Honda Motor Co., Ltd. provided a first look at an image of the power unit currently in development for the 2015 FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship. During the 2014 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, Honda will offer a sneak preview film of the F1 power unit under development, including the engine revving sound at the Honda stand at Suzuka Circuit (2-5 October 2014).
|Honda Formula 1 power unit. Click to enlarge.|
In 2014, the regulations for F1 engine and energy recovery systems were changed. The 2.4 liter engines were downsized to 1.6 liters, and environmental technologies such as energy recovery similar to conventional hybrid cars were introduced. However, F1 machines not only regenerate kinetic energy—as do conventional hybrids—but thermal energy as well.
The kinetic energy recovery system’s motor/generator unit is called “MGU-K” (Motor Generator Unit - Kinetic). The second system, the thermal energy recovery system, captures the thermal energy generated from the engine’s exhaust. Hot exhaust from the engine’s combustion chamber is normally lost via the exhaust pipes. The thermal energy recovery system, a motor/generator unit, reuses this thermal energy to generate electricity. This unit is called “MGU-H” (Motor Generator Unit - Heat).
|Conceptual configuration of the F1 power unit (not representative of Honda’s actual unit). Under the new regulations, F1 machines will be powered by two energy recovery systems in addition to the engine (e.g., Renault’s power unit, earlier post). Click to enlarge.|
The complete system comprising the engine and energy recovery systems is called the “power unit”; the developer of the hybrid power system is called the “power unit supplier.”
Working toward Honda’s F1 participation starting in the 2015 season, development of the power unit is entering its prime phase at our R&D facility in Sakura (Tochigi, Japan), where we transferred our automobile motor sports development earlier this year. In addition to conducting simulations, we have moved onto the next stage where we conduct full-fledged bench tests of the engine while connecting the turbocharger and energy recovery systems. In the meantime, our racing operation base in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, has become fully operational. At this time, we are unveiling an image of our power unit that is under development. The whole team is concentrating on this development, getting ready for the forthcoming start of F1 participation in 6 months.—Yasuhisa Arai, Senior Managing Officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., who is heading the F1 Project