Sometimes the level of engineering in F1 is best described by the smaller simpler parts, an example of this is the humble suspension mounting. This part being the point where the wishbone meets the gearbox to allow the suspension arm to pivot around it spherical bearing. This example is a 2012 Sauber C31 rear wishbone mounting clevis, but is typical of several similar clevises in my collection of F1 parts, albeit they appear to get a little more sophisticated in shape each year.
As F1 shifted from push rod rear suspension to pull rod, the packaging of the various compliant elements pivoting on it became more complex too. Here we can analyse in depth the lower section of a Sauber C30-C31 rear pull rod rocker from 2011-2012. This part pivots in a subframe mounted inside the gearbox, to operate the side springs\dampers, heave spring\dampers and anti roll bar.
Since 2010 this blog has covered a lot about exhaust blown Diffuser (EBD) technology, especially in the latter years when it was allowed in F1, with the use of the Coanda effect. Now three years on, some of the manufacturing processes that allowed such rapid development of EBD’s can be revealed, especially with the use of 3D printed titanium parts. Here we have a printed titanium coanda duct from the Marussia Team.
When looking at the installation of any Hybrid or Electric racing car, the bright orange cabling is a trademark feature, taking the high currents between the battery, inverter and eMotor. With light weight, reliability and rapid disassembly all factors in the cabling installation, the cable choice and the connector technology are critical and often unappreciated by the fans. I’ve recently purchased some Ex-F1 DC connectors\cables which give us some appreciation of the tech involved here. These are both Red Bull RB8 (2012) parts, taken from the DC (battery to inverter) bus. Rather than simply being big fat copper cables with two pin connectors, they are remarkably complex in their design.
During the F1 KERS era (2009-2013), Red Bull Racing adopted a unique battery set up. Rather than in a recess under the monocoque\fuel tank, the battery is split up into three separate units around the gearbox. I’ve explained the KERS installation in previous posts (LINK), but I’ve recently acquired a 3D printed mockup of one of the side mounted battery cases. This gives us some unique insight into the battery case’s dimensions and layout.
Toro Rosso have released a youtube video of a complete factory tour. Both informative and in depth, the video shows us some detail of the car we do not usually get to see.
Whenever an F1 car runs on track, the team will have planned what parts are fitted and the set up of every facet of the car. Now over a year and a half old and with an even older car, this set up sheet appeared on the Lotus Media site. It was from Kimi Raikkonen’s debut test at Jerez for the team in a R30 (from 2011). It shows some of the set up detail that the teams go into. This also gives us some insight into the spring\damper configuration modern F1 cars run.
Since its introduction in 2010 the Drag Reduction System (DRS) has gone through a series of evolutions in how the team actuate the movable rear wing flap. Having replaced the adjustable front flap, teams have all switched to hydraulics to power the opening of the flap, where as the front flap angle system introduced in 2009 was commonly achieved with electric motors and only a few teams employed hydraulics.
With the shift toward pull rod rear suspension, the teams’ mechanics are faced with a maintenance issue. As the pull rod reaches down into the gearbox casing, access to the transmission is hindered by the inboard suspension inside the gear casing. Most teams maintain their transmission by first having to remove parts of the inboard suspension. However the Ferrari engined teams have each found a neater solution to this problem. Sauber use the Ferrari gearbox and also follow a similar practice of using a separate module to mount the entire inboard suspension in between the engine and gearbox.
KERS has been in F1 since 2009, the system recovers energy under braking and allows the driver a boost in engine power each lap. However the FIA imposed strict limits on the amount of energy that can be recovered and discharged each lap. Which has often raised the question how do they control this usage and ensure teams are sticking to the rules? This sensor from Isabellenhütte Heusler has been introduced by the FIA this year to ensure exactly this.