October 1, 2014

Here is Honda's F1 power unit...maybe

Honda released the first official picture of the F1 Power Unit that will be at the back of the Mclaren in 2015.
Before you get too excited, remember the pictures Mercedes first released  of its engine last year turned out to have been designed to deceive.  Renault and Ferrari did the same of course.

The scuttlebutt is that Honda is running late in it's development, that its initial assessment of the best compromise between the various components had to be re-evaluated in light of Mercedes success and that it's this delay that has caused Alonso to hesitate in jumping ship and go back to Woking with a suitcase full of cash.

I'm not sure I buy all that.

It will be interesting to find out where Honda will end up in their power unit compromise,  if their technology guide is any indication, one might guess they like the Mercedes MGU-H heavy solutions

"Unlike the MGU-K, F1 regulations do not place energy usage restrictions on the MGU-H. Based on thermal energy from the turbocharger. Electricity generated by the MGU-H may be fed directly into the MGU-K, effectively bypassing the MGU-K restrictions and tapping the full 160PS, highlighting the importance of developing a system to fully utilize the MGU-H. The new F1 power unit heavily depends on how effectively the MGU-H performs."

Ferrari and Renault (and Mercedes of course) will have the ability to to change a fair bit of the engine over the winter.    There is an Engine freeze but it's a gradual freeze and as you would expect with everything F1, it's not a straightforward process.

By the technical regulations the engine is divided into 42 items.  Each of these 42 items is give a "points" value:  the water pump is 1 point,  Valve geometry is 3 points. The total "points" value is 66.

Three items are frozen now:

Upper/lower crankcase (Cylinder bore spacing, deck height, bank stagger),
Crankshaft (Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter)
and Air valve system (Including compressor, air pressure regulation devices)

Five more will be frozen for 2016 and so on towards a total freeze in 2019.

Still with me?

The 2015 frozen items leave 39 items to alter, worth a total of 61 "points".
Teams however are not allowed to change all 39 items because they only have 32 "points" to spend.  On top if that they cannot modify more than 48% of the  original "weighted" components.  

Confused yet?

Teams will need to choose wisely because those points will add up fast.

In the meantime,  Honda has announced it will be taking part in the test in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season.



  1. A gradual engine freeze makes sense. All of those specific rules are an effort to keep engineers from gaming the system.

    One thing F1 definitely got wrong this season is limiting drivers to 5 engines. That number should have been higher to start and gotten smaller as we approached the full freeze in 2019.

  2. Tubular manifolds vs log manifolds will be a good debate on this. I wonder if Honda is running logs under those carbon covers or tubular?

    Mercedes is running log manifolds, making the whole power unit much more compact, allowing the body to be narrower by a good bit. We know how well this engine is working for them this year.

    I believe Renault and Ferrari were both using tubular manifolds at the beginning of the season.

  3. To me the freeze does not make sense...
    To me it will be better if the engine is freeze per year or maybe a partial freeze per year that way engine developers will keep improving the engines.

    Of 66 points you can only change X amount of point. but no matter what as long are only X

  4. I like the per year idea

  5. They should go back to having non-championship races. But either fully unrestricted or a spec style race. I've been a life long fan but my god the races are getting boring. They could use to bring back big, loud, nasty v-12's and make the racing a circus again or just say screw it and make it a spec race (hell we're already half way there with the engine freeze). Side note: when you freeze water you're slowing down the activity of the molecules to a benign, rigid, dormant, boring state. I think that's what F1 is shooting for here.


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