#F1 2014 – Powering into the future

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Matthew Somerfield(SomersF1)

The last magazine style layout went down pretty well so I decided to complete a quick summary of the 2014 powerplant changes that will effect the sport.

A3 SomersF1 2014 PowerUnit
Click the image for full size which makes it great for printing off…..

As a translation isn’t available for the embedded image the following is the piece in blog format:

The 2014 regulations bring the sport into a new era where energy recovery and dispensation are an integral part of the racing. The new power units as we must now call them comprise of many components rather than just an engine. The sporting regulations refer to them as ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), TC (Turbocharger), MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit – Heat), MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic), ES (Energy Store, CE (Control Electronics) they will be known as individual elements as the driver can only use 5 of each component in a season without being penalised.

Be still my beating heart
At the core of the power unit lies the 1.6 V6 engine (ICE) which differs significantly to it’s outgoing brother the 2.4 V8. Needing to work in harmony with the attached components it’s a floor up new design, complementing the turbocharger it will run at a much lower compression ratio. F1 also adopts direct injection with the new regulations allowing a more efficient delivery of the fuel a necessity when considering the engine manufacturers are still striving to produce the same if not more power than the larger capacity V8’s did with 3,000 rpm more. That’s right gone with the high compression is the need to rev the car so aggressively with the regulations capping it at 15,000rpm. It is however more likely that we see the drivers shifting around 12,000rpm as the fuel flow limits placed in the regulations mean peak power will produced much lower.

Give me a boost

Turbochargers haven’t graced the sport since 1988 with the FIA reigning in the engine manufacturer’s who by now had cars producing over 1000bhp in qualifying trim. The return to turbo cars helps the sport to leverage the additional power that can be generated by them and re-use it as electrical energy. The turbo’s being used from 2014 however are a little more sophisticated than the one you find on your road going cars. Substantially sized they should produce lots of lag with the help of the MGU-H they’ll be spooled up for action pretty much all the time.

It’s getting hot in here

The MGU-H is a new unit located in the centre of the engine’s V, working on the same base principles of the outgoing KERS but is instead connected to the turbo’s turbine. This allows the MGU-H to extract power by slowing the turbo, which it will do under braking and by regulating the boost pressure like a wastegate would normally be used for. Energy being symbiotically harvested by the MGU-K or stored in the ES can be returned to the turbo via the MGU-H spooling the turbo and reducing lag. Energy harvested and dispensed by the MGU-H is unlimited, making it a fantastic tool for the turbo.

Filling in the gaps

The MGU-K is a redesigned KERS package, whereas KERS was tacked onto the side of the V8’s back in 2009 the MGU-K has been designed alongside the rest of the powertrain. Doubling the maximum amount of energy that can be dispensed to 120KW and utilising both it’s symbiotic relationship with the MGU-H and the 4MJ capacity of the ES it means roughly 160bhp is available for 33.33 seconds. As with KERS though the driver will be able to adjust the level of power it dispenses/harvests during a lap giving him 80bhp for 66.66 seconds or any other combination of time vs power between 1bhp and 160bhp.

Just like it’s older sibling the MGU-K harvests energy under braking and redistributes it via the engines crankshaft. However unlike it’s sibling the control of energy release will be done autonomously via the drivers input on the accelerator pedal. (Having 5 times the time component to spend around a lap would make busy work of a steering wheel button) Although it’s widely accepted that a push to pass style override may still be able to be factored in.

Saving it for a rainy day

The ES (Energy Store) has a specified weight of 20-25kg’s this is to discourage use of both exotic materials to save weight but also to prohibit teams from running a smaller ES to gain ballast that could be placed elsewhere. The ES must also be placed within the survival cell.



Running on fumes

To further enforce the limit on the teams ability to extrapolate performance from the engine, the FIA have mandated 100kg’s as the amount of fuel that can be used by a driver during the race. Early race simulations completed by the engine manufacturer’s conclude that at some tracks this is extremely marginal and in some cases downright not enough. This will of course lead to manipulation of strategy, fuel management and clever driving by the drivers.

9 responses to “#F1 2014 – Powering into the future

    • Agreed. This is an example of the value-added Judge’s chambers that keeps me coming back to Court every day. I read a lot about F1 and spend more time than I should following it online but time spent here is usually worth it. I hope we get more insights like these…

  1. Thank you for this. It’s a wonderful overview that’s understandable for the average fan. Having said that, will it improve the racing? All well and good that the manufacturers will have to spend a fortune trying to get all this stuff to work reliably. Then F1 can state that they’re trying to be green and relevant with the public in mind. But at the end of the day, I’m not sure that the casual fan will care about all this new technology if all that results is a repeat of last year. Plus, I can’t wait to start hearing the complaints about the way these thing will sound next year….

    • Then you’ve not been listening, the complaints have already started, LOL. Making the cars “greener” is not meant to entice fans but manufacturers. For example, using the MGU-H to keep the turbo spooled is something that could be adapted to road cars, where the divergence between tested and real world fuel economy is attributed primarily to people stomping the go fast pedal harder to get the acceleration that only kicks in with the turbo. Having a permanently spooled turbo would solve that problem and improve real world fuel mileage.

      That said, you’re correct re the casual fan. Hopefully the knock on effect will be spectacular engine unreliability (think Silverstone last year, but with engines letting go instead of tires) which should give hope to the entire non Vettel worshipping universe given the difficulties RB had with KERS packaging. You could also see repeats of the good old days with drivers trying to push their cars over the line as they run out of fuel with the finish line in sight. No promises, but we can always hope…

      • Hmmm….Back to the future? Not sure that the sight of drivers shoving their cars over the line is really the image of the sport that the FIA and the manufacturers really have in mind. Spectacular engine blow-ups might make for good TV and will definitely help mix up the grid, but again, not a good look. I guess we’ll have to give it a few years to see whether the new rules will actually entice more manufacturers into the sport, besides Honda. If it doesn’t, it will have been an expensive, money wasting folly awaiting another change in the rules….

  2. I can remember having to save fuel and not go ‘flat out’ all race long in the Ferrari in the original GPL, as the max fuel tank was not enough to allow this at some tracks (and trailing some gas with the brakes, pretty much like the EBD, all race long, couldn’t have been predicted by the game designers). It led to really having to think your way around the track to get to the finish as quick as possible and not run out before the end, which added strategy when the tyres didn’t need replacing in a race. I have a feeling Raikkonen would excel at this.. e.g. China this year, he had a damaged front wing from colliding with Perez, and yet he adapted and was barely driving any slower in lap time.

    Any idea on which tracks might be fuel critical? I’m guessing tracks with a lot of flat out running per lap, like Monza?

  3. Hi guys

    Thanks for the feedback etc, glad you liked what I did, sorry I haven’t responded but I have been away on my annual holiday.

    @Bruznic you’re correct that there will be 8 forward gears rather than 7 from 2014, I didn’t mention this as I thought there was more than enough information to look at with the power unit side of things let alone the power train too.

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