We are about to enter a phase of the season where the F1 engine manufacturers begin considering changing the basic architecture of their engines to deliver an improved power unit.
Speculation has been recently mounting that Mercedes was to deploy some development tokens for the coming race in Canada.
Lotus CEO Matthew Carter muddied the waters last week when he told SKY he thought Mercedes were about to deploy some of the remaining development tokens for the Canadian GP: “Mercedes are bringing an upgrade to the engine as well, so we have that to look forward to.
“It is a new engine and an upgrade as well. I think they may have [used tokens], we definitely have an upgraded engine.”
TJ13 can report, this is not the case. Maybe Carter was bluffing under instruction.
In fact Mercedes was targeting Canada to be the first change of engines for Nico and Lewis. Of course with just two more changes allowed this year for each driver, Mercedes clearly believes the current design and architecture is quick enough to see them through possibly as far into the season as the summer break.
Also, Mercedes has less development tokens to play with than the other three manufacturers having operated on the original basis that the engines would be homologated for 2015.
Jonathan Noble of Motorsport.com recently reported that neither Ferrari nor Honda were planning any imminent engine upgrades. However, the FIA have confirmed both teams have informed them of the changes they have made to their 2015 starting specifications.
Honda is believed to have the highest revving turbo of all the F1 power trains. It spools at the maximum allowed 125,000 rpm, whilst Mercedes is believed to be running at 100,000 rpm.
The quicker the Turbo spools, the more power is provided particularly at low ICE revolutions. Clearly Honda are playing ball with the FIA#s original intentions that the focus for the new power units be away from the ICE and towards the lesser developed technologies.
One solution to some of Honda’s reliability problems would be to include a new design that revs the turbo more slowly – to improve reliability. However the Japanese manufacturer is refusing to do this and their development is focused around the turbine and the compressor.
The aim is to deliver more power and the two tokens Honda will deploy are estimated to deliver another 10 BHP.
That said, the RA615 H problems have not been due to a lack of power, if anything the engine has been running capped to improve reliability.
However, Honda got a free change of piston design (under safety and cost exemptions) for the Barcelona test, and so some of their reliability issues have now improved.
Canada, Austria and Silverstone are all circuits that required a lot of grunt, and so we should look for McLaren-Honda doing well again in qualifying – and who knows, even better in the race?