Power unit formula was introduced in 2014. and consists of six separate elements and four of each are avalaible to each driver per season before they get grid penalties.
- internal combustion engine (ICE)
- turbocharger (TC)
- energy store (ES)
- control unit (CE)
Formula 1 internal combustion engine is 1,6-litre V6 turbo which works in conjuction with Energy Recovery System (ERS). Engine must have six cilindres with 90-degree V-angle, two inlet and two exhaust valver per cilinder and single turbocharger. Rev limiter is set at 15 000 rpm.
Fuel flow is limited to 100 kg/h, but maximum amount of fuel for the race is increased from 100 kg in 2016. to 105 kg in 2017. because wider cars with wider tyres and more downforce will generate more aerodynamic drag which increases fuel consumption.
Best internal combustion engines in 2016. produced almost 800 HP with remarkable efficiency which is already more than in 2,4-litre V8 era (2006. – 2013.), even without ERS power.
Energy recovery system – ERS – has maximum power of 120 kW (163 HP) and comprises two motor generator units (MGU-K and MGU-K), energy store (ES) and control electronics (CE). The motor generator units convert mechanical and heat energy to electrical energy and vice versa.
MGU-K (‘K’ stands for kinetic) converts heat generated from braking into electricity in generator mode (during braking, brake friction turns kinetic energy in thermal energy). In motor mode, MGU-K returns up to 120 kW (163 HP) to the drivetrain and help drivers to accelerate faster. MGU-K can use energy it recovered from braking, energy recieved from MGU-H or use energy from energy store (ES).During race starts, MGU-K can be used after car reaches 100 km/h.
Maximum amount of energy MGU-K can recover during lap is 2MJ and maximum of 4MJ per lap can be transferred to the drivetrain.
MGU-H (‘H’ stands for heat) is connected to the turbocharger and converts heat energy from exhaust gases into electrical energy. Energy can be used to power MGU-K or stored in the energy store (ES) for subsequent use.
Unlike MGU-K which can recover 2MJ per lap, MGU-H can recover unlimited amount of energy.
MGU-H is also used to control the speed of the turbo speeding it up while driver is off throttle to prevent turbo lag.
Today’s ERS has twice the power of KERS (2009. – 2013.) – 120 kW instead of 60 kW – and maximum amount of deployed energy during lap is ten times greater (4MJ instead 0.4 MJ with KERS).
Drivers may use steering wheel controls to switch between different power unit settings or to change the rate of ERS energy harvest. Those changes are controlled and regulated by the mandatory electrical control unit (ECU) which is produced by McLaren since 2008.
For safety, each car is fitted with ERS status lights which warn marshals and mechanics of the car’s electrical safety status when it is stopped or in the pits. If the car is safe, the lights – which are situated on the roll hoop and the rear tail lamp – will glow green; if not, they glow red. The lights must remain on for 15 minutes after the power unit has been switched off.
Total weight of power unit has to be at least 145 kg and energy store (ES) has to be fully integrated within the survival cell of the car and must weigh between 20 and 25 kilograms.
Materials used in power unit production are strictly controlled by FIA technical regulations – the crankcase and cylinder block of the engine must be made of cast or wrought aluminium alloys. Use of composite materials is not allowed. The crankshaft and camshafts must be made from an iron-based alloy, pistons from an aluminium alloy and valves from alloys based on iron, nickel, cobalt or titanium.