Category Archives: Engines

Formula One: Power Unit Development Freedom

pu106a_hybrid_01.jpg

The FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) have reaffirmed commitments to the existing Formula One Power Unit regulations through a refresh in the development timeline manufacturers are required to work within.

Through the 2016 season existing manufactures will have the freedom to implement changes impacting up to 50% of the Power Unit solution.  A further 40% update will be available in 2017, 30% in 2018, and 24% in 2019. Whilst regulations were already in place around Power Unit developments from 2016-2019, changes announced during the WMSC meeting represent a significant increase in development freedom for engine manufacturers.  These changes should enable manufacturers such as Renault and Honda to address performance issues relative to Mercedes and Ferrari.

With current Power Unit technology exceeding performance figures from both the V8 and V10 era of the sport, this additional scope for development coupled with further technical regulations changes surrounding vehicle dynamics for 2017, the publically stated performance improvement targets of 4-5 seconds per lap appear to be well within the capabilities of teams.

Other than to stating Power Unit development as ‘in season’,at this time it has not been made clear how the manufacturer’s upgrades will be applied. However with the WMSC also approving Scuderia Ferrari’s request to supply an unnamed team (likely Scuderia Toro Rosso) with 2015 Power Unit configuration it can be expected ‘works’ and ‘customer’ teams will again run different iterations of Power Unit design through a season.

Any new manufacturers entering the sport through the 2016-2019 will have freedom to update up to 24% of the Power Unit design in year 1 and 50% in year 2 subsequent to their entry to the sport.

The final caveat to Power Unit upgrade regulations is that the WMSC have mandated FIA President, Jean Todt and the Representative of the Commercial Rights Holder, Bernie Ecclestone to make recommendations and decisions regarding a number of pressing issues in Formula One such as governance, Power Units and cost reduction. Mr Todt and Mr Ecclestone expressed their intention to establish conclusions on these matters by 31 January, 2016. These conclusions could shape the direction of future Power Unit Developments.

Formula One: Revealed: Technical requirements of Formula One’s Alternative Engine.

GP BRASILE F1/2015

Following the FIA’s formal call for expressions of interest in the supply of an alternative engine for Formula One, the FIA have today outlined the technical requirements under which the  alternative engine should be developed.

Whilst no price for engine supply has been defined the FIA have requested this be as low as possible, suggesting price point will be a differentiating factor in any business award decision.

The engine configuration requirement is confirmed to be:

  • 2.5 Litre (or less) turbocharged V6, with a KW output greater than 640, which may be detuned to 530 in qualifying and race levels.
  • Total weight of the power unit being less than 135kg.
  • The FIA will impose no limits on Maximum RPM, engine durability or fuel flow.
  • The power unit solution will feature no hybrid power.
  • Hydraulics for the engine must be the same for all teams supplied.
  • The unit must be compatible with the standard F1 ECU and data logger.

Manufacturers expressing interest in candidacy to become sole supplier of the alternative engine supply will have freedoms around:

  • Number of turbochargers – 1 or 2
  • Turbocharges must be able to cope with the maximum boost pressure imposed by the FIA.
  • Freedom around cranktrain and valvetrain in all areas except crank length.
  • Freedom is give on the exhaust system, although a variable exhaust system is not permitted.

The technical specification goes to explain the financial boundaries of the submission which includes but is not limited to; all engine sub assembly, all PU pressure charging components (turbo), PU Waste gate and air inlet system, the fuel system and electrical components.

In addition candidate manufacturers must provide support of 5 personnel per team supplied at all race and test events, along with sufficient power unit supplies for up to 20 events and 5000 km of testing.

Candidates have until 17:00 CET November 23rd to register their interest and capability to meet these requirements with the required supporting documentation.

Formula One: FIA open calls for expressions of interest in the supply of alternative engines to F1

FIA

The FIA have formally announced a  call for an expression of interest from candidates in becoming the exclusive supplier of the alternative engine to the existing competitors for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Candidates have until November 23rd 2015 at 17:00 CET to register a formal expression of interest. Allowing only 10 days for this process suggests the FIA have a number of possible candidates in mind already.

