The regulations surrounding the new-ish hybrid power units were locked down in development through a cumbersome token system since the formula changed back in 2014. Teams were challenged to only develop certain parts and limited quantities of their power units over the course of the formula regulation period culminating in a fully developed power unit that was mature and on balance with other teams. That didn’t happen, they had very low sound levels, they were slower than the previous V8’s and the fan reaction wasn’t positive regardless of how road relevant manufacturers tried to explain they were.

To those ends, Formula 1 has changed the regulations and allowed for open development in 2017 and that’s good news to all engine manufactures but specifically Honda who were slightly hamstrung as a late entry to the new hybrid regulation and had restrictions that they had to argue against. Namely that they weren’t going to be able to develop their engine at all after the first season. Now they can develop at will…and they have!

“For 2017, the Honda engine architecture and layout have been altered to serve both for performance and packaging needs,” McLaren technical director Tim Goss said.

“The new power unit takes much of the learning from the past two seasons, but has been specifically redesigned for this season.”

The new 2017 regulations feature wider tires, more aero and perhaps more power depending on who gets the combinations right. The increased speed of the car may challenge the drivers who’ve had a much different driving style in the last three seasons with the hybrid, power units and slower speeds.

“As the new cars will be going faster, some of 2016’s ‘corners’ will be classified as ‘straights’,” he said.

“But because they (the drivers) will be going through them faster, they’ll be subjected to more G-forces — and that’s still tiring on the body.”

What’s interesting is the cornering in the current format chassis and power unit combination versus what teams expect in 2017. Much higher speeds through corners will be a departure from how they have been approaching their driving in 2014-2016.

Perhaps Honda will get the ratios correct and while they struggled with their tightly-packaged size zero engine, a re-packaging and re-profiling of the engine and hybrid system may reduce/remove some of the reliability issues they have had and increase pace. At least that’s the game plan for 2017.

Hat Tip: McLaren’s description of the 2017 regulation changes.

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Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

I’m excited about this and I hope they get this thing online, a viable engine-only supplier would be great. But let’s take a second to recognize what’s really happening here, this is the opportunity McLaren had two years ago and catastrophically failed to take advantage of. Merc had the better engine design and everyone knew it but they couldn’t copy it because of the freeze rules. By bringing in a new supplier McLaren could have done what no one else could – configure the engine in the guaranteed and tested superior form. Instead they forced Honda into a different configuration,… Read more »

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

That’s an interesting take on the 2015/16 Honda p.u, that I hadn’t heard before.
So you’re saying that the McLaren ‘size zero’ concept lead to an uncompetitive p.u configuration?
I’d put it down more to Honda (and McLaren) chosing a different configuration to emphasise that they hadn’t just ripped off the Mercedes p.u design.
Either way, hopefully the Honda p.u 2.0 will kick arse, and we’ll see McLaren back up the front.
Also, what’s ‘McDLT’?

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

Yes, I’m saying that the McLaren size zero concept led to an uncompetitive PU configuration, primarily because Autosport is reporting the Honda was set up this way in order to comply with that concept and that Honda have been requesting and waiting to be excused from the size zero parameters by McLaren and they finally have been, so they are now scooting as fast as they can to do it the Merc way. Still, I don’t actually know who was pushing for what or promising what behind the scenes. The McDLT was a hamburger they served as two separate pieces… Read more »

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

Thanks Zachery, if that’s the case, some of the comments from mclaren about the Honda P.U and Honda’s slow response to the need for development would exceed RBR levels of disingenuousness. Fingers crossed the new McDLT configuration puts the P.U on the pace, and doesn’t mess up the packaging and aerodynamics of the grids third best chassis.
Macca’s must follow F1 closely to take the inspiration for the DLT from the Mercedes p.u. Is this an example of ‘road house’ relevance?

MIE
Editor
MIE

If it was just as simple as putting the compressor at the front of the engine and the turbo at the back then all manufacturers could have made that change in the second ear of these power unit regulations. The position of these components is not one of the areas that is frozen by the regulations. I suspect that engine manufacturers can determine very little of the design detail just by looking at the outside of the power unit (and with all the units sealed by the FIA, this is all McLaren and Honda could do). Their decision to mount… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

Hmm I’m definitely not absolutely sure but I’d be interested to hear more about that, I was not under the impression that the other makers could have reconfigured their engines into the Mercedes way under the token system – tell me more?

MIE
Editor
MIE

The original regulations for this generation of power units divide the complete power unit into components worth between one and three tokens each.
Some of these components were frozen in the first year, but all the others were free to change at the end of the season subject to the token limit.
To my recollection neither the turbo or the compressor were frozen in the first year, so both Renault and Ferrari could have redesigned their components to reposition them inline with the Mercedes design. That they didn’t indicates that there were greater gains to be made elsewhere in their opinion.

