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Engine cover on the Alpine A523
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Special feature

The forgotten aspect of improving F1 engine efficiency 

Reducing heat and friction losses when running an engine is crucial in maximising power, as PAT SYMONDS explains.

It is well known that in order to get power from an engine, one needs to get a lot of air into it and use that air to combust the fuel as well as you can. What’s often less appreciated is that power can be significantly increased if you minimise the many losses involved in running the engine. So let’s examine this, the second side of the equation.

A kilogram of fuel contains around 43 Megajoules of chemical energy and, when we boast that an F1 engine is over 50% efficient, it’s the same as saying that somewhere around 21 MJ of that energy is going to waste. So where does it go and what can we do about it?

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