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31 January 2013
McLaren MP4/28 Launch Analysis

McLaren enter 2013 marking 50 years in F1 with fans expectation peaked as the teams enter a new era in 2014, the team hope they can build momentum clinching titles leading upto it this year.  McLaren as always will be meticulous in the their approach to 2013 hoping that they can surmount a challenge for the constructors title which the team surprisingly last won in 1998 and the drivers title which Lewis Hamilton last grasped for them in 2008.

Sergio Perez joins the fold with Jenson Button firmly establishing himself as the lead driver, both are known for their smooth driving styles which leads to better usage of the slick Pirelli tyres.  Sergio will require a little while to settle in perhaps changing ethos to the Sauber way of doing things.  This will be mostly seen by Sergio himself as he adapts to a new tool unavailable at Sauber: The Simulator.

Only Lotus thus far have beat the Woking based team to revealing their car but just as I suspect McLaren will do today many details were not as first seemed.

Much was written last season about the effects of step noses up and down the grid and McLaren's adoption of what most fans would deem a regular nose.  As the season progressed the team however made adjustments and by Mugello they had settled with a half way house concept which saw the nose tip raised in order to flow more air under the car.  Why didn't they just switch to a step nose? many asked, the nose however was not the limiting factor but the chassis itself with the team not running to the maximum height restrictions as others had.  It's not as simple as bolting one part from another car onto the car in question and the team must evaluate many factors both upstream and downstream of the component before introducing upgrades.

In 2012 McLaren arrived at testing and Melbourne with what most considered to be the most effective exhaust solution now known by most as the 'Coanda' exhaust due to the way it utilises Henri Coanda's principles of introducing a jet of air to manipulate airflow in the region.  Most of the field converged on the McLaren ethos whilst Red Bull forged their own path.  As it became apparent toward the end of 2012 that their Ramp and Cross-under tunnel now provided the same if not more downforce than the McLaren solution teams will have started to assess exactly that.

MP4-28



When the drivers peeled back the cover on the MP4-28 launch you could be forgiven to looking at it and thinking it's an MP4-27.  Just like the Lotus launch I think we have to take some of what we see with a pinch of salt, it would first appear that McLaren are looking once again to dismiss the step style nose but in fact they have gone more towards the limitations of the 625mm bulkhead height and used the modesty panel to cover up any discrepancies.  The Front Wing pylons although they look the same dimensionally longitudinally appear to be pronounced from the nose as the under belly of the nose tapers toward the front of the car
They have also followed Ferrari's path by adopting pull rod front suspension which undoubtedly help the team to unlock the Pirelli tyres more effectively whilst also marginally lowering the Centre of Gravity.


The Sidepods have been treated to a new design too with a step created in the bodywork to define the regions where airflow travels over the Sidepod (With the section above the inlet slightly ramped) and the undercut starting further back.  This is so the crash sturcture element is offset to the inlet a design that Lotus used on the E20 and R31 (Renault). A very simplistic airflow conditioner is also attached to the side of the sidepod departing from the L shaped wing conditioner we saw toward the tale end of 2012.  This is certainly one area where I believe McLaren are being coy at launch and we will see changes at Jerez/Barcelona/Melbourne.  The Bargeboards have been amended in order to facilitate the airflow amendments needed by the re-profiled Sidepods along with what looks like a change in design to the front corner of the floor.  The mirror stalks also serve an aerodynamic purpose, purposely blade shaped in order to adjust the flow in that region.



The tea tray was an area that the team had to make alterations for at China in 2012 when they were found to be using the 3mm tolerance in design as a loophole. This lead the team to have to adapt their future upgrades around this and so the team will have undoubtedly taken a fresh approach again this year with a raised chassis to boot.


Further downstream and the Sidepod appears to have a similarly steep curvature leading to the exhaust trough as the solution ran on the MP4-27 from Hockenheim onwards.  The exhaust undercut also looks very similar to that specification along with the exhaust positioning itself.  It remains to see whether the car will be the same come launch in this area but I'd expect a significant alteration. 


One of the key features of Adrian Newey's since the inception of the new rules in 2009 has been the isolation of the halfshafts from the airflow regime by the utilisation of a shroud.  In free air the halfshafts rotation with create downforce (Magnus Effect), the exhaust plume however has an eratic airflow and thus will create an issue when providing airflow over the floor of the car impinging on the halfshafts downforce generation.  McLaren have now followed Newey's lead and isolated the halfshaft by means of a shroud too making it more simplistic to model and provide uniform downforce levels.


The rear wing is most likely a placeholder like the front wing but as we can see the top flap on the launch car is extremely short chord with an extreme AoA on the mainplane.  No DRD is in sight on the launch car but I'm quite sure the team will be assessing it's potential especially with Lotus having said they will continue to work on the passive drag reduction device.


