Under the Bonnet of Formula 1

Recent Changes to Grand Prix F1 Cars

What makes a Formula One car one of the fastest and most exciting vehicles in the world? We wanted to go take a look under the bonnet and find out exactly how it works.

Formula 1 cars on the track

In 2014, technical regulations changed in order to make the cars safer and more fuel efficient.

Fuel efficient

To make them more fuel efficient the amount of fuel used in a race has been restricted so that each car has 30% less in the tank, with each car carrying 140 litres.

In comparison, a Ford Mondeo will fit around 45 litres with a full tank – that’s a third of an F1 car. Imagine how expensive that is to fill up!

A V8 engine formula 1 car

In addition, the engines in Formula One have undergone a revolutionary shift. For those who love motors the tech speak is that its gone from 2.4l V8 with standard fuel injection to a turbo-charged 1.6l V6 with direct fuel injection.

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All cars now have a rev limit of 15,000 rpm plus the turbo. A turbo spins at 100,000rpm and creates a noise that’s loved by drivers and spectators the world over. In contrast, if you’re doing 70mph in a standard car you’re unlikely to be doing more than 3,500rpm.

A Ferrari V8 engine

Just to give you an idea of how quick these fuel efficiency changes make the Formula One car, it can easily complete the following speeds:

Speed F1 Car Family Car
0 - 100kph/62mph 1.7 secs 12.9 secs
0 - 200kph/124mph 3.8 secs -
0 - 300kph/186mph 8.6 secs -

Formula One cars now also come with an enhanced version of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) with two motor generator units.

One unit is powered by the flow of hot exhaust gasses, while the other one still uses brake energy from the rear wheels to charge a reservoir of power.

The aerodynamics of an F1 car


To improve the speed and safety of the Formula 1 car the aerodynamics are vastly different than they have been previously. Changes are:

• Lower nose
• The rear wing’s main flap has been made flatter
• The main flap can also open up further when the driver activates DRS

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The good news is that the more they’re used in Formula One, the cheaper the equipment becomes which means it could make its way onto mass produced road and family cars within the next decade.

Racing cars from F1

With all of these changes within recent years, Formula One cars should be safer and more economical, but the question now becomes: what will change next?

More changes are on their way for the upcoming season and they are set to shake things up a little. Do you have some predictions on changes that will be implemented?

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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and iStock.

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