“I’m sure we were drunk when we said yes,” Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius joked to media about the company’s F1-powered One hypercar, nearly five years after it was revealed to the world.
The Mercedes-AMG One hypercar has faced myriad delays in the five years since it was revealed in concept form – and company bosses have joked they must have been “drunk” when they have gave the project the green light.
Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 and hybrid system from the company’s championship-winning Formula One race cars, the AMG One was first rumoured in early 2016, and revealed as the Project One prototype at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2017.
However, AMG engineers have encountered issues in adapting the F1 engine, which idles above the redline of most diesel engines (5000rpm), for the road – and Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius has acknowledged the project hasn’t been as straightforward as expected.
“The team at AMG and the [AMG] High Performance Powertrain Formula One arm came to us about four years ago and said ‘we’ve got a great idea, let’s put a Formula One engine into a road car’”, Källenius told media, as quoted by Autocar.
“I will have to go back to check the meeting minutes, but I’m sure we were drunk when we said yes.”
Källenius confirmed the company would reveal more news about the long-delayed hypercar “in a couple of weeks” – though whether it meets its previously-rumoured 2022 production timeline remains to be seen.
The One was first confirmed to be powered by a road-legal version of the 1.6-litre turbo V6 and dual motor-generator unit (MGU) hybrid system of AMG’s successful F1 cars, with a power output beyond 1000 horsepower (735kW) for a top speed of 350km/h.
Production was initially due to begin in 2019, however difficulties around making the V6 comply with strict WLTP emissions rules with a petrol particulate filter – without significantly impacting performance – saw this timing pushed back.
Key among the challenges was how the engine revved; whereas an F1 car idles at 5000rpm and redlines at 14,000rpm, engineers were forced to reduce these to a 1200rpm idle and 11,000rpm redline – still 500rpm and 2000rpm higher than even the most extreme road cars currently on sale.
Adding to Källenius’ comments, Mercedes-Benz’s head of marketing Bettina Fetzer reportedly said the brand is working on a “very honest documentary” about the car’s development.
Only 275 examples of the hypercar were slated to be built, priced from €2.27 million ($AU3.38 million) each. Eight cars are confirmed to have been sold to Australian buyers.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.