Upgrade PU 2022: reliability is the expedient to increase performance

F1 – The absolute novelty of this season was undoubtedly the introduction of the development freeze power unit until the 2026: a matter that at least for the moment seems to have been accepted willingly, although this may not be of any use to some of the engineers on the grid, at least in my opinion.

To outline a general picture of the situation, each of the 4 distributed among the various teams had very different performances: starting with Ferrariit seems quite evident that apart from the excellent results of numbers 16 and 55, even the Haas their motorized is making a lot of talk.

Continuing with Honda (which would actually be under brand Red Bull Powertrainseven if certain units are still equally designed and produced in that same plant in Japan) it is clear that although the last appointment gave positive results, there is no need to rest assured, especially if we also consider the heavy difficulties they are experiencing at home Alpine; roughly in the same vein as the engine Renault, the actual reliability of which remains to be understood. Finally, regarding Mercedes AMG F1I believe that there is not much else that can be done to sweeten the pill: the problems are there, and they make even more noise if associated with a name of such prestige.

The latest version of the German power unit fitted to the Mercedes W13 comes on for the first time

In short, based on these assumptions, starting from 1 March 2022 it will no longer be possible to plan further developments regarding the endothermic component. ICE (for the less accustomed: acronym of Internal Combustion Enginenothing more than the classic engine in simple words), and from next 1 September 2022 the same fate also for the hybrid part MGU-K (that is, the evolution of the KERS its predecessor: component that uses kinetic energy during braking to generate electrical energy, which therefore contributes to further increasing the overall power of the car itself).

Decisions made for a valid reason, shared or not: proceeding along this line, the idea of ​​F1 was to ensure that the engineers could concentrate directly on the design of the single-seaters of the 2026, a season that in all respects we imagine will mark a further revolution. They will also have to deal with the removal of the MGU-H (also the latter, a component capable of giving extra turbo to the engine: by exploiting the heat of the engine exhaust gases, it allows the movement of a turbine which, with its rotation, recharges the engine-generator), a decision probably taken for the reduction of total costs: it seems that its elimination will lead to a “saving” of almost 50%.

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Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari)

However, if on the basis of the aforementioned directives established, the most skeptics immediately thought “the law was made, the deception found”, perhaps in part they could also be said to be right: in fact, in the elaboration of this legislation, a technicality was foreseen that however, it would leave a minimum margin of maneuver to change some details.

The clause in fact establishes that where necessary, changes can be made exclusively in terms of reliability: in other words, it is allowed to work on the stability of the car, but not on the competitiveness of its performance. I don’t think these are elements that are so distant from each other, but on the contrary I see them as sides of the same coin: if even a single part of the total project improves in some way, it is clear that the car as a whole benefits from it.

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Power Unit Mercedes W13

In any case, if any of the 4 engineers wanted to take this path, he would have some obstacles to overcome. The procedure in fact provides: submission of the request to the FIAthe latter analyzes its content, submitting the project to the other engineers, and only when unanimous agreement has been reached will the applicant be allowed to proceed as requested.

Do you see this as a possible dynamic ?! I strongly doubt. What we can give as news is that Nicholas Tombazismember of the technical board of FIA, reported that at the moment no engineer has expressed a willingness to request modifications to their engine for reasons related to reliability. Not even the Alpine one which, next weekend in Melbourne, will be forced to mount the third endothermic component (the last one before going into penalty) on Fernando Alonso’s A522.

(And thanks to engineer Roberto Sannino for his valuable contribution).


F1-Author: Silvia Napoletano @silviafunoat

Photo: F1TV, Albert Fabrega, Mercedes AMG F1

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