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Racing Simulation of a Formula 1 Vehicle with

Kinetic Energy Recovery System
Aldo Sorniotti
University of Surrey

Massimiliano Curto
Politecnico di Torino

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December 2-4, 2008
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Racing Simulation of a Formula 1 Vehicle with

Kinetic Energy Recovery System
Aldo Sorniotti
University of Surrey

Massimiliano Curto
Politecnico di Torino

Copyright 2008 SAE International

This paper deals with the development of a Lap Time
Simulator in order to carry out a first approximate
evaluation of the potential benefits related to the
adoption of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS).
KERS will be introduced in the 2009 Formula 1 Season.
This system will be able to store energy during braking
and then use it in order to supply an extra acceleration
during traction. Different technologies (e.g. electrical,
hydraulic and mechanical) could be applied in order to
achieve this target. The lap time simulator developed by
the authors permits to investigate the advantages both in
terms of fuel consumption reduction and the
improvement of the lap time.

Starting from 2009 FIA allows the adoption of a Kinetic
Energy Recovery System, characterized by 60 kW of
maximum output power measured at the driven wheels.
The energy released by KERS may not exceed 400 kJ
during a single lap.
According to the new Formula 1 regulations, there is no
particular specification or limitation related to the kind of
technology which could be adopted for the development
of KERS. From a theoretical viewpoint, KERS could be
based on the following technologies:

Mechanical technology based on the adoption of

Electric hybrid technology based on the adoption
of supercapacitors;

Hydraulic technology based on the adoption of a

hydraulic motor/pump connected to an

This work deals with the investigation, through lap time

simulation, of the new opportunities (in terms of the
implementation of this system, both in terms of lap time
and overall fuel consumption. In particular, a lap time
simulator has been adopted in order to simulate the
performance of different vehicle layouts and to evaluate
the basic performance improvement related to the new
system (which will be activated by the driver in the most
suitable areas of the tracks a controlled activation is
not permitted).
The basic hypotheses of the adopted simulation software
are discussed. Then the layouts related to the different
options for the development of KERS are briefly
presented. In particular, the lap time simulator presented
in this paper has been developed in the context of a
research activity focused on the comparison between the
electrical layout and the mechanical layout based on the
adoption of a flywheel as energy storage device. The
paper deals with the simulation models which have been
developed during this preliminary analysis. The
simulation results of the paper are related to a vehicle
equipped with a KERS system based on the adoption of
electrical components.
Firstly, Dynamic Programming has been adopted (and
the methodology is explained) for the optimization of
vehicle performance in terms of fuel consumption, for an
established trajectory in terms of vehicle speed. Some
qualitative and quantitative results related to possible fuel
saving strategies are analyzed in detail.
Secondly, a brute force method is presented for lap time
optimization (the limitations due to the adoption of

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dynamic programming are discussed). The principles for

KERS optimal control are derived through basic theory
(energy balance equations applied to simple case
studies) and lap time simulation.
Finally, the lap time simulation software has been further
developed in order to simulate the entire race, including
the pit-stop laps (comprehensive of the braking phase
along the pit lane, the refueling phase and the
subsequent re-acceleration). As the simulator considers
the whole race, a pit-stop strategy optimization algorithm
is provided and discussed. A comparison, in terms of the
overall performance during the race, between the fuel
saving strategies and the lap time optimization strategies
is dealt with in the final section of the article.
The conclusion of the paper deals with the future
developments of the activity, related to the enhancement
of the presented lap time simulator and the possible
opportunities offered by an extended adoption of KERS
(in terms of values of power and energy released per


The main aim of the developed simulator is to compute
comparative lap times so that the KERS parameters and
control can be optimized. The simulator has been
implemented in MATLAB.
The Lap Time Simulation (LTS) package of the
University of Surrey has been adopted. This software
package includes steady state Lap Time Simulators
characterized by increasing levels of complexity, in terms
of degrees of freedom of the vehicle during the
simulation process. Within this specific activity, the basic
level of vehicle dynamics model has been adopted, in
order to reduce the computation time of the procedure.
The target is a first approximation of the real benefits
related to the adoption of KERS (and not a detailed
quantitative analysis on a specific vehicle, which would
require the most sophisticated simulators of the
allows the optimization of vehicle performance by
simulating a F1 car negotiating the circuit in any of its
possible setup combinations.
In order to simulate a full lap, the circuit is discretized into
segments (typically 1 meter long). For each segment,
vehicle lateral acceleration is evaluated as a function of
the longitudinal speed and the path radius. The cornering
force required to maintain this lateral acceleration at a
given level of bank angle of the track can be computed.
By using a friction ellipse approach, tire force available in
longitudinal direction is found [5]. This value is limited by
the maximum traction force due to the engine (or it is not
limited, if the traction force due to the engine is larger
than the available force according to the friction ellipse).

