6 Turbo F1 cars are back and faster than ever

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The "second coming" of turbo-charged F1 engines is in its 3rd year, and F1 fans are already comfortable with the muted V6 growl in place of 18 000+ rpm scream of the more exotic 12, 10 or 8 cylinder engines.

FIA goal of making Formula 1 "green" has been accomplished. While "downsizing" is never a glamorous task, reducing speed of racing cars (in name of safety) is even less glamorous.

Formula 1 has received tighter technical regulations year after year, and the 1.6 liter hybrid powertrain couldn't and didn't reverse the effects of this trend overnight.

Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid

The pre-2014 2.4 liter V8 engines were, perhaps, the most gutless and pathetic F1 engines in recent history, and, leaving the sound aspect aside, migration to turbo and hybrid power, however small the displacement, was not going to hurt.

In 2016, after two seasons of turbo-hybrid power, we were delighted with a new track record in the opening Grand Prix of Australia at the Albert Park.

1:23.84 in qualifying by Lewis Hamilton not only granted a comfortable pole position, but also beat previous track record by 0.285 seconds. And this "previous record" was no ordinary record - it was set by none other than Michael Schumacher in a 19000 rpm V10 Ferrari, with big fat tyres and a wide rear wing.

Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari F2004

It is remarkable how modern technology, against all the suffocating regulations, can squeeze enough performance to, not only match the 3 liter, rpm-unlimited 2004 cars, but actually improve lap times.

With plans of relaxing regulations for 2017 season, expect every single track record (for tracks in 2017 Formula 1 calendar) to be held by 2017 cars by the end of the 2017 season.

The sound records, however, will hold...


5y ago by FastestLaps
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BR2+  5y ago

When are the 4 cylinders comin?...

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saxy  5y ago

Qualifying used to be slower for 1. you only could set 1 lap, so don't screw up. and 2. there was no refueling in qualifying, and you'd have to start the race on how much fuel you had. Then you could refuel later in the race. And because tires were not crap like now, race pace was easily faster than qualifying pace.

Now it's quite the opposite, brand new tires on minimum fuel. Go out 2x if needed to get to next round or go for pole. If the 2004 cars could qualify in this format, they'd be another 2 seconds faster.

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FastestLaps  5y ago

Readers are more knowledgeable about the subject I am writing about - what else is new? :D

It is interesting, however, that Schumacher set a slower lap in 2004 qualifying than in the actual race.

In my view, there is no reason why qualifying times should be discounted as "not worthy" for track records.

As far as simple vs complicated F1 - I want fast F1 first and foremost. Even if it means introducing ugly safety devices such as "halo" head protection.

If we get 3 seconds faster cars, added ugliness is a fair price to pay.

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phavyarden  5y ago

The record made by Schumacher was made during the race,not Qualy(less fuel, and the best possible tires). Vettel on 2011 made a 23,5 on Qualy. Also, we have to consider that in those times, V10 engines were dealing with grooved tires.
Turbo cars are finally working, and i'm glad to see a little bit more of competition at F1. But the sound of the cars is unforgivable. Not even close to the worst sounding F1 before this one's. The complex rules of nowadays are killin' the sport, and drivers has to be aware of not pushing too hard cause of the fuel, the recovery system, the electronic brakes, etc, etc. I would definetly rather to see a more simple F1. The drivers know this, and they are actualy tired of not being considered.
By the way, i just read that Bernie is ready to Sell F1 for 8,5 Billion :p

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QA51M  5y ago

i cant comment on it either and the actual article is incorrect, i posted this on the mercedes f1 page, Interesting piece but in F1 for a Lap Record to stand it must be posted during the race, not in practice or qualifying. In 2011 sebastian vettel in his V8 powered RB7 posted a laptime of 1:23.529 (faster than hamiltons 2016 pole)

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saxy  5y ago

hmm... the F1 article posted, I can't comment on it =X