Mercedes launches 2014 F1 W05 challenger

Mercedes F1 W05

The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team today unveiled the F1 W05, its 2014 challenger, at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Ahead of the first morning of official winter testing, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took the wraps off the first all-new Silver Arrow to hit the track since 1954. Designed from the ground up as an integrated project between the Mercedes-Benz teams based at Brackley and Brixworth, this new car marks an historic milestone in a landmark year when Mercedes-Benz celebrates 120 years of Motorsport and the 80th anniversary of the Silver Arrows.

A Landmark Year for Formula One and Mercedes-Benz

The 2014 Formula One season marks the biggest change in regulations in the sport's history and the F1 W05 has been designed to meet the challenge of this technical revolution. The initial engineering conversations between the teams at Brackley and Brixworth around both the regulations and potential solutions date back to late 2010. Since mid-2011, when the rules for the new V6 Hybrid Power Unit were officially published, Mercedes-Benz has taken a fully integrated approach to every major performance decision with a clear-sighted focus on maximizing overall car performance.

The result is the new F1 W05 and, at its heart, the PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, both designed to meet the challenge of a fundamental change in the philosophy of Formula One. The introduction of a demanding maximum race fuel allowance of just 100 kg per race, coupled with a maximum fuel flow rate of 100 kg/hour, have focused the efforts of the sport's engineers on delivering performance with a set of innovative new technologies that achieve an efficiency gain of more than 30%.

The F1 W05 will therefore deliver over one third more performance from every unit of fuel consumed, a development story that places the new Hybrid Formula One at the cutting edge of automotive technology – and puts the sport on the same development path as the wider automotive industry.

Toto Wolff, Executive Director (Business) of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, commented: "It is always exciting to pull the wraps off a new car for the first time but even more so at the start of this momentous 2014 season. Our new Silver Arrow is the result of a single-minded, integrated approach between our engineering teams. My compliments and thanks go to every team member in Brackley, at Brixworth and also at our key partner, PETRONAS, for their hard work to deliver this new car and the Power Unit at its heart; it is the result of several years of intense effort. But we know that the adventure has only just begun. We have a busy winter testing period ahead of us and a long season where both performance and reliability will be critically important. Lewis and Nico begin the season hungry for success and I am confident that our team will benefit thanks to the continuity of their work during the winter period. We have positive momentum after our second-place finish last season. Our clear target is to continue building up our team and we aim to deliver on every single race weekend in 2014."

Mercedes F1 W05

"For 2014 we have probably the greatest change in regulations in Formula One history and the start of a new era for our sport," continued Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe. "From a technical and also a racing perspective, this is an incredibly exciting time for Formula One. We are introducing technologies that are new not just to racing but to the wider automotive world as well. The headline is that of improved efficiency and the fact that we will be completing races with advanced Hybrid systems on just 100 kg of fuel sends a great message about the technology that Formula One can deliver. But it is also about the technology that Mercedes-Benz can develop compared with our competition, both for the chassis and the new Power Unit. The whole team has done a fantastic job on the management of the project and its delivery. We have hit our milestones and hit our targets but, as ever, we will only begin to understand how successful we have been once we begin running in anger on track. The new car is an elegant but aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and intelligent. Our team can be justifiably proud of its work so far – but none of us are under any illusions about the amount we still have to do before the first race in six weeks' time."

Mercedes Power Unit

A Technical Revolution

The F1 W05 is the most complex Formula One car ever produced by the team at Brackley powered by the PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, the most complex power unit developed in the history of Brixworth. The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) at the heart of the new Power Unit has been down-sized to a 1.6 liter V6 configuration and down-speeded to a maximum of 15,000 rpm. To achieve high power delivery and therefore efficiency from the ICE, a pressure charging system has been introduced, in the form of a single stage turbocharger and compressor. The new Hybrid Energy Recovery System (ERS), which incorporates electric motors capable of recovering both kinetic and waste heat energy, presented a ten-fold greater challenge than its predecessor, KERS, which was pioneered by Mercedes-Benz in 2009. This advanced Hybrid system is integral to car performance and marks a significant step forward in both system performance and durability. Each driver is permitted to use just five Power Units per season without penalty.

