After eight seasons, the FIA Formula One World Championship will say goodbye to the 2.4 litre V8 engine formula at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend. It's not only the end of the 2013 season but the end of the V8 engine era.
Renault will most likely be known as the most successful engine manufacturer of the V8 era, with five Constructors' and Drivers' titles (2006-2010-2011-2012-2013) out of a possible eight and pummeling the competition with 59 wins, 65 pole positions and 55 fastest laps.
Renault has powered five of the eight drivers' titles in the V8 era. Fernando Alonso became the first-ever V8 champion in 2006 with the Renault F1 Team. In 2010 the Sebastian Vettel dominance began when the German won his first of his titles. He cleaned up in 2011 and 2012 as well and in India 2013 became a quadruple world champion, bringing him level with Renault Ambassador Alain Prost's tally.
Renault's 2.4 L V8 (2006 to 2013) Statistics
8 years of competition
59 wins - 40% of wins in the V8 era
65 pole positions
55 fastest laps
5 Constructors' world titles
5 Drivers' world titles
750 bhp maximum power (2013 version, typical car installation, typical temp/pressure/humidity)
18,000 rpm maximum engine speed (2013 version)
95kg weight, FIA perimeter
1,271 engines built, 683 for track use, 588 for dyno use
>2 000 000 km total
>5 000 components per engine
>7 600 000 parts used
21,800 pistons used
43,200 inlet valves used
45,900 exhaust valves used
43,800 connecting-rod bolts fitted
22,000 spark plugs used
10,600 oil filters used
The concept of an 'engine freeze' in the Formula 1 regulations is a bit of a misnomer. Many fans assumed the engines were sealed by the FIA and not developed but that isn't quite the case as Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations, explains:
"if you looked at the first V8 and the current V8 you would see that 95%
of the parts have changed, with each becoming completely optimized for its function. By
working on this, there is now very little degradation over an engine's life. Before there used
to be a drop off of around 15bhp from the start to the finish, now it is very negligible."
In 2013 Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Renault Sport F1 secured their fourth consecutive Constructors' World Championship title. It was the first time in over 20 years that a constructor-engine partnership had achieved such an unbroken run of success. In fact, only once in the history of the sport has a partnership achieved a similar feat (McLaren-Honda from 1988 - 1991).
For Renault, the title concluded the V8 engine era on a high note. The French manufacturer secured the first-ever title under the V8 engine regulations in 2006 with Renault F1 Team, and now comes full circle to win the final title. With five of the possible eight crowns, Renault is now the most successful engine manufacturer of the V8 engine formula.
The 2013 title brings Renault's total number of constructors' championships to 12. To have won with four different teams and six different drivers shows the relationships have flourished and made Renault Sport F1 a true powerhouse in the world's most advanced form of racing.
Classic V8 Moments
BAHRAIN GP After winning the 2005 championship, all eyes were on Renault, who had taken a gamble in being one of the last teams to run the incoming V8 engine. Fernando Alonso wins a hard-fought victory to start his title defense despite heavy pressure from Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.
JAPANESE GP Fernando Alonso holds on to secure his second drivers' title, giving Renault F1 Team the double-double of the drivers' and constructors' titles. The result awards Renault back to back titles with two different engine configurations.
CHINESE GP Renault moved into engine supply in 2007 with a partnership with Red Bull Racing. The collaboration goes from strength to strength, culminating in its first win at the Chinese Grand Prix. It was to be the first of many.
ITALIAN GP The Autodromo di Monza is the hardest test for engines, with 75% of the lap spent flat out and an average speed of more than 230kph. Sebastian Vettel gives Renault its first win at the track since 1995 in a classic duel with Fernando Alonso.
SPANISH GP Proving the adaptability of the RS27, Pastor Maldonado gives the renewed Williams- Renault partnership its first win in only its fifth race together.
AUSTRALIAN GP Lotus F1 Team retains its winning ways with a win for Kimi Raikkonen on the streets of Albert Park. The RS27 had won with three different clients and four different drivers over the course of just one year.
KOREAN AND JAPANESE GPS Renault powers two consecutive podium lock outs in the Asian double header, the first time in 17 years it has taken a perfect podium score in two races.
Renault's Unique V8
The engine produces over 750bhp and top car speed is over 330kph - not far off the cruising speed of a private light aircraft. Acceleration from 0 - 60kph can be done in 1.6 seconds, approximately the same as an F16 fighter plane. It can do 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds, 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 5.1 seconds and 0 to 300 km/h (186 mph) in 12.0 seconds, dependent on aerodynamic setup and gearing. This is notwithstanding a weight of just 95kg, less than the weight of a 60 bhp city car engine! The heat produced by the engine is also such that the exhausts of the RS27 will reach up to 1,000°C. To give you an idea of this unimaginable temperature, volcanic lava is between 700°C and 1,200°C!
- A throttle can go from completely closed to completely open in 10 to 15 milliseconds, the duration of light for a photo flash strobe. At full power, the engine 'sucks' more than 500 litres/sec.
- The fuel tank can take up to 165 kg (220 litres) of fuel.
- The camshafts turn at half the engine speed, so the valves will be able to open 150 times per second!
- When running at maximum rpm, the force on the pistons will be more than 8,000 times its own weight (0 to 100 km/h in less than 1/2000th sec).
- The conrod is one of the most stressed parts of any piston engine. At the Bathurst circuit in Australia there is a straight named the Conrod Straight as there are so many engine failures there!
- The machining tolerance of the crankshaft is down to 1 micron.
- Cam timing is critical to the combustion process and the gears must assure precise timing while separating the dynamic behaviour of the bottom and top end.
- The cylinder block in an F1 car, together with the cylinder head and crankcase, forms part of the chassis structure. Without it the car would collapse.
- The oil circulates round the engine at a rate of approx. 60 litres per minute. There is about 5 litres of oil, so the oil does completes approx. 12 laps per minute of the engine and cooling circuit.
- During a race, the exhausts of the RS27 will reach up to 1000°C, an average consumer oven will only reach 240°C. These temperatures are very close to the melting point of most metals, therefore, special lightweight materials are used.
- One boost of KERS is equivalent to a shot of 80bhp for 2 - 3 secs.
- To cool this heat approx. five litres of water will be in the engine at any one time. At maximum revs the water will be circulated at 240 litres per minute (more than a fireman's hose)! The heat dissipated in the water could heat a 2,500m2 building at 0°C ambient temperature!
And so ends an era. From the first official test in the cold of January 2006 to the final race of the 2013 season in temperate Brazil, the V8 engines has sung its song and performed its final act. As it takes its final bow and the curtains fall, the new era of the V6 Turbo begins and with it the hope of another tremendous era for Renault Sport F1.