How does a Formula 1 car start? A breakdown of the complex method of starting the speed beasts.
Formula 1 cars are very complex. It would therefore come as no surprise that even starting a Formula 1 car can be quite a chore. The engines of F1 cars are very strong but they are also very fragile. With a normal car you need to be gentle until it’s up and running and warm. But with an F1 car simply being gentle doesn’t quite cut it.
Starting an F1 engine cold is simply not an option. The v6 only turns on when it’s completely ready for it and the engine itself cannot regulate its temperature. All kinds of preparation have to be made for this. To begin with, the engine must be brought up to temperature even before the engine is started. The reason that this is important is that the parts of the engine are so close together that the moving components can be damaged if the temperatures are too low.
The engine is therefore brought up to temperature by pumping heated coolant through the cooling channels. This increases the basic temperature for the block. For this, the coolant must be at a temperature of around 80 degrees which is fairly comparable to the engine of a normal car.
Meanwhile, the engine oil is also brought up to temperature by someone else in the pit box. That is even more crucial because this is the stuff that ensures everything continues to move properly in the engine. It’s essential that the oil gets to exactly the right temperature and does not even get too hot. When the oil is at the correct temperature it’s then pumped into the engine that has already been warmed up by the coolant. Once this has been completed, the engine is almost ready.
A garage crew member with a large electric screwdriver standing behind an F1 car which ensures that the engine makes strokes before it’s actually started. That way, the oil gets to where it needs to be and the engine is eventually in a state that it looks ready to run. That is the moment when the engine can finally be fired up. In the pit box, the engine is started by pressing buttons on the steering wheel.