The lifeblood of the new Power Unit is the fluid technology delivered by PETRONAS. New tailor-made fuel and lubricants have been developed molecule-by-molecule by PETRONAS technologists to meet the challenges of the 2014 Power Unit. This year, fuel energy density has become one of the controlling performance parameters of the sport and improving efficiency is for the first time in Formula One fully aligned with improving performance. The contribution of PETRONAS in delivering total Fluid Technology Solutions has been essential to the delivery of the 2014 Power Unit. Never before in the history of Formula One have a Power Unit and its fuel and lubricants been developed so closely.

The Power Unit has been designed for optimum installation in the F1 W05 chassis. This new car is the product of an aggressive development philosophy targeted at optimizing the packaging of new on-car systems, such as the increased cooling demands of the Power Unit, in order to give the team's aerodynamic group maximum freedom to respond to a significantly different regulatory framework. Compared to 2013, the regulations impose a narrower front wing; the removal of the lower rear wing and a reduction in size of the upper wing; and a central exhaust exit, thereby negating the effect of 'exhaust blowing' which powerfully contributed to performance in the past three seasons. Every component has been reviewed and redesigned to get as close as possible to the challenging overall minimum weight limit of 691 kg. The result is an exceptionally tightly packaged vehicle which sets new standards in terms of overall integration.

Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, explained: "The 2014 regulations are a game changer for Formula One. In the V8 era, the power potential of the normally aspirated engine was controlled by the flow of air into the engine – and therefore engine capacity and rpm. For 2014, that has been fundamentally turned on its head. The wider automotive industry is focused on the amount of fuel going into an engine, and the amount of CO2 it emits, and these are now our controlling parameters, with a maximum fuel flow rate and race fuel allowance. The fundamental question is now: how can we best convert 100 kg of fuel energy into useful mechanical energy? This challenge has pushed us to develop cutting-edge new technologies, both within the Internal Combustion Engine itself and in the ERS Hybrid system, with the valuable support of our Research and Development colleagues in Stuttgart. These will enable us to develop over 30% more power per unit of fuel than we did with the V8 engine. It has been an exciting and rewarding challenge so far, characterized by a strong competitive spirit and the common objective of building a winning Silver Arrow. But the hardest work is undoubtedly still to come. We will keep our feet on the ground and methodically work through our winter testing program in order to arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as we possibly can be."

Continuity in the Cockpit

For the new season, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS is the only top team on the grid with the advantage of continuity in its driver line-up. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have spent the short winter break preparing for the year's new challenges, working closely with their respective engineering teams and conducting intensive training programs. For 2014, they will carry new race numbers – 44 for Lewis, 6 for Nico – that will stay with them for their racing careers.

"It has been exciting to see the car come together and to see – and hear – it run for the first time last Friday in Silverstone," commented Lewis Hamilton. "It looks just fantastic, so aggressive but full of really nice details as well. I am excited to find out how the new Power Unit feels to drive, to hear how it sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative to the competition. I think this is probably the season with the most unknowns that I have faced in my career and that's just so exciting for all of us.

"This is my second season with Mercedes and it now feels like I am a fully-fledged member of the team and that we are nurturing the great relationship we built last year. But it is still going to be a big learning year for all of us. There is so much new technology on these cars and so much information to take in and filter out to get down to what really matters, it's going to be a big challenge with changes to driving style and race strategies, too.

"It has probably been the shortest winter I have ever had out of the car. I spent Christmas and New Year training in the mountains and I even put a turbo on my snowmobile, so that I could get used to the feel of a vehicle delivering power in that way, which was pretty awesome. And I'm excited to see the number 44 on my car again. It's the number I had when I started racing go-karts – the number plate on my Dad's car had a 44 on it, which is where it came from – and I won my first British championship with it, so it has been the family number ever since. Fingers crossed it will bring us luck as it did back then."

Nico Rosberg will enter his fifth season as a Silver Arrows driver at the wheel of car number six.

