Formula 1’s brilliant technical revolution in 2014 has been largely overlooked by the blinkered folk in the F1 Paddock but finally Mercedes-Benz has made the obvious connection that has previously been left unsaid. The Stuttgart firm has recognised that the new powertrain is far more than simply an Internal Combustion Engine. The engine is a hybrid. The team has decided to rename the F1 W05 racing car the F1 W05 Hybrid and will carry the Hybrid branding featured on series production Mercedes-Benz cars prominently on the engine cover.
“Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of automotive innovation since the invention of the first automobile by Gottlieb Daimler,” said Toto Wolff. “This pedigree includes over a century of motorsport involvement, which has provided a testing ground for some of the brand’s most significant breakthroughs. What we are seeing in Formula 1 today is the next generation of innovations that will eventually find their way from the race track to the road. Mercedes-Benz is leading the way in promoting the positive new direction the sport has taken.
During the early development phases of KERS in 2007, the system weighed in at over 100 kg and worked at a thermal efficiency level of 39 percent. By the end of the 2012 season the units weighed just 24 kg and were capable of 80 percent thermal efficiency levels. In other words, Formula 1 development enabled a twelve-fold increase in power density from KERS systems: the impact of which has filtered down into Hybrid systems used by the everyday motorist.
The perfect example lies in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive: with lessons learned during development of the high-power-density F1 KERS Hybrid flowing directly into the technology at the heart of this ground-breaking vehicle. The battery solution for the all-electric supercar was developed with Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth, delivered 740 hp, an incredible 1,000 Nm of torque and set a new benchmark for energy density. All of which added up to a 7:56 record lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife!
This rate of development has historically come as something of a by-product to the ultimate goal of faster lap time. For 2014, however, this has fundamentally changed.
“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of automotive innovation. As such, it has a responsibility to push the boundaries of technology,” explains Toto. “The new regulations not only encourage this innovation but also align the sport with the direction in which the automotive industry is heading. As a works manufacturer team, we are perfectly placed to reap the rewards of aligning our racing activities with the future technology path for series production. Formula One always has been about pure racing – and it still is today. At the same time, we’re now back at the cutting edge of technology and pioneering new solutions. That’s a huge positive step for the sport.”
Yes! Finally someone is singing a positive song about F1 technology…