Renault Energy F1: the new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine for 2014 F1 championship

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 21, 2013

Renault unveiled today the Renault Energy F1, its brand new engine developed for the 2014 F1 championship. As expected, the new engine, which will replace the current 2.4-liter V8, is a new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine but the surprises are yet to come. Due to the fact that the French manufacturer is currently testing the engines, there are no official numbers available but according to the official press release the maximum power delivered (people involved in the development of the engine say it would deliver around 600 bhp) by the new Power Unit will exceed the output of the current V8 engines. Despite the power increase, the new engine will also use almost 40% less fuel than its predecessor.

In 2014, F1 cars will only be allowed to use a fuel quantity of 100 kg (currently the quantity is unlimited) and the fuel mass flow rated will be limited to 100 kg/hr max (currently unlimited). Still, Potent Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) are allowed. 5 Power Units will be available per driver per season in 2014 (down from 8), each using a unique pressure charging architecture.

The turbocharger used on the new 1.6 V6 engine uses an exhaust driven turbine to drive a compressor that increases the density of the air consumed by the engine and make more power. The residual heat energy contained in the exhaust gases after expansion in the cylinders is converted to mechanical shaft power by the exhaust turbine.

The mechanical power from the turbine is used to drive the compressor, and also the MGU-H. A motor generator unit (MGU) is an electrical machine. When operating as a motor, the MGU converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. When it operates as a generator the MGU converts mechanical energy to electrical. The 2014 Power Unit uses two MGUs; an MGU-H (H for Heat – exhaust energy recovery) and MGU-K (K for Kinetic – kinetic energy recovery during braking).

The MGU-K is connected to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine and is capable of recovering or providing power (limited to 120 kW or 160 bhp by the rules). Under braking, the MGU-K operates as a generator to slow the car (reducing the heat dissipated in the brakes) and so recovers some of the kinetic energy and converts it into electricity. Under acceleration, the MGU-K is powered (from the Energy Store and/or from the MGU-H) and acts as a motor to propel the car.

The Power Unit’s ERS (Energy Recovery System) uses the MGU-H and MGU-K plus an Energy Store, plus some power and control electronics. Heat and Kinetic Energy recovered can be consumed immediately if required by the other MGU, or used to charge the Energy Store. The stored energy can be used to propel the car by the MGU-K or to accelerate the turbocharger by the MGU-H. Compared to 2013 KERS, the ERS of the 2014 Power Unit will have twice the power (120 kW vs 60 kW) and a performance effect 10 times greater.

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