Massa

Engines

16 posts in this topic

Are they important? ;)

I'm wondering, from a competition standpoint, how much of a difference engine supplier makes. It seems to me that Ferrari, Renault, and Mercedes are hardly different in performance, while Cosworth might be worse (but only just, as the teams going Cosworth to Renault didn't gain much).

Williams will move to Mercedes in 2014, and that's probably more of a cost thing than anything. Perhaps, being year one of a new formula, engines will play a bigger role.

Just curious as to what differences, perceived or real, you see among the different suppliers. Be as technical or as basic as you want to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good topic. The new suppliers, like Honda and potentially Ford, already have expertise with the v6 turbo engines and might provide good engines right from the start.

Right now they are similar, as you say, but with the new comer(s) I beleive the engine will take a larger place in the equation. Can't wait for next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Mr.Basic here :D

I know nothing about engines, engineering or Formula 1, for that matter, but that has never stopped me before.

Engines are important in (among others):

1) Reliability: not much of an issue nowadays, but taht shows the enormous efforts made by manufacturers and the FIA (with their limits to engine units) to improve the reliability. It was not so long ago that the only reliable engines were the Ferraris...and a few years before that they were reliable in the sense that they were guaranteed not to finish a race. Nowadays, an engine failure is something that happens only once in a lifetime. Not unlike sex.

2) Power. Every tenth of BHP counts in an age were the difference between a Marussia and a n RBR is a lot less than we think it is.

3) Weight: a previous incarnation of the Cosworth engines was the bane of teams, the engines were properly good and powerful, but so heavy they might as well mount a pickup truck in the back of their cars. The Renaults are known for being rather lightweight whereas the Mercedes are considered heavy if fast.

Or at least they were at some point. Perhaps nowadays is the other way around. But the point still stands.

4) Fuel economy: No point in having a fast engine if you need your own Arab Emirate to provide you with fuel for the race. More consumption means more fuel on board, which means more weight, which means less speed and less tires. Enough said.

And a bunch of actually relevant stuff that will better be explained by Craig. He is full of Sh#t like me, but a much better liar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also sadly the engines will be homoligated again and the spec will be set for another 5 or 6 years. So once 2014 comes around we are pretty much stuck with whatever they make. Of course some suppliers will be allowed "reliability fixes" to ensure that no supplier is down a bunch of power but even so I wish we could go back to the days where engine development was a real part of the sport.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also sadly the engines will be homoligated again and the spec will be set for another 5 or 6 years. So once 2014 comes around we are pretty much stuck with whatever they make. Of course some suppliers will be allowed "reliability fixes" to ensure that no supplier is down a bunch of power but even so I wish we could go back to the days where engine development was a real part of the sport.

I like it like this though, as Andres mentioned above, the reliability aspect. Also it provides close racing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are they important? wink.png

Yes, without them the cars don't move. *

*

unless you put them on a hill **

**

or tow them ***

***

I'll stop now.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seriously, I think they make less of a difference now - going back a few years, reliability and difference in performance was more of a feature - I remember the first time they managed to get engines revving over 19K RPM and the use of more exotic materials in engines to increase performance.

The standouts were always Renault and Honda/Mugen. Whenever Renault have entered the sport, their engines have generally been strong.

In the 80s and 90s engines grenading themselves were a relatively common occurence whereas it is rare now.

I think it is good in one sense that they have put pressure on to make them more reliable, the costs of engines are eye-watering; however the down-side to this is that you don't get the: "XYZ car leading 30 laps then engine blows on the last lap"- type situation.

Now, differences are marginal and it seems that the competitive edge is around innovative use of aerodynamics and how badly the cars eat tyres (which are obviously closely related)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the engines these days are pretty similar for the most part, they all seem to be reliable and much the same power wise. I recall the Honda a few years back in the BAR was awful, they blew up every damn race nearly it was insane. These days it's more about cost than anything else I think and it will be interesting to see how well they all adapt to the new rules for next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And a bunch of actually relevant stuff that will better be explained by Craig. He is full of Sh#t like me, but a much better liar.

