Tech Talk: Keeping V6 turbo cool is a key challenge for Mercedes

Mercedes W05

Mercedes W05 with wider outlets (left) at the expense of the ‘shark fin’

It is no secret that keeping the new era V6 turbo engine, and related appendages run extremely hot. Keeping things cool is one of the biggest challenges facing Formula 1 teams this season.

Cooling is thus a paramount design consideration for this season, as not only does it have an impact on the thermal efficiency of the Power Unit, but also impacts aerodynamic performance.

Mercedes, who by all accounts, have the edge at this stage of the season, ran several bodywork configurations at the Jerez test and continued to try more components in Bahrain – providing an indication of how seriously they are taking the issue.

Shark fin and Mercedes W05

Shark fin and Mercedes W05

The decision to test at Bahrain for the last two pre-season tests was taken by the teams due to the increased track temperatures when compared to Jerez.

The most signifant cooling alteration tested by Mercedes in Bahrain came in the form of an engine cover similar to the one being used by McLaren.

Two large outlets either side of the exhaust allow the hot air to escape but will also change the airflow at that location, especially as it comes at the loss of the ‘shark fin.’

Furthemore as we can see in the photos herewith, the cooling outlets next to the cockpit were changed several times, dependant on the other cooling options being used.

Cooling fins on the Mercedes W05 beside the cockpit

Cooling fins on the Mercedes W05 beside the cockpit

Mercedes Formula 1 Technical Director, Paddy Lowe explained how the chassis team had to adapt to the change in regulations, “The Power Unit (PU) has a completely different shape and requirements to its predecessor and it is the biggest change in packaging in F1 for many years.”

“There is a lot more equipment to cool: more Hybrid systems plus the intercooler for the charge air from the turbocharger. That has both a packaging and an aerodynamic dimension.”

“Yet another aspect is the thermal challenge. With the introduction of a turbocharger, managing the heat around the exhaust system is important for both car integrity and also for performance. If losses can be minimised in the primaries between the engine block and turbo, that is energy that can be recovered and used for car performance.”

“So there is a big insulation and heat management challenge for both integrity and performance reasons,” added Lowe. (Analysis by Matthew Somerfield)

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