Editor: Vincent Chang and Jasleen Matharu
Art: Cici Zhang
Formula One (F1) is the highest class of automobile racing in the world. It involves drivers competing in tracks known as the Grand Prix to win the driver and constructor championships. Teams often spend years developing the most efficient power unit possible, depending on whether the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), the governing body of F1, would introduce any rule changes specific to the power engine units. Although all teams follow the general structure of the F1 car, what differentiates these cars besides some features and color designs is their power engine units. This factor often goes unnoticed when people question why some cars are faster than others. But before we can understand the differences in the power engine unit, we need to understand what a power engine unit is and how it works.
To start, a regular car engine works by intaking fuel and air through the intake ports and into the cylinder. Then, it compresses the two, and a spark ignites it, creating combustion. The combustion pushes the piston down, and the exhaust leaves. This cycle occurs continuously for a car to work. When comparing a regular car's power engine to the power engine units in F1 cars, the main difference is that F1 cars perform faster, requiring more components and advanced mechanical engineering.
Additionally, in F1, the FIA introduced some rule changes towards the power engine units and what new components can be created to level the competition due to the different approaches from constructors.
Although there are currently ten teams in F1, only four teams manufacture their engines and sell them to the other teams. These teams are Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, and Honda. The hybrid components part of the overall hybrid systems that were introduced in 2014 are turbocharge, Energy Recovery System (ERS), MGU-H and MGU-K, Energy Store (ES), and Control Electronics (CE). Additionally, the power units are made of an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), which is technically the car's beating heart and where the 2.4 liters V6 part comes from. In this era of F1, the cars are powered by a 2.4 liter V6 with turbocharged hybrid-electric systems.
To conclude, all components play essential roles in ensuring the car is as fast as possible, and these components are the result of multiple breakthroughs made in the automobile industry. It is evident on the race tracks that these constructors push boundaries each year to see the limits of engineering.
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Four Stroke Cycle Engines,
“Internal Combustion Engine Basics.” Energy.gov,