“We will miss the MGU-H,” said Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1’s technical director. “We haven’t decided everything yet for 2021, but the direction from the FIA we respect, we respect the other manufacturers’ direction, but we think we will miss the MGU-H, such a high pinnacle of technology for the future and relevant to the production car as well. We would like to keep that technology.”
“I share the view of Honda,” said Mercedes Andy Cowell. “I think the MGU-H has been blamed for the lack of noise, for high complexity.
“It’s been referred to as a miracle,” h continued. “There are four technology companies that have made it work and get 60 per cent of their electrical energy to then power the K. It contributes 5% of the thermal efficiency of the power unit and to make up the power difference we’re going to have to increase the fuel flow rate, which I think is a backwards step. It’s not progress, so, my view is the H should stay because the development has been done.
“Removing it removes a lot of energy, which is a lot of car performance. It feels like a backwards step when the development work’s 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.”
“The MGU-H is a fantastic, efficient component,” agreed Mattia Binotto. “But looking ahead, we know that we know we need to find a compromise. The compromise based on what are the main objectives of 2021: spectacle; noise; simplification; cost. When you are dealing with compromises, there may always be different opinions and I think somehow we may accept the MGU-H to be removed but certainly removing the MGU-H doesn’t mean that we fully need to standardise the power units and the engines.
“There are still areas in which we believe an engine is a key element, a key technology and important that we still maintain the challenge in these technologies and we try to maintain the engine, or the power unit, as a competitive differentiator between manufacturers – because that’s about the DNA of the sport, and F1.”
“It is not something we will put on the shelf and just forget,” said Renault‘s Remi Taffin. “As far as Renault is concerned, we have some other projects, we are working on Formula E where battery is also of an interest, so we also work on that front.
“MGU-H is not directly transferred to Formula E but it’s a very high-speed motor and it’s quite a unique technology and again, we’re not going to put that on the shelf, so it’s all going to be of interest.”
Asked if removing the MGU-H will level the playing field, Taffin was adamant: “No,” he replied. “As we say, we’ve done the job, we’ve got the MGU-H, which is working where we wish to be. Obviously, it’s a big part of the performance of our power unit, it’s part of its efficiency, we’ve worked that out and as we say we still have to make sure that every single drop of fuel is burned as efficiently as possible, then it’s the work on the ICE, it’s work on the turbo and obviously if we have to get rid of the ICE and turbo and that’s what we will make the efficiency out of. So, it’s not going to let’s say bring any levelling of any performance or reliability… we’re there.”