The Honda Lab explains

the engineering behind our power units

If you have an inquiring mind and want to know more, it's all here.

Heat Energy Recovery

In this episode of our Honda Labs series we’ll be looking at how the engineers at Formula One use the MGU-H to capture excess heat energy and re-use it to give teams that competitive advantage. And of course we’ve kept it interesting but adding in a few explosions!
Inside the Power Unit: MGU-H

The power unit

Electronic Control Unit

The ECU is an on-board computer. It manages everything the car does. Connected to hundreds of sensors, it relays diagnostics back to our engineers on the pit wall and autonomously adjusts settings to maximise performance.

  • 1. ECU
  • 2. MGU-H
  • 3. MGU-K
  • 4. V6 engine
  • 5. Battery (The Energy Store)

The turbocharger dramatically improves the performance of the engine. It takes thermal energy from the exhaust system to drive a turbine and pump more air into the engine. This helps burn more fuel at a faster rate, producing a mighty 600bhp from a small 1.6-litre V6 engine.

  • 1. Turbocharger
  • 2. V6 engine
  • 3. Acceleration
V6 engine

Now using a more efficient 1.6-litre V6 turbo, the engine is one-third smaller than the version used back in 2013. It runs at a maximum 15,000rpm, and with the help of a turbocharger, pushes out 600bhp.

To maintain efficiency as well as performance, the engine’s power is supplemented by energy recovered by the car’s MGUs.

  • 1. V6 engine
  • 2. Turbocharger
  • 3. Acceleration
Air intake

For top performance, the engine’s fuel-air mix has to be exactly right. The air intake system channels the precise quantity of air into the engine at the highest possible pressure. This burns more fuel at a faster rate to maximise torque.

  • 1. Air intake
  • 2. Intercooler
  • 3. Turbocharger
  • 4. V6 engine
  • 5. Acceleration
Motor Generator Unit-Heat

The MGU-H is connected directly to the turbocharger. It converts excess heat from the car’s exhaust into electrical power, which is then stored in the car’s Energy Store (ES).

There are no usage restrictions on thermal energy recovery – the car can use as much as is can get (unlike the MGU-K).


  • 1. Turbocharger
  • 2. MGU-H
  • 3. ECU
  • 4. MGU-K
  • 5. V6 engine
  • 6. Acceleration
  • 7. Battery (The Energy Store)

The Energy Store (ES) is a large battery that collects energy harvested by the two Motor Generator Units (MGUs). The stored electricity can be released for an instant speed boost.

Regulations limit battery size to between 20 and 25kg to avoid excessive development costs.

  • 1. Battery (The Energy Store)
  • 2. MGU-K
  • 3. v6 engine
  • 4. Acceleration
Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic

The MGU-K harvests kinetic energy from the rear brakes, which is then saved in the Energy Store (ES). Unlike the MGU-H, it’s limited to recovering 2MJ per lap.

  • 1. Braking
  • 2. V6 engine
  • 3. MGU-K
  • 4. Battery (The Energy Store)