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

But could you reconfigure your block to run a drive shaft through the middle of it connecting the turbo halves?

MIE
Editor
MIE

Only three parts (described as functions in the Technical regulations) of the power unit were frozen in the first year: 1 – Upper/lower crankcase – Cylinder bore spacing, deck height, bank stagger. 2 – Crankshaft – Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter. 3 – Air valve system – Including compressor, air pressure regulation devices. So I don’t think this prevents the modifications you are suggesting. The Upper/lower crankcase – All dimensions including cylinder bore position relative to legality volume, water core – was worth 3 tokens to change for the 2015 season, it would have been… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

I definitely do not fully understand this so I will come clean and say I could be wrong about this – but I don’t think it works quite the way you’re saying. I think in the first year only changes for reliability purposes, not increased performance, could be made. In the second year a lot of changes could be made but only within the allowable number of tokens, which are less than half the tokens for a whole engine, so whether you could put these major design changes through within that token limit I don’t know but I kind of… Read more »

MIE
Editor
MIE

You are correct in as far as during the first season no changes were allowed, manufacturers had to wait until the end of the season to spend the tokens. A complete power unit was broken down into 41 functions that together cost 66 tokens. Between the 2014 and 2015 seasons manufacturers could spend 32 tokens to modify those functions, and only 5 tokens worth of functions (those I listed above) were frozen and prevented from modification. A lot of the external ancillaries are not covered by the token system and free for modification at any time. This includes the intercooler… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

Or it means that 1) they had sunk a year into developing their motor because of the freeze the first year and couldn’t afford to start over or 2) their car was already designed for their original design so they were never going to reap the rewards of the change. In either way, McLaren Honda had freedom they didn’t have. Which brings us back to: Three facts remain though – 1) Honda could definitely have done it, because they had a clean slate to start with and Merc to copy 2) whatever technical challenges the Merc design entailed the Honda… Read more »

Salvu Borg
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Salvu Borg

Honda repeated the mistake made by FERRARI by their first design of the new formula PU, FERRARI engine chief was also forced by the chassis department to sacrifice the potential of the new PU design as the chassis department claimed it could make-up the performance deficit through aero.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

The Mercedes turbine to MGU-H and MGU-H to compressor drive shaft does not go through the middle of the block but through the void of the block’s vee, and that is the space were the MGU-H is situated.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

Agreed, I’m using ‘block’ to generally mean the lump, and I think it’s fair to say something running through the valley is running through the block, but if you want to split hairs and say it’s maybe not actually piercing the casing, I’ll grant you that.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

There is a big difference between something “running through the block” and something “running through the “V’/valley of the block. You may call it “splitting hairs” but the exact and right information is important to others who might not be as technically minded as you are.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

There’s a difference, but not a big difference. These are f1 cars, there aren’t big empty spaces. You decide to run something through ‘the space occupied by the power unit’ if that description suits you, it’s going to have to pierce/move/change a lot of significant stuff. The valley may even be more complex than the crankcase with regard to systems, though i’ll grant you the rules in the valley may be different, that is an important distinction.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

MIE, I would prefer not to comment on a year old discussion page.
But I stand with all I said on here (this discussion page).

MIE
Editor
MIE

Salvu Borg, noted. I think we’ll agree to disagree.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

No problem at all.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

The biggest restriction/problem wasn’t the tokens system but the mandated (limited) number of power units that could be used without penalty.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Excuses to ZACHARY NOEPE, this post was not intended as an answer for you, my mistake.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

I would prefer not to comment on a year old discussion page.
But I stand with all I said on here (this discussion page).

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

I am really sorry that am late on this very interesting page/subject/discussion and must say kudos to those with perfect facts quotes. just one comment here, “personally as the energy flowing into and out of the MGU-H, I would be tempted to but/put as big a turbo on as possible” what concerns the flow “into” the MGU-H as regards it being used as a generator, what matters is the size/capacity of the turbine. as to the “unlimited” MGU-H output which is a fact as per the rules, when it comes to spooling the compressor it is limited by ES/battery power,… Read more »

MIE
Editor
MIE

There was a similar discussion last year over a disagreement in the regulations. Comments are here: https://theparcferme.com/editorial/fuel-limit-change-heck-no-why-would-we-do-that/ Appendix 3 of the FIA Technical Regulations covers the Power Unit Energy Flow. http://www.fia.com/file/49071/download/16052?token=NJGSkmhc An extract of the diagram is included here: Note the word ‘unlimited’ in the bidirectional energy flow between the MGU-K and MGU-H. This doesn’t pass through the ES and so is not affected by the 4MJ capacity limit. 33.33 seconds appears nowhere in the regulations. The MGU-K energy flow to the ES is capped at 2MJ / lap, and from the ES to the MGU-K it is capped at… Read more »