Mercedes F1 Engine Achieves 50% Thermal Efficiency

Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team is enjoying a successful season in 2017. Much of that is due to driver and crew proficiency, but a great deal is also due to Mercedes engineering proficiency. Their current F1 engine achieves over 50 percent thermal efficiency, a major performance milestone for IC engine technology.

Owen Jones, director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains elaborates on some of the less proprietary secrets of their thermal efficiency triumph.

Thermal efficiency is the potential energy contained within the fuel whether it be gasoline, diesel or whatever. Jones explains that the 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 (yes, that’s about 97ci, thank you) now extracts more than half of the available energy in the race fuel to perform useful work. A typical engine is not much more than 30% efficient so the improvement is substantial. According to Jones, Mercedes concentrated heavily on fundamental thermal dynamic principles, gas exchange processes and combustion efficiency to evolve such a highly efficient machine. They also concentrated on waste losses through low friction. Special new lubricants reduce waste and friction, and the exhaust waste heat is converted to electric power. It utilizes two two motor-generators; one helps drive the rear wheels while the other helps instantaneous spooling of the turbocharger. And just for fun, this advanced powertrain is also being groomed for use in the advanced new road car, the Mercedes-AMG Project One which should prove to be quite the formidable combination. Check out the videos.