Why Putting F1 Engines In A Road Car Is Pointless

We are getting closer and closer to the Mercedes-AMG Project One unveiling and that is probably the most hyped car in 2016 and 2017 because, well, it came from the same manufacturer who makes the most ridiculously OP F1 car since 2014 and yes, this road-legal hypercar is going to be powered by the very engine that powered the W07 F1 car.

It’s a brilliant and crazy idea, I know. However, my inner sensible mind is well bugged with some factors and keeping in mind that this is a road car which will probably be bought by people who will never drive it at all. So, why is it pointless?

1. Reliability

Well, in a road car, no matter how crazy it is, reliability is a mega factor that could determine the car’s image. Let’s take the Maserati Bi-Turbo as an example. It is a revolutionary car being the first road-legal production car to be fitted with not one, but two turbochargers. The car was a hype and a half and during the early years, scored 40,000 models sold in the first couple of years.

However, as time goes by, the Bi-Turbo’s success was diving down. And we might know the answer. The car was a new revolution, no one has ever placed two turbochargers in a powering unit designed for mass-produced road cars and, well, the result was the car started to fall apart.

And F1 engines, well, most of them were made to last about a month.

Let’s remind ourselves how unreliable F1 cars can be with this one picture that sums up the word “unreliable”…

No introductions needed for this reliability monstrosity

2. Need Replacements?



Sticking with the reliability theme.

Now, imagine yourself driving around, minding your own business, when suddenly your car just did a Hamilton of Malaysia 2016. Smoke was blowing out of your airbox and you lose power and pulled over to the side of the road.

Of course, you would call the AA, and wait. Once that yellow van arrives, the most likely thing that happens next is the mechanic crapping himself because he doesn’t know how to work on a Formula 1 engine.

Well, then they took it to their nearest workshop and finding out that they do not have the parts, knowledge or experience for working on that F1 engine.

So, you brought it to the nearest Mercedes shop and then finding out that you need a six-figure engine rebuild.

This is the biggest problem, it is just going to be a money pit once the engine starts to give up which, probably wouldn’t be a long time. These F1 engines are made by people with 15 cm thick glasses and pharmacists suits in a top-secret room with the finest engine dynamometer, computers, robots, simulators, and the best-quality engine parts. And obviously, especially the very latter, they cost a lottery. Or two. Or maybe even three. Make that four.

3. There Are Better Road Engines



Well, it’s a reality. There are better road-designed engines that can take a bit less (or sometimes even the same) power as F1 engines. Take for example the Hellcat HEMI V8 which makes 707 hp when it rolled out of the assembly line, Nissan’s VR38 V6 which can also take up to four-figure horsepower, and then put GM’s LS and LT V8 lineup in there too. Heck, even the AMG V8s and V12s can be tuned to irresponsible levels without killing itself.

There is no real reason why would you spend eight-figure numbers to make an engine that’s comparable to an engine that costs $6,000 to buy on Plum Floored.

And let’s just mention the torque that F1 engines have, even the monstrous V10 generation. Those things make not even close to 400 lb-ft @15,000 rpm (source: F1technical). That’s not really ideal for road use, isn’t it? Imagine yourself having to rev to 15,000 rpm just to get going on a stop sign, it’s preposterous.

4. It has to be de-tuned



A car must be approved to be used on a road before it can be used to be driven on the road, and to get those said approvals, you must comply with some government regulated approval tests like emissions, noise, and many more things that I don’t really understand why they needed to be tested.

The car and the engine has, and I mean has, to be modified to make it approved. And doing so makes the engine, well, back to normal.

Take the Ferrari F50, for example. The car was created from a simple concept: a lightweight road-legal spec chassis, mated to a Ferrari 641 V12. The concept should result in a car that is loved by many, as loved as the Ferrari F40. However, said V12 had to be extensively modified to make it legal. It’s so extensively modified to a point where the engine doesn’t scream “Formula 1!!!” except for the spine-shaking vibrations you get while driving.

The government rules don’t really have loopholes like FIA rules, you can’t really cheat them without getting caught eventually (I’m looking at a certain German car manufacturer). The F1 engine is just going to be like a normal engine, it’s just going to end up to be not worth it.


At the end of the day, you will end up with a mediocre tuner-spec power with an over-the-top price tag. Cos well, you know, it’s Mercedes.

Nonetheless, we hope you enjoyed Adhitya’s (who will now become a less active contributor, hence the change on the tag) article!

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Written by Adhitya Nugroho

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