The new power units of 2014 have caused controversy since the FIA originally announced their intentions to drive development in the area. Many had a twinkle of nostalgia in their eye when they first heard F1 was revisiting turbo's with the 1980's providing the backdrop to simply awe inspiring power. Unlike the 1980's however the agenda for this engine regulation change is one of responsibility, whereas the 80's turbo cars were weak, inefficient and could be tuned for maximum qualifying attack. The new engines have been introduced to help drive sustainability, be more efficient and require exacting strategies to utilise the restricted capabilities at hand.
The FIA's initial intention to move to an inline 4 engine was quashed by the teams (mainly Ferrari) who simply couldn't understand why F1 should provide the backdrop for such a stark reach toward the consumer market. They finally settled on a V6 configuration which lends itself to the world of F1 and helps the likes of Ferrari to engage with it's consumer products.
The V6 units themselves will of course be shorter than their older V8 counterparts but both the weight and composition of the power units inclusive of ERS will exceed that of the older units. The FIA have also raised the position of the unit/crankshaft for 2014 to 90mm above the reference plane whereas the V8 has been at 58mm (32mm difference). Inline with this the centre of gravity of the engine previously lay at a point no higher than 165mm from the reference plane whilst in 2014 this is raised to 200mm. Furthemore the centre of gravity will be further effected by the overall weight for which the minimum has been raised from 95KG to 145KG (50KG increase).
Heat and Fuel management will be essential for the new engines and its widely reported the manufacturers are seeing upto 40% thermal efficiency from the V6 with engine revs having been reduced from 18,000rpm to 15,000rpm. It's widely agreed that with the fuel flow restrictions in place (5.1.4 Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h. & 5.1.5 Below 10500rpm the fuel mass flow must not exceed Q (kg/h) = 0.009 N(rpm)+ 5.5.) that the 2014's redline will however probably be closer to 12,000 rpm.
The original rules allowed for direct injection and a supply of fuel (25%) via port injection upto 8333rpm meanwhile the latest draft of the regulations only allow for direct injection, This is probably one of the areas the WMSC/FIA believed teams/manufacturers would look toward to extrapolate extra performance to the detriment of cost control. The original regulation draft also insisted on FIA specified injectors and fuel pumps but the latest draft omits this cavaet allowing teams to source and cost control their own components.
The expected output of the engine is somewhere in the region of 600-650bhp but it'll be the delivery of torque that far supersedes it's V8 counterpart with the engine giving a linear power delivery all the way to 10,500rpm where the fuel supply drops with increased revs. This increase in torque will make for great viewing as the drivers try to grapple with the extra low end power. Furthermore the challenge will extend to Pirelli who will be required to provide tyres that are capable of more horizontal movement. With the V6 engine and pressure charging system being down on power compared to the V8 the new power unit will be supplemented by a much more powerful Energy Recovery System (ERS):
Energy Recovery System – ERS
Since the FIA introduced KERS in 2009 the sport has half heartedly had it's toe planted in green credentials with the drivers able to recover 400KJ's of energy per lap and dispense it at 60kw via a motor attached to the crankshaft. The result is roughly 80bhp for around 6.6 Seconds which can obviously be adjusted to anywhere from 0-80bhp for use over a longer time period. KERS is the older brother to a much more technologically advanced younger sibling who has much more power at his fingertips:
2014 will see KERS replaced by ERS as both kinetic and thermal energy can be recovered, energy can still be recovered at the crank (KERS) but instead of the measly 400kj's per lap available now 5 times the power can be harvested (2MJ's) presenting an entirely different challenge in terms of brake balance. Although only 2MJ's can be recovered 4MJ's can be released each lap meaning that not only have the FIA increased the output to 120KW (roughly 160bhp) at peak power it can be used for 33.33 seconds. An interesting aside is F1 car's currently operate within the optimum KERS dispense range for around 50-60 seconds, this optimum range will obviously change with the new engines due to their linear power delivery.
Having read over the last paragraph you may be confused as to how you can harvest 2MJ but use 4MJ well this is where the other aspect of ERS comes into play (TERS). TERS or Thermal Energy Recovery System encompasses the recovery of energy from the pressure charging system. An MGUH (Motor Generator Unit – Heat) is attached to the turbo compressor and recovers energy otherwise wasted by the compressor. This recovery is done either when the driver is backing off the throttle (normally taken care of by a wastegate) or when the pressure being produced supersedes the engines requirements. In either case that energy can then either be sent to the ES (Energy Store / Batteries) or symbiotically shared with the MGUK via the MGU control unit.
The Energy Store can hold upto 4MJ of energy (10 times the current KERS battery capacity) which can be be utilsed either by the MGUH to spin the compressor (reducing lag) or by the MGUK at a rate of upto 120kw (roughly 160bhp). As I mentioned earlier if this 4MJ of energy were to be dispensed solely by the MGUK at 120kw it would equate to 33.33 seconds of peak power. However we can also see from the Flux diagram in the technical regulations that the MGUH and MGUK share a symbiotic relationship whereby energy recovered by one source can be dispensed by the other without the need to send it to the ES. It would be possible to recover energy from the MGUK during braking and release it simultaneously through the MGUH giving instantaneous power when the driver returns to the throttle without the need of exceeding the 4MJ storage limit.
