Mercedes on target with 2014 engines
Innovation
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Dec 2011   |  5:26 pm GMT  |  116 comments

Before Christmas break I had the chance to visit the Mercedes F1 engine factory near Northampton and I posted on their analysis of the 2011 season. You can read that post HERE

But the final part of the visit was forward looking, with an eye to 2014 and we got a sneak peak at what lies ahead as the engine builders prepare to run prototypes of the new engine on the dyno for the first time in 2012.

The new generation of F1 engines for 2014 are small capacity single turbo V6 engines. They will turn the page as far as engine technology is concerned and will re-introduce engines as performance differentiators, at least to start with.

However great care has been taken by both the FIA, the manufacturers and the teams to ensure that the new engine formula doesn’t turn into a spending war. Many areas of the engine architecture are fixed, such as the bore size, the crankshaft height, the single turbo and so on. The key to building a great engine rather than just a good one will be getting power from the given fuel flow.

“The engines are high revving. You don’t get the maximum fuel flow rate until you are above 10,500rpm, and the maximum revs are at 15,000rpm, ” Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell explained.

The regulations are aimed at reducing fuel consumption, with savings of 35% on the current fuel usage, which will save around 55kg of fuel per car per race. But the rules also allow the engineers some freedom to innovate, with certain key parameters controlled, which seems like a good compromise. Another important point is that with the engine architecture fixed, it’s easy for teams to switch from one manufacturer to another if they find they aren’t competitive. This will keep the engine builders on their toes.

KERS will be dropped in favour of ERS, which will store and inject 120kW of power back into the engine, which will make a huge difference. Whereas KERS isn’t that noticeable, ERS will make a very significant difference to lap time. Heat recovery from the exhaust is part of a system which will harvest five times the energy KERS does currently. And when the car is running in the pit lane, the car will run on electric power only.

As for many fans’ fears that the sound will be disappointing, Cowell disagrees. With a rev limit of 15,000 the engines will scream and with
six exhaust pipes going into one turbocharger Cowell believes it will sound “very nice.” He’ll find out soon as Mercedes are shaping up to do their first run on the dyno in the coming months.

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1

Guys Piston engines are prone to letting go in extreme ways I mean exploding so piston engines are not the way to go I suspect that the RX 8 Renisses engine is the way to go as there are no pistons to come flying out of the top of a engine when it explodes and the engine can be sealed and can be returned to Mazda for servicing and then returned to the racing team for re-instillation into the car for the next seasons racing. nuff said.

2

Running silent with electric motor in the pitlane rule was dropped, wasnt it?

3

I see alot of comments on the concern of safety for the F1 engineers and those in the pit lane. I understand that whilst they maybe under stress to ensure the car is turned over quickly, or when the car is in the garage to ensure it is prepared. However if that stress overtakes the engineers sense of common sense and self preservation then he/she should not be in the pit lane, often when i watched the coverage on BBC i winced at Jake Humphreys as obviously he did not take that element of danger seriously. The engineers are warned whenever a car enters the pit lane by a large air horn which sounds, when in practice or qualifying all engineers should either be on the pit wall or in the garage, i don’t see why an engineer should be out and in the path of cars unless it is a pit stop? Maybe getting a better view of the incoming cars perhaps?

As for the ‘experience’ being lost when the cars are running silent in the pit lane, i also don’t see the point that people are trying to make. To me i like to hear an engine screaming as it touches 18,000rpm, bouncing of the limiter or rapidly downshifting as they enter the corner. Listening to a car idling as it runs at 80kph down the pit lane doesn’t give me excitement.

As for the electric motors in general? I quite like the idea of introducing another element for the designers to handle when packaging the cars, the introduction of that motor is no doubt going to effect car balance massively, not only that but we are going to see a race to see whom can fire that engine and make it run most efficiently so that the power recovery systems are focused upon the ERS instead. It adds an entirely new dynamic which will given 5 years will be shown in road cars. Already road cars are looking into switching to electric power when stopping at traffic lights, why not allow F1 to advance it in stop start traffic flow around towns as well? I can only see benefits from this for the general population and to be brutally honest think that those opposing for the above reasons have no solid foundation, much like anything in life, people do not like change. Whilst those people would think that the 80’s/90’s were the golden era of F1, the generation previous would most likely not agree. Evolution in nature relies on change to the environment around them, it should apply to ourselves in technological evolution as well.

