Power and endurance required - the BMW P84
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team sets high hopes into the performance of the new BMW V10 engine. The powerplant bears only little resemblance to last year's P83 engine.
Times are changing. While the so called "short burner" delivers extra power and used to provide a sensation for a single qualifying lap in Formula One, there is now a need for long-life power units. The Formula One Sporting Code introduced by the FIA for the coming 2004 season stipulates the use of a single engine for each vehicle over the entire Grand Prix weekend.
Mario Theissen encapsulates the new requirement in a simple equation, "If an engine has to have a longer service life, every component must in principle be designed to be tougher. This means that the engine will get bigger and heavier, and that is at the expense of revolutions and hence power. Minimising these losses while guaranteeing endurance are the goals we have to work towards."
The BMW P84 was developed by the team of engineers led by Heinz Paschen, Head of BMW F1 Development, in close co-operation with the specialists from the BMW Research and Innovation Center (FIZ). It has been tailor made for the regulation requirements of the 2004 season.
Work on the new BMW engine began in Munich even earlier than previous seasons. The team of engineers started working on a specification for the 2004 engine as early as the November of 2002. In May 2003, the first version of the P84 was up and running on the test rig in Munich. Over the following weeks, a number of other versions of the BMW P84 came on stream.
Paschen says, "The key factor here was to prove 'fit' for the increased running distance". The version of the engine finally intended for the FW26 was put on the test rig for the first time in July 2003 before being tested in an interim car at Monza on 4 September. From October, work focused on final link-up with the chassis, and circuit testing continued in November.
The design of the BMW P84 engine is based on its predecessor, but every single component was affected by the new specifications. The engine's design priorities for the 2004 season are: the same dependability must be guaranteed for significantly longer running times while sacrificing as little performance as possible. The result of this development, the P84, is expected to shadow the performance of its successful predecessor.