Formula One is set to retain power units under the next regulatory cycle in 2021, but the MGU-H – the part of the system that recovers heat from the turbo – will be removed. Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell accepted that decision but says the systems the manufacturers will now develop seem counterintuitive to the technological advancement that has already taken place.
“I think the MGU-H has been blamed for the lack of noise, for high complexity.” – said Andy Cowell, as reported by motorsportweek.com earlier today – “It’s been referred to as a miracle. There are four technology companies that have made it work and get 60 per cent of their electrical energy to then power the [MGU]-K. It contributes five per cent of the thermal efficiency of the power unit and to make up the power difference we’re going to have to increase the fuel flow rate, which I think is a backwards step. It’s not progress, so, my view is the H should stay because the development has been done. Removing it removes a lot of energy, which is a lot of car performance. Yeah, it feels like a backwards step when the development work’s been done. We will all now start developing anti-lag systems. The MGU-H is the most marvellous anti-lag system on a turbocharged engine because it gives you speed control. That’s been removed so we’ll now have to come up with various devices and systems and that will probably involve burning some fuel in the exhaust which doesn’t feel like the most honourable thing to do, as an engineer. But, as I’ve said previously, it’s a balance between technology and entertainment. We’ve got to get that balance right.” – he exmplained.
Ferrari’s Chief Technical Officer Mattia Binotto echoed Andy Cowell’s viewpoint but was more forgiving of the reasons behind the removal of the MGU-H: “Looking ahead, we know that we know we need to find a compromise. The compromise based on what are the main objectives of 2021: spectacle; noise; simplification; cost. When you are dealing with compromises, there may always be different opinions and I think somehow we may accept the MGU-H to be removed but certainly removing the MGU-H doesn’t mean that we fully need to standardise the power units and the engines.” – Mattia Binotto concluded.