Mercedes has revealed that its dominant power unit is now capable of delivering over 900bhp, with engine boss Andy Cowell confident there should be more to come in 2016.
Mercedes has been the clear benchmark in the latest turbo era, as the constructor’s all-conquering unit has propelled its works outfit to four world titles, 32 race wins and 36 pole positions since 2014.
Speaking to the press during a media event held on Friday at Mercedes’ power unit department in Brixworth, Cowell gave further details on the team’s latest developments.
“It's the most powerful Formula One engine [we've made] with over 900bhp,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN. “It's pretty good going from this little nimble 1.6-litre engine, but that power has been created because the efficiency has changed.”
With technical regulations imposing restrictions on fuel capacity and fuel flow, energy efficiency has become a cardinal performance factor while seamless power unit integration with the chassis also gives the edge to Mercedes and Ferrari’s (and perhaps soon Renault’s) factory teams.
The world champions explain that their power unit already achieved more than 45 per cent thermal efficiency last year, and hints that it could deliver even better results in the near future.
“Thermal efficiency is going up from where we were in 2014, with a good step up for 2015," Cowell added. “Perhaps it is going to go up in 2016 and it's definitely going to go up in the future because nobody has said we have reached the limit here. When I walk around the factory I never hear people say that it's the best we can do or is optimum.”
Having already steamrolled the field in the inaugural 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged season, Mercedes came back even stronger in 2015. Cowell’s explanations will thus sound as ominous warnings to rivals that are hoping to make some inroads into the word champions’ advantage this year.
“Does it get harder to find big gains? Yes it does, but there are lots of areas where small gains will come. It's a little bit like gold mining when you work bloody hard to get lots of dust and every now and again you get a nice big nugget that makes you smile. We still find those nuggets.
“We have made some huge gains in the last years as we have done the development and we have made good gains with the last two years of racing. I don't see that stopping and I don't think anybody here thinks we have reached the limit.”