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Old 26 Nov 2021, 10:46 (Ref:4085523)   #1
Casper
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Old Motors

What happens to old motors when they are finished for the season, can they be re-built and used for further testing?
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Old 26 Nov 2021, 10:51 (Ref:4085524)   #2
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What happens to old motors when they are finished for the season, can they be re-built and used for further testing?
Do you mean the ICE PUs?
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Old 26 Nov 2021, 10:55 (Ref:4085525)   #3
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I think the Red Bull / Honda situation demonstrated why there is little to be gained from using an old PU in testing off-chassis.

The running is restricted (IIRC) to 2x 4-day tests, and teams will want to maximise this with current / new PUs. The teams will want to know what the most current, upgraded spec of engine gives them in terms of performance. There is also probably little to gain from bench-testing an old PU:
Yusuke Hasegawa said that "Many items we could not test on the dyno, so it is normal that we need to check some functions in the car. The oil tank is one of the biggest items, so we have a rig for the oil tank but we cannot recreate the same types of G forces and conditions as in the car."
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Old 26 Nov 2021, 12:16 (Ref:4085533)   #4
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I expect there is periodic forensic disassembly to examine wear (as part of longevity engineering), a few saved for posterity (maybe only new vs used)' and rest probably destroyed to protect IP and/or secret design features. I don't see manufacturers keeping a warehouse full of used power units.

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Old 27 Nov 2021, 01:26 (Ref:4085591)   #5
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I did mean the ICE part and using it to test on a programmable dyno not in a car. I can't see any reason they could not be used to test ideas & do the R&D from those ideas. Thinking about it they could use the entire PU on a dyno as well for the same reasons. I have no knowledge of what happens to the old ones but I be surprised if it wasn't done. I suppose they could just build new PU's that were never raced and do the same thing but the build numbers (not the usage numbers) might also be capped to prevent that happening.
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Old 27 Nov 2021, 15:55 (Ref:4085633)   #6
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I suppose they could just build new PU's that were never raced and do the same thing but the build numbers (not the usage numbers) might also be capped to prevent that happening.
I expect that from a regulations perspective there is no limit on how many can be built. I think that the current budget caps exclude any of the power unit research and production costs.

They may occasionally dyno engines from the pool to check them? To make sure they are OK to be used going forward (such as a unit that was in an accident.) They may dyno some others with mileage as part of understanding longevity (running new software modes on older power units), etc.

Broadly speaking, my opinion is that R&D on high mileage power units that are known to have a relatively short lifespan doesn't make much sense from an engineering perspective. Let's say you have a failure during testing. You do forensic analysis of the engine afterwards. Is the issue systemic to the new thing you are testing or preexisting damage from that engines prior life?

I am not saying it can't be done. It's not like they built a test power unit, run one test, then start again with a new fresh example, but rather, if you have the budget, why add the uncertainty of doing new R&D on worn test subjects.

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Old 28 Nov 2021, 03:57 (Ref:4085718)   #7
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Not R&D on old motors but R&D on rebuilt previously raced motors that are not to be used again. A team could do R&D on an old rebuilt motor to investigate how far they can push it against how many races they need it to last. I think it is a loop hole yet to be addressed. Wind the boost up with corrosponding fuel & Ignition changes and let's see what happens.
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Old 28 Nov 2021, 18:07 (Ref:4085777)   #8
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I want to state, all of this is just my opinion. I would love to hear from someone in a top level series (WEC, F1) to hear what they do. I could be wrong on this stuff.

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Not R&D on old motors but R&D on rebuilt previously raced motors that are not to be used again.
I will give my opinion in a slightly different order than your post.

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Wind the boost up with corrosponding fuel & Ignition changes and let's see what happens.
No doubt they have run engines beyond what the regulations allow (a key one would be higher fuel flow). But to what purpose would they do this with rebuilt engines vs. starting with a new engine?

Now Porsche did something like this for PR reasons in 2018 with their 919 WEC prototype car. After they finished racing the car in WEC, they removed fuel flow and hybrid charging limits plus making some aero changes that would have been illegal for the series to effectively "unleash" the car to do some VERY fast demo runs at various tracks. But as many called out, it no longer was a "legal" car, but just a very fast version of the WEC racer.

Here are two questions...
1. What causes one of these engines to stop being used (i.e. worn out)
2. How "rebuildable" are these engines.

