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The Formula One Car Engine – Part 1

The heart of any car is its engine. An engine directly determines how powerful the car will be. Today we will discuss the various components and principles of a generic car engine and the type of engines that the F1 cars use.

An engine of any car is composed of the main body, a piston, a connecting rod, a crankshaft, a crank and some other specific components depending on whether it is petrol engines or a diesel engines. Petrol engines have a spark plug whereas diesel engines possess a fuel injector.

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Let us understand some basics before we move on to the engines of F1 cars.

#1.A Piston:

A piston is a component that moves back and forth inside the body of an engine. It is responsible for the compression and expansion of the fuel mixture.

#2. Crankshaft:

This is the component whose circular motion gives a linear motion to the piston and vice versa.

#3. Spark Plug:

In the case of a petrol engine, this spark plug is responsible to ignite the air-fuel mixture.

#4. Fuel injector:

This component is used in a diesel engine to spray droplets of the fuel into compressed engine air. This component is very expensive.

Timing belts and cams are used to synchronise all the engine activities. The engines which are generally used in cars are called as 4-stroke engines.

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All the F1 car engines are four-stroke engines. The engine is called so because the working essentially happens in four strokes which are as follows:

  1. Suction Stroke: In this stroke the suction of air-fuel mixture takes place. The piston moves down the engine cylinder and sucks in the air or air-fuel mixture.
  2. Compression Stroke: The piston moves up the cylinder, compressing the air or air-fuel mixture. The displacement volume of the piston is in cubic centimetres (cc) and when we say a particular engine is 1500 cc it refers to this volume. For F1 cars, the volume of the engines is 1600cc. In terms of litres, we can say that it’s 1.6 litres.
  3. Power Stroke: When the spark plug ignites a spark, the mixture burns instantaneously, releasing huge amounts of energy and pushing the piston down rapidly. That consists of the power stroke for the engine. This provides power to the car which is called as the Brake Horse Power (bhp). The bhp of a typical F1 car engine is between 700-1000.
  4. Exhaust Stroke: The power stroke produces a large amount of gases. They need to be released before the next suction stroke begins. This is done through an exhaust stroke wherein the piston moved upwards and releases all the gaseous matter.

These types are used in all cars. F1 engines have certain modifications like it’s the shape and an aspect called as turbocharging. Also, the aerodynamics of the car is what contributes to its great speed and decreases the resistance by air.

These aspects will be discussed soon. Until then, stay tuned!

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