Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Power Unit and ERS

Mercedes-Benz power unit, the PU106A Hybrid The Renault Sport Energy F1-2014 Power Unit, broken down into its key components. Sauber C33 airbox detail.
Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Day Four, Friday, 31 January 2014

A Formula One car’s power unit consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine which operates in conjunction with an Energy Recovery System (ERS). The engine must have six cylinders in a 90-degree formation, with two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder and a single turbocharger. They are rev-limited to 15,000rpm, have a fuel flow limit of 100 kilograms/hour and produce around 600bhp. They must also have a single tailpipe exhaust.

The other part of the power unit - ERS - provides an additional 160bhp or so per lap via two clever motor generator units (MGU) that convert mechanical and heat energy to electrical energy and vice versa.

The first MGU (known as MGU-K, where the K stands for kinetic) converts kinetic energy generated under braking into electricity. Under acceleration 120kW of this electricity, which is stored in batteries in the Energy Store (ES), can then be used to power the MGU-K which is connected to the crankshaft of the engine and in turn helps propel the car.

The second MGU (known as MGU-H, where the H stands for heat), is connected to the turbocharger and converts heat energy from exhaust gases into electrical energy. The energy can then be used to power the MGU-K or be retained in the ES for subsequent use. In total, ERS has twice the power of the pre-2014 KERS (120kW compared to 60kW, a maximum of 4MJ per lap compared to 0.4MJ per lap) and provide it for nearly ten times as long (approximately 33 seconds per lap as opposed to six).

For safety, each car is fitted with ERS status lights which warn marshals and mechanics of the car’s electrical safety status when it is stopped or in the pits. If the car is safe, the lights - which are situated on the roll hoop and the rear tail lamp - will glow green; if not, they glow red. The lights must remain on for 15 minutes after the power unit has been switched off.

The overall weight of the power unit must be a minimum of 145kg. The ES must be installed wholly within the survival cell and must weigh between 20kg and 25kg.

The materials used in the manufacture of the engine and its components are strictly controlled by the regulations. The crankcase and cylinder block must be made of cast or wrought aluminium alloys - the use of composite materials is not allowed. The crankshaft and camshafts must be made from an iron-based alloy, pistons from an aluminium alloy and valves from alloys based on iron, nickel, cobalt or titanium.

Formula One cars do not have their own, onboard starting systems. Separate starting devices may be used to start engines in the pits and on the grid. If the engine is fitted with an anti-stall device, this must be set to cut the engine within ten seconds in the event of an accident.