"I am massively excited ahead of getting in the car properly, after our short shakedown at Silverstone last Friday. It's been a really intense period and I am just so looking forward to driving the car. This year will be much more complex with all the new technologies and I think it's great; it will help make the sport really contemporary. It's all focused on being more fuel efficient and using Hybrid energy, which for me is a good route and something that will make the racing even more interesting.

"After finishing the Pirelli test last December in Bahrain, it's only been a month away from the car for me and that's a positive because it means I will be up and running straight away. We have three tests coming up and, as always, the track time will be very limited. So it's going to be a massive mission to get ready and reliable. I think we are on track but it's going to be so difficult for all the teams and I just feel lucky because I have such a great team behind me. I am confident we can get the job done.

"I have completely changed my helmet design for the new season and, of course, I will have the number six on the nose of the car. My Dad wrote me an email in the winter saying it had been a lucky number for him when he became world champion, but that didn't convince me. Then my fiancée said it was her lucky number, too, so that got me thinking a bit more! And then I remembered that I won a championship with this number back in 2002. Hopefully that will be the key to an easy season!"

How has the chassis team had to adapt to the change in Power Unit?
The Power Unit (PU) has a completely different shape and requirements to its predecessor and it is the biggest change in packaging in Formula One for many years. There is a lot more equipment to cool: more Hybrid systems plus the intercooler for the charge air from the turbocharger. That has both a packaging and an aerodynamic dimension. Then there is the weight challenge. Although the minimum weight has been raised to 691 kg, it is far more difficult to achieve than last year's target because of the extra equipment in the Power Unit and its associated systems, plus the cooling demand and the new, heavier side impact structures prescribed by the FIA. Yet another aspect is the thermal challenge. With the introduction of a turbocharger, managing the heat around the exhaust system is important for both car integrity and also for performance. If losses can be minimized in the primaries between the engine block and turbo, that is energy that can be recovered and used for car performance. So there is a big insulation and heat management challenge for both integrity and performance reasons.

What impact have the increased energy recovery requirements had for the chassis team?
PL: We have doubled the amount of kinetic energy that is permitted to be recovered through the rear axle relative to the previous KERS systems. This means that rear brake duty, and therefore the quantity of heat generated, will be far lower. We have automatic systems recovering the energy and so, in order to maintain a drivable brake balance, the rear brakes are permitted to be controlled electronically. We have designed a 'brake-by-wire' system for the rear wheels. When the driver presses the pedal, the system manages the rear brake circuit and the energy recovery requirements together so that the total rear braking effort and the net front-to-rear brake balance matches the driver's demand. The most important aspect to get right with brake-by-wire is failure management. It is obviously a safety critical system and most of our work has been focused around ensuring the right levels of failure control.

Reliability has been spoken about often in connection with the Power Units. Does this present any challenges on the chassis side?
PL: We do have new durability targets to meet, most particularly in relation to the gearbox. It is an entirely new design: it now includes eight speeds, the lower engine speed means a new regime of reduction ratios, there is significantly more torque and the gear ratios must be nominated for the entire season. That means we are not just being stretched in terms of new functionality but also in terms of endurance. Previously, we would re-optimize gear ratios every weekend. The new PU has a wide range of workable engine speeds, which means that ratio choice is nothing like as critical as it was in the past. But the more difficult part is making the physical ratios last for six races instead of one – and indeed making the whole gearbox system last for six races, compared to five last year.

The aerodynamic regulations have also seen significant changes for the new season…
PL: The package of aerodynamic modifications is probably as significant as the changes introduced for the start of the 2009 season. It comprises three main elements. First, the front wing has been narrowed, which has a fundamental effect on the flow field of the car, because the wake from the front wing is its first defining point. Second, at the rear, we have been affected by the loss of exhaust blowing, which was a very significant aspect of car performance in the past three seasons. With the single central exit tailpipe, it has been a challenge to recover the drivability which was very strong as the drivers came on throttle on corner exit. Finally, the rear wing has been altered with the elimination of the lower rear wing and about a 10% reduction in the 'legality box' for the upper rear wing, from 220 mm to 200 mm. At the rear of the car, the floor, lower rear wing and upper wing previously worked as a set and that has now changed, which presents a challenge. Overall, we are obliged to run broadly the same level of wing that we would previously have run at Spa in a 'low-drag' configuration. This will mean reduced cornering speeds but also higher straight-line speeds.