If the friction ellipse is not satisfied, vehicle velocity is

reduced (and as a consequence the values of the lateral
forces) by steps until the computed tire forces are within
the friction ellipse. This procedure ensures that the total
combined lateral and longitudinal force generated by the
tire is consistent with the maximum available grip. This
approach considers the vehicle at its limits along the
track, so that the tires are working near their critical
condition in terms of grip. The friction ellipse formulation
considers the different tire behavior in traction or braking.
However, it does not take into account the temperature
effect on the grip limit.
The simulator computes the braking forces by assuming
them to be kept at the maximum possible value by the
driver (according to the friction level and the friction
ellipse approach). The model considers aerodynamic
forces in the form of experimental data as functions of
vehicle velocity.
In order to evaluate vehicle behavior along the whole
circuit and the lap time, the vehicle has to negotiate the
entire track four times in different conditions. These are:
1. During the first lap, the initial speed at the starting
line of the track is evaluated. In the first lap, the
vehicle is characterized by a null initial speed, which
increases according to the layout of the track and
vehicle characteristics. The final value of vehicle
velocity computed during this first lap is adopted as
starting point for the second lap;
2. Vehicle dynamics during traction is computed
(second lap). This is a repetition of the first lap, with
an initial condition in terms of vehicle velocity;
3. Vehicle behavior during braking is computed (this lap
is a reverse lap, third lap);
4. A merge between the results of the second and third
laps is carried out;
5. Vehicle performance estimated at point 4. is
corrected by considering KERS contribution to the
longitudinal forces during traction and braking (fourth
Surreys Advanced Vehicle Analysis Group (SAVAG) has
developed more sophisticated LTS software (in terms of
detailed simulation of vehicle motion), which will be
adopted for the second approximation analysis of KERS
performance. The most sophisticated software
developed by SAVAG includes the simulation of the full
motion of vehicle sprung mass and unsprung masses,
the simulation of suspension non-linear elastokinematics (including the effects related to the generation
of jacking forces, roll centre motions and suspension
compliances), and tire thermal effects (variation of tire
cornering stiffness, tire longitudinal slip stiffness and
longitudinal/lateral friction coefficients as functions of the
tire temperature level estimated by the software).
POWERTRAIN MODEL A map-based engine model is
implemented into the software. It permits to achieve an
output in terms of engine power/torque and engine fuel

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consumption/efficiency as functions of engine speed and

throttle position.
The gearbox model takes into account the time lag
during gearshifts. Both sequential and non-sequential
models are implemented (for general race applications).
The gearbox is automatically actuated by the simulation
software as a function of engine speed values. Upshift is
actuated when engine speed reaches a threshold;
downshift is actuated when engine speed falls below a
lower threshold. In particular, the model computes the
gear ratios to be adopted along the circuit within the
second lap (according to the procedure described in the
former section). The gearbox strategy allows the vehicle
to have the best gear at the beginning of each traction
zone. Thanks to this strategy the maximum acceleration
is ensured.
BRAKING SYSTEM MODEL - The simulator provides a
simplified braking system model. It allows the evaluation
of KERS influence on brake forces and their distribution.
Figure 1 shows the braking system schematic. The
model computes, for the considered section of the track,
a reference value of total braking power (Pbraking). The
power related to engine brake effects (Pbraking,ICE) is
subtracted to Pbraking, so that the total brake power Pbraking
related to the conventional brakes and KERS is obtained.
If KERS can give origin, in the actual working conditions
of the vehicle on the track, to a brake power PKERS,MAX
level which is higher than Pbraking, the dissipative brake
system should not be used by the driver. Otherwise the
required levels of front and rear brake pressures (pfront
and prear) are computed as a function of the actual brake
distribution factor BD (due to the hydraulic and
mechanical layout of the brake system) and as a function
of vehicle parameters, like velocity V and the size of the
braking system components.

Figure 2 Electrical layouts for KERS included in the

implemented LTS (for the abbreviations, refer to the
explanation in the final section of the paper)

Figure 3 Schematic of the mechanical solution for

KERS adopted within the LTS


Figure 1 Basic principle of braking system model with

The most sophisticated level of the SAVAG LTS software
is capable of considering the variation of brake pads
friction coefficients as functions of the estimated
temperature of the friction surfaces, brake pressure and
brake disc speed.
KERS MODEL The simulator considers three different
layouts for the capacitor based system (Figure 2) and
one layout for the mechanical system (Figure 3). The
efficiency of the different components of the powertrain
has been considered. Also the effect of the inertia of the
components of the powertrain has been simulated.