4

I know a good way to save fuel, put all the drivers on one bus! And yes the sound is important it sets F1 apart from other motor sports, if you go to a BttC meet once the cars have all gone by the crowd chat about the weather until they come round again, frankly a bit dreary. You don’t have that problem in F1. I once saw Damon Hill do one lap of Brands Hatch in an Arrows( before it broke down!) and it got EVERYONES attention (same at Goodwood). I’m a mechanic and the sound blows my mind!

5

James,

with the 2014 regulation, from the race conditions when entering pitlane, engines are turned off at all or they are allowed to idle?

6

Definitely looking forward to the Turbo Era returning. I’m sure that they will sound as good as they did in the 80’s. The only thing that I’d change is running electric in the pits, leave that to Formula EV. The cars sound awesome revving in the pits.

Here is a video onboard of Johnny Dumfries in the Lotus Renault V6 Turbo from 1986 in Adelaide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03VUI6jFknY

7

If ERS is much more powerful, I would like to see DRS removed, as I think ERS and Pirelli are big enough to encourage overtaking without becoming too artificial.

There’s much more tactics strategy in ERS deployment as well which I prefer to the on/off DRS, which also takes away from the art of defending.

8

I heard a rumour that Honda are considering a comeback as an engine supplier, given this new engine regulation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do come back to F1, they were very dominant in the “Turbo” era.

9

I’m deaf. If I can cross a busy road, F1 mechanics can cross a pitlane.

10

No. As a padestrian your not under the same stress as a mechanic or camera man.

11

With the 2014 engine regs this is probably the closest you will get to their sound right now –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyyETei8qPs

12

Dunno about your point, but I love that video!

Imagine this: a driver skilled enough to actually shift up, and *down with a stick!

And to control just that tiny bit of wheelspin without electronics! Amazing.

Bet you won’t see *that in 2014!

13

G’day James.

The current engines are very complicated to start up. Requiring different oils and parts to be at certain temperatures before the (external) starter motor can fire up the engine. Does this mean that the v6 engines will require on on-board starter motor with the capacity to cold start? Or will the engine be brought to temperature and started in the gararge only to be turned off as the car leaves and the re-engaged as joins the race track. If the second option is how it will work there is so serious safety concerns for the formation laps. Everyone running around the pits will need full hearing protection while silent cars come hurtlin out of the garage and down the lane at 80kmh. That’s scarry….. Eg, A home sick mechanic who’s been up all night changing an engine forgets a spanner and runs to get it. While crossing the pit he forgets to look left. Meanwhile rookie F1 driver gets an instruction to adjust his diff settings as he leaves his gararge. He takes his eyes off the road for a second to adjust it when suddenly…………

14

you wake up with a hangover…. realizing, with horror, that you went on the internet while drunk!!!

15

Alas not drunk. But by 12:22 am I was, why were u on the Internet at that time NYD??? I spent 6 years in the army spending alot of time with armoured vechiles and watching the pit stops always makes me nervous as there is no margin for error. My point is that silent cars are dangerous if people have hearing protection on! Is that reasonable?

Ps. Probably bet stop using my iPhone for replies, it’s hard to proof read. Happy new years mate!

16

— URGENT MESSAGE to FIA —

I just read through the new engine regulations.

Some fool clerk forgot to put in the regulation specifying paint type, colours, and scheme!

This is critical, and *must be corrected asap!!

17

Forgive my ignorance, i don’t really remember “the old turbo days” but the current breed of F1 cars won’t have WRC style turbo whine will they?

18

I can’t wait for the new engine era. If the development freeze is lifted (within the regs) we’ll see some great battles for absolute power before the homologation takes place.

James, do we know when the engine homologation will take place, how long do they have to develop before we see a freeze?

Thanks for the book btw, great read and much needed over the Christmas break.

All the best everyone!!

19

We have too much government interference in everything! If FIA is gonna make it a 1.6l V6, they should free up rest of the restrictions. Let manufacturers decide whether they want a single turbo,bi-turbo or go the supercharger way. Free the restrictions on materials used,rev limits etc. Now that would be pure F1..the best innovaters producing the best engines in the world. Its a shame that with 4 different engine makers on the grid, they still cannot lobby and make FIA free the shackles from regulations.

