Why ‘full throttle’ doesn’t mean ‘full power’ any more

F1 technology

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jerez, 2014Last week Formula One drivers had their first taste of a radical new generation of engines.

But while much attention has been focused on the downsizing of engines from normally aspirated V8s to turbocharged V6s, the introduction of more powerful and complex energy recovery systems will have the biggest effect on driving technique.

The internal engine plus its heat and electrical energy recovery systems are collectively known as the power unit [PU]. The car’s electronics have to continually balance performance against economy as a driver varies his demands for acceleration over the course of a lap.

The upshot of this is that when a driver puts his foot to the floor at the exit of a corner, he may not get all the power his internal combustion engine has to offer.

“Full throttle no longer means a demand for full engine power,” explained Renault’s technical director for new generation power units Naoki Tokunaga.

“It is an indication to the PU given by the driver to go as fast as possible with the given energy.”

Staying within the maximum fuel allowance of 100kg and peak fuel rate of 100kg per hour will require careful management of the power unit over the course of a race.

“Effectively, once the driver applies full throttle, the control systems manage the power of the PU, with the aim to minimise the [lap] time within the given energy,” said Tokunaga.

How the new power units perform over a lap

Renault energy F1, 2014 F1 engineThe demands on the different parts of the power unit will vary over the course of a lap. Flat-out, the engine will be draining its tank and the turbocharge spinning at up to 100,000rpm.

Meanwhile the Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H) will be recovering energy from the hot waste gasses and transferring that to the Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K). Depending on the driver’s needs, the MGU-K will use that energy to increase the output of the power unit or conserve fuel.

When the driver reaches a corner and begins to brake the function of the MGU-K changes – it now acts as much as the KERS units of old, recovering energy from braking to story it in the battery.

The MGU-H also performs a different function. As the engine is no longer spinning the turbocharger the MGU-H takes over. This is to reduce the lag which would otherwise occur when the driver came to accelerate out of the corner and found the turbocharger was rotating too slowly.

As the driver accelerates away from the corner the engine is one again able to drive the turbocharger, and the MGU-H reverts to collecting energy from the turbocharger and exhaust.

Although the driver does not have total control over this energy transfer, he can take charge when he needs to.

“Of course, there will be certain driver-operated modes to allow him to override the control system,” said Tokunaga, “for example to receive full power for overtaking”.

“Using this mode will naturally depend on the race strategy. In theory you can deploy as many times as you want, but if you use more fuel or more electric energy then you have to recover afterwards. The ‘full boost’ can be sustained for one to two laps but it cannot be maintained.”

In qualifying the need to conserve fuel obviously does not apply, meaning the drivers will be flat-out. But as they can only recover half as much energy per lap as they can use, drivers will not be able to do two consecutive laps with full electrical boost.

Because of the need to cool down the tyres between qualifying runs this will usually not be a concern. However it may be a consideration in a scenario where qualifying is taking place on a wet but drying track. Drivers also use their boost before crossing the start line and beginning a qualifying lap, to increase their starting speed.

Coping with failures

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Jerez, 2014While reliability has reached record levels in recent seasons, one component which has caused a series of failures for some teams – notably Red Bull – is KERS. These often caused only a minor loss of lap time and no need to retire the car. But comparable failures with the more sophisticated hybrid power elements in this year’s cars will be much more serious.

“If we lost the MGU-K we would keep the car running,” confirmed Mercedes managing director Andy Cowell in Jerez. With these devices being a major area of development this year he was cagey about the likely time loss, putting it at above one second per lap and less than ten.

“KERS last year [if it failed] it was an inconvenience,” he said. “About 0.3, 0.4 of a second per lap, but you could finish.”

“You lose the MGU-K it’s greater than a second,” he added. But not only would a driver suffer a lack of outright performance, their fuel consumption would also suffer, giving them another headache.

A car would also be able to continue running if its MGU-H were to fail, though turbo lag would also become an additional problem. “Losing both electric machines is bad news,” Cowell added.

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148 comments on Why ‘full throttle’ doesn’t mean ‘full power’ any more

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  1. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 6th February 2014, 12:12

    The technology in these new engines is incredible. This is exactly the tech that needs to be promoted in F1 to coax manufacturers back to the sport.

    • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 6th February 2014, 12:19

      …and for current manufacturers to push onto more road cars. Plus, I actually like the sound of these new engines, especially hearing them power down when they stopped in the pit lane.

