Formula 1 explained. What is the engine of an F1 made of?

Modern Formula 1 cars are jewels of technology, the culmination of thousands of hours of work by the most brilliant motorsport engineers, pushing the limits of speed and performance. And the same goes for the engines that propel them! Because it is indeed engines, in the plural, which equip the F1 of today. Caught up in environmental issues and the imperatives of energy efficiency, the Circus entered the era of hybrid powertrains from 2014. What is the powertrain of a Formula 1 made of?

Read also: Undercut, overcut – Everything you need to know about F1 strategies

Read also: Formula 1 explained – Everything you need to know about tires in F1

As we have mentioned, the Formula 1 powertrain is made up of several engines, thermal and electric. The first, also called ICE for Internal Combustion Engine, is a 1.6 L displacement V6, or 1600 cc, with direct injection and limited to 15,000 rpm. This is equipped with a turbocharger (TC). This essential component allows, with the help of a turbine (hence its name), to use the energy dispersed by the exhaust gases to increase the quantity of air in the engine, and thus its power ( an internal combustion engine requires air to incinerate the fuel and allow the explosion). The internal combustion engine and turbocharger deliver most of the performance of the powertrain.

A heat engine and two electric motors make up the power unit of an F1. Renault Sport

Storage and propulsion of electrical energy

In addition to its thermal unit, the F1 has an electric side: the ERS (Energy Recovery Systems), for energy recovery systems. In its quest for energy sobriety, F1 is on its own hunt for waste. The energy produced by F1 is less and less dispersed in nature. Backed by the turbo, we find a first electric motor: the MGU-H, for Motor-Generating Unit – Heat. This device makes it possible to recover the energy of the turbocharger. In fact, the MGU-H uses the heat of the exhaust gases, necessary for the operation of the turbo, to produce electricity. The energy produced can either be directed to recharge the batteries, or power the MGU-K (we come to that), or redirected to the turbocharger.

The MGU-K, for Motor-Generating Unit – Kinetic, is the second electric motor in the power train of an F1. It acts when the car is braking. Located on the rear axle, the MGU-K converts the kinetic energy dissipated during braking into electricity. When accelerating, the MGU-K is powered by the battery or the MGU-H to provide the rider with extra speed from the rear wheels. The MGU-K can also supply electrical energy to the MGU-H. It is easy to tell when a pilot is activating energy recovery. A red light flashes at the back of his car.

The different energy flows between the different parts of the engine. FIA

The battery of a Formula 1, or ES for Energy Store, weighs between 20 and 25 kgs and consists of lithium cells. The battery can store, and therefore supply the power unit, 4 megajoules per revolution. Finally, the electronic controls (EC) are responsible for balancing and transferring electrical energy, generated by the ERS, between the various components of the power unit. The ERS, the electric side of F1 hybrids, is capable of delivering 120 kW of energy, or about 160 horsepower, for a duration of about 33 seconds per revolution.

In total, the power unit of a modern F1 weighs almost 150 kg!

Laisser un commentaire