On the basis of the typical time histories of vehicle

speeds along the circuits in previous races, it is possible
to demonstrate that in all the tracks currently adopted
within the Formula 1 Championship (Silverstone is the
track which implies the lowest level of regenerated
energy), the energy level which can be stored by KERS
through the regeneration of the rear braking forces
greatly exceeds the level of 400 kJ (during a single lap)
specified by the rules.
Also brake powers can easily exceed the level of 60 kW
specified for KERS. In fact, in Formula 1 the duration of
brake maneuvers is usually very short, but peak values
of some thousands kW (nearly 4000 kW, Figure 4) can
be dissipated within the brake system.
A simple procedure to evaluate the power flows
generated during braking is provided. Through equation

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(1), the power due to the aerodynamic drag force is





The drag contribution related to the rolling resistance

coefficient of the tires is:



f0 and K are the factors which contribute to the

computation of the rolling resistance coefficient (which is
a polynomial function of vehicle velocity), m is vehicle
mass, g is gravity. Tire rolling resistance can be
associated to the fact that the vertical force between the
tire and the road surface is applied to the front part of the
contact patch (and not to the centre). Then, the total
vertical force on the four tires can be calculated
through equation (3) and finally the power dissipated
within brakes (4).

FZ = m g + 1 AIR S CDOWN V 2
PBRAKING,100%efficiency = (FZ ) V

PBRAKING ,SYS is the power contribution related

to the intervention of the hydraulic brakes. The

equivalent mass meq of the vehicle is equal to:

meq = m +

J i i2


J i is the moment of inertia of the ith component of the

driveline, i is the gear ratio referred to the vehicle of
the ith component of the driveline, R is wheel radius.


FZ is the total vertical force between the four tires and

the road pavement, CDOWN is the downforce
aerodynamic coefficient, PBRAKING,100%efficiency is the
maximum brake power which can be generated by the
friction contact between the tires and the road, is the
friction coefficient between the tires and the road
surface. The power related to equation (4) it is the
braking power in case of a braking system characterized
by a 100% efficiency level is due to the effect of engine
brake, KERS and dissipative brake. After the first two
contributions have been computed, the repartition factor
(Figure 1) between the front and rear brakes can be
adopted for the computation of the power levels on the
two axles, by considering the limitations related to the
real efficiency of the brake system. The total power
related to the deceleration a of the vehicle is equal to:




the power contribution related to engine friction torque,

PKERS is the power contribution related to KERS

AIR is air density, S is vehicle front surface, CDRAG is

the aerodynamic drag coefficient, V is vehicle velocity.

to the longitudinal slope of the road,



PVEHICLE _ DECELERATION is the power contribution related

to vehicle deceleration, a is vehicle deceleration,
PLONGITUDINAL_ GRADIENT is the power contribution related

Figure 4 Power Flows vs. Vehicle Speed: brake power

(total value and contribution of the rear brakes), power
related to the aerodynamic drag, maximum power
regenerated by KERS, total power related to vehicle
Figure 4 plots the main power contributions related to
equations (1)-(5) vs. vehicle longitudinal speed. The
vehicle data adopted for these calculations are referred
to a race car of a few years ago. It is possible to observe
that the power level of the rear brakes exceeds the
maximum level (60kW) which can be recovered by
KERS for vehicle velocities below 50 km/h. This means
that the impact of the KERS system is not very significant
from the viewpoint of the brake distribution between the
front and the rear axles (as KERS contribution will be a
minority of the total required brake power, for typical
values of vehicle velocity). As a consequence, vehicle
dynamics during braking maneuvers should be
marginally affected by the new system (even if a proper
detailed analysis needs to be carried out).
Figure 5 summarizes the results of basic calculations for
a brake maneuver carried out from an initial velocity of
300 km/h, with a final velocity of 100 km/h, for two levels
of friction coefficient between the road surface and the
tire (1.3 and 1.75). The calculations show that a low
deceleration during the brake maneuver (for the same
values of initial and final velocities) implies a higher level

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of recovered energy, due to the longer duration of the

maneuver (KERS is continuously recovering the
maximum energy according to the Formula 1 rules, due
to the very low value of maximum KERS power in
comparison with the total brake power on the rear axle).

the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle. Under this

hypothesis, software like FCO, which does not imply a
lap time improvement, would not have any benefit.
However FIA has mentioned [2] the future intention of
limiting the overall fuel consumption of the vehicle. In
addition to this, within a complete analysis and
optimization of the race strategy, this software can be
useful in order to evaluate the possible benefits related to
the selection of the number of pit stops.
Figure 6 shows the schematic of the input/output
variables of FCO. It computes the optimal power
distribution between KERS and ICE along each traction
zone of the track, as a function of the required wheel
torque Twheel, the inserted gear, current vehicle velocity
and the cumulated energy level Erecovered already used by
KERS along the single lap.

