Formula 1 cars are extremely complex. There are thousands of components inside that contribute to making them the fastest cars on the planet. The most important part of any automobile is the engine, this is no exception for Formula 1 cars.
Formula 1 cars today use a 1.6 liter V6 Turbo-Hybrid engine. The engine uses a mixture of electrical and naturally aspirated power to drive the cars. These power units also have a unique system to them, called the ERS.
What is ERS in a Formula 1 car?
ERS stands for Energy Recovery System. It does exactly what the name suggests. ERS is used to recover the energy the car has lost. There are two types of energy that a Formula 1 car loses while running: heat and kinetic energy.
Turbochargers cause the loss of heat energy, while kinetic energy is lost via the car's braking system. Since 2014, Formula 1 engines have been designed to harvest lost energy and reuse it in the car.
The energy is generated in two kinds of motors: MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit - Kinetic) and MGU-H (Motor Generated Unit - Heat). The energy generated from these motors is then stored in the ES (Energy Store). ES are lithium-ion batteries that store the energy created. The energy stored is then available for the driver to use as and when they see fit.
The system which makes the transfer of energy in the car possible is the ERS.
ERS is capable of providing 120kw of power, which roughly equates to 160bhp (Brake horsepower). This can be used for approximately 33 seconds per lap. Formula 1 drivers usually use the system as a way to overtake a car ahead or defend from a car behind.
It is easy to spot when the drivers are using the system. A light at the rear of the car blinks red while the driver is trying to conserve energy. It stops blinking when the energy is being deployed by the driver.