    • Marciare_o_Marcire (@marciare-o-marcire) said on 6th February 2014, 12:57

      If by “manufacturers” you mean “companies acting like they care about preserving the environment through lower consumption of fossil fuels while in reality harming the environment through the production of toxic batteries” then you’re absolutely right.

      • Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 6th February 2014, 13:10

        @marciare-o-marcire The environmental impact doesn’t bother me, I’m just interested in more F1 teams. I’d be lying if I said any different.

        • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 6th February 2014, 13:17

          Agreed.
          I hope we see more manufacturer-backed teams in the future like we had in the 90s and 2000s, e.g. BMW Williams/Sauber, Stewart/Jordan Ford. Plus, there’s more variety then which always adds interest for me.

        • Marciare_o_Marcire (@marciare-o-marcire) said on 6th February 2014, 13:37

          I don’t give a hoot about the environment either. What bothers me is businesses claiming to care about environment, which is never true, and what bothers me even more is seeing consumers fall for the trick.

          • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th February 2014, 14:25

            @marciare-o-marcire

            I wouldn’t say that – I mean the first part of the second sentence, although in my opinion the first part is somewhat ignorant as well.

            Businesses do care about environment if it is in their interest. No matter why, but if they take steps to reduce harmful environmental impacts, it is in essence caring about environment. It obviously needs smart regulations and this is where the FIA and other international organizations step in, making businesses interested in taking these steps.

          • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th February 2014, 14:26

            *I mean the first part of the second sentence, although in my opinion the first SENTENCE is somewhat ignorant as well.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th February 2014, 15:00

            @Marco, I think you are confusing car companies with politicians, the car companies just want to be able to sell us cars we both want and can afford to use, the politicians set the taxes that makes car use affordable or not.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th February 2014, 14:10

        @marciare-o-marcire every manufacturer is interested in getting the most of the resources. This world will never be “green”, but at least now we can get just the same amount of power from a little 1.6 v6 turbo, with ERS, than we used to get from the 60s/70s old v8s or the huge H16.

        That’s progress that everyone wants to see and manufacturers won’t be the only ones realizing how big the opportunity it is to get in the mix and develop their knowledge. Hope F1 is the way to get there.

        I’m loving this hugely complicated power units. While I loved the simpler V10s with their raw power, it’s now obvious we’re not going to see then again, ever. So I rather have advanced technology.

        • BJ (@beejis60) said on 6th February 2014, 23:16

          @fer-no65 But the problem is well-noted that the technology going into batteries are worse for the environment than burning fossil fuels due to R&D, production, and waste once the cells are dead, especially lead-acid batteries, which I’m certain these do not use… It’s a giant hypocrisy to say ‘we want to be more environmentally friend so lets use more fuel efficient engines and electrical power’ and people seem to think that it’s a good idea. And in the short term, sure, you see less fossil fuel usage, but in the long term, it’s less “green” than a purely gasoline/diesel/petrol powered engine. Also, someone on here before said that if they wanted to save the environment, they should look at the whole transportation of the F1 circus from city to city (trucks, airplane fuel, etc) where they use exponentially more fuel than all the cars put together for the entire season.

          • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 6th February 2014, 23:23

            Lead-acid batteries are (mostly) recycled nowadays, which somewhat limits the environmental impact.

          • HondaComeBack said on 7th February 2014, 16:34

            Sure, the transportaion of the F1 circus uses a lot of energy, but the key thing is F1 does not manufacture its own trucks/airplanes/trains/boats that they use for transport. Those are separate industries, which are also working on increasing their efficiencies. F1 can only directly impact its own activities, i.e. its own Power Units, manufacturing procedures, recycling, and waste handling.

            If we only concentrated on the single worst offender then no advancement will ever take place. It would always be a game of finger pointing “I dont need to improve my factory because that other factory pollutes more”, or “Why should I stop stealing bread from my baker when bankers are stealing billions of $ from everyone”.

            Just because shipping the F1 cars produces more emissions doesnt give the rest of F1 a free pass on the rest of its energy consumption.

            Also, there is an unsettled debate about how much more or less harmful batteries are to the environment compared to oil. But one big advantage of reducing oil sourcing is the reduced risk of oils spills, especially in bodies of water where the oil is quickly dispersed to a large area and is difficult to control.

      • Beto (@chebeto) said on 6th February 2014, 17:17

        @marciare-o-marcire Well it’s not the manufacturers trying to “preserve the environment”. Every couple of years stricter regulations about CO2-exhaust gases are set and the manufacturers have to meet these regulations by downsizing the engines or making Hybrid vehicles. This applies to every car company, so they would rather invest in technology that will help them meet such regulations instead of building V8 or V10 which is useless technology for them now. It’s the way the world is going at the moment and the only way to attract these companies to the sport.