20

I’m not so sure they weren’t consulted. James, did the engine working group consult the manufacturers about the rules?

21

“Its a shame that with 4 different engine makers on the grid, they still cannot lobby and make FIA free the shackles from regulations.”

i doubt any of them could afford the expence that a less restrictive formula would bring.

worth remembering as well that the engine regulations were not something the FIA came up with. It was FOTA in co-operation with several engine manufacturer’s which put forward many of the proposed regulations including the restrictions as neither teams not suppliers want what they call a “spending arms race”.

22

I doubt the sound will be a huge issue to be honest, I expect them to make some hell of a racket. I for one welcome our new ant overlords…

23

The 1.5 litre turbos were by no means tame, I can still remember the twitter of pop off valves. Didn’t Keith Duckworth propose a fuel flow formula in the 80’s?

24

When F1 last had turbo V6 engines the exhausts would spit flames on overrun, with the fuel restrictions on the 2014 engine regs does this mean we are going to be denied this spectacle?

25

What it means is that given smaller capacity, single turbo, lower max RPM, the engines will be high pressure with lower BHP than the current engines. – The deficit being made up by the ERS I understand. I wonder if we will see more engine failures due to the pressure induced high stress initially. Of course a properly design engine would be beefed up where necessary to take account of this, but F1 being what it is and always on the edge it remains to be seen if any manufacturers under cook it initailly. I don’t mind at all, a few engine blow-ups adds to the excitement.

26

Does driving in the pits on electric power only mean that after many many years F1 cars will have an on-board starter?

27

Yeah, engage the clutch or use the electric motor.

28

O.k., that is the first time that i heard ERS rather than KERS. How does this system differ from the other? Is ERS somehow harvested through the turbo, then converted into electrical energy, then stored in batteries?

29

Gday. KERS harvests engery from the force of breaking only (hence the Kinetic bit). ERS harvests energy from multiple sources. The heat produced of the exahust (the temperature don’t confuse the turbo charging) runs through a heat exchanger converting the energy to electricity. This along with the electricity generated from the braking is sent to a battery for storage.

I hope that helps.

Ps. I wonder if other sources could be used? Say an air brake with a turbine or solar panels

30

An air brake with a turbine would be a moveable aero device, so it would be illegal unless the rules are changed. But it’s an interesting idea. Of course, a turbine would produce far more turbulent air than wings or chimneys or turning vanes, so that might be an added impediment to overtaking. Not to mention there’s always the risk of failure with any moving part, so a stuck air brake turbine could mean a sudden loss of braking force.

31

Very good point. Im very curious as to where this technology goes. I find it all quite fascinating. Personally id like to see the ERS less regulated. Let the teams harvest all the energy they can squeeze out of the system then use it for as long and for as many kilowatts as they see fit. If the FIA were to demand reliability criteria in the same way they do the internal combustion engines the racing would be very interesting but probably not fair, as there would be too much variance in the performance of the cars at certain (and unpredictable) times.

32

I’m quite looking forward to the turbo-boosty-ness returning, albeit a lot more restricted than the originals, but being f1 someone is sure to find a workaround to crazy hp numbers

33

“KERS will be dropped in favour of ERS, which will store and inject 120kW of power back into the engine, which will make a huge difference”

I’d like to see teams have an option here. Use ERS to inject kW into the engine, or use the ERS as a fuel efficiency gain. That is, the ERS powers the engine to same kW as normal, so a team could chose to run less fuel and be faster on aggregate. But I suppose that idea only really works if refuelling is allowed, and it isn’t.

34

Really can’t believe that F1 car will run in electric in pits.

What is this? Some guys just gone crazy.

I think these guys in FIA will bring HYBRID F1 cars in future.

FUEL SAVE. FUEL SAVE. FUEL SAVE.

They banned V12, V10, V8 then made “Freeze” in engines. Banned refueling.

Keep on banning everything good thing things people like. I think one day they gonna stop watching this sport.

This sport is going in wrong direction, with some idiots making their own rules and thinks everyone would embrace it.

35

Cars using gas engines driving at the pit speed limit, or electric engine driving at the pit speed limit. Yet one of these 2 options is crazy to you?

36

You didn’t understand my whole point.

37

Amazing the technology invested so far now for the future, progressive and very forward thinking by Merc! LONG LIVE F1!!

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