The long and the short of it is the MP4-28 is a new car, different in ethos to it's predecessor and will likely feature many more components at testing not shown here at what is essentially a marketing launch.  Major omissions include under nose turning vanes and rear brake scoops which will likely form areas in which the team have spent development time on.  (Lotus also excluded under nose turning vanes from their launch car / renders)

EDIT: Based on the 3D render made available on McLaren.com there are a couple of discrepancies just like the Lotus launch with McLaren showing the fin style Front Wing used towards the end of the season and Sidepod horizontal flow conditioners (Leading Edge Slats) above the inner ramped section above the sidepod inlet

 
If you'd like some other perspectives on the MP4-28:

Craig 'ScarbsF1' Scarborough Craig 'ScarbsF1' Scarborough with Peter Windsor filming at the launch


Gary Anderson (BBC's Technical Pundit and ex Jordan/Jaguar Engineer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/21274591 (Grey bar on the left side of the page)

Mark Gillan (Ex Williams) - http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2013/01/fastest-car-of-2012-made-even-better-technical-analysis-of-new-mclaren/
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29 January 2013
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Autosport ran a story today regarding an entity called Scorpion Racing looking to buy the remains of the HRT team. I wrote about the HRT team around the time the team initially came to their demise, looking back through the 3 years the team had spent in F1 - http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/hrt-3-seasons-in-f1.html
HRT epitomized an F1 backmarker's story more or less there to make up the numbers, however unlike the teams taking up this role before them they survived much longer than their predecessors.

Their largest failing from a commercial standpoint was to use a National identity failing to allure much investment outside of the teams regional scope. The only sign of corporate sponsorship that adorned the F112 was from brands associated with their drivers, TATA and KH-7 from Narain Karthikeyan & Pedro de la Rosa respectively. The lack of money coming into the team reflected on track with a car that had been designed with KERS in mind never receiving the horsepower boost from the technology due to lack of funding.

As I explained in the article previously mentioned the opening seasons for HRT revolved around understanding the cars baseline, improving mechanical performance and introducing high/low downforce configurations when the demand needed to be met. Unless whoever is in charge of Scorpion Racing has extremely deep pockets they too must follow this path in 2013 whilst focusing their efforts on establishing the foundations for the huge technical upheaval in 2014.

One of the largest stumbling blocks even if they can convince the FIA through due diligence to them making the grid in Melbourne would be having the team and cars prepared and able to make 107% of the lead teams qualifying time (although as we know HRT have been there before) This is not a Brawn GP style coup, the HRT team has already been liquidated with all equipment (that was owned) sold off including the car transporters. Furthermore I'm quite sure the staff who were reportedly mis-handled at the end of HRT's tenure haven't simply been waiting around in case someone bought the team and so hiring staff will also have to take place.

Even with all of the obstacles in place the task isn't insurmountable but will require someone with experience to lead the venture to make things a reality. Colin Kolles would certainly top my list of people to lead the team having inside knowledge of the previous lineage and access to most of the equipment needed that he could lease to the prospective buyers until they can amass their own.

So who's behind Scorpion Racing? Well Autosport go as far to say that they are backed by Canadian and American investors. Not a bad thing seeing as next year F1 is hoping to have 2 American races on the calendar (Maybe even a third if the Mexico plans come off) and of course Montreal. The team are also likely to take up residence at Silverstone which places them perfectly within reach of a plethora of F1 personnel either with teams now or transitioning between teams. The US has it's fair share of petrol heads with deep pockets and purely speculating but 2 that come to mind who could get involved in such an audacious project would be Mario Andretti & Jay Leno with the latter maybe co-ersing NBC into the fold with them taking on F1 coverage for 2013. In terms of Canadian based F1 connections Villeneuve comes to mind and has certainly been linked to an F1 return over the recent years even though coming back to drive may be a step too far. (Please bear in mind those names are simply my errant thoughts)

In terms of the financials it would appear that Thesan Capital have made the team disappear into a financial black hole and now they will simply be selling the IPO rights to the F112 and the left over chassis. However funding an F1 team as we know is no mean feat especially when you have to start from scratch and need to start developing your 2014 challenger immediately alongside the current campaign (This is where the real money starts to come into play and makes the number to run for next season partly obsolete) . So lets put a figure on it, I believe to run at any decent kind of level with the minimum criteria being transferred from Thesan Capital mentioned above the team would need somewhere between £60 and £80 million. I'm quite sure there are a significant number of pay drivers still available for 2013 that could heavily contribute towards those costs with the Canadian/American investors picking up the remainder.

At least it appears Mr Ecclestone is on side with the Autosport article citing that Bernie has been in touch with Scorpion Racing stating that if the takeover were to happen he see's no reason why they couldn't take HRT's place. So we sit, wait and kind of hope with a hand placed over our eyes peering through the gap we make between our fingers to see if something is pheonix'd from HRT's ashes.
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Lotus E21 Launch Car Analysis

Moving on from the post I made last night when the pictures of the E21 were leaked prior to the official launch: http://www.somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/lotus-e21-leaked-photos-prior-to-launch.html

Let's have a better look at the car from a selection of rendered photo's made available by Lotus F1