Why thank you, good Sir. tiphat.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:lol:

You know I was joking!

But I am in fact looking for an explanation from someone who knows about this stuff and that would be you.

And before you thank me for these kind words, remember that I still consider myself a liar :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are they important? wink.png

I'm wondering, from a competition standpoint, how much of a difference engine supplier makes. It seems to me that Ferrari, Renault, and Mercedes are hardly different in performance, while Cosworth might be worse (but only just, as the teams going Cosworth to Renault didn't gain much).

Williams will move to Mercedes in 2014, and that's probably more of a cost thing than anything. Perhaps, being year one of a new formula, engines will play a bigger role.

Just curious as to what differences, perceived or real, you see among the different suppliers. Be as technical or as basic as you want to.

Every engine has it's own personality as it were. Some engines will have a small peak operating area, and others a broad one. The broader the peak the easier it is to drive the engine.

For example, a Ford Kent Crossflow has an operating band of around 5000-6500rpm. This makes it an easy engine to drive, and is one of the reasons it has been the backbone engine for forty years in Formula Ford. Then you take a Ford Cosworth MAE, and it's operating band is 9000-9500rpm - a very small window and one that makes it very hard to stay on the cam. A driver will always prefer a broad a peak as possible.

Other differences in engines of course is the weight, but more importantly, where that weight is - the center of mass. You might remember going back a few years and Renault had a very wide V angle in the V10 - this was to lower the center of mass, because obviously, the wider the angle, the lower the top of the pistons will be. Many manufacutrers have tried various piston angles, from flat (Subaru Boxer being possibly the most successful), to H16's of BRM; a very complicated double stacking of pistons, to W16 variants which is where pistons on the crank are cencentrically offset, to inline 4's and 6's where the "V" is basically closed in the vertical plane, and V variants of differing angular piston displacement.

Every manufacturer has it's idea of the "sweet spot", but it can be anywhere from 60-120 degrees (120 being flatter, and thus with a lower CoG). Renault, from memory, were running 110-112-degs, but the high revs made the harmonics go out the window, and the angle was closed back towards 90 degrees.

So each engine gives the designer pro's and con's. And from this a different car will emerge, from wheelbase, size of body work, ride heights, etc etc.

Then this is also not mentioning how thirsty one engine might be over the other to generate equal horse power (horsepower being a (complicated) calculation of engine speed, air flow, and fuel delivery). But sometimes, horsepower can be sacrificed for better torque (and therefore acceleration), and thus improve efficiency. Teams will not know what they really have until they can physically test the cars; computers and dyno charts can only get you so far; there has been many an engine over the years look good on paper, but be impossible to drive (power coming on all at once etc).

Will we have engines breaking next year towards the end of the races? Probably not. The reason - today's testing of engines is so far more advanced than what it was in the 1990's (the last time engines would blow up), and astronomically advanced in comparison to the 1980's (the last time turbo's were the engine of choice until banned in 1989).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

laugh.png

You know I was joking!

But I am in fact looking for an explanation from someone who knows about this stuff and that would be you.

And before you thank me for these kind words, remember that I still consider myself a liar tongue.png

Ahh....but was I telling the truth when I thanked you? eusa_think.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every engine has it's own personality as it were. Some engines will have a small peak operating area, and others a broad one. The broader the peak the easier it is to drive the engine.

For example, a Ford Kent Crossflow has an operating band of around 5000-6500rpm. This makes it an easy engine to drive, and is one of the reasons it has been the backbone engine for forty years in Formula Ford. Then you take a Ford Cosworth MAE, and it's operating band is 9000-9500rpm - a very small window and one that makes it very hard to stay on the cam. A driver will always prefer a broad a peak as possible.