      • DaveD (@daved) said on 6th February 2014, 18:47

        There is nothing toxic about lithium batteries. You’re reading old “hit pieces” on NiCd or NIMH batteries.
        And batteries are nothing compared to what we do drilling for oil, refining oil, or most especially the problems that arise when we all end up in wars because of oil. Hey, we Americans will find an excuse at least once a decade to start up a war somewhere in the middle east to keep oil flowing the way we want. I guess you think that’s better than batteries?

        • BJ (@beejis60) said on 6th February 2014, 23:19

          @daved You’re missing R&D, disposal, manufacture, etc. Yes, the NiCd, NiMH, and lead acid batteries are far worse than the lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries as far as production, but disposal of the lithium based batteries is insanely more ridiculous than the production of the old batteries above.

          • DaveD (@daved) said on 7th February 2014, 0:10

            You really believe that the R&D, disposal and manufacture of lithium batteries is more damaging than oil exploration, refining and the resulting wars fighting for it? Have you ever talked to anyone that’s been to Nigeria? Just because it’s not in your backyard, you think it doesn’t exist?

            Did you see that they had a single tank leak into a river in West Virginia with chemicals used to “clean coal” and nearly a million people had to go without water to drink, bathe with or wash clothes with for over a week.

            Are you going to stop using cell phones because they use batteries (billions of them all over the planet) and everything else that uses batteries?

            Why do people single out batteries for use in vehicles like they are some type of aberration? It’s incredibly hypocritical for people to ignore everything they do and use every day and focus on batteries in cars.

            If you guys want to go on some crusade against electrification of vehicles, that’s a political/quasi religious argument that doesn’t belong on F1 Fanatic. We should stick to talking about Formula 1.

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th February 2014, 12:13

    Interesting. Now if only someone came up with an on screen display that gives us a clue as to what is happening when we watch a car, it would be gold!

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 6th February 2014, 12:45

      +1000000

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th February 2014, 14:26

      Hear, hear.

    • socksolid (@socksolid) said on 6th February 2014, 14:31

      Actually I’m really worried about the tv graphics. Even with drs the graphics were really poor at times. F1 has A LOT to learn from nascar in terms of how much more and how well more info can be shown on the screen.

      • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th February 2014, 15:57

        I absolutely agree.

        Having those little boxes with names and/or numbers plus speeds or gaps in them with little arrows pointing to the cars on-the-move

        AND

        real-time qualifying time advantage/deficit on a shown lap

        are two of the most basic additions I’d like to see, but of course, F1 has a lot more to communicate via display due to these new energy recovery system usages.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 6th February 2014, 14:42

      I suppose the FOM will have a battery icon just like they did last year, but they have to let people know somehow that only half of the energy can be recovered each lap.

      What they really should have though, is a “fuel remaining” indicator, now that the cars have the official flow meter and that info is sent as part of the telemetry just like kph or RPM is VERY easy to implement.

      • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 6th February 2014, 15:29

        Yes. Keep it simple – fuel remaining is all that matters – it tells us who may need to back off to make the finish.

        And I hope the commentators don’t bang on about MGUs and PUs, but keep us informed about racing things: gaps and sector times and tyre age. It’s a race, not NASA mission control; and none of the commentators will have raced these cars, so they’d be talking rubbish anyway.

      • George (@george) said on 6th February 2014, 17:40

        I doubt the teams would be too happy about having their fuel levels up on screen, it removes a lot of strategy.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th February 2014, 15:07

      RPM, Boost, Voltage K, Voltage H, fuel flow. The perfect on screen “Dashboard”, great suggestion @bascb, it is do-able but probably the teams wont want the other teams to be able to see it.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th February 2014, 15:21

        Yes, those kind of things put in attractive graphics. I would hope the FIA could give FOM access to that without teams interfering. But I doubt it will be much more than seeing a battery indicator and a few indicators turning green, yellow or red @hohum

    • DaveD (@daved) said on 7th February 2014, 0:15

      I love all the telemetry and get frustrated that they don’t show it more often or more consistently. For me, there is even more interesting data with the new systems for 2014 and I certainly hope they will take advantage of this and offer us more information about what’s going on!!!

