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_ The science of

Expert analysis of
t:he anat:omy of t:he
modern Grand Prix car
Second E=d,tH In

To Harvey Postlethwaite, superb engineer and admirable mall,

missed more with each passing season,

o David Tremayne 2006

David Tremayne has asserted his right to be identified as the author
of this work.

All rights resen'ed. No part of this publication may be reproduced,

stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

First published in July 2004

Reprinted 200S and 2006
Second edition published September 2006

A catalogue record for this book is avaibble from the British Library

ISBN I 844253406

Library of Congress catalog card no 2006924138

Haynes North America Inc.,

861 L:l\vrence Drive, Newbury Park, California 91320, USA

Published by Haynes Publishing,

Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ, UK
Tel: 01963 442030 Fax: 01963 440001
Int. tel: +44 1963442030 Int. fax: +44 1963440001
E-mail: sales0 haynes,co,uk

Designed and typeset by Glad Stockdale

Printed and bound in Britain by J. H. Haynes & Co. Ltd, Sparkford
Introduction 6

Tunnel vision

Chapter 2 CHASS fS 46
Fine bri dgework

Chapter 3 ENGINE 72
Air power

C hapter 4 THE V 8 ENGINE 90


Chapter 5 TRANSM ISS ION 96

Drive lines

Chapter 6 ELECfRON fCS ffO

Trace elements


Dampened ardour

Chapler 8 BRAKES fJ6

Disc jockeys

Chapter 9 TYRES f 44
Daylight rubbery

Chapler 10 fMPROVfNG T H E BREED 156

Quality street

Clwpler 1/ THE FUTURE f66

Shi ft ing sands

Glossary f7f

Acknowledgemellts f74

hldex 175


hat is a Formula One car? By 2 1st Cen- appeared in December 2003 well in advance of the
tury definition, it might be described as March kick-off to the 2004 FIA Formula One World
a combination of the most updated Championship. McLaren managing director Martin
technologies. A confection of t he most Whitmarsh explained why the MP4/ I S had failed,
state-of-the-art techniques and researc h c reated and his remarks were an illuminating insight into just
within a timescale that is inevitably too short, to be how Formula One machines evolve in t he modem era,
sent into white-hot competition from which there is 'Three-quarters of the way through 2002 we re-
no respite during 'the season', which;s a euphemism viewed our development programmes, what we per-
for the vehicle's lifespan. In days gone by teams might ceived to be the performance deficit to Ferrari, and
roll a model over into a new season, perhaps even we took the decision at t hat point that we needed a
three or four. In the distant past the Lot us 49 was big step forward to compete, So we took a decision to
introduced in 1967 and sti ll won a race in 1970; its take quite a lot of risk in t he design of t he engine and
successor, the 72, won in 1970 and was still winning t he chassis. Both were completely new. We really
in 1974. Likewise McLaren's M23 had a successful, said: "arc we on course to overhaul Ferrari", and we
life from 1973 to 1977. However, such is the pace took the view at that time "no", we needed to be
of technological development these days that it was doing more. So inevitably when you are trying to take
unusual for Mclaren's MP4/ 17 to win in 2002 and a bigger jump, there is inherent risk. We threw every-
still prove itself capable of doing likewise and c hal- thing into it. In my 14, 15 years with the company,
lenging for the World C hampionship in t he fo llowing MP4/18 was the biggest in-
season. Today a Formula One car's life is usually no cremental change; everything O pposite: Kimi Riiikkonen
longer them 17 or 18 races. This is due not just to was changed on t hat car. Vlfe [ought [or fhe 1003 lIorM
the pace of de,·elopment, but also to the continual didn't go into that blindly, In Championship in a McLaren
need to repackage a car's layout to optimise its order to manage the risk we MP4//7 D that u'as c~afe.(i
performance. embarked upon a develop- alongside. the. all-ne.w
In the past a designer would complete his work ment programme for M P4/17 MP4//S u,hich subse(lue.nfiy
during the winter 'off-season', the fruits of his labours and for the old FM engine, never raced. (Mark
would be built in lime fo r the first European races, The 17D programme was TIlOm pson/Gel1 )" Images]
mually around March, and he would not seriously very substantial, and that of
begin designing a replacement - assuming one was course meant two parallel programmes. With
needed - until the following winter. hindsight we overestimated the task. I think everyone
Not any more. That is t oo close to standing sti ll. As in 2002 thought that Ferrari were uncatchablc. And
Ferrari'stech nica l director Ross Brawn says, ' If you do we actually had a competitive package in I 7D, a caf
that, you go backwards.' t hat had been unfit to compete in 2002.
So now the development of the Formula One car is '!-laving set ourselves up as a front-running team
a continuous process. There are rules from t he Feder- we set ourse lves up to be kicked if we don't achieve
ation lnternationale de l'Automobile which not only our objectives, And with MP4/18 we set ourselves up
gmern, very strictly, what is and what isn't penniss- very well. People estimated the figures squandered
ihle in design terms, but also what constitutes a new on MP4/ 18, but people misunderstood the process.
(aT It 's fair to say t hat Mclaren's D specification The reality is that we have a very subst antial
development of its M P4/17 amounted almost to a engineeri ng team at Mc Lare n, and at Mercedes-Benz
new car, but since the chassis was essentially t he same in Brixwort h, and in Stuttgart, and a w hole range of
it retained the '17' nomenclature, to satisfy not just development programmes: suspension, the engine,
~kLaren's records but also the FIA's. But you get t he the chassis, aerodynamics, and t raditionally it is
picture: even before the design has been signed off easier for people to visualise that progression of
and the team is preparing to build t he components technology by vehicle designation. Here is veh icle
and then assemble them, the design team is already one, vehicle two, vehicle 17 or vehicle IS, The reality
working on updated ideas to incorporate into the car is that we never race the same vehicle twice, Every
before it races, single race we modify the vehicle and that changes
Mclaren's MP4/ I S appeared in 2003 but did not because it is a relatively immature concept and we
rate due to a number of problems. It paved the way, work on the reliability, and we adapt and optimise
however, for the evolutiona ry M P4/l9 which that vchicle for each circuit. And t hen we are also