Figure 5 Analysis of achievable braking forces and

recovered energies for a Formula 1 vehicle involved in
an extreme brake maneuver (initial speed equal to 300
km/h and final speed equal to 100 km/h), for values of
the friction coefficient (mu in the Figure) between the
tires and the road surface equal to 1.35 and 1.7


At the moment KERS is conceived as a system in order
to reduce the lap time without increasing vehicle fuel
consumption. The same system could be potentially
adopted, within a race strategy, in order to decrease fuel
consumption by keeping a reference velocity profile of
the vehicle along the track. If in the future the adoption of
KERS will be extended and/or new rules about fuel
consumption limitation will be implemented, KERS could
become useful in order to decrease vehicle fuel
consumption, rather than to increase the overall
performance. As a consequence, this section presents
an algorithm which permits:

To find the ideal velocity profile of the vehicle

without the adoption of the power boost related
to KERS;
To minimize fuel consumption through the
optimized adoption of KERS along the track.

The FCO routine has been implemented within the

presented LTS in order to determine the ideal KERS
utilization within a single lap from the viewpoint of fuel
consumption reduction.
FCO has been designed by supposing that the vehicle is
traveling at the longitudinal speed that it would have by
using the ICE only. The new regulations specify KERS as
a device in order to give origin to a power-boost and do
not specify a fuel consumption limit. The best way of
using it according to the 2009 rules will consist of
optimizing the performance of the vehicle from the
viewpoint of the lap time, without paying any attention to

Dynamic Programming (DP) guarantees the optimal

control to obtain the lowest fuel consumption [6]. It helps
FCO to consider all KERS energy release possibilities,
maintaining the computational complexity in an
acceptable range. The simulator evaluates vehicle
maximum speed according to the limitations related to
the grip condition and maximum engine power. For each
simulation segment, the routine defines the operating
point on the engine map. FCO uses this information and
evaluates the best power split between ICE and KERS
(Optimal Control). Engine power evaluated by the
simulator is decreased by an amount equal to the
specified KERS power. Then a new engine operating
point and the related fuel consumption are computed.

Figure 6 FCO input/output variables


KERS control problem involves the determination of the
ICE and KERS power flow profiles. KERS optimal control
defines the sequence of optimal power splits (at each
time instant) that minimizes the fuel consumption over a
given circuit. Formulated in this way, the problem can be
handled with DP, i.e. through a procedure capable of
taking decisions at every single stage that optimizes a
global cost function. DP application has a global
objective, the lowest overall fuel consumption, but also a
global constraint. In fact, one of the most desirable
features of KERS is to be charge sustaining: the quantity
of energy in the rechargeable source should be the same
before and after the lap. However, in the particular

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application this point is not a problem, due to the

limitations related to the current rules (400 kJ can be
recharged for sure).
A method such as DP is extremely appropriate to find the
solution. In order to explain the algorithm, a generic point
of the track is now considered (Figure 7 Point A).
It is characterized by a spatial coordinate distance = 3
(from the starting line of the track) and a generic energy
level En = 50% (En is the energy which can be still
produced by KERS during the lap). The transition
between this point and the spatial coordinate 4 can be
carried out according to different strategies in terms of
traction power flow through KERS.
Two limit strategies can be defined: the first one does not
imply any power release (PKERS = 0% in Figure 7),
whereas the second one implies the maximum rate of
energy release (PKERS = 100% in Figure 7). The
algorithm is capable of considering all the intermediate
transitions (e.g. PKERS = 50%) between the two limit
conditions. An energy discretization interval defined by
the user is adopted. The same procedure is repeated for
all the energy levels at each spatial coordinate.

Figure 7 Schematic of the Dynamic Programming

Several potential policies (according to the defined
parameters) reach the same energy level (e.g. 25%) at a
specific distance (distance 4 in Figure 7). The best policy
is the one characterized by the lowest fuel consumption
cumulated until this point. In general, this means that a
clear and unique condition to compare the different
policies at the same energy level can be defined by the
next formula:
if FCk(xi;En) < FCm(xi;En) FCk(xi;En) is the best policy
DP automatically eliminates the worse policy and saves,
for each admissible energy level at each spatial
coordinate, the vector containing the information (in
terms of cumulated fuel consumption and power level
supplied by the KERS) about the best policies. In the last
point of the track (distance = 6 in Figure 7), the best
policy is obtained. Finally, by adopting a recursive rule

from the track end to its starting point, the best policy is

Simulation time

Figure 8 Influence of energy level discretization on the

FCO Accuracy and the simulation time (Core2Duo 2.13
GHz 1.96 Gb of RAM)

Figure 9 Each track is divided by the software into

traction zones (T1, T2, , Ti) and braking zones (B)
Energy discretization value affects the optimization
procedure and also simulation time. Figure 8 shows the
relationship between the simulation time and the energy
discretization unit (energy lattice) for a typical case study.
The diagram also points out the influence of
discretization on the optimization accuracy. FC(i) is the
fuel consumption value obtained for the i level of energy
discretization. The best fuel consumption (FCbest) refers
to the value obtained using FCO with the best resolution
in terms of possible energy levels.
FCO RESULTS The performance of the routine is
analyzed on a typical circuit. The track (Figure 9) is
divided (by the software) into the different traction and
braking zones automatically computed by the LTS
according to an ideal driving strategy.
Figure 10 plots vehicle longitudinal speed along the
track. Figure 11 shows engine operating points within the
engine map along the third traction zone, for both the

