Sunday, January 13, 2013


As we all know, in 2014 there will be a new engine formula in F1. The 2.4 litre V8 engine, producing 750 horsepower at a maximum 18,000 rpm, will be replaced by a 1.6 litre V6 revving at 15,000 rpm with a kinetic and heat energy recovery system (ERS) and turbocharger running at 125,000 rpm. Each driver will be limited to five engines per season rather than eight engines at present. If a sixth is required, a 10-place grid penalty will be incurred.

When the news was first announced, the whole F1 world, especially the fans responded negatively, fearing that the sport we loved so much would never sound the same again. Promoters and track owners were also scared that the new engine would not sound the same and would drive fans away. Even the F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has reservations about it, mentioning many times that he did not want the smaller engine and that it would drive the fans away.

Recently, Mercedes is the first to unveil the controversial new for 2014 engine, so you can imagine the excitement of the whole sport to know how it will sound like and whether we will have to switch our channels from F1 to MotoGP or WRC in 2014 or not.

The German manufacturer invited the media to its Brixworth HQ, however, understandably security was tight with mobile phones temporarily confiscated in order that pictures could not be taken and recording devices switched off in order that the sound could not be recorded.

Reporters, taken to parts of the factory that even customer teams are not allowed access to, could see the new V6 on the dyno test bed and being worked on in sealed and dust-free engineering bays. So how does it sound then.
"It's a little bit lower in terms of decibels because of the turbocharger, but it's a sweet sound," said Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines managing director Andy Cowell, according to Reuters. "It put a big smile on my face," he continued. "I think the sound is going to be pleasant. The volume is a little bit lower but I don't think there are going to be any problems with the direction we're going."
Among the elite F1 reporters who were invited was of course James Allen. Here is what he had to say about the sound:
"It is noticeably less of a high-pitched wail at peak revs, as the maximum is now 15,000rpm, rather than the 18,000 previously. But through the upshifts and downshifts it sounds very much like an F1 engine and there is a sweetness to the sound which is distinctively F1. And the turbo, which revs to a maximum 125,000rpm will also be audible."
As for the engine itself he had this to say:
"We also saw a V6 engine block in the process of being built up; as you’d expect it is shorter than the V8, has 15% less moving parts but seems quite tall, so doesn’t appear much smaller than the existing unit when both are near each other in the engine build room."
Also interesting is that the new engines will offer more power from the KERS unit as we know that the 2014 KERS will produce double the horsepower of the current units - up from 80 to 160 hp. But while an electric power unit might seem to produce the same horsepower as an internal combustion engine, its torque output is a whole other story. Electric power units produce a lot more torque and that torque is usually available very early on - like say from 0 RPM.

Which means that the rear wheels will be receiving more torque than the fronts which will lead to better traction out of corners but which the drivers would have to manage carefully in order to get the best out of their laps times. This should make for some very interesting racing.

Add to that the lowering of maximum fuel loads from 150 kilos to 100 kilos, this will increase the thinking drivers have to do during the race.
"The driver will have a maximum one 100 kilos of fuel in his car at the start of the race, rather than 150kg today so the engineers need to find a 30% improvement in efficiency compared to today’s engines, while maintaining the same power output. The 2014 engines will use Direct Injection, pressurised to 500bar. It will make F1 a thinking driver’s formula, perhaps?"
Can't wait to see the first tests but it's still 1 year away. In the meantime bring on 2013 I say.

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