Anonymous asked in SportsMotor SportsFormula One · 3 months ago

2-stroke engines in F1?

So what do you think about the proposal that F1 go to 2-stroke engines, because of "efficiency"? Growing up, I've always heard that 4-strokes were more efficient and cleaner than 2-stroke engines. Maybe something has changed over the years?

Also I think there is a long term proposal that F1 switch to hydrogen combustion (but not fuel cell) 2-strokes. Again, everything I've heard has said hydrogen is most efficient as a fuel cell, rather than as a combustion engine. But maybe I'm behind the times?

My feeling is that F1 is proposing 2-strokes instead of fuel cells because 2-strokes produce lots of noise, and fuel cells produce no noise at all. That's good for the show, maybe?

1 Answer

  • 2 months ago

    I think there is a common misconception that 2 strokes are oily greasy smokey and unrefined. Its probably a fair statement on a dirt bike or lawnmower. But when dealing with race engines its a different story. The lubricants used with all be fully synthetic, in fact the fuel mix will most likely be a fully synthetic option that produces a good amount of power without the nasty emissions. Plus the engine will remain forced induction, and that also increases efficiency. 

    One thing to remember is that F1 teams over the past (at least) decade have been "cheating" by burning oil and oil additives by designing engines that deliberately allow the lubricant to enter the combustion chamber. In a 4 stroke the lubricants are supposed to be totally separate from the fuel source.

    A 2 stroke completely rules out this possibility as the fuel mix lubricates the engine first, then is burnt in the combustion chamber. So its probably a good way of the regulators to simplify engine designs that dont allow so much possibility for teams to design in the grey areas of legality.

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