• INSIGHT: F1 and Road Car Technology's EQ Power+ Connection

While Formula One visually appears to be many, many miles away from the cars we use on the roads, under the surface there are some very important links - which are helping shape the future of powertrains and automotive technology.

But what does the name actually mean?

Last year's Mercedes F1 car debuted a brand-new naming structure and this has been followed up by its latest F1 machine: the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, which'll be raced by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in 2018. It's the team's second car to go by this moniker, but what does the name actually mean? 

It's part of Mercedes-Benz's product brand for electric mobility, which was announced back in 2016 at the Paris Motor Show. EQ stands for "Electric Intelligence", with all future Mercedes-Benz plug-in Hybrids featuring the "EQ Power" designation.

"EQ Power+", however, is saved especially for Mercedes-AMG future performance Hybrid models. The W08 was the first to proudly go by this name, followed by the Project ONE hypercar. And now, it's the W09's turn.

The EQ Power+ designation places the F1 car and its state of the art Hybrid Power Unit at the forefront of the future Mercedes-AMG line-up, showcasing how F1 technology is accelerating the future not just of motor racing, but of automotive technology in general.

The current set of F1 cars are the quickest the sport has ever seen, largely thanks to a combination of remarkable aerodynamics and hybrid engine technology. The Power Units are made up of six components, which work together to push cars to speeds well over 300 km/h.

Under the bodywork of the new W09, there's a 1.6-litre Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), MGU-K, MGU-H, Energy Store, Turbocharger and Control Electronics. Drivers are limited to three engines per season, down from four in 2017, which puts further focus and emphasis on efficiency and reliability.

While it's difficult to envisage the advanced Hybrid technology of these monstrous F1 beasts trickling down to cars on the road, they are very much helping test and develop the technology of the future - what we'll see in the Hybrid Mercedes-Benz cars and AMG models being driven in years to come.

After all, it's the perfect training ground, right? Putting this Hybrid technology through its paces at some of the toughest race tracks in the world, at ridiculously-high speeds and in intense conditions. So, while it isn't always obvious, the influence F1 has on the automotive industry is significant and as relevant as it has ever been.

Formula One is about having this blend of technology development, great ingenuity and great human performance at the circuit

Andy Cowell

'That's the awesome nature of F1'

"Formula One is about having this blend of technology development, great ingenuity and great human performance at the circuit," explains Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains - whose Hybrid Power Units have powered Mercedes to four consecutive Championship doubles.

"It's driving progress, accelerating the future, and at the same time provides entertainment. That's the awesome nature of F1.

"With the switch to Hybrids in 2014, the FIA aligned our technology mission of our Power Unit with that of the automotive sector, but also other areas like transport and energy generation.

'Concerning the automotive sector, the most visible outcome so far is the Project ONE hypercar that we're developing together with our colleagues at Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach. It brings Formula One technology to the road.

'And there are a lot of other areas where the automotive industry can benefit from F1 being at the forefront of innovation - from lightweight construction to aerodynamics and machine learning to digital engineering to name just a few.

'While we all like the excitement that comes from the competition and entertainment element of Formula One, there really is a lot more to it as well.'

EQ Power+, as Andy says, is only one element of F1's influence on the road cars of the future. But, it's arguably the most important. The signs may not be obvious to everyone now, but soon, they very much will be.