Optimal control theory and Ferrari’s turbo-electric hybrid

The Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, published an interesting paper in 2014 which appears to shed some light on the deployment of energy-recovery systems in contemporary Formula One.

Entitled Optimal control of Formula One car energy recovery systems, (a free version can be downloaded here), the paper considers the most efficient use of the kinetic motor-generator unit (ERS-K), and the thermal motor-generator unit (ERS-H), to minimise lap-time, given the various regulatory constraints. (Recall that the primary constraints are: 100kg fuel capacity, 100kg/hr maximum fuel flow, 4MJ Energy Store capacity, 2MJ per lap maximum energy flow from ERS-K to the Energy Store, and 4MJ per lap maximum energy flow from the Energy Store to the ERS-K). The paper outlines a mathematical approach to this Optimal Control problem, and concludes with results obtained for the Barcelona track.

In the course of the paper, a number of specific figures are quoted for engine power. For example, the power of the internal combustion (IC) engine under the maximum fuel-flow rate, with the turbo wastegate closed, is quoted as 440kW (590bhp); it is claimed that by having the turbo wastegate open, the power of the IC engine can be boosted by 20kW (~27bhp), but in the process the ERS-H has to use 60kW of power from the Energy Store to power the compressor; and with the wastegate closed, the 20kW reduction in IC power is compensated by the 40kW generated by the ERS-H. (Opening the wastegate boosts IC power because the back-pressure in the exhaust system is reduced).

Running with the wastegate closed is therefore considered to be the most efficient solution for racing conditions. However, the paper also considers qualifying conditions, where the Energy Store can be depleted over the course of a lap without any detrimental consequences:

“In its qualifying configuration the engine is run with the waste gate open for sustained periods of time when maximum engine power is needed. During these periods of time the energy store will be supplying both the MGU-K and the MGU-H, with the latter used to drive the engine boost compressor…In contrast to the racing lap, the waste gate is typically open when the engine is being fully fuelled. On the entry to turns 1, 4, 7 and 10 the waste gate is being closed a little before simultaneously cutting the fuel and the MGU-K.”

Professor of Control Engineering David Limebeer delivered a presentation of the work at a Matlab conference the same year (video here). Another version of the work, Faster, Higher and Greener, featuring Spa rather than Barcelona, was published in the April 2015 edition of the IEEE Control Systems Magazine. In his Matlab presentation, Professor Limebeer also credits Peter Fussey, Mehdi Masouleh, Matteo Massaro, Giacomo Perantoni, Mark Pullin, and Ingrid Salisbury.

After reading their work, I e-mailed Professor Limebeer, and asked if he’d considered collaborating with a Formula One team. I received a slightly odd response. After a further internet search, I found out why. In the November 2014 issue of Vehicle Electronics, David reports “We have done this work with one of the Formula One teams, but we can’t tell you which one.”

Which is totally understandable. University departments have to protect the confidentiality of their work with Formula One teams. Unfortunately, however, the University of Oxford, Department of Engineering Science Newsletter 2013-2014, proudly reveals:

The Ferrari F1 Connection.
Mr Stefano Domenicali, Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, visited the Department in May 2013 to deliver the annual Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture. During this lecture he announced the evolving research partnership between the University and Ferrari.

DPhil Engineering Science students Chris Lim, Giacomo Perantoni and Ingrid Salisbury are working with Ferrari on novel ways to improve Formula One performance. Chris Lim said: “I’m very excited that I’ll be the first student working with Ferrari in the Department’s Southwell Laboratory, under the supervision of Professor Peter Ireland, the Department’s Professor of Turbomachinery. It’s a privilege to work with a prestigious manufacturer such as Ferrari in an industry like Formula One where the application of thermo-fluids has such a large impact”.

Pictured from left to right are: Chris Lim (postgraduate), Ingrid Salisbury (postgraduate), Mr Stefano Domenicali, Giacomo Perantoni (postgraduate) and Professor David Limebeer (supervisor to Giacomo Perantoni and Ingrid Salisbury).

In light of this, then, the figures quoted in these papers can be interpreted as pertaining to Ferrari’s turbo-electric hybrid. The first paper was submitted for publication in late 2013, and the assumptions used there are the same as those used in the 2015 paper, so it appears that Ferrari development data from no later than 2013 was used throughout.

Continue Reading…

Audi Old Spock battles New Spock – Coolest Car Commercial Ever

By , , , , Permalink

Leonard Nimoy sadly passed away this week. One of my favourite car adverts to date has got to be the Audi commercial from 2013, starring both Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto. It’s got two Spocks, a dig at Mercedes, Leonard Nimoy swearing and best of all, an awesome impromptu rendition of the “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” by Leonard Nimoy. Brilliant.

Live long and prosper!

