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I'm Matthew Somerfield, a freelance journalist focused on the technical elements of Formula One. It has been a pleasure to provide content via this site for the last 5 years, which has led me to several paid freelancing jobs along the way. I'm currently plying my trade with Motorsport.com and working alongside the legend that is Giorgio Piola.

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20 Mar 2014

In my latest video I look at the 2014 powerunits, the differences between the outgoing V8's and the new V6's then a closer look at how the electrical energy can be used.


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3 comments:

  1. beautiful job .. IMO the key phrase in the entire video is that while these units are allowed 16,000 rpms they will run considerably less revs because of the fuel limitations. If I remember correctly I heard talk during Melbourne of 10-11,000 rpms.

    Right there is our sound problem .. and it's a real problem that F1 faces. here in the US I bet we have tractor pulls (really crude crude "racing") that pull more revs.

    So we've built a new fleet of cars around the small fuel tanks and ridiculous maximum fuel flow restriction by the hundredth of a second. There is no way out of this problem for this year. F1 is married to this fundamental miscalculation. The key becomes how they will fix it for next season.

    Obviously we need to get the revs up .. raise the fuel requirements so that F1 will still be F1. Maybe monitor fuel flow by let's say a 2 second interval or so. Maybe they COULD do that this year, after the half, when they see the disgruntled fan base shrink.

    Oh how I miss 2010 when we had wide open double diffusers and tires that could go the distance and motors that sounded like they belonged in an F1 car. Does that make me Luddite?

    I'm really not sure how many races I will care to watch this season. It's just a waste ..

    Outstanding blog BTW. Beyond outstanding really.

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  2. Is it not possible to lift the 100kg/hr fuel flow rate to hit higher RPMs? Garry Anderson over at Autosport wrote a nice summation of how the fuel flow works over a lap, so it would seem possible to use the ICE more, with higher revs and increased fuel flow if the electrical units could be used more to compensate. It seems they have more than enough torque and capacity from the energy recovery system to facilitate this, and it would be through software rather than hardware modification. OR am I missing something?
    Also agree, best tech-blog out there (and I'm an avid reader of Mr Scarborough's work!)

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  3. Thanks for the replies guys and feedback on the blog I do appreciate it! In answer to both of you, yes the revs can be raised. The problem is however all of the R&D that has gone into building these engines is based on the 100kg/h fuel flow calculations. The current redline is 15,000 rpm but due to the fuel flow model and more importantly 5.1.5 which talks about fuel flow below 10,500rpm the engines are only revving out to around 11,500-12,000rpm as beyond this you aren't making any additional power.
    Why then I hear you ask are we limiting the fuel flow? that is to do with the amount of achievable power generated from the ICE. If we allow these figures to be increased, sure the engines will rev out more freely, closer to the 15k redline in the regulations but with it brings the possibility to increase the car's speed. Currently most of the teams have selected gear ratios to cater for all the circuits on the calender (with Monza and Monaco being at either end of the spectrum). Williams for arguments sake seem to be the shortest geared team with them requiring 8th for a short period along the pit straight in Melbourne whilst everyone else only required 7th.
    Even with the loss of downforce (although most the teams have a big chunk of this back already) and loss of the peaky V8's 18,000rpm the top speed when compared between 13/14 was only around 10kph.
    Now granted some of the teams have gone for a more efficient, ie less drag orientated car for 2014 due to the need for fuel saving this top speed differential is pretty impressive IMO.

    So returning to the point at hand, yes the revs can be increased IF we give them more fuel flow to play with (albeit this will have to be offset elsewhere and can't be used all the time due to the 100kg race fuel limit) but the intent to reduce speeds in F1 will be negated. I predict this generation of cars might actually (finally) break some of the lap records held by the F2004... In other words their potential is huge and we should stop looking at the short term and see where F1 is halfway through the season, given the development rate at which F1 operates

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