After four years of dominance in Formula 1's hybrid era, Mercedes is working on cracking yet another big-time achievement. Earlier in 2017, the championship-winning constructor announced that it had achieved 50 percent thermal efficiency with its EQ Power+ 1.6-liter V6 engine. Now, just before the close of the year, AMG engine boss Andy Cowell has told Motorsport that the team is nearing 1,000-brake-horsepower with its competition-spec power unit.
When questioned if his team could reach the one thousand mark anytime soon, Cowell responded, "We're close. I'm sure that'll happen at some point."
While 1,000-bhp is certainly a stellar number, perhaps more significant is the improvement of Mercedes' power plant in comparison to last year. The silver-arrow team was able to manage 900-bhp at the end of 2016, and as the looming figure nudges closer, an increase of 11 percent is particularly impressive.
"It's an answer for the early part of the next year," Cowell continued to tell Motorsport. "We need to see how the power unit development goes through the winter and our prove-out goes through the winter, and it's a balance with the car as well. There are engines running on the dyno, that's one thing."
Revised aerodynamics and a healthy dose of power gains could help to improve Mercedes' performance dramatically next season. According to Formula 1's official tire manufacturer, Pirelli, times are expected to quicken by two seconds per lap in 2018. This could all play in the team's favor with an ever-hungry rival from Maranello breathing down its neck in terms of R&D.
"When you go to total car lap time, that's the bit where there's work being done to improve the technology on the car to enhance both aerodynamic and power unit performance," Cowell concluded.
"Let's see how it all works out."