BEHIND THE WHEEL
distracting, but I think our generation is
more used to that. Still, it’s important that
you prepare by learning the systems and
do some training to be able to multi-task.
“There are so many changes you can
make. You can change your diff, change
your braking maps, and you have to make
sure you are on top of them. If you have a
problem, like you are locking constantly
into a turn, then you can adjust things.”
Many of the controls on the steering
wheel help optimize performance by
adjusting various parameters – hence
reducing the need for a driver to “chase the
car” as balance, grip and handling change
with fuel burn, tire degradation and track
conditions. It could be argued that these
sophisticated tools reduce the performance
gap between the merely average and the
genuine top talents. But the best drivers
always have more capacity to find an
advantage in any situation. Had the likes
of Fangio or Clark had access to a matrix
of engine maps or differential settings, no
doubt they would have made better use
of them than their contemporaries.
“Yeah, probably,” says Magnussen.
“But that’s F1. It should be the pinnacle
of technology, and the top drivers will
make the best use of that technology. But
there are some things, like adjustments to
the power unit, where you don’t always
know what you’re doing; you’re just doing
the switch change requested, and you
don’t know what’s going to happen with it.
But stuff like the differential, engine braking,
brake balance, they’re interesting. You can
One thing F1 fans definitely don’t like is
Formula 1 switched to its
new breed of turbo-hybrid
power units for 2014.
Here’s a brief reminder of
what they consist of...
• A turbocharged, 1.6-liter,
90-degree V6, limited to
15,000rpm and producing
approx. 600hp, plus an
energy recovery system
(ERS) with two motor
generator units – the MGU-K
(kinetic), which converts
braking energy into stored
energy, and the MGU-H
(heat), which converts
energy from the exhaust
gases into stored energy.
• An energy store (ES)
retains converted energy
until it is returned to the
MGU-K to provide additional
power – a maximum 4MJ per
lap, which equates to 160hp
for approx. 33sec per lap.
• Fuel flow is limited to
• Fuel capacity is 100kg.
FORMULA 1 POWER UNITS: THE PACKAGE
“In the past when we went
on the power we picked up
downforce. Now, you start
to have some wheelspin”
One big challenge drivers face in 2015 is
dealing with the complex control systems
of the cars. They may have grown up as
the Playstation generation, with brains
hardwired for multi-tasking with buttons and
dials, but it’s still not easy, especially with
the level of management that the current
power units demand from their drivers.
“You have a lot of buttons, but you just
have to deal with it,” says Perez. “It’s quite
driver Felipe Massa in
pre-race conference with his
race engineer, Dave Robson.
Chances are that tires, the
defining factor in F1 race
strategy, are on the agenda.
Conserving tires and managing
wear (or not... LEFT) is key in
determining overall race pace. S t e