Back in November I was invited to Sweden to see a unique project, where Nissan Sweden have sought to turn an entire car into a games controller with their leftfield ‘Project Controller’. They have connected a Nissan Qashqai to a Sony Playstation4 in order to play football games via the steering wheel and pedals. With their lab set up the game is easily played with steering to direct the players, the pedals to kick and the steering buttons for other functions. The key to the trick is how they have hacked into both the car and games console, without wrecking either of them.
These are ‘The Racer’s Edge’ end of season videos with Peter Windsor and Myself.
So far we have posted Williams, Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Sauber, McLaren and Manor.
Mercedes AMG’s W06-Hybrid dominated the season this year. I’ve been lucky enough to get close to it and find out lots about its design and details. So I’ve put together a comprehensive ‘walk-around’ the car, from my camera phone pictures taking whilst being in the pit lane over race weekends.
Jaguar will join FIA FormulaE as both a team and manufacturer. With testing of its new powertrain starting in Spring 2016, it will start racing in season3 of the championship, with Williams Advanced Engineering as their technical and operational partner. (more pictures)
Like any aero surface, rear wing profiles used on F1 cars are a closely guarded secret. Teams will constantly develop their own profiles and not base the designs on the commonly available NASA profiles or similar. While complete and recent F1 rear wings will appear on the market, they are expensive and leaves the technical fan unable to gain any data from them. However, the simple rear wing slot gap separator, mandated to deter the teams from flexing their rear wing profiles for an aero-elastic stalling effect, are ideal for gaining basic 2D geometries. I have just such a component from a Red Bull RB6.
The Drag Reduction System, DRS, was introduced to F1 in 2011. It’s a system to open the rear wing flap for reduced drag to boost top speed. Over the subsequent years DRS operating mechanisms have evolved and converged on the same set up, with a wing mounted pod containing a high pressure hydraulic actuator to pull the wing open. This is an opportunity to see the mechanism in detail and explain how the set up works.
Active and driver aid technologies were banned in 1993, however the use of hydraulic controls was not fully outlawed. Exposed by Peter Wright’s excellent book on the 2000 Ferrari, teams were still using a hydraulic brake bias control post 1993.
As an avid collector of F1 car parts (have you got any for sale?) I noticed a Japanese Collector selling a Jordan 197 brake pedal, I could immediately tell it wasn’t any ordinary pedal, as the bias mechanism had hydraulic lines hanging from it.
Once purchased for my collection, I was able to inspect and research the item. It was an electronically controlly brake bias mechanism. Gary Anderson was understated about the item, simply replying to me “you’d be surprised what technology we had at Jordan in those days” but other people behind the scenes told me a lot more about this hydraulic bias mechanism.
This 2014 Caterham front upright shows some of the key design features of F1 uprights, although as you can see it is both a 3D printed mock up part and also part of a pull rod front suspension set up. F1 Uprights are the part that completes the front suspension geometry, connecting the axle to the wishbones, whilst also providing mounting points for the brake caliper, pull rod and steering track rod.
Last year I was able to acquire a piece of the PS01B and one of the last developments Brunner and his team put on the Minardi, the blown diffuser. Blown diffusers were not new; indeed they had gone out of fashion that very year, as the periscope design was the trend.
An odd bit of tech has been appearing in the pitlane this season. Although not new to F1, the past few races have had a FOM pitlane camera running on cables over the pitlane. This appears to be the same rig used at every race, which is good news for future races, with the great pitlane and pit straight images it gives us.