Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Renault 2014 engine

Hi readers,

I have never done any advertisment or press release posts, but F1 is allegedly going to sustain the most anticipated and earth-braking overhaul ever, so certain details are important. The next post is totally sponsored by Renault Sport, meaning that every accredited media outlet has access to it. Not all of you, however, which is the reason why I'm posting it with extensive image material. Note that all images have larger sizes.

• 1.6l turbocharged V6 internal combustion engine
• Direct injection
• Max engine speed of 15,000rpm
• Potent Energy Recovery Systems incorporating two motor
generator units – the MGU-H, recovering energy from the exhaust
and the MGU-K recovering energy from braking
• Electrical energy recovered stored in a battery
• Combined maximum power output of 760bhp, on a par with previous
V8 generation
• Double restriction on fuel consumption: fuel quantity for the race
limited to 100 kg (-35% from 2013) with fuel flow rate limited to 100
kg/hr max (unlimited under V8 regulations) – cars will therefore need
to use both fuel and electrical energy over one lap
• Engine development is frozen during the season, only changes for
fair and equitable reasons are permitted
• 5 Power Units permitted per driver per year


In short:
V6 is shorthand for an internal combustion engine with its cylinders arranged in two banks of 3 cylinders arranged in a ‘V’ configuration over a common crankshaft. The Renault Energy F1 V6 has a displacement of
1.6 litres and will make around 600bhp, or more than 3 times the power of a Clio RS.

The challenge:
Contrary to popular belief, the ICE is not the easiest part of the Power Unit to design as the architecture is very different to the incumbent V8s. On account of the turbocharger the pressures within the combustion chamber are enormous – almost twice as much as the V8. The crankshaft and pistons will be subject to massive stresses and the pressure within the combustion chamber may rise to 200bar, or over 200 times ambient pressure.

One to watch:
The pressure generated by the turbocharger may produce a ‘knocking’ within the combustion chamber that is very difficult to control or predict. Should this destructive phenomenon occur, the engine will be destroyed

In short:
All Power Units must have direct fuel injection (DI), where fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber rather than into the inlet port upstream of the inlet valves. The fuel-air mixture is formed within the
cylinder, so great precision is required in metering and directing the fuel from the injector nozzle. This is a key sub-system at the heart of the fuel efficiency and power delivery of the power unit.

The challenge:
One of the central design choices of the ICE was whether to make the DI top mounted (where the fuel is sprayed at the top of the combustion chamber close to the spark plug) or side mounted (lower down the chamber).

One to watch:
The option still remains to cut cylinders to improve efficiency and driveability through corners.

In short:
A turbocharger uses exhaust gas energy to increase the density of the engine intake air and therefore produce more power. Similar to the principle employed on roadcars, the turbocharger allows a smaller engine to make much more power than its size would normally permit. The exhaust energy is converted to mechanical shaft power by an exhaust turbine. The mechanical power from the turbine is then used to drive the compressor, and also the MGU-H (see below). The challenge: At its fastest point the turbocharger is rotating at 100,000 revolutions per minute, or over 1,500 times per second, so the pressures and temperatures generated will be enormous. Some of the energy recovered from the exhaust will be passed on to the MGU-H and converted to electrical energy that will be stored and can later be re-deployed to prevent the turbo slowing too much under braking.

One to watch:
As the turbocharger speed must vary to match the requirement of the engine, there may be a delay in torque response, known as turbo lag, when the driver gets on the throttle after a period of sustained braking.
One of the great challenges of the new power unit is to reduce this to near zero to match the instant torque delivery of the V8 engines.

In short:
On conventional turbo engines, a wastegate is used in association with a turbocharger to control the high rotation speeds of the system. It is a control device that allows excess exhaust gas to by-pass the turbine
and match the power produced by the turbine to that needed by the compressor to supply the air required by the engine. On the Renault Energy F1, the turbo rotation speed is primarily controlled by the MGU-H
(see below) however a wastegate is needed to keep full control in any circumstance (quick transient or MGU-H deactivation).

The challenge:
The wastegate is linked to the turbocharger but sits in a very crowded area of the car. The challenge is therefore to make it robust enough to withstand the enormous pressures while small enough to fit.

One to watch:
On a plane there are certain parts that are classified as critical if they fail. By this measure the wastegate is the same: if it fails the consequences will be very serious.

In short:
The MGU-K is connected to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Under braking, the MGU-K operates as a generator, recovering some of the kinetic energy dissipated during braking. It converts this
into electricity that can be deployed throughout the lap (limited to 120 kW or 160bhp by the rules). Under acceleration, the MGU-K is powered from the Energy Store and/or from the MGU-H and acts as a motor to propel the car.

The challenge:
Whilst in 2013 a failure of KERS would cost about 0.3s per lap at about half the races, the consequences of a MGU-K failure in 2014 would be far more serious, leaving the car propelled only by the internal combustion engine and effectively uncompetitive.

One to watch:
Thermal behaviour is a massive issue as the MGU-K will generate three times as much heat as the V8 KERS unit.

In short:
The MGU-H is connected to the turbocharger. Acting as a generator, it absorbs power from the turbine shaft to convert heat energy from the exhaust gases. The electrical energy can be either directed to the
MGU-K or to the battery for storage for later use. The MGU-H is also used to control the speed of the turbocharger to match the air requirement of the engine (eg. to slow it down in place of a wastegate or to accelerate it to compensate for turbo lag.)

The challenge:
The MGU-H produces alternative current, but the battery is continuous current so a highly complex convertor is needed.

One to watch:
Very high rotational speeds are a challenge as the MGU-H is coupled to a turbocharger spinning at speeds of up to 100,000rpm.

In short:
Heat and Kinetic Energy recovered can be consumed immediately if required, or used to charge the Energy Store, or battery. The stored energy can be used to propel the car with the MGU-K or to accelerate
the turbocharger with the MGU-H. Compared to 2013 KERS, the ERS of the 2014 power unit will have twice the power (120 kW vs 60 kW) and the energy contributing to performance is ten times greater.

The challenge:
The battery has a minimum weight of 20kg to power a motor that produces 120kW. Each 1kg feeds 6kw (a huge power to weight ratio), which will produce large electromagnetic forces.

One to watch:
The electromagnetic forces can impact the accuracy of sensors, which are particularly sensitive. Balancing the forces is like trying to carry a house of cards in a storm – a delicate and risky operation.

In short:
The intercooler is used to cool the engine intake air after it has been compressed by the turbocharger.

The challenge:
The presence of an intercooler (absent in the normally aspirated V8 engines), coupled with the increase in power from the energy recovery systems makes for a complicated integration process since the total
surface area of the cooling system and radiators has significantly increased over 2013.

One to watch:
Integration of the intercooler and other radiators is key but effective cooling without incorporating giant radiators is a major challenge and key performance factor


Displacement 1.6L V6
Number of cylinders 6
Rev limit 15,000rpm
Pressure charging Single turbocharger, unlimited boost pressure
(typical maximum 3.5 bar abs due to fuel flow limit)
Fuel flow limit 100 kg/hr (-40% from V8)
Permitted Fuel quantity per race 100 kg (-35% from V8)
Configuration 90° V6
Bore 80mm
Stroke 53mm
Crank height 90mm
Number of valves 4 per cylinder, 24
Exhausts Single exhaust outlet, from turbine on car centre line
Fuel Direct fuel injection
MGU-K rpm Max 50,000rpm
MGU-K power Max 120kW
Energy recovered by MGU-K Max 2MJ/lap
Energy released by MGU-K Max 4 MJ/lap
MGU-H rpm >100,000rpm
Energy recovered by MGU-H Unlimited (> 2MJ/lap)
Weight Min 145 kg
Number of Power Units permitted per driver per year 5
Total horsepower 600hp (ICE) + 160hp (ERS)


Under acceleration (eg. down the pit straight) the internal combustion engine will be using its reserve of fuel. The turbocharger will be rotating at maximum speed (100,000rpm). The MGU-H, acting as a generator, 
will recover energy from the exhaust and pass to the MGU-K (or the battery in case it needs recharging). The MGU-K, which is connected to the crankshaft of the ICE, will act as a motor and deliver additional 
power to pull harder or save fuel, dependent on the chosen strategy.

At the end of the straight the driver lifts off for braking for a corner. At this point the MGU-K converts to a generator and recovers energy dissipated in the braking event, which will be stored in the battery. 
Under braking the rotational speed of the turbo drops due to the lack of energy in the exhaust which, on traditional engines, leads to the curse of the turbo engine - turbo lag. This phenomenon occurs when the driver re-accelerates: Fuel injection starts again and generates hot exhaust gases which speed up the turbo, but it needs time to return to full rotational speed where the engine produces 100% of its power. To 
prevent this lag, the MGU-H acts as a motor for a very short time to instantaneously accelerate the turbo to its optimal speed, offering the driver perfect driveability.

Over the course of the lap, this balance between energy harvesting, energy deployment and (carbon) fuel burn will be carefully monitored. ‘The use of the two types of energy needs an intelligent management,’ 
Technical Director for new generation Power Units, Naoki Tokunaga, explains.
‘Electrical energy management will be just as important as fuel management. The energy management system ostensibly decides when and how much fuel to take out of the tank and when and how much energy to take out or put back in to the battery. ‘The overall objective is to minimize the time going round a lap of the 
circuit for a given energy budget. Obviously, if you use less energy, you will have a slower lap time. That’s fine. However, what is not fine is to be penalised more than the physics determines necessary. In the 
relationship between fuel used versus lap time, there is a borderline between what is physically possible and the impossible – we name it ‘minimum lap-time frontier’.
‘We always want to operate on that frontier and be as close to the impossible as we can. The strategy is subject its own limits, namely the capacity of the PU components and the Technical Regulations. The 
power output of the engine subject to its own limits, plus MGU-K power and the energy the battery can deliver to it are all restricted by the rules.

In 2014, the fastest car on a Saturday will still start on pole since the sessions will be run ‘flat out’. The cars will still be limited by the fundamental fuel flow restriction of 100kg/h but the 100kg fuel limit will be irrelevant since very little fuel is burned over one lap. The driver will therefore be able to use 100% of the allowed fuel flow and the entire energy budget from the battery store for his qualifying lap. 
However, should he choose to use all the energy on one lap, he will not be able to complete two flat out timed laps and will instead have to wait until the store recharges. This will lead to some even tenser 
sessions and a number of different strategic calls.


Unless he drives for more than one team, each driver may use no more 
than five Power Units during a Championship season. 
If a sixth complete Power Unit is used the driver concerned must start 
the race from the pit lane. 
However this year the power unit is divided into six separate elements:
• Engine (ICE)
• Motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K)
• Motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H)
• Energy store (ES)
• Turbocharger (TC) 
• Control electronics (CE)
Each driver can use five of each of the above components during a 
Championship season and any combination of them may be fitted to a 
car at any one time. 

The first time a driver uses a sixth of the above six elements a 10 place grid place penalty will be imposed at the next race. This then starts a new cycle so if another (different) part is used for a sixth time, he will 
receive a 5 place grid penalty. If a driver wants to use a seventh of the six elements, he starts yet 
another cycle so he will get a further 10 place penalty. The second time he wants to use a seventh part he will get a 5-place grid penalty. If a grid place penalty is imposed, and the driver’s grid position is such 
that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied at the driver’s next race. However, no such remaining penalties will be carried forward for more than one GP

That's the long story short. Certainly, there will be much more as the season advances.
Finally, I made a small experiment from the crypt-analysis days. I counted the most repeated words to check where the focus is. Here are the results:

The small numbers on the right side of the words are the number of occurrences in the text above.
Evidently, the focus goes to Energy, Power and Fuel, if we limit the choice to Top 3.
Welcome to 2014 season!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The dark side of track design

Yes, that's Darth Vader taking selfie. The Dark Side has gone modern.
Mapping this to Formula 1, creating a track also has its dark side. I'm re-posting an interview with Herman Tilke; If you are F1 addict, you have certainly heard his name, for good or bad. The following interview is here thanks to the F1 Racing Bulgaria.

