In Depth

Silver Bullet: Mercedes-AMG’s F1-powered Project One

The exclusive hypercar shows F1 tech can be transferred to road cars – for the right price

Putting a Formula 1 engine into a road car is by no means easy. Several top-tier carmakers have tried, with varying levels of success.

The most famous example is the 1995 Ferrari F50, which comes with a mid-mounted 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine, the roots of which can be traced back to the 3.5-litre twelve-cylinder motor found in the company’s F1 car from 1990. 

Reviews of the car were mixed: some critics praised it for its ease of use, while others complained the vibrations coming from the engine could make it uncomfortable.

Since then, there hasn’t been a road-legal F1-engined vehicle on the market, but that’s about to change with Mercedes-AMG’s new hypercar, Project One. 

Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mercedes-AMG Project One is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 hybrid engine that comes directly from Lewis Hamilton’s championship-winning F1 car from the 2015 season. 

The combustion engine itself delivers in excess of 1,000bhp and revs to 11,000rpm, which is around 2,000rpm shy of an F1 car at full power. There’s also a lithium-ion battery unit that sends energy to two electric motors on the front axle, making the Project One all-wheel drive. 

The challenge of putting an F1 engine into a road car is keeping it cool. F1 cars need to be driven fast to keep cool, as the large volume of radiators and ducts suck air in at high speeds. 

For the road car, Mercedes-AMG has fitted a large air scoop above the cabin, along with two separate ducts to help cool the engine and gearbox. The large vents at the front of the car could also be used to cool the engine and brakes. 

Inside, the hypercar gets a spaceage cabin that features a large screen in the centre console that shows real-time video from the car's rear camera, making it easy to manoeuvre on busy streets. 

The steering wheel has also been inspired by the company’s F1 cars, boasting LED shift lights and two controllers that can be used to toggle the hypercar’s driving and suspension modes. 

Only 275 examples of the Project One are set to reach production, says Top Gear, each holding a price tag of around £2.4m. However, it is believed that all of these have already sold out.

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