Mercedes F1 power unit honoured as outstanding example of British engineering

The team behind the power unit at the heart of Mercedes’ recent Formula One success has been awarded the 2014 Dewar Trophy for outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive industry.

Developed by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) at Brixworth in Northamptonshire, the PU106A Hybrid power unit has been the dominant powertrain in the first season under new F1 rules, which have replaced the 2.4-litre normally-aspirated V8 engines with 1.6 litre charged V6 power unit that relies heavily on hybrid technologies.

Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid power unit.
The Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid power unit.

Top flight motorsport has faced mounting criticism in recent years that it is not longer relevant to the wider automotive industry. It’s hoped that the new regulations – which align performance more closely with thermal efficiency – could have direct relevance to future the road car powertrains.

With a claimed thermal efficiency of more than 40 per cent the Mercedes is said to be the most thermally efficient gasoline powertrain ever produced and has been a key factor in helping Mercedes AMG Petronas secure the 2014 FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship.

Previous winners of the Dewar Trophy  – which is organised by the Royal Automobile Club – have included Rolls-Royce in 1907 for its 40.5hp engine; Dunlop in 1957 for work developing disc brakes and modern tyres; the British Motor Corporation and Alec Issigonis for the original Mini in 1959; Jaguar in 2003 for its all-aluminium chassis; and Ford for its EcoBoost drivetrain in 2012.

Awarding the 2014 trophy to HPP was a unanimous decision made by experts on the Dewar Technical Committee, chaired by John Wood MBE.