The Sporting Regulations also now include restrictions on wind tunnel usage. Can you explain their impact?
PL: The teams have policed restrictions on wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) usage for several years now. For 2014 this practice has been written into the Sporting Regulations and will be policed by the FIA. Furthermore the amount of permitted testing has been severely reduced in order to save costs: wind tunnel occupancy is restricted to 60 hours per week (teams had typically been running 24×7), we can only run 80 wind tunnel tests per week, the trading combination between wind tunnel and CFD usage has been further restricted (so-called '30/30' rule) and we have lost the ability to perform full-scale aerodynamic tests in the wind tunnel or on runways. In real terms, that represents an overall reduction in aerodynamic testing of around two thirds.

How satisfied are you with the F1 W05 as a response to the new regulations?
PL: The team has done a fantastic job on each aspect of the project. We have hit our milestones and also our own internal targets. The car is an elegant response to the new regulations but also an aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering is extremely innovative and intelligent. I am very proud of the work that has gone into the project so far, which is a huge credit to Bob Bell, Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis, Rob Thomas and the engineering team. Of course everybody is also well aware of how much remains to be done throughout the season; we are only just beginning!

How critical will in-season development prove to be this year, in your opinion?
PL: Formula One is always a development race. The team that can extract the most lap-time benefit from the new wind tunnel restrictions will be rewarded for it, especially so early in a new set of regulations when the development curve is at its steepest. But it won't just be about aerodynamics: owing to the fuel restrictions, the efficiency challenge is possibly the biggest one of all. This is where, for example, our technology partnership with PETRONAS can and will make a significant difference. And finally we must not forget reliability. We are breaking new ground with a number of the technologies in the car but they are of little use if we do not make it to the finish line at each race. So we will be fighting on every front to meet technical and durability challenges this year. And that is exactly what Formula One should be about: adopting and stretching innovative technologies in the most aggressive and ambitious way possible.

2014 Technical Q&A with Andy Cowell

Andy, what was the thinking behind the new Power Unit regulations?
Andy Cowell: The initial discussions between the FIA and the engine manufacturers were focused on delivering a more efficient internal combustion engine and more potent Hybrid systems. Both sides were keen to move the sport in this direction. With a normally aspirated engine, the power potential is controlled by the flow of air into the engine via the capacity and the rpm it can be run at. However, the automotive industry is focused not on air consumption but on fuel consumption – and the CO2 emissions this generates. The sport has therefore turned the rules on their head with a formula where the performance is restricted by two fuel mechanisms: a maximum fuel flow rate of 100 kg/hr and a maximum race fuel allowance of 100 kg. The fundamental challenge is to convert as much of the chemical energy in the fuel, into mechanical energy, as efficiently as possible at the prescribed flow rate. Conversion efficiency is now the key.

What technologies have been used to achieve that step in efficiency?
AC: To achieve the step change in efficiency required in order to maintain performance levels, we have developed technologies that break new ground not just in racing but also in the wider automotive world. When the regulations were written, it was decided to fix aspects such as the engine configuration, bore size and crankshaft centre line height, to stop the engineers spending time on areas that we are familiar with but where there's no efficiency gain to be had. So instead you focus on areas such as the waste energy in the exhaust flow from the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), where you can put in a turbine to recover some of that energy, use it to drive the compressor and improve the efficiency of the ICE. Likewise, any excess energy can be put into the battery via an electric motor for use to minimize turbo lag and therefore make the car faster. Equally, we recover kinetic energy under braking, through another electric motor connected to the battery. And having that motor coupled with the ICE allows us to maximize shaft power during acceleration. We have achieved an efficiency gain of over 30% – in other words, we are producing over 30% more power for every unit of fuel consumed compared with last year's V8 engine.