still developing it. The people who arc working on, Adrian Newey, because naturally the latter would
say, the development of steering systems are con- always like as long 3S possible before 'finalising' the
tinuously improving them. So the engineering team design, Whitmarsh argued that in this particular
leaders have to say, as we get an incremental instance, given the fate of the MP4/18, it was wiser
improvement, do we change that for the next race or to start testing the new car sooner rather than later so
wait and collect up a series of modifications and bring that they could properly understand and hone it, and
that out as an upgrade package of the steering and that they could still bring f-u rther modifications and
front suspension? Or do we group them altogether updates on strc3m weU before the 2004 season
and put it on to the next car? So 17D captured quite started in Melbourne the following March. Whit-
a lot of the aerodynamics and structura l thinking of marsh admitted in December 2003 that he thought
the 18 early on and moved on, and then the upgrade Mclaren had now created a car that would be com-
packages at MonZ:I :It the end of th e year were also petitive, but asked: 'Have we done enough? You never
pulled orf the 18. In a development programme we know. During the season you are able to gauge where
embody the positive findings in our car at various your competitors are, But they are off the radar at the
stages. It 's not as if we set a team to design the 18, moment. But we know that we have a stable and
and if we don't usc it we have wasted all that effort. competitive car, with tremendous development
If it was positive on the 18, you can be SUfe we wefe potential. We can say we are in good shape, we have
going to exploit it, either early or later on the 17. Or all these resources, and we have enough time now
it waS incorporated into the 19: until the end of February to go through substantial
The latter naturally bore very close family resem- ch:lnges and improvements to the car. I believe the
blance to the 18, and because much of the process
had been completed, it was the first 2004 contender Arg.... My lu'\? of Ihe gre .. tesl Ross 8rmvn (lilt' At lri,,"
to be um'eiled . There were frank exchanges on this J~rmul.. Olle ellgill er rs (llll' Neu-ey. ("lark
timing between Whitmarsh and technical director ,~l raleg/sU of recellt h/5/()ry; ThOI1lI'~(",jGctty ]I11(.!:,·S)

