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Turbo compressor energy efficiency

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For the first time, truly, ever in Formula One, 2014 was all about efficiency – in the amount of fuel the 1.6 litre, turbocharged, direct injected engine consumes over a race, and efficiency of the vehicle aerodynamics. And yet, with the amount of fuel used being around 35% less than in 2013, the cars were just about as quick. Much of the saving, of course, was in the energy recovered under braking, energy that would have otherwise gone to waste in the form of heat out of the exhaust,...

Formula One fuel the turbo years

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1988 was a memorable year. Not only were the two greatest drivers of their time – Ayton Senna and Alain Prost – battling for supremacy, and doing it within the same team in similar cars, it was also the last time turbochargers were used in anger in Formula One. Back then, and much like 2014 in some respects, one team dominated. In 1988 it was McLaren. Winning all but one of the races that year using a V6-configured engine; there the similarities end though. In 1988, the winning...

Chemical power

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The Australian Grand Prix of 2014 brought with it a watershed moment. Not, as you might think, for the introduction of the 90º, 1.6 litre V6 engines or the eight-speed sequential gearbox. I wouldn’t say the event was even pivotal to the introduction of kinetic energy recovery because, as I’m sure you are aware, that was first introduced in 2009, deleted for 2010 and then reinstated a year later. No, the race was notable in my opinion for a change in thinking towards the...

Direct injection

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As I write this there are only just over two weeks to go before the first of the Formula One winter test days at Jerez, and while many a race enthusiast might be concerned about the changes in the sound the new turbocharged V6 power units will make, as an engineer I am thinking about things that are arguably perhaps much more fundamental. So at a time while many may be looking at what has been brought in for 2014, as an engineer I am looking more to what has been left out. Perhaps the most...

Harvest festival

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First introduced in 2009 and then after a year’s absence again in 2011, energy efficiency in Formula One is set to take a further step forward in 2014. Initially called KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) the concept of energy recovery is being widened to the more generic description of ERS (Energy Recovery System). Thus, and seemingly at a stroke, the new regulations will improve the image of Formula One from simply an irrelevant ‘waste of time’ to a much-needed r&d...