How big a change is this in absolute terms?
AC: I don't think we have ever had such a large change that was mandated in the regulations. The move from the V10 to V8 was compulsory but we were still dealing with a naturally aspirated engine, even with the restrictions that were put in place. KERS in 2009 was not compulsory but rather a performance opportunity to be taken if you could make it work. This change is of an altogether different order of magnitude.

The new Power Unit has been developed hand-in-hand with, and for, the new F1 W05 race car. What have been the advantages of conducting this project as a full works team?
AC: We can go all the way back to the discussions around these regulations, before they were finalized, evaluating their impact. Those conversations happened with our colleagues in Brackley. From the first simulation exercise, we have worked on delivering the fastest possible race car within the regulations to score the most championship points. Everything has been done as one group of engineers. Having that relationship right from the start is a huge benefit because your level of understanding, reasoning and discussion builds from the same point. We haven't lost time with one system team catching up with another, which makes the development journey more efficient. It also keeps the spirit and ethos constant so that, when it comes to hurdles, we have good balance in our decision-making process around what can be compromised and what must not be. It has resulted in a highly integrated assembly with good common understanding of what makes a fast and reliable race car. That spirit of teamwork has also extended to our Research and Development colleagues in Stuttgart, who have made an invaluable contribution to the project in specific areas, such as the turbocharger. It has been a true team effort to develop the best possible technology that Mercedes-Benz can deliver.

How pleased are you with the final result and the level of vehicle integration that has been achieved?
AC: The integration of the Power Unit has been an interesting journey over the past few years. We have gone from initial schemes where you look at the PU in scale compared with the aero surfaces of a racing car and think: "How is that going to be done?" That's where we started the journey and, by working together, you can make those trade-offs in a completely open way. It's been one group of engineers all working to make this Silver Arrow as fast as possible.

One of the major changes comes in the form of a significantly more powerful Hybrid Energy Recovery System (ERS). What learnings were taken from KERS into the new system?
AC: Our learning during the KERS project was the bedrock for building ERS. But we are talking about a big step not just in absolute power but probably more significantly in terms of duty cycle, in other words the percentage of the time around a lap that it is operation. You could in theory combine two of last year's KERS motors on a single shaft to achieve the maximum power of 120 kW. But instead of using the motor for just short of seven seconds per lap as we did last year, now it's on for over 30 seconds of every lap. And there is also a much greater reliability requirement, because there are only five of these motors per driver per championship. So it's more power, a harder duty cycle and significantly greater reliability demands. What's more, it's no longer something that's 'nice to have' – given the power and the duty cycle, the car will be seconds slower without the MGU-K working, so you need it to do laps. Stitching all of that together with an absolute deadline is a big challenge, probably to an order of ten times more challenging. And that's just one of the six parts of the Power Unit we are producing.

The 2014 rules contain both a maximum race fuel allowance and a maximum fuel rate. In a formula where fuel is now the controlling performance parameter, how important has the contribution of PETRONAS been to delivering the new Power Unit?
AC: PETRONAS have been a really significant partner with huge input into the project. They have been pivotal to the fuel engineering and combustion engineering. The characteristics of the Primax fuel and the way it performs during combustion are key to an efficient and therefore powerful and reliable ICE. The regulations on what can be done with the fuel are pretty tight and they essentially define a regulation window. With a high-revving normally aspirated engine, you end up in one corner of that window; I'd say we are now in a completely opposite corner. The PETRONAS Syntium lubricant also plays a crucial role, with regards to low friction and achieving good life, especially in the new areas of the Power Unit, such as the turbocharger, that require quite different lubricants. It has been invaluable having PETRONAS as a partner right from the start of the project.

