Formula 1 Racing is Turbocharged

turbochargerinengineYes, the Formula 1 races have begun. The world is three races in with the fourth Grand Prix scheduled for April 20 in China.  As the world watches in awe at the versatility and speed (let’s face it, the races are all about the cars, right?), engineers marvel at the aerodynamics, energy recovery systems, turbochargers and internal combustion engines (because we love engineering).

What’s happening inside a Formula 1 car? The official Formula 1 website guides the average consumer into some detailed information, but the makers of the engines themselves; Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault had to introduce some technical advances to be the best of the rest but also to meet requirements.

For instance, this season’s Formula 1 Racing rules changed – apparently more so than they have in the past years. Engineers focused on designing aerodynamic vehicles with a higher engine capacity and new powertrain, which means this year’s F1 engines run on 35% less fuel (source Formula 1).

The new internal combustion engine sports a turbocharger and a waste heat recovery system that converts the kinetic energy generated from braking into electricity (MGU-K, for kinetic). Then there is an MGU-H, for heat, which is connected to the turbocharger and converts heat energy from the exhaust gases into electrical energy. After that, the energy can be reused to power the MGU-K. The inner workings are a bit more complicated than this, but from all the energy the MGU recovers and recycles, the new turbo V-6 engines have more power than last year’s V-8 engine.

Another change to the regulations is fuel efficiency. Teams are allowed 100 kg (140 litres) of fuel, flowed at the rate of 100 kg/hour by FIA-mandated fuel regulators, as opposed to the 2.4s’ 160 kg or so (225 litres) flowed at around 170 kg/hour.

Check out the official Formula 1 website!  You can start with a detailed diagram of where these new V8 engines are located on an F1 car here:

Do you have something to say about turbochargers or energy recovery? Cheering on a specific team? Leave your comments below!

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One thought on “Formula 1 Racing is Turbocharged

  1. The change from 2.4 liter V-8s to 1.6 liter V-6s and the addition of Heat Energy Recovery System (ERS-H also know as Motor Generator Unit – Heat or MGU-H) is a significant technology shift. Effectively adding a gas turbine/ generator to an internal combustion engine. It would be great if SoftInWay could model the ERS-H unit flows.
    The “undesirable” impact of these changes is that the roar of the high-revving V-8 engines has been replaced by the whistle and whine of the hybrid V-6 power unit.

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