewar regulations, with 4.5 L and 3.0 L supercharged atmospheric engines. The power range reached up to 425 hp (317 kW), although the Type 15 BRM of 1953 supposedly reached 600 hp (447 kW) with a supercharged 1.5 L engine.
In 1952 and 1953, the World Drivers Championship was governed by the rules of Formula 2, but the existing Formula 1 regulations remained in force and several Formula 1 races were held in those years.
1954 – 1960
The size of the engine was reduced to 2.5 L for the cars with atmospheric suction, and for the supercharged it was reduced to 750 cc, but no builder made an engine with this last specification for the World Championship. The Indianapolis 500 continued to use the old prewar regulations. The power range reached up to 290 HP (216 kW).