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Thursday, 08 August 2013 12:05

Mercedes revs up for 2014

Written by 

The 2014 Formula One cars might not break cover until next February, but deep in the bowels of its Brixworth technical centre, Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains already has one of the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6s on a dynamometer.

Coming from a static test bench, it's not an exact representation, but you can get an idea of how the engines will sound in-car from this video, which also features video footage from Mercedes' simulator.

To those fearing a radical departure it may well sound reassuringly familiar - and part of the reason for this lies with the acoustics of the new exhaust layout.

The pitch of an engine note is largely dependent on the frequency of its exhaust pulses. Current Formula One V8s use two separate exhaust pipes - one for each bank of four cylinders - but the new V6s use a single pipe for all six. Each cylinder fires once every other crank rotation, which means there will be three pulses going down the V6's exhaust pipe, as opposed to two for each V8 exhaust pipe. This means the sound frequency is actually relatively similar, despite the reduction in engine speeds prompted by the new 15,000 rpm rev limit.

Of course, there's more to it than that. For a start, the new engines are turbocharged, which means some of the exhaust energy is absorbed by the turbine, rather than making it out as sound. Likewise, the turbocharger and associated ducting will add some of their own components to the sound.

And then there's the question of what impact the new energy recovery systems will have in 2014. With 2 MJ of energy storage capacity, the 120 kW motor generator unit should be able to assist the engine for around half the time it spends at full throttle on a typical lap, as opposed to just 10 per cent of the current duty cycle.

It all adds up to an interesting situation. We won't really know what the new engines will sound like until the spring, but the Mercedes video suggests they will be broadly similar to the current crop - even if the engineering behind them is rather different.


Chris Pickering

Deputy Editor

The team's tame racing engineer comes from an automotive industry background.

After graduating with a first in Motorsport Engineering and Design Chris spent four years working as a powertrain development engineer for a major car manufacturer.

A car nut, track day addict and former kart racer; if he's not playing with cars he can usually be found writing about them.


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RACE TECH was created in 1995 to monitor technology, investigate technical solutions and explain engineering applications when they appeared on a racing car.


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