Home ENGINEERING How 1.6 Liter F1 Engines Make 1,000hp

How 1.6 Liter F1 Engines Make 1,000hp


The power units in Formula 1 are capable of producing 1,000 horsepower! That’s all thanks to a 1.6L 90º V6 engine paired with two electric motors, an MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic) and an MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit – Heat).

source/image: Engineering Explained

How does such a tiny engine make so much power? The key comes down to efficiency, turbocharging, high RPM limits, and electric assist.That MGU-K adds about 160 horsepower to the engine, which is one of the ways such a small V6 can make such big power. But even with the MGU-K, the piston engine is still responsible for around 840 horsepower on its own.

To achieve the necessary power and efficiency, F1 engines achieve a peak thermal efficiency above 50 percent, significantly higher than a modern passenger car’s 35 percent thermal efficiency.


This video will explore the layout of current Formula 1 power units, how the rules ultimately limit power through fuel flow caps, how these engines are capable of achieving extraordinary efficiencies (for combustion engines), and how much boost the turbochargers are making.