The future of Formula 1 electronics

The future of Formula 1 electronics

Electronics play a central role in Formula 1, with the FIA having since 2008 mandated standard ECUs – supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems – as 'lie-detector' and means of controlling driver aids. However, with F1's brave (and green) new world looming in 2014, the governing body has extended MES's contract, with the uprated 'black boxes' due to be used next year with the existing V8 engines to provide a transition year ahead of the wholesale switch. Dieter Rencken investigates.

A little less than two years remain before Formula 1 weans itself off archaic 2400cc V8 power units – which have their roots in the 3.0-litre V10s mandated back in the last millennium, at a time when such as Toyota, BMW, Ford and Renault sought ways (back, in the case of the last three) into the sport.

In place of the eight-bangers come 'green' V6 units of two-thirds the capacity (1600cc), whose output is pumped up by exhaust-driven turbochargers providing direct and indirect boost, with substantially beefier energy recovery systems (note: 'kinetic' has been dropped as harvesting will no longer be restricted to recovery under braking) producing an up to 400 per cent increase in 'push' per lap over present systems.

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