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 7th February 2014, 13:39

      @BasCB Personally I think the best way would be to have indicators on the cars themselves by way of light strips which change colour depending on what the car is doing. Green while solely harvesting, red while accelerating normally, purple when everything is turned up to 11, and so on. Imagine how incredible that would look with all these cars lit up like something out of Tron, especially at the night races. And it would be an easy visual reference so people know what each car/driver is doing.

      I absolutely love the technology behind these cars. The thing I find most impressive is that there is not actually a single point in the cycle where the car won’t be harvesting some form of energy, even while the battery is being discharged.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2014, 14:00

        I wholeheartedly agree with that @mazdachris. That is something that would really make it exciting. Especially with 2 night races and one light-dark season super duper double points bonanza thing on the calendar.

        This would have the potential to get new people interested in cars giving fancy flashes showing what they are doing.

  3. jpowell (@jpowell) said on 6th February 2014, 12:14

    So the driver no longer has control of the power this is great news, humans are notoriously wasteful creatures . I am expecting future grand prix to be run on similar venues to downhill sking, a sort of hill climb in reverse with none of that dreadfull global warming causing planet killing mechanical power ,can’t wait.

  4. Thanks for the Insight over 2014 Machinery Keith

  5. James O'Brien said on 6th February 2014, 12:20

    How do the drivers override the system to get MAX power, is it like a KERS button? or a mode they switch to?

  6. caci99 (@caci99) said on 6th February 2014, 12:24

    The loss of MGU-K looks to be really bad for the race. The fact that the car will need more fuel if it fails, could mean that race is pretty much over. If it happens midway of the race or earlier, it will depend on how much fuel is in the tanks, not to mention the flow limit.
    Is there any chance that the unit could be back after it fails, say after a couple of laps of not working?

    • Thomas (@tthwaite) said on 6th February 2014, 12:34

      With the old KERS systems they could sometimes fix the problem remotely, we will have to wait and see if they can do the same with the MGU-K

      • Juzh (@juzh) said on 6th February 2014, 22:15

        Pit wall never fixed anything remotely for the last decade. Two way transmission is forbidden (only pit radio is allowed). They can only advise drivers via radio what to do in the car.
        The reason why KERS sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t is because the batteries got too hot and had to be cooled down. I guess the same could happen in 2014 with energy store, but if the actual motor generator unit fails, there’s not much there can be done I suspect.

    • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 6th February 2014, 13:00

      Is there any chance that the unit could be back after it fails, say after a couple of laps of not working?

      Would have thought so providing the failure is only software related and not a hardware issue. We’ve seen that before when one of the Red Bull’s KERS wouldn’t deploy and a few laps later it was restored (but obviously the systems are more complex now).

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 6th February 2014, 14:46

      If the problem is some form of overheating then yes, they could turn it off for a couple of laps while it cools down and they could also do that at the end of the race if they’re not fighting for position.

  7. Rich Rigby said on 6th February 2014, 12:26

    So the drivers will be able to increase their engine performance for 1 or 2 laps to try and aid overtaking.

    If it weren’t for DRS then this would have been really interesting. A chasing driver may have been able to overtake, only for the other driver to reverse the positions – both knowing that they can’t keep swapping places without burning through their fuel too quickly and then both dropping back through the field.

    As it is, with DRS, they’ll just breeze past each other, and use that extra performance to pull ahead out of DRS range :(

  8. Brian (@bealzbob) said on 6th February 2014, 12:31

    Sounds like an awful lot of things that can go wrong; and are going wrong. Reliability could be comparitively awful this year. Which is good news for the minnows. I don’t think I like the idea that we’re making what appear to be so many compromises in terms of outright performance. All of this assumes the tyres won’t be a limiting factor to some degree this year too.

    It all very much remains to be seen.

    • Marciare_o_Marcire (@marciare-o-marcire) said on 6th February 2014, 13:05

      Tyres are definitely a limiting factor. They’re much harder which means they’ll take longer to warm up (therefore slower laps) and won’t corner as fast (therefore slower laps) which in turn means races will last longer (therefore even more boring) but since they’re still Pirelli’s there’s bound to be something fundamentally wrong with them (therefore more pit stops).

      • Brian (@bealzbob) said on 6th February 2014, 13:10

        @marciare-o-marcire : It sounds like you’re not too optimistic either :-) However, if the field is unreliable and more varied from a speed point of view then maybe (just maybe) the longer races won’t automatically equate to even more boring races. I don’t mind a long race if there’s something worth watching.

    • OOliver said on 6th February 2014, 15:00

      Its not like the minnows are racing in another formula.

