Why Putting a Modern F1 Engine In a Road Car Is So Difficult

Mercedes-AMG has a huge challenge on its hands turning its Formula 1 1.6-liter V-6 into a viable road-car engine.

Weltpremiere Showcar Mercedes-AMG Project ONE: Mercedes-AMG bringt Formel 1-Technologie für die Straße
   World première of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE show car: Mercedes-AMG brings Formula 1 technology to the road
Mercedes-Benz

For its One hypercar, Mercedes-AMG is adapting the 1.6-liter turbo V-6 used in its dominant Formula 1 cars for road use. It's something no one else has tried this century, and there's a good reason why—it's extremely difficult.

Drivetribe's Mike Fernie explains that while, yes, the engine in a F1 car and a typical road car share a basic operating principle and the same sorts of components, the similarities pretty much end there. Fernie's video does a very good job of explaining just how different an F1 engine is than that of a road car.

An F1 engine is difficult to start. The tolerances are so tight, its pistons can't actually move up and down without the aid of warm oil. So, you need to plumb warmed oil through the engine for a few hours before it can be fired. It's easy to see how this would be an issue in a road car—you can't just fire it up on a whim and go.

The high-revving nature of an F1 engine creates a lot of problems, too. They don't generate much l0w-end torque, which isn't a problem in an ultra-light F1 car, but means they'd be significantly overburdened dealing with the extra weight you'd have with a street car. It's why Mercedes-AMG reduced its F1 engine's 15,000-rpm redline to (a still stratospheric) 11,000 rpm for the One hypercar.

There are a number of other issues Fernie discusses in this video, which is well worth watching in full. It's a great insight into the challenges Mercedes-AMG engineers must facing in adapting the turbo V-6 into a viable road-car engine.

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