The renders of the car from the front show how closely the E21 represents the previous carnation but what I wanted to point out here is that the team have released 2 different renders.  In the top image the car has both vertical Vortex Generators above the Sidepod Inlet and Cockpit Wings stabilizing the air horizontally.  In the lower image the Vortex Generators are missing.  There is a small variation in the Front Wings but as we know Lotus ran many different Front Wings last season and so it's hardly surprising to see that trend continue in 2013.  Lastly in the lower image we can see the team have rendered the DRD ears onto the side of the Airbox signalling that DRD will play a part in Lotus' 2013 championship assault. (James Allison, Lotus' Technical Director also stated the team would continue to develop the concept in 2013)

As a another variation in the image below the inner vertical Vortex Generator also forms the start of the horizontal wing






From the side pictures it's clear to see that the E20's sloped nose remains, I call it as such as their nose has always been a more gradual version of the rules rather than the abrupt ones seen on the likes of the F2012.  James Allison was asked during the unveil about the nose and why a vanity panel hadn't been used and rightly so he commented that additional weight (of the panel) is something that the teams are always trying to shed and the team would continue to assess it's application/merits.  The team also ran a 'Pelican' nose toward the middle/end of last season in order to better extract better performance from the underside of the E20's nose region which is also missing from the launch spec.  Also missing from the launch teasers are any turning vanes under the nose which likely means the team have concentrated their efforts in this region and don't want to give too much away to the other teams too early.
During the 2012 season the team adopted a split in their Sidepod Airflow Conditioners which is clearly missing from the renders and indeed the physical launch car.  As I mentioned in my brief look at the car from the leaked pictures yesterday the team seem to have adopted a sharp undercut in the engine cover under the Airbox.  This is likely done to maximise the upswept air from the sloped nose and re-purpose the airflow down to the rear of the car. 
We can see once more that the team are edging their bets in the render department showing two variants of the exhaust solution.  The physical launch car featured a Red Bull esque Downwash Ramp with Exhaust trough and cross-under tunnel but in the lower rendering we can see a more simple ramp configuration also ran by Red Bull throughout 2012 but can be traced back to Sauber early on in the season (Larger image below) 
One thing I'd like to re-iterate is that although it appears Lotus may be following Red Bull's lead somewhat it seems they are yet to follow one of Adrian Newey's biggest differentiators: the halfshaft shroud.  The halfshaft shroud used in different forms on the family of cars since the RB5 helps to isolate the airflow over the rear of the car as normally the halfshaft rotates the airflow creating downforce of it's own (Magnus Effect) the trouble is when you introduce another airflow regime especially one as unpredictable as the exhaust plume this effect becomes a little more erratic.  I wait to see how many teams following the Red Bull exhaust styles will also adopt the halfshaft shrouds in 2013.


Moving to the rear of the car and the rendered picture will simply be a placeholder bearing a resemblance to the E20 in terms of diffuser design with the exception being that the exhaust tunnels exit is placed centrally above the perforated diffuser gurney. Once again we have two different designs shown in terms of Rear Wing Endplates with the lower version showing some McLaren-esque strakes.  The render showing the rear of the car doesn't show the design of their DRD which will have also likely evolved from the version run in several Free Practice sessions during 2012.



Lotus F1 may well have unveiled their 2013 challenger to the world ahead of their rivals but they certainly haven't given a huge amount away.  What we can take away from the rendered and physical images of the E21 though is that the car is clearly an evolution of the E20 featuring push rod front suspension, a sloped nose, unchanged Sidepod inlets and an exhaust solution that will maximise the Coanda effect to gain additional rear downforce (albeit we don't currently know which type).

The leaked images from before the launch as a comparison:


For those asking about the holes around the airbox, these are the lifting points

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28 January 2013
Lotus E21 - Leaked photos prior to Launch

The Photo's below have been leaked prior to the teams launch at 7.15PM GMT these first images reveal some indicators as to the path followed by the team.  Notably the team haven't thus far used a Vanity Cover and still keep their smoothed step nose as per the E20.

 
The Engine cover looks extremely slimmed behind the driver (almost like a blade) which will aid in the airflow regime downwashing over the Sidepods.  My initial thoughts were it appears that the team have added some Vortex Generators above the Sidepod but after a little closer inspection it looks more like the cockpit wings McLaren used latter on in the U-Pod's development path


Lastly the team have adopted a Red Bull esque Exhaust / Tunnel configuration in order to further extract downforce from the rear of the car.


It's always difficult to speculate on performance especially when Lotus are the first to show their hand as such but with their car being one of the more aero efficient of last season. Bolting on bodywork in the same vein as Red Bull (Exhaust/Cross Under Tunnel) and taking the blade approach to the engine cover which I'd imagine is a design decision made based on the aero impact of their sloped (stepped) nose you have to consider them to be in the hunt at least.

