Given that the gap between the Chinese and Bahrain grand prix was just one, tweaks to the cars were minimal and were mainly aimed at cooling as the two circuits share quite similar downforce characteristics.
However more was learnt about McLaren’s Honda power unit plus a few other additions were also visible over the course of the weekend. Continue reading →
The MP4-30 is very much a revolutionary car for McLaren. Make no mistake, with Honda coming back into Formula 1 as an exclusive supplier to the Woking-based squad, this is a big year for a team that have been busy putting the right people in the right places to succeed again. Aero-wise, Peter Prodromou’s Red Bull influence is already evident on their 2015 challenger and there are plenty of technical details to discuss around the power unit, too.
Starting at the front of the car and it is clear that the entire aerodynamic concept of the MP4-30 is miles from last year’s philosophy. This in turn sets up the rest of the car’s aero characteristics, so you can really see just how much effort has gone into this area to regain ground on the others. Continue reading →
Yesterday Honda released a render of their 2015 power unit (PU), their first crack at the hybrid technology that has revolutionised F1. Whilst the image is not entirely – if at all – representative of their actual unit next year, I have nonetheless had an initial overview of it and also taken a look a the current rumour mill surrounding 2015 drivetrains.
It’s still very early days and things are developing very quickly, but here is the story so far regarding Honda and their position amongst Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault in the power battle for next year – http://richlandf1.com/?p=28880.
Unlike any other circuit on the F1 calendar, the streets of Monte Carlo traditionally bring the field a little closer together than anywhere else due to the lower impact of aerodynamic performance. With an average speed of roughly 100mph, mechanical grip and driveability are the dominant performance parameters, although teams will cram on as many downforce producing devices to generate further laptime.
Whilst the Principality is not necessarily the ideal place to bring upgrades, the development race never ceases, plus we also got a better look at the Ferrari power unit on Thursday – an item that has been kept in a cloud of secrecy for some time now. Continue reading →
I wrote this brief study for my physics coursework and I thought it would be suitable for a blog post. As I found out during this write-up, information about KERS is extremely hard to come by as it is a very secretive area of engineering. I’ll have all my references at the bottom but before you read, it is worth mentioning that this is not a truly reliable study. I have done the best I can with the information I have found and I would like to thank Craig Scarborough (@ScarbsF1) for pointing me in the right direction on occasion. Enjoy!
Most hybrid vehicles today utilise a rechargeable electric motor running alongside an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), which in turn generates the electricity needed to power the aforementioned motor. In terms of satisfying changes needed to combat climate change, hybrid vehicles are arguably a step in the right direction. However all-electric power is an even more sustainable solution but they require an alternative energy source (hybrids use the mechanical movement of an ICE) to generate the electricity needed to power the electric motor.
In years gone by, the Motor-Generator Unit (MGU) has primarily been used to convert currents. However over the past decade this technology has been harnessed to increase the efficiency of vehicles, more specifically road-going vehicles such as cars, buses and lorries. MGUs, in the motoring world, can now be referred to as energy recovery systems, their most common application being in how they recover energy that is normally lost under braking.
Work is done at the brakes (by friction) to slow the vehicle down and this dissipates heat energy as a result of the contact between the brake pad and the braking surface (e.g. a disc). This lost energy can be recovered by inputting a generator into the drive system. When the vehicle is under deceleration, the generator harvests this previously lost energy – it acts as a highly resistive force when generating electricity so less force is needed on the braking surface. Therefore less work is done at the brakes and thus less heat is dissipated. Energy has been recovered from the braking phase which can now be used for other purposes, such as powering an electric motor that provides a drive for the vehicle.
These are the basic principles of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). It recovers kinetic energy normally lost under braking, stores it (in a chemical or mechanical energy store) and is then used to power the vehicle during acceleration. KERS is, effectively, a glorified MGU: it is well-known for its use in Formula One over the past five years although the technology has expanded rapidly into road cars and other forms of motorsport.