As to the first, I broadly think it is about loss of compression and increase in friction. I attribute that to mostly about blow by around piston/cylinder interface, valves and any number of friction surfaces. I can imagine that things like cylinder walls are not just machined and "honed", but go through exotic conversation processes that change surfaces at the molecular or atomic levels and may even have very specific surface treatments. I expect those wear away as the engine runs and increases friction and may allow for more blow by. How do you rebuild that surface? What if they don't use cylinder liners that can be replaced in the block? What if the block is just "done" after specific mileage and X amount of material is worn away? The same goes for pistons, connecting rods, cranks. If those use exotic processes to reduce friction, and that is worn away and the part is dimensionally smaller, what do you do? Remember, I am not talking "coatings" that might be reapplied, but material conversion in which the outer layer is modified, but remains unchanged with respect to dimension. Do you re-bore the block to oversize, then use oversized pistons, regrind and treat the crank, (oversized bearings if they even exist), etc. Is the heads rebuildable? What solution do they use for valve guides and valve seats? Where they designed to be removed and replaced? Same goes for things like oil pumps, and other metal to metal surfaces in which a tight fit counts. Do you rebuild the pumps or just use new ones?

No doubt they could be "rebuilt" somehow, but when done, you end up with an engine that no longer matches what you run in the car and did you save any time or money in this rebuild process? So what is the purpose of doing R&D on some type of frankenmotor that isn't really the ICE you use in the car? So to my second point. I question just how "rebuildable" these are. Particularly with respect to the ICE part. I suspect the other hybrid components are likely much more rebuildable.

And to reiterate my overall thinking. Given the budgets, why recycle parts. In any top level series, I think teams use an approach of scheduled replacement of parts even if the part looks visually OK. So for example, you only run wheel bearings X miles before you replace them. Even amateur club racing teams does this. (I have friends replace their wheel bearings in a Honda saloon car after each time they run at Lime Rock just because they know it is hard on bearings). Teams will replace parts "before" they fail just to be safe.

You can buy "used", but still functional components from NASCAR teams just because they have "timed out" and yet may still be perfectly fine. I think you see more of that in NASCAR vs. F1 because things teams share so much components in NASCAR that the solutions are not "secret". That is why you don't see Ferrari selling of old used carbon brake ducts to just anyone because while they replaced them at some point, they feel the design is still secret.

Sorry, I am rambling. Again, I could be wrong about all of this.

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A team could do R&D on an old rebuilt motor to investigate how far they can push it against how many races they need it to last.
Ok, so as to purpose, lets say it is as you say which is to see how many races it might last. They already do this, but with new engines. They run new engines an entire lifetime and test different permutations. I believe they have done this so much, that they have a good idea on things like "If you run Mode X for Y laps, you reduce longevity by Z hours". This is why Mercedes can with confidence give Lewis a new engine, tell him to turn it up to eleven because the remainder of the season is short. They "know" it will last long enough. The reliability of these modern engines are generally phenomenal due to the level of knowledge the manufactures have. This also is because the engines are much closer to the end of their development cycle and also are generally frozen at this point.

Here is a book I recommend...

https://www.amazon.com/Beast-Secret-.../dp/B00KBBVQ0G

It chronicles the development of the Ilmor (badged as Mercedes) bespoke pushrod engine built for Penske for the 1994 Indy 500. It goes into depth on how they tested the engine to achieve the desired power level and longevity for the 500 race as well as the forensic analysis of parts when they had failures to iterate on the design. That was nearly 30 years ago. You can only imagine how much more knowledgeable and structured they are regarding their approach today. Especially given the budgets.

My point is... Doing R&D on "rebuilt" F1 engines would probably be considered "bush league" today.

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I think it is a loop hole yet to be addressed.
Just to reiterate. I believe that there is no loop hole because there is no regulations to bypass. Those who are doing R&D on these engines are free to do as they choose. The regulations are around the finished product and how much you can charge for it. As I mentioned above, the current engines are frozen, so I think the only "development" these days is about improving "reliability". However, if you improve the reliability of the weakest link in the chain of your engine. Can you not run it harder over it's lifespan and extract more power from it.

Richard
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Old 30 Nov 2021, 18:28 (Ref:4086035)   #9
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Old F1 motors are probably like the rocket motors which lift the space shuttle. They burn up on re-entry, so nobody else can use them.
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Old 30 Nov 2021, 18:35 (Ref:4086037)   #10
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Racing improves the breed. Think of all the great advances in technology from F1 which are incorporated into our family cars. An F1 motor in a Holden would be great for towing a boat. When F1 goes electric, we will really be talking speed.
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