I can't say I'm enamored by the red sections of Livery but this is likely to change dependent on other sponsors input. (Nice touch having the drivers name on the Engine Cover at present though, although that will likely disappear when additional sponsors come onboard)


My thoughts on the E21 after seeing the launch and renderings: http://www.somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/lotus-e21-launch-car-analysis.html
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22 January 2013
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The Mercedes-Benz press release talks of Brawn, Wolff and Lauda all being part of the management team behind Mercedes Benz Formula One Racing team. All are shareholders in the team along with Nick Fry with both Fry and Brawn keeping shares from the sale of BrawnGP. The arrival of Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff has got the rumour mill running amok with suggestions that Ross Brawn will be asked to step aside as the team's principal. Toto has publicly backed Ross and I see no reason for him to step aside, especially as Lewis' arrival at the team was largely muted as a decision made based on the old Brawn/Schumacher alliance. I'd not completely rule it out though as the last time Lauda was involved in F1 at this level was at Jaguar Racing and was instrumental in the dismissal of Bobby Rahal.

I've talked about the problems at Mercedes in the past and the burden of the team phasing from the Honda times with massive financial support to the cut backs under privateer ownership (BrawnGP) and then the shift back to manufacturer support with Mercedes. Mercedes overcame one of their largest problems last season when they shifted their focus to 60% Wind Tunnel modelling. This was both an expensive and time consuming exercise requiring new tooling to build the models whilst time would have needed to be spent on the Tunnel itself. The whole process surmounted to a lack of updates throughout 2012 and can be seen as a contribution to the teams relatively poor performance and slow adoption of the 'Coanda' style exhaust. It was however a necessary evil with the team wanting to be successful with the rule changes commencing in 2014.

The other rumour currently circulating is that Paddy Lowe will leave his Technical Director role at McLaren and take up a senior position within the Mercedes F1 team. Most are assuming that someone must leave in order for this to take place which could be the case but based on their current arsenal of staff it may however be a little wide of the mark. Bob Bell is currently at the top of the tree as Technical Director but both Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis have previously held Technical Director roles at Ferrari and Honda respectively. Aldo now directs the Engineering department whilst Geoff takes care of the Technology department, I suspect that Mercedes are hoping that Paddy could fill a void in the hierarchy especially with resources being further stretched by the 2014 regulation changes.

The long and short of the Mercedes situation is a difficult one not only with personnel but infrastructure too. 2013 represents an important time for Mercedes GP but with the exception of a win or two through attrition I wouldn't expect much from them in the coming season. Their efforts instead will be focused on maximizing their 2014 challenger in a bid to leap frog the likes of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.
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14 January 2013
2014's Power Units - 1.6 V6 Turbo's with ERS (KERS & TERS)

The new power units of 2014 have caused controversy since the FIA originally announced their intentions to drive development in the area. Many had a twinkle of nostalgia in their eye when they first heard F1 was revisiting turbo's with the 1980's providing the backdrop to simply awe inspiring power. Unlike the 1980's however the agenda for this engine regulation change is one of responsibility, whereas the 80's turbo cars were weak, inefficient and could be tuned for maximum qualifying attack. The new engines have been introduced to help drive sustainability, be more efficient and require exacting strategies to utilise the restricted capabilities at hand.

The FIA's initial intention to move to an inline 4 engine was quashed by the teams (mainly Ferrari) who simply couldn't understand why F1 should provide the backdrop for such a stark reach toward the consumer market. They finally settled on a V6 configuration which lends itself to the world of F1 and helps the likes of Ferrari to engage with it's consumer products.

The V6 units themselves will of course be shorter than their older V8 counterparts but both the weight and composition of the power units inclusive of ERS will exceed that of the older units. The FIA have also raised the position of the unit/crankshaft for 2014 to 90mm above the reference plane whereas the V8 has been at 58mm (32mm difference). Inline with this the centre of gravity of the engine previously lay at a point no higher than 165mm from the reference plane whilst in 2014 this is raised to 200mm. Furthemore the centre of gravity will be further effected by the overall weight for which the minimum has been raised from 95KG to 145KG (50KG increase).

Heat and Fuel management will be essential for the new engines and its widely reported the manufacturers are seeing upto 40% thermal efficiency from the V6 with engine revs having been reduced from 18,000rpm to 15,000rpm. It's widely agreed that with the fuel flow restrictions in place (5.1.4 Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h. & 5.1.5 Below 10500rpm the fuel mass flow must not exceed Q (kg/h) = 0.009 N(rpm)+ 5.5.) that the 2014's redline will however probably be closer to 12,000 rpm.
The original rules allowed for direct injection and a supply of fuel (25%) via port injection upto 8333rpm meanwhile the latest draft of the regulations only allow for direct injection, This is probably one of the areas the WMSC/FIA believed teams/manufacturers would look toward to extrapolate extra performance to the detriment of cost control. The original regulation draft also insisted on FIA specified injectors and fuel pumps but the latest draft omits this cavaet allowing teams to source and cost control their own components.

