Renault announces 2014 power-unit to equip its partner teams
© Hubert Vincent/Pagécran
The objective of this metamorphosis is to ensure closer ties between the research and development carried out in F1, the concerns of everyday motorists and the new challenges faced on economic and environmental fronts, without detracting from the quality of the show or the level of competition. The change fits perfectly with Renault’s powertrain strategy, which is founded on:
- An unmatched commitment to electric motors,
- Ongoing improvements to the efficiency of its internal combustion engines with a view to achieving spectacular fuel consumption and CO2 emissions gains.
What will change in 2014
F1 is about to undergo one of the most important transformations in its history. After a 7-year period during which engine specifications were frozen, the new regulations due to come into effect in 2014 will see engine makers play a central role in the cars’ overall performance. By placing engines at the very heart of the sport once again, motor racing’s blue riband competition will stand out more than ever as a showcase for cutting edge technology.
The gauntlet the FIA has thrown down to F1's engine makers for 2014 is to reduce the quantity of fuel needed for a Grand Prix by almost 40 %, yet still maintain the same level of performance and power outputs (i.e. around 750 horsepower) as today. The countdown to 2014 is already well under way as the engineers turn their attention to the development of what is termed a 'power unit' that combines a downsized turbocharged engine with two electric motors to recover braking and exhaust heat energy.
- Downsized internal combustion engine: switching from a V8 to a V6 architecture, with a cubic capacity reduced by one-third from 2.4 to 1.6 litres; as well as turbocharging (single-stage compressor), plus engine torque capped at 15,000rpm for a power output of approximately 550 horsepower
- New ‘Energy Recovery System’ (ERS): kinetic energy (ERS-K) and exhaust heat energy (ERS-H) is recovered by two electric motor-generator units named MGU-H and MGU-K.
The new restrictions specified by the 2014 FIA regulations are threefold:
- A double-restriction concerning fuel: the amount of fuel that can be used during races has been reduced to a maximum of 140 litres; and a fuel flow reduction, with maximum fuel flow rate reduced to 140 litres/hour.
- A double restriction concerning the flow of electrical energy: the amount of energy that can be recovered during each lap has been reduced and teh amaoudn of energy that can be restored has also been reduced.
- Development costs have been limited and the number of engines each driver can use in the course of the season has been further capped: five per driver in 2014, then four per driver from 2015 (compared to eight per driver at the moment).
Renault, a major player in this technological metamorphosis
Wtih 11 Constructors’ crowns (either as an engine supplier or as a team in its own right) and 151 victories, Renault stands out as one of the discipline’s key players. Renault contributed significantly to the establishment of the new regulations through its participation in the different working groups set up by the FIA since 2009.
“At the time, there was a perceived distance and lack of consistency between the technology employed in F1 and that used for mass production vehicles, from both the economic and environmental angles. It was therefore necessary for F1 to undergo a significant change in order to reconcile these two realities.” - Rob White, Technical Director, Renault Sport F1.
In order to continue competing in F1, Renault was adamant that the discipline should recover the reputation it enjoyed as a technological pioneer before the engine freeze regulations came into force in 2007. During these group consultations, Renault proposed that the race engines’ specification should be based on ‘road relevant’ criteria, with energy efficiency as the number one priority. The watchwords of this shift towards engines that are also closer to the technology used by mass production vehicles were downsizing, supercharging, an upper limit on engine speeds and the controlling of costs to stay close to production technologies. Energy efficiency emerged naturally as the key consideration.
See you in a couple of months for more details on this power-unit, which will most likely revolutionize the world of Formula 1!