Without Formula 1 cars, motorsports marketing would not be where it is today. The cars, often referred to as the “pinnacle of motor sports” have undergone a series of modifications in recent years, all because of the highly efficient but complex systems that make them the fastest cars in the world. Besides speed, Formula 1 cars are also greener than the regular street cars you see on the road. All because of the conversion of normally wasted thermal energy into kinetic energy using aggregates with a unique system called the Formula 1 Energy Recovery System, or simply put – ERS. This year, it is impossible to switch from one mode to the other. ERS is what one has to rely on during a race. But what exactly is it for? It is a complex engine system!
What is ERS in Formula 1?
During races, F1 cars lose two types of energy: heat and kinetics. The car loses thermal energy through turbochargers and kinetic energy through the braking system when the driver slows down to take the corner. The Energy Recovery System (ERS) uses to recover wasted energy and convert it into kinetic. Doesn’t sound so clear. Take the patience.
Formula 1 drivers get an extra boost of power through braking while reducing fuel consumption. Thus, the ERS electrical component converts energy into kinetics. ERS is essentially a boost system that increases the power output in F1 cars!
It looks like we are on a step closer to the secret power of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, but not that simple. All F1 drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, cannot use this system on the maximum setting. The ERS battery needs to recover energy between races. This is where in-race driving skills come into play!
How does ERS work in F1?
The ERS in Formula 1 converts the two types of energy into power output. Every Formula 1 car has as energy recovery system, which includes two motors. The Motor Generated Unit – Heat (MGU-H) and the Motor Generated Unit–Kinetic (MGU-K). Therefore, the energy generated after conversion is collected in the energy storage system.
It is a type of ERS connects to the turbocharger of the F1 car engine. This handles the conversion of the thermal energy from gases and exhaust from cars into electrical energy. MGU-H system works similar to that of a generator, since it uses electromagnetic theory. The system works mostly like a much smaller version of a wind turbine. Its structure resembles a fan that spins when hot gases flow towards it. When it rotates, the energy is harvested and converted, which is then stored in the energy storage system. MGU-H also acts as a turbo control system, speeding up depending on the driver to prevent turbo lags.
As the name suggests, the Motor Generated Unit – Kinetic System converts kinetic energy into electrical energy. Once stored in the energy storage system, this energy collects and converts when the car slows down. By using this system, the car moves faster. MGU-K is connected to a crankshaft in the engine of F1 cars, which helps propel the car. Each time the driver speeds up the car, the crankshaft acts as an engine that delivers extra horsepower.
The Energy Storage in Formula 1
The Energy Storage system is the king of the powerful “chat” above. All the converted energy by both the MGU-H and MGU-K systems storing in the batteries of the energy storage system. These batteries are connected to the crankshaft to generate kinetic energy and help to store the converted heat and kinetic energy.
ERS in Formula 1 2021 season
The ERS System changed since 2021. The drivers in Formula 1 have access to a few ERS modes, depending on the driving situation. These modes allow to collect and store most of the energy during breaking. Today, F1 racers decide when they want to use that energy. An example? Runner-up Max Verstappen can use the primary tool to control power and battery consumption to start his Red Bull car. His car can speed up to chase Lewis Hamilton or overtake him during a race.
Push your limits and overtake your opponent when he is already exhausted. At the end of the race, there is no traffic ahead or behind. To save energy and to use it when it is needed the most – that’s the real F1 driving skill! Everyone wants to surprise their Formula 1 sponsorships with a victory and take first place, or at least the podium position.
The Finishing Touch
With Energy Recovery Systems, Formula 1, cars can easily harvest waste energy and convert it into useful power output. It is an extremely useful tool as motor sport consumes a lot of fuel, and thanks to ERS, the burnt fuel is not completely wasted. Furthermore, it makes the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen even more interesting. Currently, the ERS is the most expensive part of all Formula 1 sponsorships and the most technological system in the car. Brilliant, and yes, that’s another “why” of F1 cars being the “pinnacle of motorsport”!
The post was created with the support of Motorsport Sponsorship Agency.
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