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Turbocharger control

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The operating range of a turbocharger is limited by the design of not just the centrifugal compressor but also that of the inward radial flow turbine which powers it. For the unit to work satisfactorily in service, the compressor wheel and casing on the engine air intake side have to be matched as precisely as possible to the exhaust gas-swallowing requirements of the turbine wheel and housing to ensure not only that the overall engine performance targets are met but also that both engine...

Variable geometry manifolds

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At a time when many if not most high-performance road vehicles have some kind of variable geometry intake manifold, it seems absurd to ban such systems for the latest breed of Formula One machines. Originally outlawed in the mid-2000s on the grounds of spiralling development costs, but rumoured to be reinstated again in 2015, this will add yet another layer of complexity to the modern Formula One powertrain. Although rare back in 2005, variable geometry intake manifold systems for Formula...

Single and multiple throttles compared

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Back in my distant youth, before the invention of electronic fuel injection, the twin-choke carburettor was king. Replacing a single-choke constant depression unit or less complex single-choke carburettor – one feeding all the cylinders – an array of two or three of these twin-choke devices under the bonnet often impressed my mates. With one choke per cylinder, and feeding air directly from the atmosphere without a filter or airbox, the induction roar gave the impression of power...

Are you seated comfortably?

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A race engine is effectively an air pump and, in theory at least, the greater amount of air it passes then the greater amount of power produced. However, the introduction of the inlet (or exhaust) valve to control the flow into (or out of) the combustion chamber brings with it a number of practical limitations, one of which is the potential for restricting or biasing the flow around the valve seat when at partial lift. Engineers have grappled with this problem for many years, and while the...

Turbocharging the Formula One way

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Little did Swiss inventor Alfred Buchi realise at the time that his patent application to pressure charge the internal combustion engine using what amounted to ‘waste’ exhaust gas would fundamentally change the landscape in the automotive performance some 100 or so years later. His idea of powering an axial flow compressor using an axial flow turbine was indeed inspirational, but was essentially brought about by the poor engine volumetric efficiencies of the period. Since then of...