Continue Reading…

Vettel blamed on 2013 audience plunge

Sebastian Vettel’s total domination of Formula 1 last year has been singled out as a major factor in the sport’s television audiences plunging 10 per cent.
In the official 2013 Global Media Report published by F1’s commercial rights owners, it confirmed a 50 million fall in worldwide viewing figures.
Its data shows that there were 450 million viewers worldwide for F1 last year, down from just more than half a billion in 2012. The figure from 2011 was 515 million.
In his introduction to the document, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has no doubts as to why television stations struggled to keep viewers.
“Last season our global audience was 450 million viewers, a decrease compared to 2012, although not an unexpected one,” he wrote.
“The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach.
“The overall effect was exaggerated further still when you consider that the calendar was one race shorter in 2013.”
Although some major markets – including China and France – showed a dramatic fall in audiences, last year was not all bad news.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Italy all delivered increases in audiences. (see below)
Ecclestone also reckoned that 2014 would help rekindle interest in F1, with the arrival of new turbo engines set to deliver more exciting racing.
“It is timely developments like these that keep Formula 1 at the forefront of sustainable and relevant technology,” explained Ecclestone.
“One thing I am sure of is that this coming season will not only offer a heightened level of unpredictability but renewed excitement and fierce competition.”
The decline in television audiences was believed to have been a major motivating force in Ecclestone pushing hard for the much criticised double points rule that is coming into force for the final race 2014
Formula 1’s annual Global Media Report offers detailed analysis of each of the individual markets where the sport is broadcast.
While a majority of nations endured a drop in audience figures in 2013, some countries did enjoy a boost in viewership.
The figures also reveal that market share that F1 enjoys in each of its markets, based on the entire television viewership for each country.
UNITED STATES – F1’s biggest audience increase was in the USA, with an 18 per cent jump in viewership following the switch to NBC and NBC Sport. There were 11.4 million viewers in total (4 per cent market share)
UNITED KINGDOM – Despite there being one race less, UK audiences watching on Sky and BBC were up 2 per cent with just more than 29 million viewers in 2013. (48 per cent market share)
ITALY – Enjoyed a slight increase in viewership to 35.8 million viewers as the result of dramatic expansion of race coverage on SKY Italia and RAI. (62 per cent market share)
FRANCE – Dropped from around 27m viewers to 10m following switch to pay TV channel CANAL+ (18 per cent market share)
GERMANY – Lost a 10 percent market share with 31 million viewers watching on RTL and Sky Germany (42 per cent market share)
POLAND – The absence of Robert Kubica from F1 has not led to a dramatic switch-off in fans, with viewers shrinking from 12 million in 2012 to 9.6 million last year. (26 per cent market share)
SPAIN – Viewership was down only slightly at 30.2 million, which is encouraging considering there was one less home race last year than 2012. (70 per cent market share)
BRAZIL – Brazil has the largest single nation audience for Formula 1 with 77 million viewers watching last year, although this was 5 per cent down on 2012. (41 per cent market share)
CHINA – A move away from state broadcaster CCTV to a host of regional broadcasters led to a dramatic drop in audience figures. Just 19 million viewers tuned in last year, around 30 million less than 2012. (1 per cent market share)
JAPAN – F1’s audience figure dropped just 2 million, which taking into account the shortened calendar shows the viewership is holding up (23 per cent market share)
RUSSIA – Audience figures dropped 10 per cent to 12.3 million as coverage was shared on Rossiya 2 and RTR Sport. (10 per cent market share)

Top 20 moments of 2013, #12: Marc Marquez, the rookie champion

Being a rookie in any sort of racing is often a tough task, but 20 year-old Marc Marquez didn’t let that phase him as he claimed the 2013 MotoGP World Championship in commanding style.

Marquez got a quick start to his successful season in the very first round at Qatar. He nabbed a third place finish after battling with his idol Valentino Rossi on his Honda.

It only took two races for … Keep reading


Pirelli didn’t like Red Bull’s lippy critique in 2013

Pirelli aren’t very pleased with Red Bull Racing and the criticism the team offered toward the Italian tire maker’s product in 2013. Ever since the Bahrain Grand Prix when delamination first appeared on Pirelli’s high degradation tires, the Italian company had been on the defensive trying to stave off criticism and brand equity damage.

Pirelli’s motor sport boss, Paul Hembery, even told the world that a change in tire construction, per red Bull’s request, would have favored that team in particular and they weren’t keen to do that as everyone had the same challenge.

That may have been true but the tire blowouts at the British Grand Prix forced the FIA’s hand and demanded that Pirelli make immediate changes to the tires. From the change at the Hungarian Grand Prix onward, Red Bull won all but one of the remain races.

Hembery was right. He’s also sharing his displeasure with Red Bull’s critical nature telling AUTOSPORT:

“That was clearly disappointing because everybody has the same challenge, and that is one thing that was true,” Hembery said.

“That then opened up what then became a battle between different teams of what we were allowed to do and what we weren’t allowed to do, and we got caught up in that battle between teams.

“That was very disappointing as they had clearly dominated and won the championship so convincingly – that was really the opening up of a lot of comment and debate that really shouldn’t happen.

“We are a partner and competitor, we always said if all the teams, or the sport itself, tells us to make a change we will do it, but being put under media pressure was very disappointing.”

Now that may all very well be true and one ahs to give credit to Hembery where its due—Red Bull ran away with the championship. In hindsight, however, is there no culpability on Pirelli’s hands in trying to make a tire to thwart Red Bull’s blistering pace from the 2012season by making a very aggressive tire that ultimately couldn’t withstand Formula 1’s punishment?

Possibly but as Hembery points out to AUTOSPORT, the sport of Formula 1 asked them to provide a tire such as these high degradation specifications and in doing so, one would think the sport has your back if anyone or team is unhappy with it. That clearly wasn’t the case but then the FIA has to make a move any time safety is involved. Hembery said:

“Maybe sometimes we have been thinking that people have lost the reason of why we are doing certain things,” he added.

“That has been a little bit disappointing.

“If the sport does not protect you from it when you are asked to do something then you have to do it yourself.”

With the clarity of hindsight, how do you see the issue? Was Red Bull taking advantage of the situation and slating Pirelli without due cause or justification? Is there a level of culpability on Pirellis hands? How do you see the issue now that you’ve had time to reflect on it?

Via formula1blog