Infiniti Motor Company feels excited following the changes in F1 technical regulations for 2014, and links it to its continued success at Formula One. They feel that the new engine and chassis specifications are especially interesting since they are likely to boost performance at racing and improve the overall driving experience. Let me take you around for a quick roller-coaster ride and give you a glimpse of the recent changes.
For 2014, the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 engines will become obsolete, and will be replaced with 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines. This will drastically bring down the total power output from 750bhp to 600bhp, and will once again make engine power as the major performance differentiator. However, the 2014 units will be consuming much lesser fuel due to hybrid technology, where additional power will come straight from the energy recovery system.
Energy Recovery System
The energy recovery system or ERS, will be a part of the new engines and together these components will make the power unit. This will include the KERS system, which will generate kinetic energy from the rear axle when brakes are applied and store this energy in a battery pack. This additional power will then be used during acceleration and is likely to give you an extra 160bhp for 33 seconds per each lap. Another motor will generate power from the turbo and utilize the energy that will otherwise be wasted as heat. Together, this system can produce unlimited energy that can be stored in the battery before being used for the acceleration.
The new electric motors also ensure greater efficiency of the turbo, putting it to work as soon as you apply the throttle. While in the past the turbo experienced some throttle lag and did not give out immediate power, the new regulations have fortunately removed this problem.
Well, people have been quite upset with the new design regulations, especially the nose, since it makes the vehicles look ‘ugly’. The maximum nose height has been reduced from 550mm to just 185mm, citing safety concerns. The FIA offers two safety advantages for cutting the nose height:
- First off, it will lessen the chances of danger in accidents of T-boning, where the nose of one car hits the side of another and cause injury to the driver; and
- Secondly, it will eliminate the chances of a car being thrown into the air if its nose hits the rear wheel of the car in front.
The new regulations have also reduced the height of chassis, again for safety reasons. It has defined a height of 625mm for chassis in front of the driver, and a height of 525mm for the front bulkhead. But since there is no rule on the minimum distance for transition between the two heights, teams have created a 10cm wall right next to the bulkhead.
However, I have my reservations on the decrease of chassis’s height, which if had been increased would have given you better front-suspension geometry and under-car aerodynamics.
Front and Rear Wings
The front wing has been shrunk to 1650mm from previous 1800mm, while the rear wing has been completely removed. This means that the narrower front wings will make it more difficult for you to push the airflow around the outer sides of the tires and the absence of rear wings will reduce the overall down force.
Infiniti-Red Bull Racing Partnership
The collaboration between Infiniti and Red Bull has already resulted in innumerable advantages, with both entities gaining from the technology transfer. While Infiniti has gained immense experience and produces unmatched hybrid cars, the partnership is likely to yield long-term prosperity for both.