No power loss for new turbo engines in Austria
17 June 2014 – Formula 1 engines will not suffer altitude-related power loss at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull Ring, situated roughly 700 metres above sea level, would cause naturally aspirated engines to lose around seven per cent of their power output, with power decreasing approximately one per cent per 100 metres.
But the sport's new turbocharged power units pressure the ambient air to the same level inside the turbocharger and compressor, meaning that there will always be the same amount of oxygen in the air inside the engine.
This will, however, put increased strain on the three engine manufacturers, with the turbo spinning faster.
"The high altitude will cause the turbo to spin at a much higher rate to compensate for the low ambient pressure – very close to the hardware limit," said Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1's Head of Track Operations. "We have recreated these climatic conditions on the dyno and feel confident we have a good handle on the preparations."
"The Red Bull Ring is at high altitude which, owing to the low atmospheric pressure, places a different kind of duty on the Power Unit to what we've seen so far," added Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (technical) of the Mercedes team. "It will be interesting to see how well both we and the competition respond to that."
Formula 1 will face a similar test at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the season.