_Well, Before I start the Topic, I have to define few terms for better understanding. I am sure many of you would know what is a supercharged engine and what is a naturallly aspirated engine. For those who don't,
A Naturally Aspirated Engine can be defined as the engine where the admission of air or fuel air mixture occur at near atmospheric pressure While a Supercharged Engines can be defined as the engines where the admission of air or fuel air mixture occur under pressure i.e above atmospheric pressure.
Evolution of an F1 Engine is an interesting topic as the study of the same would help us enrich the knowledge on how the mankind wasted the natural resources and how he is trying to protect the same. This topic can be quite interesting and fascinating while for others,this would be a most boring topic.
_ Lets start off with some nice facts, The modern engine weighs upto 95Kg and can rev upto 18000 RPM which equates to an accelerative force on the pistons of nearly 8000 times the gravity. Ignitions over the course of the race are close to 8 Million. The engine consumes upto 450 litres of air every second
Nino Farina, The man who won the first F1 World Championship in a Alfa Romeo build car had a supercharged engine with a capacity of 1.5L. The next year saw Fangio win the championship with a similar but improved machine which produced astonishing power at an expensive price of burning 125 to 175 litres of Fuel per 100 Km. This was only the start, Elsewhere there were engines that was used for racing which had a capacity of 4.0L and burnt similar loads of fuel, There were no major restrictions on the number of engines that was to be used unlike the modern times where only 8 engines are allowed per season.
The second stage of the engine development took place around the year 1954 when the engine capacity were reduced to 2.5 litres, While supercharged engines were still allowed but no major constructor were interested in the same. The power range in these cars were around 300 bhp. This was again the era of mankind burning some nice precious resources., The major change to the engine rules came during the 1961 era when the mid engine cars beginning to take the track and the capacity fell back to 1.5 litres. They produced around 150bhp but the development didn't stop there as around five years later there was a cry from the manufacturers to go for bigger engines and the FIA increased the capacity of the engines as they were operating around the 3.0L mark or there was an option for 1.5L supercharged engine as well. This was the time when the cosworth DFV which was especially made for racing made its mark. The DFV stands for Double Four valve and went on to become the successful engine make claiming 155 wins from the 262 races it competed in. 12 World championships were won using this engine and it was built on a three litre V8 that produced close to 530bhp. This is the same stage where the Renault introduced its turbo charged engine in 1977. Turbo Charged engine ruled the sport few years down the line and this was the time when the sport was trying to find more horsepower from the engines. The engine mapping was significantly different from qualifying and race as few extra horsepowers added for qualifying to give their drivers a chance for pole.
_The years 1987 and 1988 were the transitional years as the turbocharged engines were reduced to 1.5 litres while the bigger naturally aspirated 3.5 litres were also allowed. Except for Ford, None of the manufacturers opted for naturally aspirated engines and the trend continued as the turbo charged engines which were operated under limited pressure of upto 4 bar. The turbocharged engines produced around 900 bhp during these times. The Year 1989 saw the complete ban of turbocharged engines, while naturally aspirated engines were operating at 3.5L at close to 13000 RPM producing 675 bhp. There were no engine freeze at these times for that matter until 2007 when there was an introduction of engine freeze, So different manufacturers tuned engines differently. The following years the manufacturers tried to increase the power output and by the end of 1994, Ferrari produced the best engine with 820 bhp.
The saga continued post the year 1994 when the capacity had been reduced to 3.0L and for the next few years saw Renault producing a golden run with Williams as their engine prodcued good power and good relaiblity while the Mercedes was also never short of power, The other big manufacturer in this stage, The Ferrari struggled with reliability but upon moving to V10's from the V12's they found their much needed reliability. BMW entered the partnership with Williams during the year 2000 and it was short of both power and reliablity but they were soon the first to break the 19000 RPM mark and very soon they were the powerful engines on the grid. 2005 saw a major change as the engines were now forced to be used for two consecutive weekends in a bid to control the Team's resources.
By the end of 2005, It was decided that 2.4 Litre V8's were the way to go but struggling Teams Torro Rosso was exempted and they continued to use the V10 with a rev limiter. The Year 2006 also saw the FIA directing Teams to use certain materials for the engine and they ban certain material for use of certain parts mainly to keep the cost down. The Year 2007 saw the complete freeze in Engine development and the 2009 saw the rev limit going down to 18000 RPM and towards the end of the year there was a talk of re-equalization of the engine and most manufacturers increased the power output while the talk and directive was to increase the reliablity of the engine.
The Year 2014 will see major rule changes as the FIA has ruled out the 2.4 V8's in favor of the 1.6 Litre turbocharged V6 engine with a rev limit of 15000 RPM. This was in a bid to make F1 more environmental friendly. Finally we can say the madness has ended. To be more Diplomatic, We can say FIA has found an point of being more environmental friendly. The point will never be the engines as there are many places where the natural resources are wasted but the absolute point being the pinnacle of motorsport being uncontrolled or we can see that no one saw the need to control the use of engines. For sure, F1 is about speed but the laptimes actually improved even when the engine development were put in place. This sudden development of moving to turbo charged engines might confuse many as people will try to figure if this is the best way forward.
We have to think if the control was gradual we wouldn't have seen so many manufacturers leave F1. The Cost was rising, The economic recession was to blame, The natural resources were eaten up blindly. But to end on a positive note, We can say FIA has found the perfect solution for the engines and this can be the best solution at this point of time. As they say it is better late the never.
The Question obviously remains.
Will F1 be the same again?