Speed of Formula 1

 First Formula One engine to reach


First Formula One engine to reach 20,000 rpm on track was Cosworth CA in 2006. From 1906 through to 2006, Grand Prix engine speeds rose ever higher, from less than 2000 rpm to ultimately a mind-boggling 20,000 rpm. Then the rule-maker abruptly halted the march of progress with a 19,000 rpm rev limit for 2007, subsequently reduced to the current 18,000. It is generally agreed that no rival surpassed it as the benchmark before rev limiting was imposed.

The most powerful engines in the world are the ones with the biggest budgets and, equally predictably, they are in Formula 1. Developing well over 300bhp per litre and boasting a volumetric efficiency of 125 per cent at 20,000rpm they produce more power for their capacity than any other normally aspirated, four-stroke engines anywhere.

Revving to 18,000 RPM, a modern Formula One engine will consume a phenomenal 450 liters of air every second, with race fuel consumption typically around the 65 l/100 Km. Revving at such massive speeds equates to an accelerative force on the pistons of nearly 9000 times gravity (9000 G).


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