This initial process, or request for information, is being completed to assure credibility of possible candidates with details on the financial status, capacity, capabilities, and client support ability, required in this first phase.

To review the call for expressions of interest document in full please follow this link.

The technical specification under which engine will be developed is not detailed in the brief and is available only upon request to the FIA. It is understood the specification is likely to be a 2.2 litre twin turbo configuration similar to that seen in Indycar.

It should also be noted that the request for expression of interest makes no comment on desired end cost of the power unit or development expectations around the power unit.

The FIA formally launching this stage of the process serves to demonstrate the importance the governing body is placing of the future of power unit development in Formula One. In advancing this strategy the FIA can serve to undermine current power unit costs and manufacturer control of the sport.

Formula One: Renault Sport confirm ICE upgrades available to both Red Bull Racing & Toro Rosso for Austin

renault sport

Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations

There’s very little not to love about Austin. The setting is impressive, the welcome is warm and the track is one of the best we visit all year. There are some very impressive corners and flowing complexes that challenge drivers, engineers and the technology we use. The power unit works in the mid to high range throughout the lap, with high average speeds and some very technical sections.

We will have our new specification of power unit available to use in Austin. The principal changes involve the internals of the ICE to give improved power and efficiency. We know that introducing the new PU will incur a grid penalty so the decision to use will be made in full consultation with the teams. At this point of the season obviously points are crucial so if circumstances allow then we will use on track.

Whatever spec we do use, we are looking forward to Austin. Our reliability has been good in the last three races and performance more in line with our expectations; both our teams just need a clean weekend to show the improved potential of both packages.

Austin Power Unit details

ICE

– Austin is one of the most demanding tracks of the second part of the year for the ICE, with just under 50% of the lap taken at wide open throttle, rising to 55% in qualifying. The average speed will be around 200kph with top speed peaking at over 320kph.

– The longest straight is the burst between Turns 11 and 12 at 1,016m. The power units will spend approx. 14secs at wide open throttle. Top speed is 325kph at the end of this straight in qualifying trim.

– The changes in gradient stress the internals of the ICE. When going downhill the mechanical parts and lubricants are squashed to the bottom of the car but when going uphill they are pushed back upwards. These repeated changes of pressure are unusual on the calendar and will be monitored over the weekend to avoid any potential problems or pressure drops.

Turbocharger 

– Austin’s gradient changes are an important consideration. The run from pole to the first corner is the most acute example of the change in altitude. The track rises 25m over 500m – equivalent to a gradient of 1 in 20 but at its steepest is 1 in 8. This elevation change means the turbo rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill.

– The low ambient humidity of the Texan grasslands has a big effect on the power units. The air will contain more oxygen and a naturally-aspirated ICE will generate more power, but the aridity is very taxing on the internals. A turbocharged engine mitigates this effect by varying the rotational speed to provide the correct amount of air to the ICE.

MGU-K

– The circuit layout with its flowing corners in the first sector, straight line in the second sector and stop/start character of the last sector makes the consumption per kilometre one of the highest of the season. This makes energy recovery through braking crucial.

– The third sector is very stop-start, but the hairpins and tight corners give the MGU-K a chance to recharge. At each corner, the driver will stamp on the brakes, putting large forces through the K and filling the battery once more.

– Three hairpins triangulate the track; Turns 1, 11 and 12. Revs drop to 7,500rpm and the car speed to just 80kph. All three come after a long period of open throttle, meaning engine braking and rear stability on the apex are crucial. The exits and correct engine response from the hairpins are however equally important since they each lead back onto another straight.

MGU-H

– A high percentage of Sector two is given to the long straight, which will give the MGU-H a chance to recover energy from the ICE.

– The flowing section between Turns 2 and 4 require the driver to maintain a constant level of throttle. This will require the ICE to turn at a constant speed, producing a steady stream of exhaust gas, which the MGU-H can recover.

OPINION: Renault bringing their highly anticipated engine upgrades to Austin is a significant statement of intent, if nothing more than to cement Renault remain committed to the sport and the current regulations.  Renault have not officially confirmed the number of tokens used for this upgrade, or if it represents the final development of the season. No doubt they will be keen to validate the developments on track and will encourage one or both customer teams to run the updated Power unit.