Latest Mercedes F1 Engine Hits 50% Thermal Efficiency

Mercedes-AMG has managed to refine its Formula One engine to the point where it achieves thermal efficiency of over 50 per cent during dyno testing.

The company’s engine has been competing in F1 since 2014 and like all others in the field, is a 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged unit. It has proven to be the most powerful and most reliable in the sport and is now the most efficient of them all.

The thermal efficiency of an internal combustion engine is determined by calculating how much energy the engine can extract from fuel. Typically, ICEs only turn about 20 per cent of petrol’s energy into useable power. Some diesels can exceed over 40 per cent.

Put even more simply, the new Mercedes engine now produces more power than waste energy.

It is important to note that Mercedes achieved its thermal efficiency figure on an engine dyno, not on a racetrack or the road. Nevertheless, it is a serious achievement in the history of the internal combustion engine.


  • klowik

    Why can’t Merc tune it down and put that into their general purpose vehicles?

    • Six_Tymes

      Why do you assume they cant and wont?

    • LWOAP

      Too much of a hassle. It’s better off in the Project One.

    • Kagan

      They are in mean time.

    • Magnus T

      not any money in the cure, just a lot of work.

    • McRiding

      Andy Cowell (Mercedes’ F1 engine chief) gave his perspective on putting F1 tech into general purpose vehicles to ESPN last year on this…interesting read

  • Six_Tymes

    pretty amazing


    Now go to 70%. 🙂

    • Ermal Morina

      50% is like mindblowing,but I honestly don’t think we can go to 70%

      • europeon

        Shhhhh! The IFLScience crowd doesn’t really knows that physics has limits.

  • SteersUright

    And in the meanwhile, Cadillac and GM have achieved…
    Everytime I see more amazing news coming from the German car makers I have to wonder, what the hell is going on with the American auto makers? Where is their innovation, F1 cars or at least F1 engines, etc? They argue “perception” while the market shouts back, “inferior products trying to disguise themselves as equals”.
    Amazing news and who knows, maybe combustion engines still have life in them yet!

    • LWOAP

      F1 isn’t popular here, we have NASCAR.

    • casho2015

      Don’t be so harsh. Remember after the oil crisis they had 7 litre V8’s pushing out a whopping 150HP 😛

      • SteersUright


    • europeon

      Apples to oranges. The F1 technology barely trickles down to the street cars. It’s basically a d**k measuring contest with no other purpose.

      • SteersUright

        mmmhmmm… Yes, there is no value to challenging your engineers to eck out 50%+ thermal efficiency from an IC motor. Nothing of value to be learned there. No value in letting your teams play with cutting edge software, exotic materials on the brink of the lightness/strength balance, and building a sense of camaraderie around such programs? Yes, traction control, tire technology, carbon parts, steel disc brakes, metal alloys, wind tunnel testing,multi-link suspension, kinetic energy recovery, advanced fuels,active suspension, ABS for cars, semi-auto transmissions, etc. etc… all just “d**k measuring” as you put it. Do you work at Cadillac by some odd chance?
        (yes I edited it. You got me curious and I found even more cool stuff that trickled down from racing and F1).

        • europeon

          To be clear, racing =/= F1.
          If we strictly speak about F1, very few technologies ended up in every day cars, because the F1 advancements are almost entirely based on materials and tech so expensive, it will most likely never be used on regular cars. So yeah, take F1 for what it is, a circus. Nothing more.

          • SteersUright

            Completely wrong. F1 is the pinnacle of auto-tech, along with perhaps prototype racing series. There is much to be learned from pushing men and materials to their absolute limits.

          • europeon

            And again… Not for the street.

          • SteersUright

            C’mon now. Really? lol. Carbon fiber, disc brakes, high strength steel and alloys, improved tire tech, multi-link suspension, fuels with advanced detergents and properties, automated manual transmissions, ABS..and much more.. Those technologies didn’t end up affecting our street cars?

          • europeon

            No. Nothing you listed comes from racing, and especially not from F1.
            CF comes from aerospace (and to be fair is rarely used on street cars, except fro trim pieces), same goes with alloys and special steels, racing tire tech and research couldn’t be farther away from the street tires, “advanced” suspension designs and disc brakes are things that were researched and invented back in the 1800s, ABS comes from airplanes, and so on.

          • SteersUright

            Actually, EVERYTHING I listed was take from several articles after a quick good search. Did you actually look up anything? Just curious, not being facetious. Pushing the boundaries in any segment surely teaches us new lessons, that simply can’t be argued against. F1 cars are still cars, just operating at the limits of speed and stress.

          • europeon

            Yes I did (actually it’s stuff that I know for years because I take an interest in automotive industry in general), and you are VERY wrong. Do your research better.


            As I said, F1 is just a circus and a waste of money.

  • Kagan

    20 40 is to foul people. 30 40 is more accurate.

  • Vassilis

    And then they say the ICE is dead. It’ll take some time but this tech will come down to everyday production cars.

  • McRiding

    How is this true at 50% efficiency?

    “Put even more simply, the new Mercedes engine now produces more power than waste energy.”

    • SteersUright

      He’s indicating its slightly greater than 50% actually.

  • Ameer Hassan Tajaldeen

    ferrari probably be saying our engines are 60% efficient but we cant show you because you people always stealing our tech

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