Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, using the most technologically advanced engines on the planet. The hybrid F1 power units are specially designed to provide an enormous power output along with high levels of efficiency. The current technical regulations mandated the teams to use a 1.6L V6 engine with a turbocharger and hybrid ancillaries, capable of producing a maximum RPM of 15000. The engine formula used currently was introduced back in 2014. Although it has progressed over the course of the season, achieving more efficiency and unbelievable power production. The current regulations will remain in place until 2025, with the new regulations and a more evolved engine set to be introduced in 2026.
Only four major outfits manufacture F1 engines and supply them to teams who need them. Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda, and Renault are the major F1 engine manufacturers currently. Despite the maximum output of around 15000 RPM, the super efficient engine is still capable of using only 130 litres of fuel for a usual Grand Prix run of 300 kilometers, where the cars could go as fast up to 380km/hr and a 0-100 km/h speed in 2.6 seconds. So, let’s take a look at the engine regulation by the FIA, which the F1 teams have to abide by responsibly to avoid undue penalties or repercussions.
F1 Power Unit Component Usage Regulations
The racing teams in Formula 1 are not allowed to use new components in their car anytime they want. The FIA provides a regulated number of components that can be used without a penalty. However, the team faces a penalty when they use extra components more than the allowed limit. A particular driver can use three internal combustion engines, three turbochargers, two Energy stores, three Motor Generators Units (Heat & Kinetic each), and two Control Electronics. Thus, every F1 car has a designated limit of component usage, which remains constant even when a driver is switched.
If a new driver is introduced during the season, they will inherit the component figures of their predecessor. The teams have the liberty to use as many components as they like. However, a grid penalty is provided to teams when the allowed limit of components is breached. A driver receives a 10-grid place penalty when he used a new component outside the allowance for the first time in a season. Then, each new component change results in a subsequent five-place penalty.
F1 Engine Freeze Regulations
The engine regulations were changed in the 2022 season to introduce a more sustainable E10 fuel. It contains 10% sustainable ethanol mixed with 90% fossil fuel. At the same time, the FIA introduced the engine freeze this year. The manufacturers are required to submit their power unit design at the start of the season. Moreover, no further performance-related engine developments are allowed for the course of the season. The manufacturers have the liberty to make the engine more reliable and bring in safety upgrades. However, the FIA has put strict consequences in place if the teams pretend to introduce changes without reliability issues.
Not just that, the manufacturers need to submit a request to the FIA’s technical department to make architectural changes to the engine. The producers need to explain the reason behind the changes with a proof of concept to get approval from the governing body. The FIA discloses the changes by handing out the request and documentation to other manufacturers. If the other manufacturers comply with the justified request with a logical proof of concept, the FIA approves the request. However, teams can only make minor tweaks to the designs.