The expected output of the engine is somewhere in the region of 600-650bhp but it'll be the delivery of torque that far supersedes it's V8 counterpart with the engine giving a linear power delivery all the way to 10,500rpm where the fuel supply drops with increased revs. This increase in torque will make for great viewing as the drivers try to grapple with the extra low end power. Furthermore the challenge will extend to Pirelli who will be required to provide tyres that are capable of more horizontal movement. With the V6 engine and pressure charging system being down on power compared to the V8 the new power unit will be supplemented by a much more powerful Energy Recovery System (ERS):

Energy Recovery System – ERS

Since the FIA introduced KERS in 2009 the sport has half heartedly had it's toe planted in green credentials with the drivers able to recover 400KJ's of energy per lap and dispense it at 60kw via a motor attached to the crankshaft. The result is roughly 80bhp for around 6.6 Seconds which can obviously be adjusted to anywhere from 0-80bhp for use over a longer time period. KERS is the older brother to a much more technologically advanced younger sibling who has much more power at his fingertips:

2014 will see KERS replaced by ERS as both kinetic and thermal energy can be recovered, energy can still be recovered at the crank (KERS) but instead of the measly 400kj's per lap available now 5 times the power can be harvested (2MJ's) presenting an entirely different challenge in terms of brake balance. Although only 2MJ's can be recovered 4MJ's can be released each lap meaning that not only have the FIA increased the output to 120KW (roughly 160bhp) at peak power it can be used for 33.33 seconds. An interesting aside is F1 car's currently operate within the optimum KERS dispense range for around 50-60 seconds, this optimum range will obviously change with the new engines due to their linear power delivery.
Having read over the last paragraph you may be confused as to how you can harvest 2MJ but use 4MJ well this is where the other aspect of ERS comes into play (TERS). TERS or Thermal Energy Recovery System encompasses the recovery of energy from the pressure charging system. An MGUH (Motor Generator Unit – Heat) is attached to the turbo compressor and recovers energy otherwise wasted by the compressor. This recovery is done either when the driver is backing off the throttle (normally taken care of by a wastegate) or when the pressure being produced supersedes the engines requirements. In either case that energy can then either be sent to the ES (Energy Store / Batteries) or symbiotically shared with the MGUK via the MGU control unit.

The Energy Store can hold upto 4MJ of energy (10 times the current KERS battery capacity) which can be be utilsed either by the MGUH to spin the compressor (reducing lag) or by the MGUK at a rate of upto 120kw (roughly 160bhp). As I mentioned earlier if this 4MJ of energy were to be dispensed solely by the MGUK at 120kw it would equate to 33.33 seconds of peak power.  However we can also see from the Flux diagram in the technical regulations that the MGUH and MGUK share a symbiotic relationship whereby energy recovered by one source can be dispensed by the other without the need to send it to the ES. It would be possible to recover energy from the MGUK during braking and release it simultaneously through the MGUH giving instantaneous power when the driver returns to the throttle without the need of exceeding the 4MJ storage limit.

Storage will be taken care of by a battery unit of prescribed weight (No less than 20KG's and no more than 25KG's) stored under the driver in the safety cell just as the KERS batteries of today's cars are. Battery Storage is one of the single largest challenges in the ERS system as being able to provide storage for a high quantity of electricity at rapid rates is difficult. The KERS systems in use since 2009 are only required to store 400KJ's of energy which is 10 times less than the new Energy Store. This will require planning in order to achieve the right balance between storage capacity and charge/discharge rates. It's widely regarded that the current KERS battery consists of Lithium Ion cell(s) whilst Lithium Ion Polymer cell(s) may give another option in 2014 due to their quicker charge rates and easier packaging.
Battery tech doesn't stop there, as an important aspect of the electric cars quest to replace the combustion engine better storage methods must be found. The future presently lies in the application of nanowire batteries (silicone nanowires cover a stainless steel anode rather than a graphite one, increasing power and storage capabilities) and the use of Lithium Air batteries which for all intents and purposes will revolutionize the market once they can be applied.
The other area that can be utilised is the combination of the different battery technologies as Red Bull Racing have been doing. Red Bull utilise Supercapacitors within their KERS system in order to manage the flow of electricity and storage and raises an important question for 2014. Their recent association with Infiniti as title sponsor allied the two in the research and development of KERS technology and although the teams will purchase their Power Units from their respected engine partners (Ferrari, Mercedes & Renault) they are free to supply their own ES. Working with Infiniti may provide Red Bull with access to an advantage that other teams have not considered outside of their Engine manufacturers scope.  This is especially important as the ES is the only part of the power unit that won't be homoglated (From the 1st March 2014 the units consisting of Engine, Turbine, Compressor, MGUH & MGUK all will classified as a power unit and development froze)

So now you know a little more about how ERS will work in unison with the engine perhaps we should turn our attention to the physical components and assess how they may be applied to the new units.

The MGUH converts the excess rotational forces between the turbine and compressor and so will most likely sit between the two making for a larger unit. There are several ways in which this can be introduced to the packaging of the engines with the most obvious selections already having been shown by Magnetti Marelli, RenaultSportF1 & Mercedes-Benz HPP below:

Above: Magnetti Marelli recently showcased an example of their product with the 2014 power plants in mind. As we can see the MGUH sits between the Turbine and Compressor housings converting waste energy into electricity to be sent either directly to the MGUK for additional power or to the ES for storage for later use.

