The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team today unveiled the F1 W05, its 2014 challenger, at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Ahead of the first morning of official winter testing, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took the wraps off the first all-new Silver Arrow to hit the track since 1954.
Designed from the ground up as an integrated project between the Mercedes-Benz teams based at Brackley and Brixworth, this new car marks an historic milestone in a landmark year when Mercedes-Benz celebrates 120 years of Motorsport and the 80th anniversary of the Silver Arrows.
A Landmark Year for Formula One and Mercedes-Benz
The 2014 Formula One season marks the biggest change in regulations in the sport’s history and the F1 W05 has been designed to meet the challenge of this technical revolution. The initial engineering conversations between the teams at Brackley and Brixworth around both the regulations and potential solutions date back to late 2010. Since mid-2011, when the rules for the new V6 Hybrid Power Unit were officially published, Mercedes-Benz has taken a fully integrated approach to every major performance decision with a clear-sighted focus on maximising overall car performance.
The result is the new F1 W05 and, at its heart, the PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, both designed to meet the challenge of a fundamental change in the philosophy of Formula One. The introduction of a demanding maximum race fuel allowance of just 100 kg per race, coupled with a maximum fuel flow rate of 100 kg/hour, have focused the efforts of the sport’s engineers on delivering performance with a set of innovative new technologies that achieve an efficiency gain of more than 30%.
The F1 W05 will therefore deliver over one third more performance from every unit of fuel consumed, a development story that places the new Hybrid Formula One at the cutting edge of automotive technology – and puts the sport on the same development path as the wider automotive industry.
Toto Wolff, Executive Director (Business) of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, commented: “It is always exciting to pull the wraps off a new car for the first time but even more so at the start of this momentous 2014 season. Our new Silver Arrow is the result of a single-minded, integrated approach between our engineering teams. My compliments and thanks go to every team member in Brackley, at Brixworth and also at our key partner, PETRONAS, for their hard work to deliver this new car and the Power Unit at its heart; it is the result of several years of intense effort. But we know that the adventure has only just begun. We have a busy winter testing period ahead of us and a long season where both performance and reliability will be critically important. Lewis and Nico begin the season hungry for success and I am confident that our team will benefit thanks to the continuity of their work during the winter period. We have positive momentum after our second-place finish last season. Our clear target is to continue building up our team and we aim to deliver on every single race weekend in 2014.”
“For 2014 we have probably the greatest change in regulations in Formula One history and the start of a new era for our sport,” continued Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe. “From a technical and also a racing perspective, this is an incredibly exciting time for Formula One. We are introducing technologies that are new not just to racing but to the wider automotive world as well. The headline is that of improved efficiency and the fact that we will be completing races with advanced Hybrid systems on just 100 kg of fuel sends a great message about the technology that Formula One can deliver. But it is also about the technology that Mercedes-Benz can develop compared with our competition, both for the chassis and the new Power Unit. The whole team has done a fantastic job on the management of the project and its delivery. We have hit our milestones and hit our targets but, as ever, we will only begin to understand how successful we have been once we begin running in anger on track. The new car is an elegant but aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and intelligent. Our team can be justifiably proud of its work so far – but none of us are under any illusions about the amount we still have to do before the first race in six weeks’ time.”
A Technical Revolution
The F1 W05 is the most complex Formula One car ever produced by the team at Brackley powered by the PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, the most complex power unit developed in the history of Brixworth. The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) at the heart of the new Power Unit has been down-sized to a 1.6 litre V6 configuration and down-speeded to a maximum of 15,000 rpm. To achieve high power delivery and therefore efficiency from the ICE, a pressure charging system has been introduced, in the form of a single stage turbocharger and compressor. The new Hybrid Energy Recovery System (ERS), which incorporates electric motors capable of recovering both kinetic and waste heat energy, presented a ten-fold greater challenge than its predecessor, KERS, which was pioneered by Mercedes-Benz in 2009. This advanced Hybrid system is integral to car performance and marks a significant step forward in both system performance and durability. Each driver is permitted to use just five Power Units per season without penalty.
The lifeblood of the new Power Unit is the fluid technology delivered by Petronas. New tailor-made fuel and lubricants have been developed molecule-by-molecule by Petronas technologists to meet the challenges of the 2014 Power Unit. This year, fuel energy density has become one of the controlling performance parameters of the sport and improving efficiency is for the first time in Formula One fully aligned with improving performance. The contribution of Petronas in delivering total Fluid Technology Solutions has been essential to the delivery of the 2014 Power Unit. Never before in the history of Formula One have a Power Unit and its fuel and lubricants been developed so closely.
