Open top menu
8 Dec 2013

The last magazine style layout went down pretty well so I decided to complete a quick summary of the 2014 powerplant changes that will effect the sport.

Click the image for full size which makes it great for printing off.....

As a translation isn't available for the embedded image the following is the piece in blog format:
The 2014 regulations bring the sport into a new era where energy recovery and dispensation are an integral part of the racing. The new power units as we must now call them comprise of many components rather than just an engine. The sporting regulations refer to them as ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), TC (Turbocharger), MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit – Heat), MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic), ES (Energy Store, CE (Control Electronics) they will be known as individual elements as the driver can only use 5 of each component in a season without being penalised.

Be still my beating heart

At the core of the power unit lies the 1.6 V6 engine (ICE) which differs significantly to it's outgoing brother the 2.4 V8. Needing to work in harmony with the attached components it's a floor up new design, complementing the turbocharger it will run at a much lower compression ratio. F1 also adopts direct injection with the new regulations allowing a more efficient delivery of the fuel a necessity when considering the engine manufacturers are still striving to produce the same if not more power than the larger capacity V8's did with 3,000 rpm more. That's right gone with the high compression is the need to rev the car so aggressively with the regulations capping it at 15,000rpm. It is however more likely that we see the drivers shifting around 12,000rpm as the fuel flow limits placed in the regulations mean peak power will produced much lower.

Give me a boost
Turbochargers haven't graced the sport since 1988 with the FIA reigning in the engine manufacturer's who by now had cars producing over 1000bhp in qualifying trim. The return to turbo cars helps the sport to leverage the additional power that can be generated by them and re-use it as electrical energy. The turbo's being used from 2014 however are a little more sophisticated than the one you find on your road going cars. Substantially sized they should produce lots of lag with the help of the MGU-H they'll be spooled up for action pretty much all the time.

It's getting hot in here
The MGU-H is a new unit located in the centre of the engine's V, working on the same base principles of the outgoing KERS but is instead connected to the turbo's turbine. This allows the MGU-H to extract power by slowing the turbo, which it will do under braking and by regulating the boost pressure like a wastegate would normally be used for. Energy being symbiotically harvested by the MGU-K or stored in the ES can be returned to the turbo via the MGU-H spooling the turbo and reducing lag. Energy harvested and dispensed by the MGU-H is unlimited, making it a fantastic tool for the turbo.

Filling in the gaps
The MGU-K is a redesigned KERS package, whereas KERS was tacked onto the side of the V8's back in 2009 the MGU-K has been designed alongside the rest of the powertrain. Doubling the maximum amount of energy that can be dispensed to 120KW and utilising both it's symbiotic relationship with the MGU-H and the 4MJ capacity of the ES it means roughly 160bhp is available for 33.33 seconds. As with KERS though the driver will be able to adjust the level of power it dispenses/harvests during a lap giving him 80bhp for 66.66 seconds or any other combination of time vs power between 1bhp and 160bhp. 

Just like it's older sibling the MGU-K harvests energy under braking and redistributes it via the engines crankshaft. However unlike it's sibling the control of energy release will be done autonomously via the drivers input on the accelerator pedal. (Having 5 times the time component to spend around a lap would make busy work of a steering wheel button) Although it's widely accepted that a push to pass style override may still be able to be factored in.

Saving it for a rainy day
The ES (Energy Store) has a specified weight of 20-25kg's this is to discourage use of both exotic materials to save weight but also to prohibit teams from running a smaller ES to gain ballast that could be placed elsewhere. The ES must also be placed within the survival cell.

Running on fumes
To further enforce the limit on the teams ability to extrapolate performance from the engine, the FIA have mandated 100kg's as the amount of fuel that can be used by a driver during the race. Early race simulations completed by the engine manufacturer's conclude that at some tracks this is extremely marginal and in some cases downright not enough. This will of course lead to manipulation of strategy, fuel management and clever driving by the drivers.

For a more in depth look at the 2014 regulations along with a few of the 'loopholes' available to the teams don't forget my ongoing series: Looking Ahead to 2014

I plan to get to as many of the 2014 car launches as is viable and also have an eye on making at least one of the tests. This however all costs money and so if you enjoy reading my blog and feel you can help to support financially I'd very much appreciate any donations you make (big or small). Donations can be made via the paypal button in the right hand side bar of the website.


  1. Well done. I think you and Will have taken over the top spots and have the best opinion/tech F1 blogs atm.

  2. Yess -- Very well done -- Thanks --- Ray Courney Naperville, IL, USA

  3. Is the amount of bhp used by KERS chosen by the driver or is it programmed in a way that optimizes the powerunit by the team. Much like Renault have controlled the output of their engines to create better traction. With the turbo engines teams might want to let KERS go from 160 bhp to 0 as the engine refs to minimize lag.

    Is there going to be an article about the gear ratios?

    Also well done and stuff

    1. The amount of BHP will be part of a 3D map rather than a linear button press in 2014. The reason I refer to it as a 3D map is that the ERS is directly linked to the throttle thus allowing the engineers to facilitate a more efficient usage per lap. Furthermore an area that isn't covered much is the use of the Diff controls: diff entry, Diff mid and Diff exit these are pre set conditions than control how the diff behaves but will also be intrinsically linked to the engine map. This will allow the teams to engineer better energy usage for each driver / circumstance.

  4. Well done Matt you have summarised the powertrain changes very well.
    I am still curious as to how much power will be recovered by the MGU_H. I don't believe it will be more than 10KW on a lap if one accounts for the reverse flow of energy to spool up the turbine. However I suspect that this area will provide lots of scope for development given that it’s currently unregulated. I think some clarification will need to be made next year about the conflict in the rules on the ES: if one looks at the energy flows, the MGU-H can directly power the MGU-K without going to the ES, or, it can feed the ES depending on whether on or off throttle. However, the wording on the ES rules says “..the difference between the minimum and maximum state of charge shall be 4Mj…” - I think there are a few Technical directors that could drive a coach and horses through that: it seems to me that this rule has been relaxed significantly. There is a 2MJ limit per lap from the MGU-K to the ES, but, no limit from the MGU-K to the MGU-H (and back) so clearly the MGU-K can and will be called on to produce more than the requisite 2MJ per lap…..And to a maximum input/output to the MGU-K of 120 KW – yet with no comment as to how long this can be deployed for….well one would assume up to a maximum of 4MJ but then as there is an unregulated feed from the MGU-H then that isn’t the end of the matter. As a former engineer I find the power unit control possibilities endless so it will be fascinating to see who manages to maximise their opportunities here…I guess that they will have a few other things on their minds in the short term and leave some of these issues to later in the season.
    A couple of other things:
    1. we have all read a number of articles now about the increased weight of the units forcing a change to the minimum weight, with the implication that the additional 45 kgs will mean a substantial increase in lap time. This appears to me to be either thoughtless or disingenuous because everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten about fuel! The fact is that the weight of fuel has reduced at peak from 160-170 KG's for the V8's to 100 KG max. This means of course that at the start of a race the cars will weigh about 30KG LESS than they do now, but finish the race about 40 KG's heavier, so the net effect is almost neutral.
    2. With respect to the use of the ES during a race, I recall that it now cannot be used under 100KPH at the start which is probably fair enough. I have searched through versions of the rules about the ERS having some form of torque management but I can't find it. It seems to me that it should not be too difficult to vector in the 4Mj in various ways, which given the extra torque of the V6 is probably a good idea. Be that as it may, do you think that it is much of a stretch, given how integrated the Engine and MGU-K is, to using such a system to "absorb" (i.e. recover…manage, control or any other adjective that might help by-pass the rules) excess powertrain torque, for example on corner exits. Obviously this is TC and while the rules expressly say that torque can only be controlled by throttle position, I think such a position is unrealistic because it would seem to me to be within the rules to briefly harvest torque when desired: there is nothing to say that the MGU-K can only harvest when off throttle. It seems like the rules still have lots of exploitable gaps. Your thoughts Matt?

    1. Hi Rob

      Thanks for your feedback on this, I have another more in depth piece coming up on the power units and how I feel they may be exploited by the teams as part of my series of articles: looking ahead to 2014.

      I did these last 2 articles as firstly I felt I'd lost sight of my original intention of looking at the technical side in that I want to create a bridge for people that aren't technically minded but feel compelled to know more. It seems to have worked too as many people are pleased to have had them as a reference for what is changing. Next season I will try to balance both the introductory pieces with the more in depth and assumed knowledge ones.

      To answer some of your questions I deliberately wrote the pieces in a way that some people would start to ask questions, which it appears you noted.

      The ERS is complex and to be honest I think the broadcast media are going to have a tough time explaining it with any level of complexity.

      You're quite right that the rules are quite ambiguous and that there will be engineers out there relishing the forthcoming task. The transfer of energy between the H & K is quite tantalizing especially as the FIA have allowed the unlimited transfer element within the flux diagram. During the braking phase K can now recover much more energy than before and so it will likely be sending energy to both the ES and via the controller to the H to keep the Turbo spooled.

      During mid speed corners I'd suspect the Turbo could be creating more boost than really required so using the H like a wastegate you could draw energy off to store in the ES for later use by K (Especially as K can only recover 2mj's to the ES) allowing H to make up the other 2.

      In regard to torque management as you say this is a highly exploitable area and something of a wide open door left by the FIA in my opinion. Unlike KERS, ERS is a 3D energy map that can aid to both power and brake the car further enforced by the FIA allowing electronic control of the brake bias. In terms of using the MGU-K as a method of TC if you haven't already have a read of my piece from Singapore on the Red Bull - several of my technical colleagues have also voiced their opinion on RBR using KERS as a method of simulating TC but instead of coming to the conclusion that they are using power (from KERS) to modulate the power delivery I floated the idea of modulating harvesting to withdraw power, this is actually something I thought of whilst reading through the 2014 energy diagrams and simply overlaid the thinking on the V8 KERS engines.

      Lastly I simply cannot understand the mass hysteria that is surrounding the weight at the moment, the cars fully fuel laden at the start of a race would weigh around 800kgs with the increase in minimum weight to 690kg's + 100kg's of fuel the car will weigh roughly the same. As you say as the fuel burns off the car is disproportionately heavier BUT everyone is in the same boat an extra 10kg's is not going to change this (just give some of the smaller/lighter drivers even more ballast to play with).


Total Pageviews