Mercedes reveals sound of 2014 turbo engine

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Mercedes have revealed a soundclip of their new 1.6l V6 turbo engine to be introduced next season. Even though it will still be different when the cars hit the track in January 2014, it gives a rough indication of what to expect.

The clip released contains an entire lap around Monza, joined by visuals from the Mercedes track simulator.

Head of the programme and Director of Mercedes High Performance Drivetrains, Andy Cowell explains however that the sound in the clip is still very different to what it will be on track. A recording like this, from within an engine dynamometer produces noise distortion due to it being an isolated room with walls reflecting the noise. Additionally, exhaust fumes are directed out of the room through pipes, contrary to blowing in open air as is the case on track.

Cowell says though that progress is well under way to get a competitive package ready in time for the first track test in January 2014.

"We are a good way on and already heavily committed to tooling for long lead-time parts and working on iterations for installation purposes," said Cowell.

"When it comes to development, you have to run your own race. As ever with competitive people, they fight and strive to do as much as possible, focus on the issues that still have to be solved and rarely spend too much time reflecting on the successes."

The difference in sound is mainly due to regulations mandating a turbocharger exiting into a single exhaust pipe for 2014, contrary to one on each side of the car in recent years in Formula One.

"On the V8, you've got two tailpipes, so there are four cylinders feeding exhaust pulses into each tailpipe, the crankshaft is rotating at 18,000 rpm and there is no restriction in the exhaust system. We put a lot of effort into making sure it's a free-flowing exhaust system and highly tuned because the way to extract performance from a normally aspirated engine is to have highly tuned inlet and exhaust systems.

"On the V6, we have a single exhaust tailpipe, so all six cylinders are ultimately feeding into the single exhaust pipe. However, because the new formula for 2014 is focused on getting the most useful work out of a fixed quantity of fuel at a maximum flow rate, the regulations include the option to have a turbine in the exhaust system, which extracts energy from the exhaust flow to drive a compressor which boosts the inlet charge.

"The turbine also drives an MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit - Heat) for recovering excess energy over what is required for the compressor, which can then be stored in the battery and increase the boosting potential out of the corners.

"As soon as you have any restriction in the exhaust system, you reduce the volume of the noise because the turbine wheel is designed to recover energy from the exhaust flow, which naturally reduces the volume of the noise coming out.

"But because it's six cylinders firing into a single tailpipe, instead of four into each pipe on the current engines, the frequency will be very similar to the current 18,000 rpm. So we will have a similar frequency but lower volume because of the energy being recovered from the exhaust stream."

Apart from the modified technology, the reduced noise levels may be an interesting evolution for Formula One, as more and more circuits are facing restrictions in the amount of noise that can be produced during a race weekend. Monza has had regulatory problems with that before and the Red Bull Ring that is scheduled to return as the Austrian Grand Prix in 2014 is also facing limitations in this area.