For­mula 1 in 2014

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - TEXT // KENNY YEO

The 2014 sea­son of For­mula One sees ma­jor changes and re­vi­sions with re­gards to driv­e­train, car de­sign and race reg­u­la­tions, all of which can have dras­tic ef­fects on the out­come of races and the cham­pi­onship. Find out what they are.

NEW EN­GINE REG­U­LA­TIONS

Per­haps the big­gest change for the 2014 sea­son is the en­gines. In an at­tempt to im­prove fuel ef­fi­ciency of the race cars and to cut down over­all costs for the teams, 2014 will see tur­bocharged en­gines re­turn­ing for the first time since 1988. Apart from be­ing tur­bocharged, the en­gine dis­place­ment and cylin­der count has been re­duced as well - down from a 2.4-liter V8 to a 1.6-liter V6. Ad­di­tion­ally, the rev limit has been brought down from 18,000 rpm to 15,000 rpm. In all, the new smaller tur­bocharged en­gine is ex­pected to be 20% to 30% more ef­fi­cient than last year’s nat­u­rally as­pi­rated unit.

Even if teams are able to ex­tract the same or even more power from a smaller en­gine, the shift from a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 to a tur­bocharged V6 will have sig­nif­i­cant changes on the cars’ han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics. Typ­i­cally speak­ing, nor­mally as­pi­rated en­gines have quicker throt­tle re­sponse than tur­bocharged en­gines, this is be­cause tur­bos of­ten re­quire some time to spool to get its op­er­at­ing rpm to gen­er­ate boost, which also means that power out­put takes some time to change when throt­tle ap­plied. This can make the car less pre­dictable and trick­ier to drive, es­pe­cially when ex­it­ing out of cor­ners.

In ad­di­tion to the new en­gines, teams will also be faced with new en­gine reg­u­la­tions that pro­mote ef­fi­ciency. For 2014, each team is limited to 100kg of fuel per race - pre­vi­ously it was un­lim­ited, al­though teams of­ten con­sume about 160kg.

En­gines must also be used for at least 4,000km be­fore they can be re­placed and each driver will only be al­lowed to use just five en­gines over the course of an en­tire sea­son. Last sea­son, en­gines were re­placed af­ter 2,000km and driv­ers could use up to eight en­gines a sea­son. Chang­ing en­gines too early or us­ing more than five en­gines will re­sult in the driver start­ing races from the pit lane in­stead of the grid.

For spec­ta­tors, the smaller en­gines, re­duced cylin­der count and lower rev lim­its would mean a dif­fer­ent au­ral ex­pe­ri­ence at races. Gone are the high pitched V8 wails that have be­come such an iconic and in­te­gral part of the For­mula One ex­pe­ri­ence; in its place in­stead are more the slightly more muted howls of the tur­bocharged V6 en­gines.

AERO­DY­NAM­ICS

EN­ERGY RE­COV­ERY SYS­TEMS

For­merly known as KERS (Kinec­tic En­ergy Re­cov­ery Sys­tem) and re­named to ERS (En­ergy Re­cov­ery Sys­tem) for the new sea­son, these tech­nolo­gies will have a greater role this sea­son and help the race cars to be more en­ergy ef­fi­cient. The new ERS will con­sist of two units, one that gen­er­ates power from brak­ing and an­other heat-based sys­tem that is con­nected to the turbo and gen­er­ates power us­ing waste heat from the fast spin­ning tur­bos.

The sec­ond gen­er­a­tor that con­nects with the turbo op­er­ates a small mo­tor that helps to quickly spin the turbo af­ter brak­ing to im­prove its re­spon­sive­ness and ef­fi­ciency. As we men­tioned ear­lier, turbo en­gines gen­er­ally suf­fer from a phe­nom­e­non called turbo lag and this mo­tor can help keep the power and torque curve as lin­ear as pos­si­ble.

The net re­sult of these changes is that the ERS will gen­er­ate more power and driv­ers too will be al­lowed to use them for a longer pe­riod of time. Specif­i­cally, what this means is that driv­ers will be able to use ERS to gen­er­ate around 160hp more power for up to 33 sec­onds per lap; this com­pares to the last sea­son where driv­ers could use KERS to gen­er­ate an additional 80hp for just 6 sec­onds per lap. This change will have a pro­found ef­fect on how races play out as driv­ers can now call on more additional power and for longer pe­ri­ods of time.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is the fail­ure of these en­ergy re­cov­ery sys­tems. In the last sea­son, in­ci­dents where a car’s KERS failed was not un­com­mon, but con­sid­er­ing they could only be used for 6 sec­onds a lap, the lost was not that great. For 2014, with ERS gen­er­at­ing more power and be able to be de­ployed for longer pe­ri­ods, fail­ure would re­duce the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the car to a far greater ex­tent. If you caught the first race of the sea­son - the Aus­tralian Grand Prix - you would have no­ticed that the cars looked rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent from last sea­son. This is due to a num­ber of aero­dy­namic reg­u­la­tion changes and the one that is most talked about is the re­duc­tion in nose height. For 2014, the nose must not ex­ceed 185mm from the ground, a re­duc­tion of a whop­ping 365mm, and this has had a dra­matic ef­fect on how the cars look. The rea­sons for this change is pri­mar­ily for safety as the FIA wants to re­duce the dan­gers in in­ci­dents of T-bon­ing and also to pre­vent cars from be­ing launched into the air when the high nose hits the rear wheels of the car in front.

Other cru­cial aero­dy­namic changes for 2014 also in­clude nar­rower front wings, with widths be­ing re­duced from 1,800mm to 1,650mm, thus mak­ing it harder for teams to re­di­rect air to the out­side of the tires. The new For­mula One sea­son will also see shal­lower rear wings and an out­right ban on lower beam wings, which are small wings mounted above the dif­fuser to gen­er­ate low pres­sure and cre­ate more down­force.

Fi­nally, the po­si­tion and num­ber of ex­haust out­lets have also been changed. Cars will now have a sin­gle ex­haust out­let in­stead of two and it must be an­gled up­wards to­wards the rear wing in­stead of down­wards to face the rear dif­fuser. This is to pre­vent teams from blow­ing the hot ex­haust gases over the rear dif­fusers to gen­er­ate more down­force.

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