The secrets of the Honda engine

The main responsible for the development of the power unit manufactured in Sakura analyzed the Formula One World Championship 2018 and talk about 2019.


40 días. This is the time lapse that has Honda to develop and perfect in its Sakura factory the power unit RA619H, the engine that will drive Red Bull and Toro Rosso in the World Formula One 2019.

A propeller, which will will run during the first part of the season in a fairly conservative way to preserve its reliability, whose components have undergone a complete overhaul this winter, since Japanese technicians have found that improving only the performance of the combustion engine is not enough to reach Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.

"If it were not for the MGU-H, maybe the strategy would be to run a power unit as light as possible. However, if we improve only the combustion engine, it will reduce the recovery of the MGU- H, so we need to balance both sides. And that balance is technologically difficult 1. An engineer of the combustion engine may want an increase in power, but that does not necessarily increase the total energy recovery per revolution. The reality is that a power obtained from the combustion engine is not equal to that obtained from the MGU-H. In some circuits, the first may be more valuable, while in others the second may be more important. Improving and finding an optimal balance between the combustion engine and the MGU-H is the crux of the development of the power unit ", says Atsushi Orihara in the Japanese magazine 'MotorFan Motorsport'

The manufacturer of the golden wing, which last year he premiered a partnership with the Faenza team after three years of collaboration with McLaren, focused his efforts on improving reliability by designing a machine with a high level of safety margin for vibrations, as Yutaka Maruyama points out: "Although we partially wanted to make Drastic changes, we decided that improving reliability was the most important thing for us to properly develop the power unit. Taking into account future power increases, we achieved a level of reliability to accommodate those increases. Because the motors are developed with very high precision, the rotation itself is very well balanced. Therefore, the source of vibrations came from the combustion engine. A more powerful combustion engine also resulted in a stronger vibration force. Therefore, for 2018, we designed an engine with a high level of safety margin for vibrations, to accommodate future power increases. However, the 'Spec 3' gains almost completely canceled that additional margin. "

The combustion engine is so important that Maruyama and Orihara confirm that since 2018 there is a specific department in Sakura that is only dedicated to perfecting this element, while the rest of the experts concentrate their efforts on increasing the reliability of the power unit: "The combustion engine determines how we mold the engine, without an evolution here, we can not expect big gains, even with drastic changes." We have a separate division that works to evolve the combustion engine, while dramatically improving reliability. If the engine rotates correctly from the start, it will not interfere with the testing and development of the equipment, on the other hand, if we delegate the development of the combustion engine to a separate division, and gradually introduce those developments in the 'Spec 2 and 3', we can increase the competitiveness as the season progresses. "

Despite not being able to make a comparison on the effect that the design of the propeller had on the chassis and aerodynamics of the MCL32 and STR13, both engineers highlight the collaboration with HondaJet to increase energy recovery of the MGU-K: "We can not compare the effect of the engine design on the aerodynamics and the performance of the chassis between McLaren and Toro Rosso. Toro Rosso presented its demands to obtain the maximum performance and a balance was sought between both parties. As a result, the final design was one that allowed an increase in the performance of the power unit compared to the previous one. Toro Rosso preferred a symmetrical cooling system, so it was placed on both sides. It was just a simple difference in philosophy. The HondaJet collaboration allowed a longer and more extensive energy recovery by the MGU-K ".

Finally, Toyoharu Tanabe indicates that his main concern is to speed up the R & D to become the reference engine in the 'Gran Circo' : " We are moving forward in R & D to keep pushing and implementing good ideas quickly. With 'Spec 3' we discovered something new, so we modified our development program greatly. We put everything we had as the latest version of theRA618H. As a result, the gains of the 'Spec 3' were much greater than those of the 'Spec 2', and all the safety margins had been preserved disappeared. "

Technical analysis RA618H

After seven years of absence, Honda returned to the World of Formula 1 by the hand of McLaren. A binomial that broke in 2017 after three years of continuous mishaps of reliability and lack of power, as the Japanese prioritized a zero-size package that proved insufficient to win races.

In this regard and after moving the compressor and the turbine outside the V of the combustion engine in the RA617H to significantly reduce its center of gravity, in 2018 Honda made the air filter on the side of the machine larger, as well as the piping that leads to the compressor has a more solid curvature, something that can also be applied to the exhaust pipe.

In the same way, the oil tank222 2222, one of the biggest puzzles that affected the return of the MCL32 of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, a compressor that also increased its size, while the intercooler is placed on both sides of the propeller.

"If we combine our GPS data with the data provided by Honda, we will be in the area of Mercedes and Ferrari ", predicts Helmut Marko. Starting on February 18 we will begin to respond if Red Bull Honda is ready to move on to the next stage. Break the hegemony of Mercedes.



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