Reliability is being widely talked about as the biggest obstacle to success for this season. What is the scale of the challenge?
AC: Change typically risks reliability. If it's the introduction of something totally new like turbochargers, with electric machines connected to them revving to over 100,000 rpm, that is doubly challenging – and therefore a bigger risk to reliability. There are dozens of topics – some technology, some all about detail – that could potentially compromise reliability. And that's the same thing that we have always had in motorsport. There will be hard choices to be made against serious opponents who will push us right to the edge – and there may be mistakes. But we are still talking about getting to the end of a race, faster than anybody else, using the least amount of fuel, on a knife-edge of reliability. That's motor racing; and that's what makes it such a passionate and exciting sport to work in.

PETRONAS: Technical Partner for Fluid Technology Solutions

Since the modern era of the Silver Arrows began in 2010, PETRONAS has been the Fluid Technology Solutions Partner of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, maximizing the potential of lubricant and fuel technology to provide differentiated performance.

For 2014, this relationship has been significantly enhanced, with PETRONAS and the Mercedes-Benz teams in Brackley and Brixworth working hand in hand to develop a high-performance racing machine within the new parameters of FIA regulations. If the Power Unit is the heart of the new Silver Arrow, its lifeblood is the tailor-made fuel and lubricant developed by PETRONAS' technology.

This year, fuel energy density has become one of the controlling performance parameters for the sport and improving efficiency is now fully aligned with improving performance. In this context, lubricants and fuels have a crucial role to play in a number of different ways.

PETRONAS technologists have applied their expertise, honed through optimizing PETRONAS Syntium for turbo-charged, direct fuel injection engines in everyday cars, to design and co-develop new lubricants to meet the new challenges posed by the Power Unit.

A key challenge is the downsizing of the Formula 1 engines from V8, 2.4 liter engines to V6, 1.6 liter engines. The smaller Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and increased power per liter mean that the new engine runs hotter. Oil thins at higher temperatures and thus a hotter engine needs a thicker oil to stop metal components from rubbing together and failing.

However, the hotter conditions and reduced quantity of oil in the ICE (reduced from almost seven liters for the V8 to fewer than three liters for the V6) also mean that the oil must contribute more to cooling the engine. This requires thinner, faster flowing oil.

Additionally, the regulation changes restrict the quantity of fuel that can be consumed per race to 100 kg, which means that the oil needs to help conserve energy by minimizing friction. Again, this requires thinner oil.

In order to meet these complex and contradicting requirements, the new engine oil for the 2014 car is a precisely balanced mixture of advanced, thinner synthetic base oils to help cooling and polymer viscosity boosters (which kick-in at higher temperatures) to thicken the oil. Friction-reducing oil components, which make it easier for metal surfaces to slide past each other, have also been used to improve overall fuel economy.

Another consideration is that the higher temperatures also make it more likely that the oil itself will stop working properly. High performance additives have been included to stop the oil from breaking down under these extreme conditions.

Energy losses in the gearbox can also have a significant impact on fuel economy. To address this, PETRONAS technologists have also produced precision gearbox lubricants for the 2014 car to ensure that energy losses in the transmission are kept to a minimum, whilst making sure that the gearbox is protected from failure.

With regard to fuel, a direct injection turbocharged ICE has special requirements in terms of fuel characteristics, for example it is very important that the injector nozzles are not blocked by deposits that come from the fuel.

On top of that, the limits set by FIA with regard to maximum fuel quantity allowed (100 kg) and flow rate (100 kg/hour) mean that every single component in the fuel has to contribute to performance. PETRONAS scientists have developed a new fuel for the 2014 Power Unit molecule-by-molecule, balancing characteristics such as energy density, octane number and volatility with careful consideration of the mandatory fraction of the fuel that must be of bio-origin.

This poses a unique challenge in itself as some of the best components for delivering high, smooth power are also those that likely lead to deposit build-up in injector nozzles. An extensive development program involving chemists and engineers testing new fuels in real engines has resulted in a new generation fuel for the V6 that promises to deliver a significant gain in performance.

The contribution of PETRONAS in delivering total Fluid Technology Solutions has been essential to the delivery of the 2014 Power Unit. Never before in the history of Formula One have a Power Unit and its lifeblood been developed so closely. In meeting a challenge almost diametrically opposed to that of the V8 engine, the PETRONAS technical partnership will be an integral factor in success.

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