The Power Unit has been designed for optimum installation in the F1 W05 chassis. This new car is the product of an aggressive development philosophy targeted at optimising the packaging of new on-car systems, such as the increased cooling demands of the Power Unit, in order to give the team’s aerodynamic group maximum freedom to respond to a significantly different regulatory framework. Compared to 2013, the regulations impose a narrower front wing; the removal of the lower rear wing and a reduction in size of the upper wing; and a central exhaust exit, thereby negating the effect of ‘exhaust blowing’ which powerfully contributed to performance in the past three seasons. Every component has been reviewed and redesigned to get as close as possible to the challenging overall minimum weight limit of 691 kg. The result is an exceptionally tightly packaged vehicle which sets new standards in terms of overall integration.
Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, explained:
“The 2014 regulations are a game changer for Formula One. In the V8 era, the power potential of the normally aspirated engine was controlled by the flow of air into the engine – and therefore engine capacity and rpm. For 2014, that has been fundamentally turned on its head. The wider automotive industry is focused on the amount of fuel going into an engine, and the amount of CO2 it emits, and these are now our controlling parameters, with a maximum fuel flow rate and race fuel allowance. The fundamental question is now: how can we best convert 100 kg of fuel energy into useful mechanical energy? This challenge has pushed us to develop cutting-edge new technologies, both within the Internal Combustion Engine itself and in the ERS Hybrid system, with the valuable support of our Research and Development colleagues in Stuttgart. These will enable us to develop over 30% more power per unit of fuel than we did with the V8 engine. It has been an exciting and rewarding challenge so far, characterised by a strong competitive spirit and the common objective of building a winning Silver Arrow. But the hardest work is undoubtedly still to come. We will keep our feet on the ground and methodically work through our winter testing programme in order to arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as we possibly can be.”
Continuity in the Cockpit
For the new season, Mercedes AMG Petronas is the only top team on the grid with the advantage of continuity in its driver line-up. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have spent the short winter break preparing for the year’s new challenges, working closely with their respective engineering teams and conducting intensive training programmes. For 2014, they will carry new race numbers – 44 for Lewis, 6 for Nico – that will stay with them for their racing careers.
“It has been exciting to see the car come together and to see – and hear – it run for the first time last Friday in Silverstone,” commented Lewis Hamilton. “It looks just fantastic, so aggressive but full of really nice details as well. I am excited to find out how the new Power Unit feels to drive, to hear how it sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative to the competition. I think this is probably the season with the most unknowns that I have faced in my career and that’s just so exciting for all of us.
“This is my second season with Mercedes and it now feels like I am a fully-fledged member of the team and that we are nurturing the great relationship we built last year. But it is still going to be a big learning year for all of us. There is so much new technology on these cars and so much information to take in and filter out to get down to what really matters, it’s going to be a big challenge with changes to driving style and race strategies, too.
“It has probably been the shortest winter I have ever had out of the car. I spent Christmas and New Year training in the mountains and I even put a turbo on my snowmobile, so that I could get used to the feel of a vehicle delivering power in that way, which was pretty awesome. And I’m excited to see the number 44 on my car again. It’s the number I had when I started racing go-karts – the number plate on my Dad’s car had a 44 on it, which is where it came from – and I won my first British championship with it, so it has been the family number ever since. Fingers crossed it will bring us luck as it did back then.”
Nico Rosberg will enter his fifth season as a Silver Arrows driver at the wheel of car number six.
“I am massively excited ahead of getting in the car properly, after our short shakedown at Silverstone last Friday. It’s been a really intense period and I am just so looking forward to driving the car. This year will be much more complex with all the new technologies and I think it’s great; it will help make the sport really contemporary. It’s all focused on being more fuel efficient and using Hybrid energy, which for me is a good route and something that will make the racing even more interesting.
“After finishing the Pirelli test last December in Bahrain, it’s only been a month away from the car for me and that’s a positive because it means I will be up and running straight away. We have three tests coming up and, as always, the track time will be very limited. So it’s going to be a massive mission to get ready and reliable. I think we are on track but it’s going to be so difficult for all the teams and I just feel lucky because I have such a great team behind me. I am confident we can get the job done.
“I have completely changed my helmet design for the new season and, of course, I will have the number six on the nose of the car. My Dad wrote me an email in the winter saying it had been a lucky number for him when he became world champion, but that didn’t convince me. Then my fiancée said it was her lucky number, too, so that got me thinking a bit more! And then I remembered that I won a championship with this number back in 2002. Hopefully that will be the key to an easy season!”
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas