Pretty decent article about the Mercedes advantage according to Piola and The Judge confirmed by Lowe I think:
Paddy Lowe met up with Giorgio Piola before the Chinese Grand Prix and congratulated him on his discovery of one the secrets that has provided Mercedes with a dominant car.
“Giorgio, you have uncovered one of our secrets but I’d like you to see the car at the end of the season so you can appreciate the other innovations we have designed which deserve as much credit for the car’s performance.”
Last year, Ross Brawn had spoken before his departure that the initial design route for the Mercedes W05 was too conservative and a decision was made after the summer break to chase very specific design goals with the new car.
As has been reported in recent weeks, the turbo and a smaller compressor are located at either end of the engine with the MGU-H mounted in the middle and connected by a shaft. The compressor is situated nearest the bulkhead whilst the turbo is located close to the gearbox. This design route was chosen because in its original spec – the hot air was heating the air coming through the air intake that was feeding the engine.
The heat exchanger for the engine has also been housed within the chassis with cooling ducts designed into the chassis. The Mercedes team also chose to use a very short exhaust which loses about 15bhp from the optimum; but the team felt the benefits of more efficient cooling allied to a less aerodynamic compromise out-weighed the loss of this power.
Aldo Costa and his team have thus been able to reduce the frontal area of the car and the placement of the relevant parts have allowed the team to reduce their dependency on longer cables, wires and pipework, which in turn has brought the car closer to the 692kg weight limit.
Mercedes have also chosen to run a larger turbo than the opposition and its reduction of turbo lag means less power needs to be harvested from the ERS to keep the turbine spooled off throttle. The surplus energy is transferred to MGU-K which delivers instant energy to the power train whilst increasing economy.
The significance of this design is that although the MGU-K is limited to recovering only 2MJ from the braking system, the MGU-H is unlimited and the Mercedes can therefore recover all it’s power levels in the regulated 36 seconds per lap that would require the other teams 50 seconds to achieve. In essence Mercedes do not have to waste a lap replenishing the full amount of electrical charge as their competition currently has to.
Ferrari and Renault are aware of this ‘secret’ installation but due to the FIA’s homologation freeze of February 28th, they are powerless to do anything this year. In a year of massive change, with limited testing both before and during the season and with the biggest change in technology in a generation, it would have made more sense to allow the manufacturers a twelve month period to get their technology up to requirements.
There are arguments for and against testing but in a similar manner to last year’s disgraceful witch-hunt of Pirelli, something has to change. Why would any company want to get involved in F1 when the supposed benefit to road car development is hampered by restrictive rules that do not allow progress.