Taking a Look at What Mercedes are Doing Right!
With the Mercedes team yet again finishing 1st and 2nd in China, and Lewis Hamilton winning again for the third time in a row. The question has to be asked
What are Mercedes Doing Right?
In the first 3 races of the season Mercedes were averaging around 1 second per lap faster than other teams. It can now be revealed that their secret to achieving such fast pace is down to the ingenious design of their V6 engine.
Mercedes have designed the engine so that it has split turbine from the compressor in their turbo charger. Usually placed together in one unit, in the Mercedes engine the compressor is at the front of the engine and the turbocharger is at the rear. By placing the compressor at the front of the engine means the inlet pressure is higher. This is because it is much closer to the inlet that is situated just above the drivers head. The air is also cooler, meaning that the air being driven in is also denser which creates more power.
Without getting too technical, this simple design feature reduces turbo lag to almost zero. Basically this means that less electrical energy needs to be used to get the turbo up to its 120,000rpm operating level. When the turbo is ramped up to 120,000rpm it eliminates lag before a driver hits the throttle. All the power stored in the Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H), which is the electrical energy used to ramp up the turbo, can be used as pure power to drive the back wheels.
Another important feature that has allowed Mercedes to get the jump on their main engine rivals, is that because the inlet gases are at a lower temperature, the intercooler in the Mercedes engines is smaller. The design of the engine also means that there is less piping needed to move the air around the engine. Less piping and a smaller intercooler means that there is significantly less weight to the car.
The good news for Mercedes is that due to the engine designs being homologated back in February. This means that Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault had to provide the FIA with a sample engine and the specifications for the engine for the season. Ferrari and Renault cannot now change their engine designs until 2015.
So are we going to see Mercedes dominate the season this year? Well let’s put it this way, they are going to be a hard act to follow. I think many of the top drivers will get fed up looking at the rear end of a Mercedes this season, but don’t write off the other teams too early.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull will be making changes to their cars set ups to try and gain more pace, and reduce weight. Also McLaren have the same Mercedes engines in their own cars, and apparently they are making a large upgrade to their cars in time for the Spanish Grand Prix, and you can bet that Red Bull and Ferrari will be doing the same, but more about upgrades and what they are in next week’s post.