Even the world of motor racing has embraced green technologies: and now Renault is aiming to further Formula One's push towards a greener future.
As part of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, the French carmaker revealed a new power unit designed to meet the FIA Formula One regulations from 2014 onwards. These regulations require a 1.6litre direct injection turbo V6 with a single turbocharger: with an electric motor permitted to enhance boost.
The regulations place a clear focus on improving fuel efficiency - the fuel quantity per race will be limited to 100kg: that's approximately a 35 per cent reduction compared to existing V8 F1 engines. Fuel mass flow rate is also limited to 100kg/hr; while energy recovery systems are now permitted.
As such, Renault has produced the Renault Energy F1 V6 (pictured) with a displacement of 1.6litres and that is capable of producing around 600hp. Among its features are two motor generator units with an MGU-H waste heat energy recovery system and the ability to recover kinetic energy during the braking process.
The MGU-H is linked with a turbocharger. It is able to act as a generator to absorb power from the turbine shaft and recover heat energy that would usually have been lost in the exhaust gases. The electrical energy can then be passed on to the MGU-K or to the battery when it can be used at a later point.
Meanwhile, the MGU-K is linked to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine and is meant to recover or provide power up to 120kW. It can operate as a generator during braking and will recover some of the kinetic energy and convert it to electricity.
Speaking about the innovation, Naoki Tokunaga, the technical director for new power units, commented that the overall objective is to minimise the time it takes to complete a lap within the energy budget. He states that thanks to the fact as much energy as possible can be recovered and put back into the car, it is not an over-estimation that next season's Formula One cars will be the most energy efficient machines on the road.
F1 cars going green is welcome! This way, F1 cars might be able to once again show the way for the rest of the motoring world to follow.
Besides electric and kinetic hybrid what I would also like to see is for F1 to allow manufacturers to use camless engines. They have already done away with valve poppet springs by activating the valves pneumatically. If only they can also dump the camshaft entirely paving the way for either solenoid or pneumatic valve actuators, it would be great.
I'm sure the manufacturer has his reasons, but engine as small as 1.6L to suffer an additional engine block weight by going the 'V' configuration is puzzling. Straight 3 may be a little too ambitious yet but wouldn't a straight 4 suffice?
June 24, 2013