One of the greatest engines in history of Formula 1: BMW V10

Engines | July 25th, 2015 by 14
BMW P82 750x500

In 1995, one of the greatest eras in Formula One history began — the era of the V10. The naturally aspirated V10s, that displaced no …

In 1995, one of the greatest eras in Formula One history began — the era of the V10. The naturally aspirated V10s, that displaced no more than 3.0 liters, were some of the greatest to ever fit inside of a Formula One car. But some of the best F1 V10s were built by none other than BMW.

But BMW didn’t start building F1 engines until 2002, which is when things really started to heat up. In 2002, BMW started building the V10 F1 engines for the Williams F1 team, led by Ralf Schumacher, Michael’s brother. Ralf’s second year at Williams was BMW’s first and once BMW got there, Ralf started to light up the track.

The initial engine BMW developed for Williams and Schumacher was the E41/4 V10, which developed 810 hp and could rev to a staggering 17,500 rpm while only weighing 258 lbs. It was a magnificent engine. Especially considering that BMW’s engineers faced absurd time restraints and often had to improvise.

BMW E41 4 R39 9 a 750x627

But in 2001, BMW developed a new engine, the P80/1. Using some of the things learned from the E41/4, the P80/1 made 880 hp and revved to an astonishing 18,000 rpm. It also had a lower center of gravity, thanks to removed extra stiffness and widening of the vee and was lighter, at 231 lbs. Schumacher raced to victory, over his brother, at the 2001 San Marino Grand Prix using the P80/1 engine. Michael finished second, making it the first ever race to have brothers finish one and two at the podium.

Related: BMW history in Formula 1

In 2002, BMW created a new engine, which was lighter and more compact. But the real news of the new P82 engine was the fact that it was the first F1 engine to rev to 19,000 rpm. With lessons learned from the P82, BMW created a new engine the following year, the P83. The P83 engine developed a massive 940 hp at 19,000 rpm.

BMW P83 700pixel

BMW P84 V10

BMW P84 V10

The following year, Schumacher left Williams for Toyota and was replaced by Mark Webber. BMW made engines for Williams for a little while longer, but eventually the two parted ways as well. BMW purchased the Sauber F1 team and the FIA regulations changed, meaning the V10s had to be downsized to V8s. After a few years, BMW and Sauber also split ways. BMW engines are no longer in F1 and that’s sad. The era of the BMW Formula One V10 is one of the greatest in F1’s storied history. It’s also one we will miss.

14 responses to “One of the greatest engines in history of Formula 1: BMW V10”

  1. Senne says:

    Amazing! Very interesting article! :) :)

  2. Otto says:

    Amazing indeed
    Amazing that “One of the greatest engines in history of Formula 1” never won a championship.

  3. Giom says:

    I don’t want to make excuses for BMW, but, it takes soooo much more than just an engine to win championships. It takes people, lots of them. We know the people from BMW build great engines, but what about the guys building and designing the chassis? The aero guys, the strategists and the drivers. They all need to perform at the top of their game to to win championships. You can’t put this one on BMW.

  4. Giom says:

    Also, if I remember correctly, at the time, the normal BMW engine engineers build the f1 engines, the M guys weren’t involved. That’s impressive!

  5. kj marway says:

    Add to that the fact that this lineage spawned the heartstopping S85 V10, and you’ve got yourself a legend right there.

    Engineering magnificence.

  6. Wayne Critzman says:

    Let’s hear it for the HP boys. 915 HP @ 19000 RPMs means that the engine put out 253 pound – feet of torque and more than likely over a very narrow range. The engine was impressive for what it was, a high reving songstress of the past. The beautiful music that was F1 is gone. Now we have a boring, muted note kept to motorcycle like sounds.

  7. […] One of the Greatest Engines in History of Formula 1: BMW V10 […]

  8. Philip S says:

    miss the v10, wish bmw would come back to f1

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