Above: When Mercedes-Benz HPP invited journalists to visit their factory at Brixworth recently the image above was also released. This is a mock up of the Mercedes unit but will probably in reality bear no resemblence to the 2014 power unit. As we can see Mercedes took the opportunity to showcase a similar concept to the Magnetti Marelli one seen above. The image shares a symmetry with the image previously released by RenaultSportF1 (below) however in their mockup they also present the option of intercooling the charge air


These images released by the manufacturers are simply to create imagery for the fans and the final product will likely be wide of the specification shown. Somewhere in the midst of their deceit and the reading of the regulations reveals that there are many options open to the designers in terms of packaging this technology:

I did a few sketches of my own a while ago (please be aware these were to get idea's down and so are far from any kind of scale or correct angles) based on a few ideas I had in regard to the placement of the ERS system:

Above: In this image we can see that when I separated the Turbine from the Compressor in order to place the MGUH in between I extended the shaft through the central V. This would allow the hot side of the unit (turbine) to be at the furthest point from the cold side (compressor) resulting in less heat soak from the turbo and shorter lengths for the exhaust and inlet manifolds. However the problem with this would be the shaft from the Turbine to the Compressor is increased in length and weight potentially increasing the chance of vibration/failure. The potential issue that struck me with this configuration most of all though was the requirement for ambient air at the compressor end would now sit directly below the airbox. This results in a 90o turn from the airbox down to the compressor which may be considered undesirable in performance terms. The other option would be to have the Turbine at the front of the engine giving the exhaust a 90o angle to turn (twice) and head under the block (which is raised from the 2013 position by a further 32mm from the reference plane)

Above: This image is really a variation upon the previous with the Turbine and compressor sitting at either end of the engine's V. This time however I’ve incorporated intercoolers either side of the engine in order to cool the inlet charge further. Conflicting information has been given out by the engine suppliers in regard to the usage of intercooling (Renault saying it's inevitable and Mercedes not) As in the variation above the engine could face in the opposite direction (turbine forward) with the exhaust going underneath the engine.

Above: In the last sketch we see that the turbine is mounted at the rear of the engine block. Using the Magnetti Marelli unit as a reference I’ve placed the compressor between the V. (Of course this is all very dependent on unit size) This allows a direct route from the compressor to the inlet manifold which is donut shaped to allow for the airbox to pass through. The concept is similar to the one now seen in the Renault rendering only they have the MGUH on the other end of the compressor shaft.

Sizing of the Turbine and Compressors used will be vital to the way in which power is both used and extracted (TERS) making for decisions by the engine manufacturers at this stage that will provide a differential between the suppliers power units. 

In summary far from looking at the new power units as doom and gloom I see the potential for some great racing whilst also passing technology down the line to the road car industry. The utilisation of the pressure charging system and ERS the cars won't suffer from being underpowered and will still have a very F1 distinctive sound (even if it is demonstrably different from their V8 counterparts.
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11 January 2013
2013 - F1 Car design trends, what's banned and what to look out for (DRD, DDRS, Pull Rod Suspension)

The 2013 regulations are somewhat similar to their 2012 counterparts with the exception of the FIA closing some loopholes used by teams to circumnavigate the rules in order to gain an advantage. 

Nosecone - Step Noses

In terms of aesthetics the teams will also have the option of covering up the 'Step noses' that became the centre of attention when the cars were first shown before testing in 2012.

The 'Step Nose' was born out of a requirement to allow airflow to pass relatively unencumbered toward the leading edge of the cars floor. The reason for the ungainly look is due to the difference in height allowable at the bulkhead and the nose tip. In order to gain the highest possible setting the nose became jaunted much to the dismay of many F1 fans. Aesthetics is not something that principally drives aerodynamicists and so the step adorned all but the McLaren and Marussia cars. The latter teams deciding to run the bulkhead of their cars lower both yielded throughout the season and adopted higher nose tips albeit without the 'Step'.

The 2013 regulations permit the use of a vanity cover (non-structural fairing of prescribed laminate) which allows the teams to effectively cover up the Stepped Nose returning it aesthetically to the regular nosecone shape F1 fans had come to know. This doesn't mean 'Step' noses have been eradicated as this is only a recommendation. Red Bull utilised the stepped area for driver cooling in 2012 rather than it's regular nose tip position, other teams may adopt this path in 2012 emulating the RB8. Furthermore as was the case for speculation toward the end of the season the nosecone and front wing pylons may be being flexed. Having a vanity cover placed over the a flexing nosecone could lead to failure of either part and more importantly the degradation of it's effect.

Above: Craig's image shows how a vanity cover may be applied to the nose of a 2013 car - his original article pertaining to this can be found here: ScarbsF1

Front Suspension


Ferrari caused another storm when they released the first images of the F2012 showing to the world their 2012 challenger would use Pull rod suspension at the front as well as the rear of the car. Pull rod suspension was last seen at the front of the car in a 2001 Minardi PS01 (Also driven by Alonso) In the early stages of the F2012's life it was clear the car wasn't as competitive as the Maranello team desired with many citing the pull rod front suspension as one of it's weaknesses. As time passed by it became clear that the suspension afforded the Ferrari team not only advantages of a lower CoG but also in the way the suspension responded with and treated the Pirelli tyres. Many other teams have since stated that they too will investigate the merits of applying pull rod suspension at the front of their 2013 challengers based on the relative success of the F2012.

