The current turbo-hybrid Formula 1 power units take an unfair amount of flak. Mostly, the pejoratives directed at them are predicated on the fact that they’re not the wailing V12s or screaming V10s that past F1 fans were treated to, while other points of concern are usually in relation to their hefty price tags and complexity.
Fine, the noise might not be as tinnitus-inducing, but the guttural snarls of the current cars offer a different soundscape to each event. The old engines were a Red Hot Chili Peppers stadium tour – the current power units are a Nirvana gig in a small Seattle club. Perhaps the points about cost and complexity are fair, but as far as F1’s bid to further the advancement of technology is concerned, the current powertrains are a necessity to keep it relevant and attractive to manufacturers.
Renault is one such manufacturer to throw its lot in with the current generation of powertrains, currently propelling its own works team – soon to become Alpine – and McLaren. It has also been able to take its F1 technology and turn it onto the road, injecting its expertise into the Infiniti Project Black S. This car has an F1-influenced MGU-K and two MGU-Hs to recover energy from braking and the turbocharger respectively, with the aim of helping that technology trickle down into mainstream Renault dealerships.