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conditions of KERS switched on and off. The data are

not referred to a real F1 vehicle, this is a demonstration
of the capabilities of the software. It is possible to point
out that in conditions of low torque KERS tends to be
deactivated since the specific fuel consumption surface
decreases for higher engine torque values.

reduction equal to 7.4% without increasing the lap time

(this value is referred to the data of the specific case
study, an actual current Formula 1 vehicle is thought to
achieve fuel consumption reduction by 3-5% on the
same track). The specific example of track is one of the
longest in Formula 1, then by considering that on all the
circuits KERS is able to recover 400kJ, it is possible to
state that FCO would possibly have better performance
(an higher fuel consumption reduction in percentage) on
other circuits.


Figure 10 Vehicle speed along the track - dry

pavement (B: braking zones, Ti: traction zones)
According to the particular example of engine map data,
KERS has to be activated by a small amount of power,
nearly continuously along the entire track. This is the
ideal control for the KERS along the track. For a real
driver it would be very difficult to follow the optimal
control, as it would imply a smooth modulation of the
system (however it is a useful suggestion of what should
be done). By observing Figure 11, it is also possible to
affirm that the engine operating points are (for a
significant duration of the considered traction zone)
constrained by the friction limit between the tires and
track surface and not by the engine power.


Figure 12 Fuel consumption [l/100km] along the

considered track with and without KERS (controlled by
optimal control in terms of fuel consumption optimization.
Thanks to this software it is possible to state that the fuel
saving due to FCO is significant. FCO should become a
key point in order to compute the optimal control if future
rules will be imposed in order to limit fuel consumption
during a race.


The aims of this section are:

Figure 11 Engine map with engine operating points

along the third traction zone (the difference in terms of
engine operating points with and without KERS is
marginal for example look at the area close to the
Figure 12 shows fuel consumption (expressed in liter per
100 kilometers) along the track. KERS controlled by FCO
allows optimizing fuel consumption. During an entire lap
on the considered track, FCO allows a fuel consumption

The discussion of the reason why Dynamic

Programming cannot be adopted within Lap
Time Optimization;
The description of the implemented software,
based on the minimization of the lap time on an
assigned track, through an effective adoption of
the KERS;
An overall analysis of the parts of the tracks
where the power boost related to KERS can give
origin to the most effective result in terms of lap
time reduction.

LTO aims at optimizing the lap time by using KERS

energy to give an extra power boost to the vehicle. DP
cannot be adopted within LTO. Let us consider the case
of an ideal section of a track consisting of two straights
linked by two bends characterized by the same curvature
radius. Let us suppose that the first straight is 1000 m

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long, whereas the second straight is 2000 m long. As the

curvature of the bends before each straight is the same,
the initial velocity of the vehicle on each straight will be
the same (the bends can be neglected in the analysis). In
a very first approximation, the velocity of the two vehicles
along the two bends can be assumed equal. Let us
compare the performance of two alternative control
algorithms for KERS, the first one characterized by the
full utilization of KERS power during the first part of the
first straight, the second one characterized by the full
utilization of KERS power during the first part of the
second straight. For example, if KERS can give origin to
its power boost for a distance equal to 300 m (after
which the energy available for a single lap is over), after
1300 m (the bends are neglected) the two alternative
control strategies would be characterized by the same
residual energy level for KERS (zero energy level).
According to a DP algorithm based on the time required
for traveling from the starting point to the considered
coordinate of the track, the first algorithm would be the
better, as the intervention of the KERS would give origin
to a benefit along the entire first straight (1000 m long,
the velocity benefit related to KERS power boost is
effective also after its 300 m long intervention) whereas
the second algorithm would have given origin (for the
coordinate x = 1300 m) to a benefit limited to the first 300
m of the second straight. However, from a real viewpoint
of the laptime, the second algorithm would be better, as
it would give origin to a benefit extended to the last 2000
m of the second straight (it is better to achieve an
increase of vehicle velocity for a length equal to 2000 m
rather than 1000 m). A DP algorithm based on time could
be implemented only if the comparison for the definition
of the optimal policy were carried out for a given value of
energy level (as in FCO) and also vehicle velocity (this is
the additional factor). As a consequence, for each spatial
coordinate of the circuit, a set of possible energy levels
and vehicle velocities should be considered. The result is
a significant increase of the complexity of the procedure,
which becomes a bidimensional optimization procedure.
As a consequence, a brute force method (brute force
method or exhaustive search is a trivial but very general
systematically enumerating all possible candidates for
the solution and checking whether each candidate
satisfies the problem stated) has been implemented.
The algorithm has different steps:
1. LTO identifies the different traction zones (zones
along which a positive engine torque needs to be
2. LTO orders the different zones according to their
lengths, as the length of the traction zone is the main
index for a potentially high benefit of KERS in terms
of lap time (as a function of what discussed within
the previous trivial example which demonstrated the
problems related the implementation of DP within
3. LTO asks the user how many traction zones he
wants to consider within this analysis. The software
automatically considers the zones starting from the
longest one;