Tyres

2012 saw 7 different winners from the first 7 races something that many fans angrily levelled at Pirelli's aggressive tyre strategy. The problems encountered by the teams early in 2012 were not all based on the compounds chosen by Pirelli though with the construction of the tyre causing just as many headaches. The construction of the front tyres lead to wear being a factor unilaterally causing insistences in how the tyre degraded. For 2013 Pirelli have once again changed both the construction and compounds on offer with the latter available for the teams to test at Interlagos. I wrote about this at the time: Pirelli tyre test - Interlagos However the important aspect is in regard to the construction of the tyre allowing for a larger contact patch something the teams will welcome based on their 2012 struggles.

Exhausts

Exhaust solutions have been a go to area for decades in terms of creating additional downforce but over the last few seasons the practice has rapidly increased. At the start of 2012 we saw 4 main variations for the teams to utilise exhaust gases.
 
Downwash Exhausts - Mercedes, Williams, Caterham & Marussia used these exhausts which also use the 'Coanda' effect but due to their placement it only attracts the airflow traveling over the Sidepod



'Coanda' Exhausts (Ramped and Wrap Around) Red Bull, Sauber & McLaren used this style of exhaust which later became the go to solution for the season with most of the grid converging on McLaren's style of exhaust


Engine Cover Exhausts – Lotus & Force India used these exhausts which were placed much higher on the car maximising horse power (maximum freedom for tuning lengths) and sending the exhaust plume higher as a result of the positioning.


Convergence Exhausts – Ferrari & Toro Rosso used these exits and looked to converge the exhaust plume with exiting radiator airflow

All of the designs have their own merits and would have undoubtedly have originally been chosen with regard to other factors aswell. Packaging, cooling and exhaust tune ability would have been the primary concerns for the designers sculpting their designs around these and aerodynamic demands. With 4 Engine suppliers on the grid all of these factors will change the approach used, meaning that adopting an exhaust solution in use by another team can lead to compromises in other key areas.

By the end of 2012 most of the field were running some form of 'Coanda' exhaust with the exception of Mercedes and Williams who had both trialled it but reverted to early season iterations with Williams sporting their abruptly ending Sidepod (Convergence Exhaust).

2013 will most likely see the grid converge on the same basic principle of 'Coanda' exhausts and instead of having to adapt to the style out of necessity they'll have more refined concepts designed with that layout as part of the cars blueprint. The reason I believe this will happen is the lead teams finished their campaigns running this type of exhaust but more importantly perhaps it allows for a similar effect to the EBD's we saw throughout 2010/11. Of course it's not as effective as a shrouded exhaust (2010/11 EBD) but the manipulation of the surrounding airflow leads to more airflow being drawn into the required area between the outer Diffuser wall and the tyre. Pushing airflow into this region encapsulates (Seals) the diffusers outer portion and stops tyre squirt from impinging on the diffusers flow. (Air is pushed sideways off the tyre and is sent latterally into the diffusers airflow disrupting the diffusers effectiveness)

It will be interesting to see if any of the other teams are bold enough to follow Red Bull endevours with their Cross-Under Tunnel. The team struggled with the concept initially and continued to revise the layout right up until the end of the season. (Although the latter alterations were more aimed at maximizing the DDRS system the team implemented in Singapore) The Red Bull ramp and cross-Under tunnel looked to separate the airflow regimes from above and from the side of the Sidepod by transporting the airflow from around the side of the Sidepod underneath the ramp and out of the car more centrally. This allowed the airflow from over the Sidepod to converge with the exhaust plume and move toward the gap between the Diffuser and Tyre. This of course is not it's only destination with the airflow passing between the tyre wall and the bottom of the engine cover, with it's life being made all the time easier by another Red Bull only item for 2012. Red Bull have historically shrouded the halfshafts where the exhaust plume would interact with them. This is a topic I look at in more detail in my recent technical assesment of the team: http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/red-bull-racing-historic-technical_30.html This time however they went one step further using Vertical Floor Strakes mounted underneath the shrouds to help distribute the airflow and reduce boundary layer separation. I have heard rumour that Ferrari will also adopt a similar method for their 2013 challenger highlighting the fact they may adopt a exhaust/bodywork style similar to the RB8. It would however not surprise me if Ferrari weren't the only team to adopt the halfshaft shroud for 2013.

Sidepod Vortex Generators & Sidepod Wings

In order to maximise the airflow over the Sidepods team used these appendages throughout 2012. McLaren started proceedings with their twin vertical fins mounted on top of the Sidepod a feature that filtered throughout the teams with most running 2 and others fielding 3. Sauber however fancied another route placing horizontal winglets above the Sidepod in what I've previously described as looking like a leading edge slats (as used in aeronautics). In aeronautics slats are preferred over vortex generators when the stalling angle is too great to be surmounted by the latter. In the case of both Sauber and McLaren it would seem that the width of the Sidepod cannot sustain enough Vortex Generators to surmount the Length / Angle of Attack of their Sidepod and so they used Sidepod Wings instead. An interesting development that could have already been in play on the C31 and MP4-27 would be flexible Sidepod Slats, if these were to deform at higher speed thereby closing the gap between it and the front of the Sidepod it could lead to the area becoming more efficient throughout the whole speed threshold. Interestingly Toro Rosso combined both effects as the frontal part of the STR7's Sidepod was detached from the latter part to which they then added Vortex Generators on top of.


