Renault not ready to put MGU-H on the shelf

Remi Taffin (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Engine Technical Directo
© XPB 

Renault has indicated that it's not ready to give up on developing the MGU-H, the component of the F1 power unit that recovers energy from heat which builds up in the car.

Formula 1's new owners have proposed dumping the MGU-H as part of the overhaul of the engine specification in 2021. Cutting costs, levelling the playing field and improving reliability are among the reasons cited for the move.

But Renault for one says that it regrets the decision. The French manufacturer's engine technical director Remi Taffin said the company will continue to work on the technology despite the decision.

"We are trying to have good discussions to go forward for keeping developing this power unit in a different way," he told this week.

"We did a lot of work on the MGU-H," he added. "It's working, it's a very nice part. It's not something we will put on the shelf and forget.

While the MGU-H might not have a role to play in the future of F1, Taffin said there were "alternatives" where the technology could still be put to good use.

"We have other projects," he pointed out. "We have Formula E.

"The MGU-H is not directly translatable but it's a high-speed motor," he explained. It's quite a unique technology. We're not going to put that on the shelf.

"We wish to go forwards. We are still interested in developing the engine. We think the engine is a big part of Formula 1.

"We are all discussing this, we want to get this forward. We know we have some work to do. We know we will have some changes compared to today and we have to deal with them.

"But the most important thing for Renault is that we all work together with the FIA and F1, to get this right and yes, to make sure that the engines keep a good part in Formula 1."

Other F1 manufacturers have also indicated that they also support the continued development of the thermal energy recovery system.

"We will miss the MGU-H," admitted Honda's Toyoharu Tanabe. "Such a high pinnacle of technology for the future and relevant to the production car as well.

"I think we haven’t decided everything yet for 2021" he added. "But the direction from the FIA we respect, we respect the other manufacturers’ direction, but we think we will miss the MGU-H."

"The MGU-H has been blamed for the lack of noise and for high complexity," added Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes High Performance Powertrains. "It's been referred to as a miracle. There are four technology companies that have made it work."

The unit reportedly provides more than half the power necessary for the operation of the MGU-K, the system that recovers kinetic energy from the car when it brakes.

"To make up the power difference we're going to have to increase the fuel flow rate, which is a backwards step," continued Cowell. "It's not progress. It feels like a backwards step when the development work has been done.

"We will all now start developing anti-lag systems. The MGU-H is the most marvellous anti-lag system on a turbocharged engine because it gives you speed control.

"That’s been removed so we’ll now have to come up with various devices and systems and that will probably involve burning some fuel in the exhaust which doesn’t feel like the most honourable thing to do, as an engineer.

"But, as I’ve said previously, it’s a balance between technology and entertainment. We’ve got to get that balance right."

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