Open top menu
14 Jan 2013

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.


  1. Well done, Matt! Nice article, but I would slightly disagree with one statement in the beginning. You wrote: "[...] the overall weight for which the minimum has been raised from 95KG to 145KG (50KG increase)." In fact 145kg will be the weight of the entire powertrain including ICE with turbocharger, MGU-K, MGU-H and ES, so in my opinion it's not very relevant to compare this weight with (2006-2013 internal combustion engine only) 95kg. I would add the weight of today's KERS unit to 95kg and then compare it with 2014 powertrain (145kg). There will be certain weight increase, but not as much as 50kg.

    Otherwise, great job... I see that you have a similar opinion on powertrain packaging as me ;)

  2. Thanks Mario, I agree that the relevance of the increase of weight is offset by the additional components. However perhaps what I should have also mentioned is that the engine manufacturers had a target to meet in order to reduce the overall weight. When they failed the regs were altered to accommodate it. (I'll add that figure tomorrow from the older regs on my other laptop)

  3. Hi Mario, Having checked this morning I take it back the original regulations had the power units weight set at 155KG's

  4. Yes, I remember the previous draft stated 155kg, but I'm curious why FIA later reduced the minimum weight by 10kg... Maybe manufacturers have found 155kg too much?

  5. Torque measured in the engine doesn't matter because the final torque that reaches the wheels is changed by the gearbox. The only important thing is power, which is the same at the engine and at the wheels (a little less here because of mechanical loses). The power on the wheels is the real torque (the torque the wheels applies to the ground) plus the spin velocity of the wheel. So, the maximum real torque for any given speed is the power given by the engine divided by the spin velocity of the wheel.

    The point is a car with 650 hp is going to be easier to drive in the exit of the corners ans won't need tyres " capable of more horizontal movement" than a 750 hp car.

    1. I think perhaps where we are at odds is distribution of power. I should have said the torque will be available at lower rpm making power available much sooner. We have to remember we are talking about two different types of Engine - V8 N/A and V6 Turbo the latter has a better VE (Volumetric Efficiency)

      To work with some crude figures we can estimate that the current V8's produce around 220 lb/ft X 18,000rpm /5252 = 753BHP

      V6 Turbo - 600bhp @ 10,500rpm would be 300lb/ft

      As we can see this leads to a much steeper torque curve based on the available revs (fuel restriction). Even if we continue to rev out to 12,500rpm we still have 252 lb/ft

    2. But when you take into account the gearbox the real torque applied to the wheels that move the car is grater in the 750 BHP car. Imagine two cars with the engines working at the points you used before and at the same speed, a wheel spin speed of 10500 rpm (random number for easier operations). In the v6 the gear ratio would be 1/1 so the real torque would be 300 lb/ft. In the v8 the gear ratio would be 18000/10500 so the real torque would be 377 lb/ft.

      To make a real good comparison you need to overlap the power/rev graph of both engines between the rev range used (I guess between 15000-18000 for the v8 and 9000-12000 for the v6) and the one with more area under it would get better acceleration. Probably the v6 curve would be more flat but i don't think it would be enough to get more acceleration at any moment than with a v8 and a good gear setup.

      Of course ERS can change things a bit.

      I don't want to be a pain in the ass, but i'm tired of seeing reviews where they say one car is better because it has more torque. Of course a diesel has more torque than a similar petrol engine because it works at lower revs. But if both cars have the same power, similar power/rev graph and the same weight they would get the same exact acceleration.

      So people please forget about torque, power is what matters!

      PS: Torque and power are indeed the same, but you can use power to compare different engines always and torque only when they work at the same revs.

    3. Torque and power are not the same, power has a time component where torque does not. Torque is a measure of instant force, which is absolutely meaningless at anything other than a dead stand still. Torque without rpm is worthless. Torque with rpm (this includes 'low rpm torque' <- there's an rpm component in there) is, in actuality, power. My arms can provide thousands of lbs. ft of torque with a long enough lever, but at only a fraction of an rpm, so very little actual power. If you want to compare the engines, look at the area under the horsepower curve in their respective rpm ranges. I'd wager that a 750hp engine with a 7 speed transmission will out accelerate a 650hp engine no matter how wide the power curve (or how much meaningless torque) the 650hp engine has.