Storage will be taken care of by a battery unit of prescribed weight (No less than 20KG's and no more than 25KG's) stored under the driver in the safety cell just as the KERS batteries of today's cars are. Battery Storage is one of the single largest challenges in the ERS system as being able to provide storage for a high quantity of electricity at rapid rates is difficult. The KERS systems in use since 2009 are only required to store 400KJ's of energy which is 10 times less than the new Energy Store. This will require planning in order to achieve the right balance between storage capacity and charge/discharge rates. It's widely regarded that the current KERS battery consists of Lithium Ion cell(s) whilst Lithium Ion Polymer cell(s) may give another option in 2014 due to their quicker charge rates and easier packaging.
Battery tech doesn't stop there, as an important aspect of the electric cars quest to replace the combustion engine better storage methods must be found. The future presently lies in the application of nanowire batteries (silicone nanowires cover a stainless steel anode rather than a graphite one, increasing power and storage capabilities) and the use of Lithium Air batteries which for all intents and purposes will revolutionize the market once they can be applied.
The other area that can be utilised is the combination of the different battery technologies as Red Bull Racing have been doing. Red Bull utilise Supercapacitors within their KERS system in order to manage the flow of electricity and storage and raises an important question for 2014. Their recent association with Infiniti as title sponsor allied the two in the research and development of KERS technology and although the teams will purchase their Power Units from their respected engine partners (Ferrari, Mercedes & Renault) they are free to supply their own ES. Working with Infiniti may provide Red Bull with access to an advantage that other teams have not considered outside of their Engine manufacturers scope. This is especially important as the ES is the only part of the power unit that won't be homoglated (From the 1st March 2014 the units consisting of Engine, Turbine, Compressor, MGUH & MGUK all will classified as a power unit and development froze)
So now you know a little more about how ERS will work in unison with the engine perhaps we should turn our attention to the physical components and assess how they may be applied to the new units.
The MGUH converts the excess rotational forces between the turbine and compressor and so will most likely sit between the two making for a larger unit. There are several ways in which this can be introduced to the packaging of the engines with the most obvious selections already having been shown by Magnetti Marelli, RenaultSportF1 & Mercedes-Benz HPP below:
Above: Magnetti Marelli recently showcased an example of their product with the 2014 power plants in mind. As we can see the MGUH sits between the Turbine and Compressor housings converting waste energy into electricity to be sent either directly to the MGUK for additional power or to the ES for storage for later use.
Above: When Mercedes-Benz HPP invited journalists to visit their factory at Brixworth recently the image above was also released. This is a mock up of the Mercedes unit but will probably in reality bear no resemblence to the 2014 power unit. As we can see Mercedes took the opportunity to showcase a similar concept to the Magnetti Marelli one seen above. The image shares a symmetry with the image previously released by RenaultSportF1 (below) however in their mockup they also present the option of intercooling the charge air
These images released by the manufacturers are simply to create imagery for the fans and the final product will likely be wide of the specification shown. Somewhere in the midst of their deceit and the reading of the regulations reveals that there are many options open to the designers in terms of packaging this technology:
I did a few sketches of my own a while ago (please be aware these were to get idea's down and so are far from any kind of scale or correct angles) based on a few ideas I had in regard to the placement of the ERS system:
Above: In this image we can see that when I separated the Turbine from the Compressor in order to place the MGUH in between I extended the shaft through the central V. This would allow the hot side of the unit (turbine) to be at the furthest point from the cold side (compressor) resulting in less heat soak from the turbo and shorter lengths for the exhaust and inlet manifolds. However the problem with this would be the shaft from the Turbine to the Compressor is increased in length and weight potentially increasing the chance of vibration/failure. The potential issue that struck me with this configuration most of all though was the requirement for ambient air at the compressor end would now sit directly below the airbox. This results in a 90o turn from the airbox down to the compressor which may be considered undesirable in performance terms. The other option would be to have the Turbine at the front of the engine giving the exhaust a 90o angle to turn (twice) and head under the block (which is raised from the 2013 position by a further 32mm from the reference plane)
Above: This image is really a variation upon the previous with the Turbine and compressor sitting at either end of the engine's V. This time however I’ve incorporated intercoolers either side of the engine in order to cool the inlet charge further. Conflicting information has been given out by the engine suppliers in regard to the usage of intercooling (Renault saying it's inevitable and Mercedes not) As in the variation above the engine could face in the opposite direction (turbine forward) with the exhaust going underneath the engine.
Above: In the last sketch we see that the turbine is mounted at the rear of the engine block. Using the Magnetti Marelli unit as a reference I’ve placed the compressor between the V. (Of course this is all very dependent on unit size) This allows a direct route from the compressor to the inlet manifold which is donut shaped to allow for the airbox to pass through. The concept is similar to the one now seen in the Renault rendering only they have the MGUH on the other end of the compressor shaft.
Sizing of the Turbine and Compressors used will be vital to the way in which power is both used and extracted (TERS) making for decisions by the engine manufacturers at this stage that will provide a differential between the suppliers power units.
In summary far from looking at the new power units as doom and gloom I see the potential for some great racing whilst also passing technology down the line to the road car industry. The utilisation of the pressure charging system and ERS the cars won't suffer from being underpowered and will still have a very F1 distinctive sound (even if it is demonstrably different from their V8 counterparts.