Can Anyone Explain What's Going On With F1's Insane Turbo Engines?

F1 is switching to turbocharged 1.6-liter engines next season, and you kind of expect they'll be pretty similar to the 1.6-liter turbocharged engines in ordinary family cars nowadays. Not even close.

After looking over reader grinditintosecond's brief look at these motors, I realized i have absolutely no way of easily explaining what's going on here.

Apparently there's some kind of turbo compounding that was developed after WW2? There may be some interaction with KERS and the turbo? I have no idea, this is starting to sound like witchcraft to me, and it's a long way away from my level of turbo understanding.

I can sort of explain how a turbo works. Exhaust gas spins one turbine llike a water wheel. That little turbine spins an opposite turbine that pushes fresh air into the engine, giving more power.

Can any of you explain in simple terms how these 2014 Formula One turbo engines work? If you need reference, check out this F1-Technical forum discussion and this Race Tech Magazine article, and the ever-helpful ScarbsF1.

(Hat tip to grinditintosecond!)

Photo Credit: P.U.R.E. Corporation