On the very first test outing of the current generation V6 turbo hybrid power units back in February 2014, photographers and journalists got their first taste of the sound of the future of F1. Needless to say, the paddock was split. They are far from the screaming naturally aspirated engines of the past but do arguably offer a much deeper and richer blend of tones, albeit at a substantially lower volume.
There have been complaints from a lot of fans about the lack of decibels over the past year and a half, which is why the FIA have decided to take action ahead of the 2016 season. This involves splitting the wastegate and engine exhaust gases into two separate systems.
At the moment, the exhaust gases from the engine (via the turbocharger) and from the wastegate system all exit through a single exit pipe at the back of the car. The single exhaust pipe layout allows the wastegate gases to escape the bodywork cleanly and prevent internal overheating although this does slightly hinder the overall volume of the exhaust tone.
For 2016 the FIA have decided to divide the ICE and wastegate gases into two sets of pipework, whereby the teams must retain the single, large exhaust exit for the former and up to two smaller outlets – straddling either side the central exit – for the latter. The motorsport governing body think that by splitting the two systems the engine sound will be louder than before, although it is actually more likely to change its tone. Regardless of whether it works or not, at least we won’t be seeing the ‘trumpet’ exhaust tested last year!
Another interesting topic that has emerged from the regulation change is whether it will have any aerodynamic benefits. We have witnessed the power of exhaust gases when it comes to generating downforce when Red Bull pioneered the EBD (exhaust blown diffuser), but will we something similar next year? Continue reading →
Disclaimer: I have very little data to draw my opinions on Mercedes’ strange lack of pace in Singapore, so take this with a big pinch of salt. The team do not understand the situation (yet), as said by Nico Rosberg in his post-qualifying interview. Therefore you can take whatever you want from this article, or even nothing at all. I thought I’d give my views on the situation because it’s interesting. It’s good for the sport that Mercedes are off the boil and it’s generating both excitement and discussion. So let’s discuss! Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Immediately after qualifying of the 2015 Singapore GP finished, I darted for a pen and paper and kept watching the Sky broadcast. I have taken notes from interviews and compiled a bit of data from the session to attempt to explain why Mercedes found themselves on the third row of the grid, 1.4s off Sebastian Vettel who was on pole.
In this post I am going to give my opinions as to why the Silver Arrows were so wide of the mark. Continue reading →
Bernie Ecclestone has to decide whether he wants Pirelli or Michelin (or perhaps both) to produce tyres for Formula 1 from 2017 onwards, but he has a few factors to consider. Michelin will only supply tyres if they are able to manufacture 18 inch wheels, rather than the current standard of 13 inches. Whilst Pirelli have tested the former wheel concept a few times over the past two years, they do not seem overly fussed as to which direction the sport takes and, to top it all off, the teams would rather stick with the current design.
So why are 18 inch wheels becoming an increasingly popular size in motorsport? Formula E tyres (which are supplied by Michelin) are wrapped around the larger sized alloy rim, but what difference does this make to the car’s performance? This blog post aims to answer these exact questions. Continue reading →