Energy regeneration is one of the important technologies that will be implemented in the form of the familiar braking regeneration and the new exhaust gas regeneration. This means that the racing cars will be powered by both fuel and electric energy. A restriction on fuel flow mass has been put in place,which will make the engines used extremely efficient.
Renault is the company that powered the Red Bull Racing teams to both drivers and constructor’s championship titles with its engines. The new unit named Energy F1 was developed by the French manufacturer at the Viry-Châtillon in France. Looking at this powertrain gives us a good indication as to what to expect from the new F1 cars this year.
For example, the new cars make more power than any of the previous F1 cars that we have seen the last five years, thanks to the use of fuel and electric power. The fact that the racing machines are now being driven by two types of power mean they are now referred to as ‘power units’ instead of engines.
The figures for the new cars are impressive. The 1.6-litre turbocharged units rev to 15 000rpm and produce a total output of about 567kW. The fuel restriction of 100kg per race, which is 35% less than the V8s while consumption is capped at 100kg/hr because the cars have to use both electricity and conventional fuel in each lap. Another critical restriction is that there is a limit of five engines per driver per season and that engine development is not allowed during the racing season.
The engine itself is an engineering feat. It’s been called the ICE unit, which means that it is using internal combustion to produce its power. Without the electric drive, it makes around 447kW. This kind of power in such a small engine creates massive pressure within the combustion chamber, twice as much as with the V8, in fact. The crankshaft and pistons therefore have to be exceptionally strong to cope with the pressure that can be as high as 200bar(over 200 times the ambient pressure).
The energy regeneration system has been called the MGU-H. The turbocharger in these racing cars will rotate at around 100 000rpm, which makes the pressures massive. The MGU-H makes use of some of the exhaust gases by converting it in to energy and storing it to be used at a later stage, such as to prevent the turbo from slowing under braking therefore reducing turbo lag.
The MGU-H will also regenerate power under braking as with the KERS system, which made use of the kinetic energy created. The electric system (ERS) provides 120kW of power in addition to the ICE unit to produce the impressive overall output figures.
With all of these changes to be made and implemented, we simply cannot wait for the season to get going.