Sidepod Airflow Conditioners

Usually these items sit on the outside edge of the floor next to the Sidepod and manage the airflow that stagnates around the Sidepod co-er sing it along the floor instead of off the floors edge. As with every component on an F1 car the longer the item is the more boundary layer will build up causing unstable flows. To make their conditioners more effective Ferrari, Caterham and Lotus all used twin element conditioner's making for a more efficient design. This isn't to say the other teams need to have twin elements in 2013 but tells us more about how the aforementioned teams tried to rectify a deficiency up stream. Sidepod Airflow Conditioners have been around for about 6 or so years no and have evolved considerably throughout this time frame so expect more of the same for 2013.

DDRS & DRD



DDRS (Double DRS) was pioneered by Mercedes at the start of 2012 and was immediately requested to be banned by the other teams. They feared that like the F-Duct that had appeared in 2010 it's design that was an intrinsic part of the W03 would be difficult and costly to develop. Furthermore it was believed that it could give Mercedes an advantage at the start of the 2012 campaign. The system which was as simple as the forethought to lay tubing that spanned from the front to rear wings allowed the team to reduce drag on the Front Wing aswell as the rear when DRS was active. The system however could not surmount the other design deficiencies of the W03 leaving it just one win all season. Red Bull keen to mount a charge at the end of the season also saw an advantage to using DDRS. The Red Bull system however didn't use the secondary function to reduce drag at the front of the car but instead further reduced drag at the rear. As with the Mercedes DDRS when DRS was activated a hole emerged in the Rear Wing Endplate that sent air down a cavity in the Endplate to the Beam Wing. Small holes in the Beam Wing then allow the airflow characteristics around the Beam Wing to change further reducing downforce and drag. DDRS has been banned for 2013 with the FIA disallowing use of the the top flap for secondary purposes, furthermore they have also redefined the rules pertaining to ducts leading from the front of the car.



DRD (Drag Reduction Device) as coined by myself and Craig Scarborough is a totally independent system to DDRS. The mainstream media unfortunately confused many F1 fans calling the original Lotus 'Device' DDRS which was the reason for us coining it DRD. Sky Sports commentator David Croft picked up on this and towards the end of the season referred to it as DRD when Lotus and Mercedes used theirs in free practice sessions.
DRD is passive and requires no interaction from the driver to activate it, the system is tuned to 'Stall' the rear wing at a predefined speed threshold. This created a problem for both Lotus and Mercedes who tested DRD frequently throughout the season but failed to race it.

In terms of a speed advantage as the device is passive the point at which it switches from producing downforce to a stall is imperative.  The RW80's / F Ducts driver interaction gave the switching capacity over to the driver allowing them to activate the system when they felt comfortable with the level of downforce available leading to around a 10KPH-15KPH gain in top speed.  In order to create a safety buffer the teams will have to be much more lenient with DRD as you don't want it stalling the rear wing on the exit of a corner too early.  This would lead to a lower drag reduction value but could still see the teams gaining upto around 8KPH in top speed.

My theory (below) is DRD produces additional downforce until the prescribed speed threshold (in much the same way McLaren's RW80 / F Duct did):

  • The rear wing planes are set at a higher angle of attack than usual
  • Air entering the airbox or additional airbox 'Ears' (Car dependant) and running through the engine cover to the Pylon.
  • The airflow then runs up the pylon and exits through slots cut into the side of the pylon, tangentially blowing across the mainplane.
  • This airflow allows the rear wing to operate up to the speed threshold whereby the airflow being received from the pylon cannot sustain the angle of attack the wing is set at. This leads to the wing stalling, detaching the airflow completely and reducing both downforce and drag.

Mercedes version of DRD featured a pylon that didn't extend to join with the mainplane allowing the slots to blow onto a wider proportion of the mainplane.


As DRD was only used in testing during 2012 it's difficult to ascertain it's true potential but with unlimited DRS usage now removed for Free Practice & Qualifying in 2013 the potential for additional drag reduction will appeal to the teams. At the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi both Red Bull and Sauber tested their own variety of DRD's with Toro Rosso also placing an appendage on their Monkey Seat simulating the position of a Double DRD.
 

DRS has been reduced to usage only within the specified zone(s) at each GP this year with it previously having unlimited usage.  This will have an effect on how the teams design their rear wing planes in 2013 with the DRS delta now changed.  Many teams were skewing their setup to allow for a maximum DRS gain but with the likely introduction of DRD and the rule changes this approach will probably alter.

Lastly just a quick mention about Sauber's test package used at the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi, the team introduced an exit on the side of the Sidepod to assist in attachment along the length of the Sidepod  a feature that may well be part of many of the 2013 designs that go along the Ramped bodywork lines.

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