Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Carbon fibre engine cover
Autosport Plus
Special feature

Why carbon fibre engines haven’t broken into F1

It has yet to happen but, as PAT SYMONDS explains, the idea of carbon fibre or composites being used in Formula 1 engines goes back over 40 years

The first documented use of carbon fibre in motorsport was when some filaments gathered together as a light tow or string were used to reinforce the bodywork of the Ford GT40s that raced at Le Mans. The strands were laminated onto the glass fibre bodywork in a large criss-cross pattern which was very sparse since the cost of the fibres was $1,000 per kilogram. That equates to nearly $9,000 per kilogram in today’s money.

At the time it was an exotic material and, while it promised much, the costs kept usage limited. Today a general-purpose fibre such as T800 is under $30 a kilogram, cheap fibres half that and high-performance materials such as T1100 only around $100 a kilogram. Properties have improved no end with those early fibres having a tensile strength of around 2.5 Gigapascals (GPa) while the soon-to-be-available T1200 will reach 8GPa.

Previous article Albon: Williams F1 progress key to long-term future
Next article Horner to face Red Bull hearing on Friday

More from GP Racing

The factors that explain F1’s uniquely conservative driver choices for 2024

The factors that explain F1’s uniquely conservative driver choices for 2024

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

The factors that explain F1’s uniquely conservative driver choices for 2024 The factors that explain F1’s uniquely conservative driver choices for 2024

Who will lead the Mercedes F1 resurgence in 2024?

Who will lead the Mercedes F1 resurgence in 2024?

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

Who will lead the Mercedes F1 resurgence in 2024? Who will lead the Mercedes F1 resurgence in 2024?

The Verstappen standard McLaren wants Norris to reach in F1 2024

The Verstappen standard McLaren wants Norris to reach in F1 2024

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

The Verstappen standard McLaren wants Norris to reach in F1 2024 The Verstappen standard McLaren wants Norris to reach in F1 2024

How Steiner’s exit underlines the changed role of F1’s team bosses

How Steiner’s exit underlines the changed role of F1’s team bosses

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

How Steiner’s exit underlines the changed role of F1’s team bosses How Steiner’s exit underlines the changed role of F1’s team bosses

Why successfully emulating Red Bull’s dominant F1 concept isn’t straightforward

Why successfully emulating Red Bull’s dominant F1 concept isn’t straightforward

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1
Pre-Season Test

Why successfully emulating Red Bull’s dominant F1 concept isn’t straightforward Why successfully emulating Red Bull’s dominant F1 concept isn’t straightforward

The human focus that Drive to Survive believes is a winning formula

The human focus that Drive to Survive believes is a winning formula

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

The human focus that Drive to Survive believes is a winning formula The human focus that Drive to Survive believes is a winning formula

How Honda F1 gains gave Williams its first turbo success and a Silverstone record

How Honda F1 gains gave Williams its first turbo success and a Silverstone record

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

How Honda F1 gains gave Williams its first turbo success and a Silverstone record How Honda F1 gains gave Williams its first turbo success and a Silverstone record

How a key ingredient of McLaren’s glory era is shaping its F1 future

How a key ingredient of McLaren’s glory era is shaping its F1 future

Plus
Plus
F1 Formula 1

How a key ingredient of McLaren’s glory era is shaping its F1 future How a key ingredient of McLaren’s glory era is shaping its F1 future

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe