Having tested at Duxford at the start of May, Force India returned to the aircraft museum and ex-WW2 airfield for another straight line test, after the Canadian GP. Being the run up to the British GP and the summer run of European ‘handling’ circuits, the test appeared to be about, gathering aero data on the cars usual aero set up, rather than a trial of major new parts. This approach has been the way FIF1 have gone about the business for the past year. Gaining speed and consistency form fully understanding their package, rather than throwing lots of new parts at it.
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.
Every time an F1 car comes to a halt or pulls away, the clutch needs to be operated. In an F1 car this is not cable operated, but controlled by the cars high pressure hydraulic control system. Converting the drivers demand for clutch movement into motion at the clutch spring is the Clutch slave cylinder. With an outwardly simply task to accomplish, the unit hides a lot of complexity.
An F1 clutch is a tiny piece of engineering that completes an amazing job of transmitting the 800+ horsepower from the powertrain through the gearbox. Weighing less than 1.3kg and just 97mm in diameter, the tiny clutch is tortured every time the car pulls away at; race starts, pit stops and leaving the garage. Here we can have a close look at contemporary Clutch technology with this AP Racing clutch.
Keeping an engine that spins at up to 18,000rpm for nearly two hours lubricated and cooled is the job of the oil system. Rarely seen or talked about the pumps, tanks and plumbing are a critical part of an F1 cars packaging.
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.
As F1 teams develop front wings with ever greater emphasis placed on the load created towards the outboard end of the flaps, the airflow over the outer 30cm of wing is becoming ever more critical. With designers wanting to keep this area clear of unwanted obstructions, the need to package a means to adjust the front flap angle becomes more difficult. Red bull as ever have had a good look at the issue and come up with the semi floating adjuster that keeps the wings surface almost interrupted.
For many years the shape and position of the cars suspension elements have been an important factor in the cars aerodynamics. For 2013, almost every team have taken the same approach pioneered by Red Bull in 2012, by raising the rear lower wishbone. In doing this the teams have also oversized the wishbone’s cross section to enclose the driveshaft. It transpires that there are two gains from this practice, primarily improving flow over the diffuser and secondarily reducing the aerodynamic effect of the spinning driveshaft.
I am now also contributing regularly to AUTOSPORT. Every GP I will post a Tech Blog on AUTOSPORT-PLUS, which is a subscription page (or pay per view).
In this weeks AUTOSPORT Magazine I have a double page spread on the Technology around the F1 cars’ Transmission and how its involved in the start process. You can buy a print issue of AUTOSPORT in the UK, or you can again get a digital copy by subscribing or pay per view at the DIGITAL AUTOSPORT Website
I was commissioned to produce a full-colour preview of F1 2013′s Rules an Trends for Sport Magazine. On Page 19 you’ll find the F1 Preview starts, with my spread on pages 26-27.