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MARIO ILLIEN TO F1 ENGINE 2021
"Only possible with sponsor"
To date, only the four manufacturers from Formula 1 have commented on the engine concept of the future. Now, for the first time with Mario Illien, one of the potential private providers is talking about how good the plans really are.
Mario Illien was present at the three exploratory talks between FIA, Formula 1 management and engine manufacturers. At the crucial on October 31, he was missing. The 68-year-old Swiss drove a classic car rally in South Africa. Meanwhile, he has studied the concept of the World Association and the rights holders.
In principle, he finds the right path. But in detail he would like to know more. Especially about the flow rate, the use of pressure sensors in the cylinders and the freedom in the turbocharger. This could hide cost drivers, which are harder to swallow for private providers than for a car company. But later.
To be able to classify the dimensions better, one must first understand on what basis the former chief designer of the Mercedes Formula 1 engines today build racing engines. 87 employees currently work for Ilmor. For comparison : Mercedes and Ferrari employ in their engine departments each 500 employees and more. A small, but subtle difference that reflects quite well the madness Formula 1 in 2017.
Ilmor has developed the latest IndyCar engine with his slender squad. It is a 2.2-liter V6 biturbo, which delivers 720 hp at 0.5 bar. This engine has to stop 4,000 kilometers. The Formula 1 engines are operated with up to 4.5 bar boost pressure and come with electric power to a system output of more than 950 hp. Their lifespan is 5,000 kilometers.
The development of the IndyCar engine from the white sheet to the use in racing cars has cost Ilmor around 7.5 million euros. 4 million euros are added each year for the further development, construction and use of the engines. Each team has to pay € 950,000 to Ilmor per car.
In Formula One , engine servicing per team will be reduced to 12 million euros next year. But there are only three drive units per car. According to Renault, the development costs for the technology miracles amounted to more than 100 million euros. A similar investment, the French fear, if they had to build the engine for 2021 , which was presented at the end of October.
Standard turbocharger costs $ 3,000
Mario Illien estimates the cost of maintaining certain parameters at "15 to 20 million euros". The difference to the figures given by the manufacturers explains the Churer with ridicule: "where everything is expensive. They can not even turn on the lights without spending 1,000 euros. "This is not only due to the high number of employees, but also to the tools. "Such a dynamic test stand with a car and a gear costs something between 20 and 25 million euros. We do not have that kind of thing. "
Illia judges the presented concept quite critically: "In principle it is the right way. The technology has to be simpler and cheaper. But for a private manufacturer, this formula can not be displayed without outside help. I could not develop a business model like that in the IndyCar series, because I would probably only have one or two customers who would not refinance my startup costs and deployment. In the US, I'm equipping half of the field - and is still giving money. So I can survive. "Conclusion of the PS-magician:" Without a sponsor in the back I could not build such a motor for Formula One . "
Superficially, the future Formula 1 engine is not so unlike Ilmor's IndyCar engines. You could say an IndyCar engine with just one instead of two turbochargers and KERS on top of that. Why would he be more than twice as expensive for Ilmor? Illien explains: "There are several cost drivers hidden. If you build your own turbocharger, it will be expensive. We buy them in the IndyCar series at unit manufacturer Borg Warner for $ 3,000. KERS also devours money. If you commission such a thing from a big manufacturer, you pay a fortune. If I build the electrical machines myself, I have to hire people. And find the right ones. "
"One very important point is what the FIA is planning with the flow rate. If you go up only with the flow rate or only with the speed, you will continue to try to achieve the best efficiency at a low speed. Of course, the manufacturers who are already there have a huge advantage, even if the fuel quantity and flow rate are shifting upwards. The insights into the high combustion pressures and temperatures are still there, and I, as a newcomer, would have to hit the same score as she did to burn as efficiently as possible. "
Pressure sensors in the cylinders are a cost trap
So how should the topic of gas consumption and flow be regulated in order to take away the cost pressure? "Now at a maximum of 100 kilograms per hour at 10,500 rpm. Behind the power curve runs flat. In fact, you're losing power because you're producing more internal friction with more RPM. So it makes no sense to turn higher than to the point where you reach the optimum efficiency. "
"That would not change much if you pushed the flow rate up to 120 kilograms per hour or only increased the speed. Nevertheless, the best efficiency would be far below 15,000 / min. You would still be forced to drive insane combustion pressures to be efficient. Therefore, it would be better if the flow rate is dynamic and not horizontal from a certain speed. It must be worthwhile to turn higher. That's better for the sound, too. "
A cost trap is also the pressure sensors, which are mounted in the cylinders to prevent knock damage. Their use is not limited by the regulations. Knock once, and the sensor is broken. A sensor costs 2,800 euros. The manufacturers spend millions on it alone. Illien suggests knock sensors mounted outside the block. What would be the difference? "They're cheaper, do not break that often, and force you to build your engine more on the safe side. If you want to help private manufacturers, you have to ban the pressure sensors in the cylinders. "
MGU-H tests burn fuel for a GP season
The abolition of the MGU-H is a good thing, according to Illien. "The development of the MGU-H costs as much as that of the internal combustion engine. There is an incredible amount of money squandered. Whenever you change the characteristics of the engine towards better combustion, you need to adjust the turbocharger and MGU-H. This means new turbine blades and compaction blades for better recuperation. "
"That's a rat tail of coordination work and simulations, which is operated by the major manufacturers on specially designed test benches. The plants are fired by gas generators with combustion chambers, which generate exhaust gases and pressure for a closed system. The fuel that is burned is sufficient for an entire Formula One season. "Is the MGU-H thus a discontinued model from a private provider? "It would only be possible if one introduces unit technology."
In general, the current regulations with the restriction to 4, from 2018 on 3 engine units in the view of Illien a pure money-making machine. What you save on components is reissued twice and three times through test bench runs. Every modification to the engine has to be tested on the test bench because of the long running times of the engines over 5,000 kilometers. That means almost 30 hours of test bench work per new development.
Since you can try out as much as you want in the quiet little room until you get it to maturity, the development in theory is a billion-dollar grave. A test hour costs 4,000 euros. With a simpler propulsion concept and cheaper components, the FIA could abandon the volume cap. That would save money and get rid of the unloved motor penalties.
Illien sees in the concept many good approaches, but also weak points. If he would get involved in such a project, he would have to increase his team by 15 to 20 employees. And yet he could not take the risk single-handedly. Even if he would supply two teams. "If a customer does not pay his bill, I'm dead."
In one thing, however, he agrees with the manufacturers. One idea of the new owners was that all engine manufacturers present their NASCAR-style propulsion units to the public and competitors in disassembled condition every year in August. "Of course that is not possible. It's supposed to be a competition. And you want to keep your secrets for yourself. "
F1 engine plan for 2021:
+ as before: V6 turbo with 1.6 liters of displacement
+ max. Speed 18,000 / min (+ 3,000 / min) for better sound
+ stricter specifications for internal and external dimensions
+ Omission of MGU-H
+ stronger MGU-K
+ Pilot himself takes over energy management to use extra power tactically
+ Dimensions and weight limit for turbo should be specified
+ Battery and electronics boxes are standardized
+ stricter gasoline development rules