We have wondered at the speed and power of Formula One cars since the inception of the sport in 1950. Every year, the cars become more sophisticated, allowing drivers to travel at greater speeds, while possessing great control over the vehicle.
The teams involved in the sport are the leaders in the car industry. Mercedes have dominated Formula One for last five years as Lewis Hamilton has won the Drivers’ Championship four out of the last five years. Hamilton is well on his way to another title according to the F1 betting odds, continuing the German outfit’s imperious hold over the sport.
Although they’ve had success on the track with their engines and dynamic vehicles over the last vehicles, Mercedes’ plans to bring their plans to regular road users have become an issue for the company. Mercedes have tried to bring the excitement of the track to regular customers for their hypercar model called Project One. The German company have attempted to put their 1.6-litre turbo V-6 engine used by Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on race day into their Mercedes-AMG style cars.
There are a number of challenges to performing the feat due to the stark differences required for a street car compared to a Formula One vehicle, primarily safety for the customer and other road users. There’s a reason why it’s so hard to race Formula One vehicles; mastering the engine takes a great deal of skill. It’s tough to start as warm oil is required to move through it before it fires up. Everyone has revved their engine at traffic lights, but imagine doing it with the power of a Formula One engine under the bonnet. It would not be a good idea.
Formula One cars are aerodynamically designed to be lightweight to allow for greater speed on straights and corners. Street cars have to carry more even if there are only two seats in the vehicle. Engines used by Hamilton and company don’t generate low-end torque, which is fine for a light car.
However, with weight behind it, Mercedes have discovered their Project One vehicle cannot operate at the same RPM as their Mercedes AMG F1 range. As a result, it they have dropped the RPM from 15,000 to 11,000; therefore, you’re already losing a lot of the characteristics of the F1 vehicle.
Mercedes are not the first company to attempt to move an F1 engine into their street cars. Ferrari put their 513hp 4.7-litre V12 engine in their street car the Ferrari F50, although only 349 models were created from 1995 to 1997. In 2018, Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing combined with F1 designer Adrian Newey and announced plans to create the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro. It will boast a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine to produce over 1,100hp, while there are even plans to enable a KERS system like drivers on the track use for an additional surge of speed.
The two companies are in a battle to complete their cars first, but the challenges are great and even producing one car that is capable of working on the road with an F1 engine could be too much of a test. For the foreseeable future, F1 engines may have to remain on race circuits rather than the road.