#F1 Forensics: Ferrari F14-T – The secret is in the Power Unit ?

Brought to you by TheJudge13 technical analyst Lorenzo De Luca 

As we all know, 2014 is a year of big changes in Formula 1, without doubt, the biggest change consists in the return of turbocharged engines. After years where engines were overshadowed by aero efficiency, it seems that from this year this trend is bound to change. Indeed many engineers pointed out that having an efficient and effective power unit (Internal Combustion Engine combined with the Energy Recovery System) will be the key to win the season which is about to start.

During the winter break, there were many rumours about Mercedes and Ferrari engines, the former has been credited with more power while the latter of a total weight significantly lower than the competition. Just the 059/3 V6 seems to be the most interesting power unit, which for several months was rumoured not only to be lighter but also to be developed with a different design. It’s no mystery that Maranello wants to be back on top, after years of losses.

The new engine in the centre of the F14-T project

As it has been mentioned, having an efficient and effective power unit could be the key to win the 2014 season, so Ferrari engineers led by Pat Fry, James Allison and Luca Marmorini focussed their attention almost solely on the engine. It’s not a coincidence, indeed, that Ferrari is the only engine manufacturer that didn’t unveil its V6 early (Mercedes and Renault did it months before), and this has done nothing but fuel the rumours the 059/3 was completely different from what had been seen.

Picture 1 - V6 Ferrari 059/3 sketch, courtesy of Paolo Filisetti

Picture 1 – V6 Ferrari 059/3 sketch, courtesy of Paolo Filisetti

In the sketch above, leaked during the “virtual” launch of the engine, we can see that it really is different from Renault and Mercedes. The whole project has as a principal goal, the reduction of the overall dimensions, indeed as we can see, the exhaust manifolds, don’t go towards the outside (as happens with Renault), instead they go upwards, and so the MGU-H is placed below the turbine.  These are clearly solutions designed to minimise the overall dimensions inside the side-pods. Always with the objective of saving weight and reducing dimensions, Ferrari is the only one to use an “air-water-air” exchanger to cool down the turbocharger, with results that have influenced the aerodynamics of the car.

Picture 2 - F14-T side-pod design

Picture 2 – F14-T side-pod design

Indeed, Ferrari powered cars (Ferrari, Sauber and Marussia) are the ones with the smaller side-pods air vents, a feature not to be underestimated if we consider that reducing drag has become very important, but this also could help with managing the airflows around the side-pods .

A fuller and deeper sound, what lies inside the 059/3?

During the first Jerez testing session, people who attended, had the chance to hear live for the first time the sound of the new turbocharged engines, and even here there have been surprises. Thanks to some live footage recorded by TheJudge13 himself, we can appreciate how the sound of V6 Ferrari is much different from Mercedes and Renault.


Mercedes – Mclaren

Renault – Red Bull

As you can hear, the Ferrari V6 sound is deeper, not sounding too different from an engine with an exhaust blown diffuser, especially when breaking as it “scratches” a lot.  This became popular last year (and in 2011) when exhaust gases were blown toward the diffuser to gain downforce. So why does it sound so different?

According to Gary Anderson, Ferrari engineers have developed an electronic system which is capable set to zero the loss of RPM during downshifting (quick shifting system).  Engineers would have drastically decreased the motor brake effect in order to maximize the gain of energy recovered when braking. Obviously, it’s still too early to really say what lies under a car.  Jerez tests are never the most reliable, especially this year, as the cars ran without using all the power available (it is rumoured that only Magnussen, in his Mclaren, ran at full power reaching 15,000 RPM).  Bahrain, once again, will be more interesting as we’ll see if Ferrari V6 will still have a different sound when all the cars will push at 100% to test reliability, with power units to be almost at their ultimate configuration.

6 responses to “#F1 Forensics: Ferrari F14-T – The secret is in the Power Unit ?

  1. So this in theory should settle the Caterham vs Marussia battle before the season has even begun! Given what Fernandes said about leaving F1 if there is another poor season, this could be the last season we see the Team Green 🙁

    • If Renault doesn’t pull a miracle out of the hat, I’d say that’s a given, unless someone buys out Caterham.

  2. Hi Lorenzo

    I can now visualise better what you talked about in your last article about the Ferrari manifolds being swept up and narrower than the Renault engine – therefore allowing narrower sidepods.

    If you have a look at this picture –


    it looks like Mercedes are trying to do something similar – but maybe not as successfully as Ferrari ?

    In the picture it also shows something between the exhaust and inlet turbines of the turbo which looks like it might be the MGU-H ?

    Unlike Renault who have the MGU-H in front of the turbo in the engine’s Vee.

    Although Paolo Filisetti’s sketch shows the Ferrari having the MGU-H under the turbo – do you think they might have it in the same position as Mercedes – as it would be more practical, and not affect any dimension except the length ?

    It makes sense to mount the MGU-H on a common shaft with the turbines, as Renault & Mercedes have done.

    If Ferrari haven’t done this, and it is mounted below the turbo, wouldn’t driving it by say toothed gears be more complex and heavier ?

    A final question.

    Ted Kravits mentioned a regulation requiring in the event of the turbo failure and the turbines exploding, the pieces must be prevented from flying outwith the car’s body for safety reasons.

    Ted said that Renault & Mercedes teams had done this by having an armoured engine cover around the turbo to contain any flying pieces. But this was quite heavy – around 4-5 Kg.

    Whereas Ferrari had instead ( as they do in aircraft jet engines ) made a very thick and strong turbo casing to contain the flying pieces. This is supposed to be much lighter.

    Do you have any info on this ?

    Thanks 🙂

  3. Hi Manky ! About “boxing” the turbo, It is rumored that Ferrari used carbon fibre structure to do it, while Mercedes and Renault used a metal structure.

    I would not call Mercedes solution not as succesful as Ferrari ones, just they choosed a more conservative design to avoid any possible overheating issue.

    About the MGU-H, placin’ it below the turbo is a risky choice, not only it could affect gearbox , but also the MGU-H itself as that area will be very hot (remember Kers battey placed near the gearbox on the RB9?) , but having it there , Ferrari could have an adavantage in the balance of the car. Also I think that they’re able to use such a configuration thanks to the air/water exchanger as turbo cooling system

  4. Pingback: 2014 Car Launches and Testing Thread - Page 14·

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