F1 2018: What should the new engine look like?

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Questions for Andy Cowell and Remi Taffin
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L auter he should be, the Formula 1 engine of 2018. Cheaper, simpler, efficient, 1,000 hp and available to everyone. If possible at a level that independent engine manufacturers such as Ilmor, AER, Mecachrome and R&L Engines can represent. In other words, those four companies that registered with the FIA ​​in response to the tender for the so-called cheap engine.

The discussions about the new engine format from 2018 onwards have already started in Abu Dhabi. Representatives from Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda met for initial exploratory talks. The question was: How close or how far away from the current drive units should the new engine be?

The closer to the current one Motor, the cheaper

Everyone involved agrees that the hybrid idea should not be given up entirely. And that it cannot be a completely new engine from a blank sheet of paper. 'A 1.6 liter V6 turbo as a basis would be the best way to save money. Every new design devours money. No matter how simple the engine concept is,' warns Mercedes engine manager Andy Cowell.

His colleague Remi Taffin agrees: 'The cheapest way is to keep as much of the current architecture as possible.' Upgrading from one to two turbochargers could cost money. Because that also requires changes to the engine. 'At 1,000 hp we're not talking about simple engines. You can't buy them off the peg,' says Taffin.

Opinions are divided on the desire for 1,000 hp. Both are possible on the basis of a 1.6 liter turbo. But at what fuel consumption and at what price? 'If we increase the flow rate by 10 to 15 kg /h and turn it up to 15,000 /min, we are equal to 1,000 hp', promises Taffin.

For Cowell, 800 hp is no rocket science. But when the flow rate increases to 120 kg /h, higher costs come into play. 'Everything gets hotter, has to be better cooled and built more stable. And that costs money.'

MGU-H only as a generator

At first the engineers were shocked. 'It's like having their toys taken away from them,' Niki Lauda shows understanding. In the meantime they have come to terms with the fact that the technology must become simpler and easier to control. Cowell could even live withto do without the MGU-H. Even if it is a wonderful piece of technology and contributes to the efficiency of the current engines.

Taffin believes that the MGU-H could be kept. But only as a generator. 'To fill the turbo lag. 20 kilowatts are enough to drive the turbine electrically at low speeds. It is cheaper and more efficient to do it this way than with a bi-turbo. It would still have a poorer response.'

The demand that the driver should regain full control of the power output has reached the motor popes. A powerful MGU-K that stores electrical energy without restrictions and releases it again, if possible only at the command of the driver, is feasible according to Cowell: 'We need a more powerful electrical machine and new software for it.' Taffin suggests: 'Two MegaJoules in the battery, two MegaJoules out. No matter when and how. Everything in the driver's hands.'

Cowell only scares one thing when discussing the engine. 'If we let the current regulations continue, then the differences in the engine in 2018 would be maybe three tenths. Every new concept carries the risk of someone coming around with a great idea. And that could mean maybe a second difference at the beginning . '

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