Other differences in engines of course is the weight, but more importantly, where that weight is - the center of mass. You might remember going back a few years and Renault had a very wide V angle in the V10 - this was to lower the center of mass, because obviously, the wider the angle, the lower the top of the pistons will be. Many manufacutrers have tried various piston angles, from flat (Subaru Boxer being possibly the most successful), to H16's of BRM; a very complicated double stacking of pistons, to W16 variants which is where pistons on the crank are cencentrically offset, to inline 4's and 6's where the "V" is basically closed in the vertical plane, and V variants of differing angular piston displacement.

Every manufacturer has it's idea of the "sweet spot", but it can be anywhere from 60-120 degrees (120 being flatter, and thus with a lower CoG). Renault, from memory, were running 110-112-degs, but the high revs made the harmonics go out the window, and the angle was closed back towards 90 degrees.

So each engine gives the designer pro's and con's. And from this a different car will emerge, from wheelbase, size of body work, ride heights, etc etc.

Then this is also not mentioning how thirsty one engine might be over the other to generate equal horse power (horsepower being a (complicated) calculation of engine speed, air flow, and fuel delivery). But sometimes, horsepower can be sacrificed for better torque (and therefore acceleration), and thus improve efficiency. Teams will not know what they really have until they can physically test the cars; computers and dyno charts can only get you so far; there has been many an engine over the years look good on paper, but be impossible to drive (power coming on all at once etc).

Will we have engines breaking next year towards the end of the races? Probably not. The reason - today's testing of engines is so far more advanced than what it was in the 1990's (the last time engines would blow up), and astronomically advanced in comparison to the 1980's (the last time turbo's were the engine of choice until banned in 1989).

errrrrr.gif

...which is exactly what I said, give or take a few words. whistling.gif

Edited by Quiet One

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, don't forget that next year teams will be given a standard amount of fuel for the race. This is to make it so that each engine is built to be more efficient. (An idea which is already ridiculous because F1 engines are already pretty damn efficient for a race car engine.)

Apparently it is based on some weird energy output formula for the entire race. So you can run half the race at 100% and then drop it to 70% to finish or just drive 85% the entire time. I guess the FIA will say that a car will need so and so much power output over the entire race and will only allocate that much fuel for each team. I don't know if teams then have to run with all of it in the car even if they don;t need that much but knowing the FIA they probably will. Which will of course be counter productive to making engines more efficient because if you start becoming efficient you start driving around dead weight in the form of unused fuel.

/*Slightly Off Topic

What I would love to see is F1 using electric motors to drive the wheels but have a gas engine to act as a generator instead of having batteries. The big advantage of the electric motors being no need for a transmission or one with only 2 or 3 rations and having practically all available torgue right off the bat. I personally can't wait for Fomula E and I hope it will be a good proof of concept and parts of it will make their way to a much more established series like F1

Electric is the way of the future, simple as that. The only real question is how will the energy be stored. That really has been the age old problem with all cars, how do you store the energy you need to move forward. And after doing a test drive of the Tesla Model S those things are insane.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, everybody has mentioned the mechanical factors like reliability and power, but most people would accept that engines are not currently a performance differentiator. Furthermore, they're unlikely to become one due to the way the rules are written, with equalisation essentially being written into the rules no manufacturer will keep an advantage for too long. That's if they even manage to find one in the beginning, which isn't a given since none of the major players are idiots. F1 just cannot be an engine Formula at the moment due to cost reasons and so it won't be.

As far as I can tell, the most important thing about engines to a team in modern F1 was mentioned by Eric in the first post: cost. It'll be interesting to see if there are major differences between prices. Also, since the new engines will be so much more expensive (apparently), they will become performance differentiators in the following sense: smaller teams with less money will spend more on engines compared to what they spend now, without necessarily having any gain in sponsorship/income, and so may have less money to spend in other areas. Richer teams, as ever, won't feel the pinch quite as badly.

In short, I don't expect it to be as competitive next year as it has been for these last years. That's to be expected with a new formula. But it's not necessarily because the engines will be actual material performance differentiators, but because they'll take up more resources for smaller/mid size teams.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now