  • They give us a predefined piece of land, which is a limiting factor. 
  • We, Tilke Design, have no monopoly over building tracks in F1, we just make less mistakes than anyone else. 
  • The tracks have to be compliant to F1 and MotoGP standards, and that leads to compromises. 
  • The configuration of India track includes artificial hill made with 4 million cubic meters of soil. 
Not really emotional, lack creativity and no abilities to overtake - why are Tilke tracks so negatively rewarded by the fans? Here's what he has to say about it.

Definitely, Tilke is the man to answer many questions. During the last decade we saw migration of the sport from traditional European tracks to new circuits, which according to most, are state-of-art facilities, but the tracks per se lack 'soul'.
The popular Imola, Estoril and Zandvoort made way for Bahrain, China, Turkey, Korea, Abu Dhabi and finaly India. They are all Tilke's kids. The critics say that his designs do not offer anything that might spice up the show, as opposed to Her Majesty Spa and Monza. Sir Jackie Steward, the Lord of Nordschleife, is among those critics. "I think that today's tracks are too similar and the tracks are like made from template - same uniform". For example, the Scott continues, all golf play fields are made by different people, whereas in F1 most of the new tracks are done by the same man".

Lack of tough speedy corners, presence of large run-off areas, which do not punish driver error, inability to overtake - are all those critics right? Having Sochi and New Jersey ahead in the near future, there's very little chance for comeback of Imola and Zandvoort. The future belongs to Tilke. The ex-German pilot founded Tilke GmbH in 1984 and was a consultant when modernizing The Ring. 10 years later the architect Peter Whal joined the company and that led to extending the firm's profile. Today, more than 350 people work there across all offices in the world and 40 of them are engaged in every F1 project. They are responsible for the design, the construction work, soil analysis, laying down the asphalt, and so on. The newest projects include even hospitals. But it's time for Tilke and his right hand, Whal, to respond to the sea of critics flowing towards them. 

Why most of the tracks are on flat surface? If you want to create a thriller, why don't you replicate turns like Eau Rouge, where there's a great elevation? 
Petel Whal: We are getting a piece of land and that's it - we are limited by it. People have to understand that. We cannot do what we want; exception was the Budh track in India, where we placed 4 million cubic meters of soil to create couple of level changes. Certainly, it would be great to flow in some 20 million cubic meters, but the problem is that no one can afford it. We want interesting turns, more places to overtake, but we are always limited by the budget. In the end you cannot be very creative. 

When Nico Rosberg drove initially in India, you have got Congratulations for the job well done. But apart from India, you have projected both China and Korea, which don't look that good. What is the reason? 
Tilke: One of the main issues and many local ones is that the client wants the track to be both F1 and MotoGP compliant. That leads to compromises in the design. In addition to that, there are different safety rules in FIA and FIM. We have to calculate the speed and the braking points for both categories, then we look at the possibilities of the outer part of the turn. For example in MotoGP there has to be gravel in the safety areas, whereas in F1 it should be tarmac. 

That's one of the biggest points for criticism - that the pilot doesn't lose anything if he goes out of the track. 
Back in the years the mistakes were punished heavily, which was leading to large incidents, but this was a driving factor to improve piloting skills. 
Whal: I think 'punish' is the wrong word in this case. With gravel alongside the turns we were seeing drivers retiring from the races on Lap 1. Today, this isn't happening and the car gets back into the race. Yes, the penalty is couple of seconds added to the lap time, but you aren't losing the wholes race, which is the right thing. This leads to taking greater risks and more interesting races. 

Why there are no more turns like 130R at Suzuka and Copse at Silverstone? There are too less speed banks to push the drivers at their best. 
Tilke: The problem is that such turns are very hard to be designed. They are great, because you can just lift-off a little and take the challenge. We calculate the radius, then again next year the downforce level increase and the turn can be taken at full speed. If we take Eau Rouge for example - yes, a fantastic turn which is not that dramatic to the drivers, as it can be taken on full throttle. Now you see some of the issues we are dealing with, like changing rules and varying levels of downforce. 

Do the drivers have influence in track design? 
Tilke: Yes, in a positive way, because they see what we have done and they give feedback, which we are carefully listening to. Sometimes they criticize certain aspects, but they never say that the track is bad. They don't like turn who is very open or too narrow, for example, but just small details. 

You have built your first track in 1999, Sepang. Did you learn from mistakes ever since? 
Whal: We are trying to improve since Malaysia - there are certain ideas that did not work as expected over there, so we left those out for the future plans. If something comes out really good after the initial race analysis, we transfer the good part into the next projects. We like feedback, but only if it's constructive and fair. In the end, we think that every track after Sepang is a step ahead. 

You get fair amount of angry voices that your tracks do not offer enough places for overtaking. India is great as a track, but did it have enough action during the race? 
Tilke: Check out turn #3 in India - we have doubled the width of the entry and the apex is blind. We made it after long discussion with FIA and some of the drivers. With solution like that it is sometimes hard to defend your position and there are couple of racing lines possible in that turn. When you have a car behind, usually the defense is at the inside, but the car behind can choose wider line and attack on the straight that is ahead. So places like that increase the chance for overtaking. I'm sure that it doesn't always work like that. Same goes for the hairpin at Hockenheim - we have extended the width and the solution works. There are overtakes all the time on that turn. One of the biggest issues in F1 is that the cars are lined from the fastest to the slowest. If there is no big difference in tire conditions or the driver make a mistake, sometimes not much is happening. We can't change that. 

Sir Jackie Steward focuses on the problem that there's a sole designer for tracks. Why do you have monopoly over that? 
Tilke: We have no monopoly. Singapore wasn't designed by us, but from an Australian company - KBR, which took our original idea and did the track. I guess the reason why we have more invitations is that we make less mistakes that anyone else, because we have experience with 60 tracks. We haven't done any bad tracks, otherwise we wouldn't be in the business. 

Tell us about New Jersey and the street track that is supposed to host F1 races soon....
Whal: the track is at the Hudson river, west to Manhattan. We have elevation of 60 meters and many fast sections. The max speed will be over 320 km/h. There will be permanent pits - the first floor will be the pit box, the second one - temporary, like Monaco. Regarding elevation changes the track is like Spa, but bears the character of Monaco. Imagine the combination of these two in New York. It will also be a green race - you won't be able to go there with your car. 

Finally, name your favorite track? 
Tilke: That's gotta be Nordschleife :) 

Some of the best turns by Tilke. 
  1. No flashy name, but turn #8 in Turkey is a legend. It has four apexes and drivers accelerate through on 6-th gear with about 265 km/h. At the same time they are trying to avoid the kerb on the exit, which can throw them out of the track. And the first lap with full gas tanks on full throttle there is a really nervous exercise. Unfortunately Turkey is no longer hosting an F1 race.
  2. Turn #10 in India. The drivers accelerate with about 190 km/h on 4-th gear through the right hander virage, which gets narrow at the exit. The left tires can touch the kerbs and the astroturf, then there's a straight and downhill.
  3. Turn #14 in Sepang is one of the hardest on the calendar and it has to be done perfect. Approaching it, the drivers are on 6-th gear, the braking point is hard to find while you downshift to 2-nd gear and 120 km/h when turning in. The apex is on a blind virage, so is the exit and the car is unstable when accelerating.