    4. You have to look at the torque curve. Typically a turbo torque curve is a steep rise and then flat to near max revs. A typical atmo engine is very different, with very low torque at low RPM and then a rapid rise to peak torque RPM and then a rapid drop. The area under the Turbo torque curve is far far larger with a turbo engine (not slight as has been claimed - they are not on the same planet)and will result in far superior acceleration BUT lower top speed because it has less power. In particular, as Matt has outlined because the MGU-H can access the energy store the turbo may be fully powered up (ie at 125,000)at low RPM. I would bet a dime to a dollar that the Torque curve of the Turbo is, if not dinner plate flat, then like a gently sloping roof because in real terms the unit is capable of more pressure at 6000RPM than at 11,000 RPM - in part because obviously the mass air flow at lower RPM is correspondingly lower.

      If you double the torque you double the acceleration. take the gear box out of has a role in improving acceleration for exactly the reasons I have outlined about the torque curve: more gears allows the designer to keep the engine more closely within its peak torque production rpm. But if another engine produces far more torque more gears can only help redress the balance a little.
      This is the way it also works in practice. I can accelerate up a steep hill in my 2 litre turbo in top gear while a 3.6 L atmo engine is in 3rd-4th gear to match it.

    5. It's the torque at the rear wheels that accelerates the car, not the torque at the engine. And an engine with greater power will always produce more torque at the rear wheels when properly geared. Furthermore, while turbos have greater low-end torque, F1 cars don't spend much time at low revs. In fact, I think they idle at 4000 and never get below 8000 on the track. So low-end torque is essentially irrelevant.

    6. Oh dear. "And an engine with greater power will always produce more torque at the rear wheels when properly geared."
      Can you tell me which produces the most power?
      1. An engine producing 240NM @18,000 RPM or
      2. An engine producing 480NM @9,000 RPM?
      3. When you then gear them appropriately so that the cars are flat out, at the same speed, what will be the difference in torque at the rear wheels?

      "Furthermore, while turbos have greater low-end torque, F1 cars don't spend much time at low revs"
      True - but that is because an atmo engine needs revs to produce power...even with a reducing amunt of torque the additional revs offset that and result in more power but it results in a very narrow power band. turbo's don't: they are pressurised at 2.5 Bar so the camshaft profile is totally and utterly different to an Atmo engine and they produce a much wider powerband. The previous version turbo 1.5 litre engines were often producing 9000 or more BHP @ 9,000 RPM and 1000 at 11,000 -if you dont know how to work out what the torque is at that level compared to the current V8 give me a bell.

      Either I am right or I wasted my career at Coventry Climax and Riccardo.

    7. Let me help you a little bit more. I will do it in Imperial unit because I am nice.
      1 BHP = 550ft/lb/sec (33,000 ft/lb/min)
      as you can see torque and power are directly related. Power is simply the application of X amount of torque for a Y amount of time.
      "I'd wager that a 750hp engine with a 7 speed transmission will out accelerate a 650hp engine no matter how wide the power curve (or how much meaningless torque) the 650hp engine has.
      Well I will bet that in the latter case if the 650BHP motor had 2x the torque at the same RPM it would be all over rover...but then as you don't mention at what revs your comparison is worthless. BTW what is "meaningless torque"?

    8. Power is actually torque (Nm) x angular velocity (rad/s). Metric units given.

  6. I'm being careful to not look too far into the proposed engine design, but would you be able to shed any light on the use of the hexagonal turbo outlet pipe? I have seen other drawing of this engine from the other side and it is clearly a round outlet at the turbo which flares out to hexagonal.

  7. Yes. the power has it own components while the torque doesn't have. The proposed engine design is great. The sketch was good. It is in detailed. My fleet maintenance manager likes it. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. thanks for that article, great advice for new users. i’m following most of the mentioned tipps I really like your post.It's very informative and interesting news I have learnt a lot from this post.

  9. Hello , you really did very well in your post.The post is full of information and pictures also shared in the post.
    Thank you so much...
    Automotive Workshop Equipment

  10. Hi Matt,

    Just a question concerning the MGU-H :
    As energy is harvested in AC and distributed used and stored in DC, could the MGU-H be equiped with it's own battery alias energy store ?

    As the distribution is unlimited to the ... central ES and MGU-K plus the usage of that energy for the MGU-H itself, it could be a big advantage I quess.
    I looked up the FIA technical regulations and it seems there is no rule which does prohibites it as far as I can see.

    Peter - Belgium


Total Pageviews