      • Brian (@bealzbob) said on 10th February 2014, 12:30

        No but it’s fairly obvious that if you introduce the significant chance of retirements all over the field, at the very least you increase the chances of a minnow getting into the points. That’s what I was getting at and it’s what the paddock have been saying too.

  9. JohnNik (@johnnik) said on 6th February 2014, 12:38

    Interesting, I thought that with this system in place that rule 9.3 would have had to have been rewritten/edited/deleted but as far as I can find out it remains intact.

    9.3 Traction control :
    No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver.
    Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted

    The upshot of this is that when a driver puts his foot to the floor at the exit of a corner, he may not get all the power his internal combustion engine has to offer.

    “Full throttle no longer means a demand for full engine power,”

    • naz3012 (@naz3012) said on 6th February 2014, 13:07

      I don’t think that rule quite fits what the electronic systems do; that rule is for traction control if i’m not mistaken.
      The article is about how the total power demanded by the driver is split into Engine power and electronic power.
      I may be wrong but the way I understand it, is that when a driver pushes the accelerator, the power may be delivered to him in different ways, as a combination of electric + engine. If the driver demands say 700 BHP for example, he may get it as 540 from the engine and 160 from the electrical systems, but he still gets the full amount of power that he wants, whereas traction control would initially give him less power than he wanted.
      Slightly cumbersome explanation, i know, but it’s the only way i could describe it.

      • JohnNik (@johnnik) said on 6th February 2014, 13:20

        Yes it’s the rule for traction control and is listed in the transmission section of the rules, which may be why it remains because the system being talked about is an engine/power unit system.

        As usual, there are different ways to read different things and ambiguity creeps in, but I’d certainly say these control systems represent a way to “conceal” some sort of driver aid.

        • naz3012 (@naz3012) said on 6th February 2014, 13:30

          The first thing that came into my mind when i read the article was about driver aids, it seems so complex that if the rules on it aren’t properly written, i’m sure manufacturers could develop driving aids from it, in a similar light to what renault did with their engine mapping

        • Albrecht said on 6th February 2014, 13:48

          @johnnik

          I’d suggest to save ourselves the conspiracies, since we don’t even understand how this new systems work.

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th February 2014, 14:28

      My thoughts exactly as well.

      I cannot imagine the teams will not be able to employ some hidden TC in there somewhere…

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th February 2014, 15:23

      What I was thinking when I suggested that Renault may be trying to be to clever with the MGU-H, not just keeping the turbo on boost, but varying the boost/fuel flow by controlling turbo rpm in order not to exceed the traction limit.

      I am wondering also, would it be possible/legal to run a smaller turbo without MGU-H, less ultimate power but more reliability, much like kers was optional?

    • Diego (@ironcito) said on 6th February 2014, 18:54

      Having your wheels spinning faster than the car is moving is certainly a waste of energy, so one could argue that launch control is a way of saving fuel, for example. You start having a lot of gray areas like that.

  10. hello kitty said on 6th February 2014, 12:46

    My God, the more I hear about these bloody cars the more I’m beginning to hate these new rules.
    If Alonso was to turn up at the first race of 2014 in his 2004 Renault f1 car, he would lap the entire field three, and possibly four times, by the end of the race.
    These cars are:
    1: slow
    2: ugly
    3: too easy to drive (low cornering speeds, g forces etc)
    4: you don’t need anything like the level of fitness to drive them
    It is all a shame
    RIP F1

    • Marciare_o_Marcire (@marciare-o-marcire) said on 6th February 2014, 13:00

      I would correct point 4. to this:
      4) must be hideously anorexic to avoid weight penalty.

    • Brian K said on 6th February 2014, 13:00

      I couldn’t disagree more, I am bloody excited for this new season! The technology of these machines is astounding! For me, that was always the main draw of F1, and what truly separates it from all the other motor sports around the world. Embrace change my friend.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th February 2014, 13:04

      Not at all Kitty. He would make it to about a 1/3rd of the race before he came to a halt for lack of fuel!

    • Albrecht said on 6th February 2014, 13:15

      You’re making things up.

      No driver has said that the current cars are easier to drive. At best some have said it’s the same, others are saying they’re actually trickier.

      Also they are “slow” only compared to last year’s cars, teams are expected to reach last year’s top speeds by the end of the season.

      And who seriously cares about the level of fitness? Even assuming your complain is true and not made up, what difference does it make?

    • Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 6th February 2014, 13:29

      Getting tired of pessimism, were 6 weeks away from the first race and you have given up? At least give it a chance before slating everything that’s new, F1 needs to be moving forward constantly, I welcome these changes and I can’t wait for the first race!

    • Arijit (@arijitmaniac) said on 6th February 2014, 13:32

      3: too easy to drive (low cornering speeds, g forces etc)

      Not necessarily. If at all these engines would require more finesse from a driver to operate as the torque they output is huge. Most drivers have already said that driving these new cars is a completely different challenge. I’m expecting a lot of drivers to spin more, especially in high pressure moments like in qualifying or when a driver is defending during races.

    • Aced (@aced) said on 6th February 2014, 13:54

      (low cornering speeds, g forces etc)

      Yeah, about that, cornering speeds and G-forces endured while cornering are actually higher nowdays(albeit a very small difference) than they were in 2004.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 6th February 2014, 15:13

      Totally diagree with points 3 and 4. They will not be easier to drive at all! They will be much harder to driver! A big part of them being slower is because they have much less downforce this year! They also have a lot more torque coming out of the corners so this will be hard to control as well. I don’t really understand why you’d need a lower level of fitness to driver them either…? Because they are a couple of seconds slower?

    • Breno (@austus) said on 6th February 2014, 21:26

      1. There hasnt even been a race yet.
      2. Your opinion.
      3. Go ahead, take a shot, you probably couldnt drive a McLaren P1 around Melbourne.
      4. That must be why drivers like Hamilton, Rosberg, Hulkenberg are always worried about being fit.
      5. Once agian, you would probably pass out in Eau Rouge, Parabolica or 130R if you were at those speeds.

  11. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 6th February 2014, 13:11

    Cheers Keith! That’s helped clear up some of the confusion I had about these incredibly complex engines. The regs seem very restrictive.

    If there’s one thing I don’t really like about these new regulations is the fixed gear ratios for the entire season. Seems a bit silly.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 6th February 2014, 15:17

      I don’t really understand the point of the fixed gear ratios either. It removes an option that a team might have had to try something different stratigically (like Vettel did at Abu Dhabi when he had to come through the field).

      I can’t see the point of the rule….

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th February 2014, 15:32

      I’m still pretty sure that the final drive ratio can still be changed, it is only the individual ratios that cannot be changed, so having a particular ratio optimised to suit every corner of every track will no longer be available to the teams that can afford that level of detail.

      • Metallion (@metallion) said on 6th February 2014, 15:47

        I think you’re right about that @hohum so they can still change the final drive ratio to suit each track. So it’s not like they’re going to hit the rev limiter at 300km/h at Monza or have an extra 60km/h to spare in Monaco.

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 6th February 2014, 17:57

          @metallion @hohum They won’t be hitting the rev limiter at Monza by using only gears 2-8. In Monaco they’ll only use 1-7. Btw, experts are predicting that with these fixed ratio rules the top speed at Monza will be back up to 350 km/h in qualy

          • Metallion (@metallion) said on 6th February 2014, 18:44

            @montreal95
            Yep, you and effone are correct, thanks for clearing that up! I never thought of that they’d use the gears in that way, it doesn’t seem as bad an idea in that case. Really looking forward to the start of the season!

          • Juzh (@juzh) said on 6th February 2014, 22:27

            They could still hit limiter in monza while slipstreaming with DRS, but it’s a long shot. Too many variables to predict and too little information available.
            2010 cars were able to hit 350 on their own, with no drs or kers, so nothing special about these speeds.

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 7th February 2014, 10:31

            @juzh Where did I say it was special? 2004 cars were hitting 370 kph there. But it’s certainly better than 330 kph of last years. And together with the reports of the Merc engine having output of close to 700 bhp without ERS, this puts one more nail in the coffin of the new engine’s doomsayers(read: Bernie and the gang). The new engines are powerful, flexible, technologically advanced and, for my taste, sound great as well! Yes they’re not as loud but the sound itself is “meaner” and more complex like a roar of some alien animal. I’d still prefer the sound of V12 to this any day and maybe V10 too, but not V8

      • effone said on 6th February 2014, 16:20

        @hohum We’ve been through all this before:
        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/01/13/f1-fanatic-round-1301/comment-page-1/#comment-1474482
        There are 8 fixed ratios between the crankshaft RPM and the rear wheel RPM that cannot be changed except to re-nominate the entire set once in the 2014 season only.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th February 2014, 18:09

          OK got it, last time I read it it was before the definitions were included, interesting that something as simple as optimising final drive ratio which has been part of racing in so many disciplines for so long has been totally removed from F1, should save the teams enough money for a round of drinks for the pit crew.

