The V8 has been one of the most notable engine formats in F1, with the most legendary being the Ford DFV that was on the grid from 1967 all the way to 1985. When it was launched, it produced just over 400bhp but when it retired it was outputting over 500bhp.
The engine in the most recent V8 era, the 2.4-litre 90-degree V8, was made mandatory in 2006 and ended up producing around 750bhp.
At the time the format was introduced, screaming 3-litre V10 engines ruled the roost and revs were rising up towards 20,000rpm. The quest for power had been intense and even though exotic materials were banned, ever improving detail design, circuit-to-circuit engine bespoking and a costly throwaway culture had effectively led to the return of separate qualifying and race spec engines.
With many automotive manufacturers in F1, the desire to demonstrate development prowess was also high on the agenda and some, BMW most notably, were unusually open to revealing official performance figures, boasting of power levels upwards of 900bhp.
Formula One needed to take a check on its ever-increasing speeds, and engine restrictions were seen as a key way to achieving that.
The new V8s were smaller, more efficient and quieter than their predecessors – leading to concerns they would soften the impact of F1 on the ears. Sound familiar?
That fear was soon overcome, and the engines soon became suitably powerful and were accepted as the sound of Formula One.
The most important aspect of this era, however, was not the engine itself but the restrictions placed on its usage and development.
The teams already had to use each engine for two races in 2005, but each year that number increased. To help the engines last longer, rev limits came in and by 2009 they were restricted to 18,000rpm and had just eight engines available for the whole season.
Development for the first year was an open book, anything within the rules was allowed. But from 2007 onwards, the FIA banned any upgrading of the main parts of the engine and by the following year that ban also covered the auxiliaries and the inlet system.
But that didn’t mean the engine guys could sit back and relax; far from it. Instead, they had to think differently and work out ways of gaining performance by changing how the engine integrated with the car.
The biggest area of progress was, therefore, engine maps – and it is perhaps the restriction in engine hardware development that led to some innovative progress in software development.
The clever use of the Renault engine, held at full throttle without producing power to feed exhaust gases into the diffuser and increase downforce, is what put Red Bull on the road to their multi-year success, even though it was eventually banned.
Running temperatures were also a focus, with any reduction in cooling requirements from the engine also leading to performance gains, as cooling ducts could be reduced in size and reduce aerodynamic drag.
That was also influenced by lubricants development, with teams that enjoy close relationships with their oil partners, like Ferrari and Shell, finding ways to improve the engine without adapting hardware.
So the development of the F1 engine has not stood still during the recent restricted V8 era – it has just had a different focus.
The efficiency and reliability of the engines has improved incredibly, considering the level of intense battering they have to take, and that is down to improved engine management. Renault now tests engines to 3,000km on the dyno. It was half that when the V8s came in.
But still they are not efficient enough, and they are not like the engines car manufacturers want to use on the roads.
And that is why the V8 met its demise.
Next year, the new engines will be 1.6-litre V6 turbos with added power from increased capacity energy recovery systems. They represent the current trends in automotive vision. They will be quieter. And until all electric comes in, they will now be the sound of the future.
The V8 is a legendary engine. But for now - and probably forever - its time is up.
THE 2.4-LITRE V8 ERA STATISTICS
Seven different manufacturers made a 2.4-litre V8 between 2006-2013: Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes, Cosworth, Honda, Toyota and BMW.
Three different engine manufacturers have won drivers’ titles: Renault (06 Alonso and 10-13 Vettel), Ferrari (07 Raikkonen), Mercedes (08 Hamilton and 09 Button)
Three different engine manufacturers have won constructors’ titles: Renault (06 Renault, 10-13 Red Bull), Ferrari (07), Mercedes (08 McLaren, 09 Brawn)
Renault topped the success list in all categories with 59 wins, 65 poles and 55 fastest laps.