4. LTO starts an iterative algorithm that evaluates the

lap time against all the possible energy release
distributions between the different traction zones.
The result is a simulation campaign whose
dimension depends on the number of considered
traction zones and on the energy unit discretization
adopted for the distribution of KERS activations in
the different traction zones;
5. LTO chooses the best strategy and carries out a final
simulation by considering this energy profile.
ANALYSIS OF THE RESULTS In this section the
effect of the main parameters having an influence on the
lap time is analyzed.
Activation point and power rate This section shows the
optimal activation point for a sample oval track. KERS
activation point refers to the point where KERS starts
releasing its energy. In particular, this section analyzes
the influence of the distance between the activation point
and the initial point of the considered traction zone (i.e.
the initial point of each straight in the specific example).
Different simulations have been carried out to identify the
best point to discharge KERS energy. The lap times
obtained by releasing KERS energy at different distances
from the beginning of the traction zone are plotted in
Figure 13. KERS achieves the best performance if
activated at the beginning of each straight.

Figure 13 Activation point analysis in terms of lap time

(LT) and lap time variation (LT(i)-LTmin)) (50% of KERS
energy released within each straight section)
By considering the results attached to this section, it is
demonstrated that the best KERS activation point is the
first point of the traction zone. In the same way, it has
been proved that the optimal control is obtained if the
KERS energy is released at the maximum possible rate
(Maximum Power).
Initial Velocity Influence on the optimal control This
analysis aims to demonstrate that the KERS energy
discharging strategy is more convenient on a traction
zone where the initial velocity (the velocity at the first

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point) is lower rather than higher. Figure 14 is related to

a track characterized by two straight sections having the
same length. The first straight is characterized by a lower
initial velocity than the second one. This is due to the
layout of the bends which are located at the entrance of
each straight section.

Figure 14 Traction zone: initial speed analysis (velocity

profiles according to two different strategies are
compared and the related time difference in terms of
time DeltaTime is plotted)
The result is related to two different effects. Firstly, the
non conservative forces are lower if the speed along the
straight section is lower. Secondly, and most importantly,
if we consider kinetic energy conservation, if the
longitudinal speed is lower, it is possible to achieve an
extra acceleration. By neglecting the effect of the non
conservative forces (this approximation is not realistic at
all it is now adopted just to explain the basic concept),
it is:

E =

meq Vfinal


E is the energy boost due to KERS activation, Vinitial

is vehicle velocity at the beginning of KERS activation,

Vfinal is vehicle velocity after KERS activation. (7) gives

origin to:

Vfinal =

2 E
+ Vinitial


The speed gain due to the energy released by KERS

strongly depends on the initial speed. For example, if the
initial speed of the vehicle is equal to 100 km/h, at the
end of the energy release from KERS the velocity is
equal to 165 km/h (+65%), whereas if the initial velocity
is equal to 200 km/h the final velocity at the end of KERS
activation would be 240 km/h (+20%, under the
unrealistic hypothesis but the statement remains true
anyway of neglecting the non-conservative forces).

Longitudinal Slope Analysis influence on the optimal

control - This section shows the results obtained by
analyzing the effect of the longitudinal gradient of the
track. This analysis studies if the KERS energy discharge
is more convenient on a positive longitudinal gradient
zone rather than a zone where the longitudinal gradient
is negative. By convention, the longitudinal gradient is
considered positive when the vertical coordinate is

Figure 15 Longitudinal gradient analysis on the

simplified track adopted for Figure 14
By observing the results obtained through the
implemented models, the longitudinal gradient has an
influence on the optimal control. If the pilot wants to
make the maximum use of the KERS energy, he has to
discharge more energy when the longitudinal slope is
positive rather than negative.
Indeed, at a positive longitudinal gradient corresponds a
lower velocity and, consistently with what stated in the
previous paragraph, it is clear that in this zone it is better
to release KERS energy. The significance of the gradient
on the activation of the KERS system appears to be
much less in comparison with the weight related to the
length of the traction zone or the initial speed.
LTO CONCLUSIONS This section shows the results
obtained through the adoption of the developed software
for the simulation of a lap along a real track. Chart 1
shows the distribution (between the different traction
zones of the track of Figure 9) of the energy discharged
by the KERS system, according to the best input defined
by the LTO routine. By considering the results of Chart 1
and Figure 16, it is possible to state that the two most
important parameters that influence LTO are the length
of the traction zone and its initial speed.





