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 6th February 2014, 18:29

            @hohum They wouldn’t have it for the drinks as the money went for an additional gear they didn’t have in 2013. To be honest it isn’t a bad idea in my book. What’s the point of optimizing final gear if you have 8 gears and can use them less of them at will. For example, I’d read a suggestion that they will even only use gears 1-6 at Monaco. These engines are flexible and can go Monaco speeds(270-280 kph) in 6th gear. But it’s unlikely as then the 6th gear will be too long for other tracks. So IMO they’ll use 7th too. Yes the ratios won’t be perfectly optimized on some tracks but it’ll only add to the excitement.

            I’m sure there are more technical people than me who can explain it better or correct what I wrote but at this moment I don’t think this is a problem

      • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 6th February 2014, 23:31

        Ohh! Well that changes things then. If that’s the case then it’s not so bad. :)

    • If there’s one thing I don’t really like about these new regulations is the fixed gear ratios for the entire season.

      @tophercheese21 I will miss the Monza-spec wings

      • Juzh (@juzh) said on 6th February 2014, 22:30

        huh? they can still change their wings to suit different tracks. It’s just that maximum angle of attack has been reduced. Makes no impact on monza spec wings as they are much below maximum permitted AOA anyway.

    • Hamilton was saying during the Jerez test that he was using gears 4-5 even coming out of a hairpin, to control the torque. If they’re only using gears 1-6 in monaco does that mean they could do the whole race effectively using no more than gears 4-6? (apart from start and pit-lane) Maybe when the cars are more dialled in and drivers are actually pushing they will use lower gears.

  12. Mashiat (@) said on 6th February 2014, 13:27

    Anyone here like the “PU”? Geddit? Yeah…Okay I’d better tone it down on the stupid jokes…

    • @mashiat A bit childish, I agree, but I see your post as a community service. Us folks for whom English is a second (or third, …) language do need to be put on joke alert once in a while. Especially when it comes to the childish ones, because we did not know any English as kids when you English folks were busy practising them :-).

  13. quads said on 6th February 2014, 13:39

    Having only very basic understanding of the new regs, to me it seems as a big amount (if not most) of control is transferred FROM the driver, to software. This reduces excitement for me a great deal as I want the driver to basically have no aids, or at least I want ALL drivers to have access to the exact same number of aids. If unpoliced, I feel these new regs can potentially give us a few obvious new “loopholes” that certain teams can use to gain a huge (unfair) advantage over other teams – similar to the blown diff we had earlier. I am not interested in seeing another team/driver take trivial poles and from there cruise to trivial race wins (and eventually trivial titles).

    So, when the driver applies full throttle the engine will just ignore that “order”, and instead ask the software what to do. Software will say, oh well, give us 70% power and we will take the rest from elsewhere. Is this software standardized or can each team use their own? How difficult would it be to write and use software that in effect gives the drivers the famous driver aid called traction control? How easy is it to police?

    Regarding braking – We will have this thing called brake by wire technology, which as I have understood does the same as in the accelerating case, but for the breaking phase. The driver applies full braking power to the pedal, but the software will decide how much power to be applied to the braking discs (and how much will be left for the harvesting system) in order to have a consistent breaking effect – an electrical motor applies the force itself to the discs. The obvious question then – Is it now OK to implement and use the other famous driver aid called ABS on the rear axel? If no, is this software standardized for the teams and can it be policed?

    We have then not started talking about the double/triple or whatever multiplier for the x last races of the year…Why should certain races be worth more than other? “Keeps excitement in the later stages of the season (and ensure me consistent cash flow) certain old men will say”. What these “old men” forget is that the people (fans) who actually build these cash flows are paying not only for a show but above all for a sport.

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 6th February 2014, 14:04

      Well there’s an interesting possibility.

      So, when the driver applies full throttle the engine will just ignore that “order”, and instead ask the software what to do.

      Would the software be capable of taking the amount of fuel used at any given point, and re-calculating what the maximum fuel per lap would need to be in order to finish the race and adjusting the engine map accordingly?

      • JohnNik (@johnnik) said on 6th February 2014, 14:17

        To be fair, and worryingly…
        I think there is a strong chance that the whole season is going to be based around those calculations, wether they’re done on board or from the pit lane.
        The winning driver/team is quite likely to be the one that can manage their fuel load better than everybody else and stop in park ferme with just enough fuel for a sample, and not a drop more.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 6th February 2014, 14:58

      OK, get this in your head people, there’s NO driver aids period.

      The driver will be in control of acceleration and breaking as much as before, the difference is that the ECU will be more of a middle man, but the torque and breaking force is proportional to pedal position like its always been.
      And in case you think someone will try something clever with software, remember the ECU is policed by the FIA and every team has the same unit.

      • quads said on 6th February 2014, 19:35

        I am no expert, still I doubt it is as simple as you like to express it.
        Nowhere in the story is mentioned anything about “the torque and breaking force is proportional to pedal position” – maybe that is implicit…

        ” ECU is policed by the FIA and every team has the same unit.”

        Will this continue to be true in 2014? Even if that is the case, proper/effective policing will not be easy given the complexity of the thing. Remember that even with the (supposedly much simpler) ECU of previous seasons, teams were caught have been using illegal engine maps after having used them for several GPs – Redbull, not sure if it was 2012 or -13.

        • Juzh (@juzh) said on 6th February 2014, 22:36

          It’s the same for 2014. These CPUs have been in use since 2013 anyway. Proper policing will be easy. that’s the whole point of standardized ecus.
          Those engine maps were not illegal. Red bull received no penalty. Rules were written insufficiently at the time.
          That said, someone is bound to figure a faster, LEGAL way and thus gaining advantage over others. At least in the beginning.

          • quads said on 7th February 2014, 9:56

            Those engine maps were not illegal. Red bull received no penalty.

            Please…we are talking about F1 after all. Are you trying to say that rulings in (in the cash-driven) F1 are consistent…or ever been? Not convinced.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 6th February 2014, 15:18

      True but on the other hand, I’d rather a driver stamp on the pedal coming out of the corner and not have to worry about saving fuel. If fuel saving has to exist in F1, I’d rather a computer deal with that and the drivers get on with racing!

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 6th February 2014, 18:06

      @quads You’re completely wrong. This rule only means that the driver will be able to fully control the amount of BHP he has available at this moment. If at a certain moment the engine is capable of 700BHP he’ll get that(if he judged it correctly and doesn’t get snap oversteer or something). If he has only 650(the battery is empty) then he’ll have full control of that. It was always thus. A driver must do the maximum with amount of power he’s given. In the early days of the V10′s sometimes a driver would lose a couple of cylinders in his engine to a failure making it effectively a V8. Did he have any control of that? A driver was being told last year as well to change his engine setting by turning a lever to increase/decrease BHP/torque. Flicking a lever on a steering wheel isn’t a core driving skill me thinks

    • I am not interested in seeing another team/driver take trivial poles and from there cruise to trivial race wins (and eventually trivial titles).

      @quads Why does everyone gang up on Redbull accusing them only of taking advantage of the loopholes…. and when they are successful, their wins and poles become ‘trivial’

      • quads said on 6th February 2014, 19:15

        Not accusing – just expressing my view on such “racing”. Take for example the 2nd part of last season – That is not racing, rather cruising to poles->race wins->title. Well done to the engineers & designers of that team though (and FIA for the suitable tyres).

  14. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 6th February 2014, 13:57

    Really enjoyed this technical insight. I was unsure whether the cars would still be able to run if their ERS failed but this has definitely cleared it up. It would be quite interesting to see how the backmarker teams would fare against a midfield team without ERS. This season will really be a test of who (not just driver but team as well) can simply keep their car going for as long as possible, as quickly as possible. I know it’s probably irrelevant now, but Red Bull had the fastest car last season, and Mercedes were thereabouts in qualifying trim, but the McLaren was the most reliable. Ferrari also had a car with reasonable race pace as well as the Lotus.

    It’s impossible to judge the pecking order at this stage but we have seen all the Mercedes teams do well in the first test. Anybody would be silly to write off Red Bull, Ferrari and maybe Lotus though. We could have a crazy season, like 2012, like 2009, like 1982 and like 1983. Or alternatively one team will have the fastest, most reliable car and we could have 2002 or 2004.

  15. Although the driver does not have total control over this energy transfer, he can take charge when he needs to.

    “Of course, there will be certain driver-operated modes to allow him to override the control system,” said Tokunaga, “for example to receive full power for overtaking”.

    “Using this mode will naturally depend on the race strategy. In theory you can deploy as many times as you want, but if you use more fuel or more electric energy then you have to recover afterwards. The ‘full boost’ can be sustained for one to two laps but it cannot be maintained.”

    NOTE TO FIA: NO DRS REQUIRED.

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