The secret of Mercedes’ current domination of F1’s new turbo era has been made public after Sky Sports F1’s Mark Hughes revealed intricate details of how the Silver Arrows are packaging the hitherto-dominant W05. Sky F1 analyst Hughes has learnt that, in a highly complicated engineering feat, the team have successfully packaged their turbine and air compressor at either end of the W05’s engine.
The innovative design – which, like the best ideas, sounds simple, is vastly complex and brilliantly effective – is believed to have been conceived over two years ago. The revelation is also the best explanation yet for why the W05 has so far proved unbeatable in 2014, with Nico Rosberg’s cruise to victory in Australia followed by Lewis Hamilton scoring F1’s version of a hat-trick – pole position, the fastest lap of the race and victory – in Malaysia on Sunday. Hughes has learnt that the Brackley team’s ties with Mercedes High Performance Engines gave them a critical headstart at the start of F1’s new turbo age.
Looking to achieve the most aerodynamically efficient car possible, the Mercedes team had significant influence over power unit design created at the German manufacturer’s engine base in Brixworth. Writing in Motorsport magazine, Hughes discloses that Mercedes’ breakthrough ‘innovation is having the turbo’s compressor at one end of the engine and the turbine at the other, linked by a long shaft through the vee of the engine’. The ‘trick turbo layout’ triggers a series of critical performance benefits. A reduction in turbo lag means less power needs to be be harvested from the car’s ERS unit to keep the turbine spooled off throttle. That in turn improves the efficiency of the car, with more power reserved for performance gain and less fuel consequentially used up. Via Revealed: How Mercedes’ packaging of their turbo engine has given them the edge