The world champion team Mercedes have developed a brand new V6 engine with improved fuel combustion and a more efficient energy recovery system, as well as new cooling system, according to their F1 engine development chief Andy Cowell.
Mercedes is trying to win record sixth consecutive championship double, which has not been accomplished by any team in F1 history so far and the new 1.6-litre V6 engine and new ERS should help them in that mission.
Although the rules for power units are the same as in 2018, Mercedes has managed to pull out more from every part of the power unit because, unlike last year, they had to design components that must last the same number of races as last season (3 engines per season as in 2018) .
“There are no big regulation changes that impact the architecture of the Power Unit, so it is about the evolution of systems,” said Cowell.
“We’ve made changes to the cooling architecture of the power unit, which hopefully provide aerodynamic benefit on the car and also provide efficiency benefit on the Power Unit – so, hopefully a win on both the chassis and on the Power Unit.”
“Right at the heart of the power unit is the conversion of fuel into heat release in the combustion chamber and useful work out of the crankshaft. We have made steps on the combustion efficiency and on the ERS system.”
“The marriage between the turbocharger assembly with the MGU-H, the inverter, the cells and the MGU-K: that whole system is now capable of operating more efficiently and helping with energy deployment through a race.”
Mercedes focused on efficient engine and efficient aero
Although the 2019 rules allow 110 kg of fuel for the race instead of 105 kg in 2018 to compensate for the impact of higher drag due to larger wings and a bigger minimum weight, Mercedes still focused on the lower fuel consumption resulting from efficient aerodynamics and power unit to start the race as light as possible.
“The power output is a function of the fuel flow rate, which remains at 100kg an hour, and of the efficiency of the power pnit as a machine that converts that chemical energy into useful work,” explained Cowell.
“In qualifying, where you are running at 100kg an hour and you are emptying the battery over the lap, there is no change in terms of a competition. With regards to the 110kg race allowance, if you have got an efficient engine with efficient aerodynamics and you are prepared to do a little bit of lift and coasting, then you have the opportunity to start the race at less than 110kg.”
“For every 5kg of weight you save, it’s about two tenths of a second a lap quicker, so there is a natural reward to starting the race a little bit lighter. There is still a competitive edge from making an efficient car – both power unit and aerodynamics – and racing smartly to make sure that you have good pace at the start of the race as well as through the race.”
Mercedes uses the longest wheelbase and the longest car in Formula 1 in the past two years (the elongated and narrow rear end design has lower drag) and uses the less rake (angle of the floor), which also decreases the drag and fuel consumption.