Chart 1 Example of results in terms of optimal

distribution of KERS energy utilization along the different
traction zones (numbered as functions of their length) of
a track

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Figure 16 Analysis of the results related to the adoption

of the LTO along a track: distribution of the energy
released in the different traction zones of the track (with
their respective length and initial velocity). KERS should
be activated within the traction zones characterized by a
low initial velocity and a significant length


The aim of this routine developed within the LTS consists
of selecting the best race strategy in order to minimize
the overall race time. The routine considers the influence
of the pit stops (for refueling and substituting the tires)
and optimizes their distribution during the race. It also
specifies the ideal amount of fuel which should be
delivered to the vehicle at the beginning of the
competition and during each pit stop.
The algorithm consists of the following steps:

1. Implementation of series of simulations of single laps

(for different values of vehicle mass) along the
considered track, in conditions of optimal strategy in
terms of lap time (LTO) or fuel consumption (FCO).
The results are saved in a vector which contains the
lap times (and the required additional information
selected by the user in order to achieve a full picture
of vehicle performance) computed for the different
values of vehicle mass depending on the amount of
fuel in the tank;
2. Definition of the possible strategies (in terms of pit
stop distribution during the race) in order to complete
the race (through the implementation of a brute force
algorithm). This section of the routines generates all
the possible alternatives which will be evaluated
within point 3;
3. Evaluation of the total race time and total fuel
consumption for each single strategy, by combining
the results obtained at point 1. and the options
defined at point 2.;
4. Detection of the two best strategies, the first one
characterized by one pit stop and the second one
characterized by two pit stops.

Figure 17 Layout (top view) of the pit stop lane on a

typical track
After each lap, the mass value used for the computation
of the cumulative race time at point 3. is reduced by the
fuel consumption related to the previous lap. This loop
continues until vehicle mass is lower then the minimum
value (imposed by the user at the beginning of the
simulation), which implies a pit stop. For each value of
vehicle mass, PSO carries out two simulations (step 1.),
the first one related to a lap without refueling and the
second one considering a pit stop lap, including its
braking phase, refueling time and re-acceleration (the
reference value of vehicle mass for the pit stop lap is
referred to the condition of refueled vehicle, as the
software imposes the pit stop when the vehicle is
characterized by the minimum level of fuel selected by
the user any strategy considered within PSO is
characterized by the same level of mass in the lap
immediately before the pit stop).
PIT STOP LAP SIMULATION Referring to Figure 17,
two different vehicle trajectories are possible within one
lap, with or without a pit stop:

Normal Lap :
OA + AB + BO

PitStop Lap : BoxA + AB + BBox


Point B (Figure 17 is only a qualitative example) is the

initial coordinate of the last traction zone before the
vehicle enters the pit stop lane. Point A is the coordinate
of the track at which the vehicle enters the main track
after the pit stop. From point A to point B vehicle path will
be the same for a normal lap and a pit stop lap.
Due to refueling, vehicle mass during the pit stop lap has
two different values (smaller before the pit stop):

BoxA High _ Mass HM

ABox Minimum _ Mass MM
The following part of this
approximations adopted within
reduce the complexity of
computation of the pit stop lap.


section considers the

the simulator in order to
the algorithm for the
In particular, a simulation

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of two laps is analyzed: the pit stop lap and the first lap
after the pit stop (in conditions of increased vehicle
weight). Formulas (11) express the values of vehicle
masses which characterize the vehicle (the actual
vehicle and the simulated vehicle) within the different
sections of the track during the two laps (according to
what happens during the race and according to the
simplified calculations of the simulator):

OAMM + AB MM + BBox MM +

+ BoxAHM + AB HM + BO HM


+ BoxA HM + AB HM + BBox HM


) (

= BO HM - BO MM + BBox MM - BBox HM


This approximation of the simulator is composed by two

contributions. The first contribution is related to the
braking phase during the section

PSO RESULTS PSO computes the best pit stop

strategies (in case of one and two pit stops) considering
the optimization of the performance in terms of fuel
consumption and lap time for the entire race. This
section shows examples of results for the following
cases (these simulations are shown in order to deal with
the potential of the software, not for a quantitative
analysis of the results):

The subscripts are referred to the values of mass along

the different sections of the track. By subtracting the
second expression to the first one, the error related to
the simplifications of the simulator is obtained:

acceleration phase after the pit stop (vehicle reacceleration includes a first re-acceleration along the pit
stop lane from 0 to 100 km/h , a constant velocity
phase and a second acceleration at the end of the pit
stop lane).

BBox of the track:

tBBox MM tBBox HM

Fuel consumption optimization. In this case step

1. of the routine of the PSO is carried out by the
FCO. The global optimization strategy of the
PSO is based on lap time minimization also in
this case;
Lap time optimization. In this case step 1. of the
routine of the PSO is carried out by the LTO.

Figures 18-20 plot the results in terms of relative

variation of the race time RT(i) (race consisting of 25
laps) according to the i-th race strategy in comparison
with the best scenario (RTBEST-RT). Figure 18 (referred to
a single pit stop scenario) shows that it is more
convenient to start the race with a significant fuel level in
the tank. In addition Figure 19 confirms this statement in
case of a 2 pit stop strategy.


where t is the time related to the considered section of

the track (specified by the subscript). The braking phase
in the pit stop lane is not significantly influenced by the
value of vehicle mass. As a consequence, this
simplification is acceptable.

This conclusion has been confirmed by adopting PSO in

case vehicle performances are optimized by the FCO
and in case the vehicle is not equipped with KERS.
Figure 20 shows the correlation between the pit stop
strategy and the total amount of fuel consumed during
the race (RFC).

The second approximation is related to the section

BO of the track:

t BO


t BO



Along the track, vehicle mass strongly influences vehicle

performance. As consequence, the times to cover
section BO of the track for the different mass values are
saved. Thus the pit stop lap time LTPSL,MM is modified by
considering the correct vehicle mass for this section.



PT is the pit stop time (required for refueling and

possible tire substitution). Vehicle velocity during the pit
stop lap includes the first deceleration in order to reach
the speed level required along the pit stop lane, the
constant velocity section (pit lane before the pit stop), the
pit stop (refueling phase at zero velocity) and the re-

Figure 18 PSO results in case of 1 pit-stop on the

considered track. Lap times are optimized by LTO

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By considering the results in Figure 21, it is beyond doubt

that the best strategy in order to obtain the best race time
is the lap time optimization (by LTO). This strategy allows
saving about 17 sec (over a total race time of more than
1 hour) in comparison with a vehicle having the same
mass without KERS and 14 sec considering the FCO
strategy. The fact that the optimized strategy based on
the adoption of the FCO permits a better performance
than the vehicle without KERS is significant. The FCObased strategy (Figure 22) allows significant fuel savings
in comparison with the LTO based strategy.

Figure 19 PSO results in case of 2 pit-stops on the

considered track. Lap times are optimized by LTO

Figure 22 Fuel consumed during the race considering

different optimization routines (FCO and LTO) on the
considered track

Figure 20 PSO results in case of 2 pit-stops on the
considered track. Fuel consumption RFC is optimized by
The target of this analysis is the definition of the best
solution for a whole race. In other words, this analysis
has to distinguish which optimization between the FCO
and LTO allows the vehicle to obtain the lower race time.
PSO guarantees the best pit stop strategy between those
simulated by LTO and FCO.

Figure 21 Race time considering different optimization

routines (FCO and LTO) and pit stop strategies on the
considered track

A simulation program for Lap Time Simulation for

different options of KERS plants has been developed. It
permits to optimize lap time (LTO routine) or fuel
consumption (FCO routine) either for a single lap or for
the entire race, including the pit stop phase (PSO). As a
function of the results achieved during the activity, the
following conclusions can be drafted:
All tracks currently adopted within the Formula 1
Championship permit the regeneration of more
than 400 kJ (maximum value of regenerated
energy within one lap according to the 2009
rules). As a consequence, there is significant
potential for a more extensive adoption of KERS.
The effect of KERS activation on the front to rear
brake force distribution is not very significant
(due to the current limitation of the system in
terms of power).
KERS management for fuel consumption
minimization appears complex (to be managed
by the driver) in terms of time history of required
KERS power along the lap.
In terms of lap time optimization, it is better to
use KERS power during the longest traction
zones of the circuit (and the KERS should be
discharged at the maximum rate).

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In terms of lap time optimization, it is better to

use KERS power for the traction zones
characterized by the lowest initial velocity.
The influence of the longitudinal slope of the
road in terms of the overall performance of the
vehicle equipped with KERS is negligible.
The adoption of KERS can provoke a non
negligible benefit in terms of fuel consumption.
The optimum distribution of the pit stops and
amount of fuel for each pit stop can be
computed through the adoption of the PSO

Future steps will consist of repeating the same analyses

by adopting the most sophisticated vehicle dynamics
model within the LTS software of the University of

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2. M. Mosley, 2006 British Grand Prix, Press
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Michalowicz J., Analysis and Correlation Using Lap
Time Simulation Dodge Stratus for the North
American Touring Car Championship, SAE 962528.

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Tool for Lap Time Simulation, SAE 962529.
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Cars on Super Speedways With Random Wind
Gusts, SAE 2004-01-3509.
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EM: Electric Motor
SCap: Super Capacitor
CONTR: Controller
DIFF: Differential
CVT: Continuous variable transmission
ICE: Internal Combustion Engine
RT: Refueling time
LT: Lap time
PSL: Pit Stop Lap
PSO: Pit Stop Optimization
LTO: Lap Time Optimization
FCO: Fuel Consumption Optimization

Aldo Sorniotti
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (FEPS)
University of Surrey
GU2 7XH Guildford
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)1483 689688