8 [;\ITRODLiCT10I\
car is competitive now, and [ believe we are going to Time is perhaps the greatest restraint (certainly for
make it a quicker car before we go to Australia.' the big teams), but the project must be completed
His comment about 'managing the risk' summar- within the defined targets of quality (performance/
i~d one hidden aspect of Formula One. Today, reliability) and within the defined cost (the budget).
managing a design project is a major undertaking that Project management first defines the contents of
requires the man in charge to juggle a very complex the project. What will the new car incorporate? First,
!>Chedule. It is yet one more factor in which t he sport have there been any Significant rule changes? These
mirrors the aerospace industry. inevitably have serious knock-on effects because each
~aturally, all of the myriad components must be area of the car is so highly optimised for a given func-
conceived and designed (or sourced) at t he right time tion and within a given framework, and im pacts on all
and must then fit together to create a unique product. the others. As an example, for 2004, teams had to use
The result must not only be the best-performing car, only one engine per race weekend, and were limited
but the most reliable. To achieve this, several groups to rear wings with on ly two elements, rather than the
must work harmoniously and efficiently: multi-elements t hey had previously been allowed.
Then there is the question of any new technical or
Research & Development aerodynamic solutions that are to be applied, having
Aerodynamics previously been identified by the R&D department.
Electronics Performance enhancements are usually expressed in
Design Office terms of potential lap time improvement.
Structural Analysis Once brainstorming sessions have been held
Vehicle Dynamics between the technical director, the chief designer, the
Metallurgy head of aerodynamiCS and the design office, R&D,
Production Departments structural analysis and vehicle dynamics managers,
Suppliers the strategic planning begins. T he group in charge
Quality Control then defines t he project in terms of time, quality and
Car Assembly cost as the project evolves into three d istinct sections:

All of the departments answer ultimately to the Concept development

technical director, which gives you some idea why Design
such men are the highest paid people in Formula One Production
outside tht.' drivers and team principals. They tend to
be very intelligent, very resourceful men, with an Each of these can give different results depending on
t'nduring ability to withstand pressure and to manage the timescales imposed. For example, the longer
and moti'·ate. concept development goes on the bigger the step
Each team, to a greater or lesser extent depending forward that will be achieved in tenns of perform-
on their budget, has a strategic planning group whose ance, but that will leave less time for design and
ta~k is to manage the activities of all these depart- production (particularly if it affects long lead time
ments, keep everyone informed of progress, and components such as crankshafts or transmissions).
e\'eryone on schedule. This is a group largely unseen Therefore the quality may also suffer and that can
by the outside world, yet whose contribution to a impact upon reliability, which in turn might negate
project's S\lCCeSS can he highly significant. the performance advantage achieved. Strategic
The project management aims to optimise and planning must therefore impose that most derided of
focus the resources within the project, locate any Formula One words: compromise. In the hyperbole of
critical areas or problems, and generate solutions. It the sport people like to think compromise does not
thus enables the technical director to make the exist, but of course all of the technical packages on
str.ategic decisions. The three variables they must all the grid are defined by it.
juggle are: Much of the process of making a Formula One car
occurs concurrently, not in sequence, which of course
Time saves time. But that is why crucial decisions, such as
Quality engine configuration and packaging, need to be
Cost decided carlyon so that they do not hold up the


project later on. That is one reason why a change of
engine manufacturer can often cause techn ica l
departments nightmares. Equally, the basic aero-
dynamic defin ition is usually arrived at early, though
fine-tuning never subsequently stops.
Once these areas have been addressed, planning is
defined for the individual components groups:

Aerodynamics (nose shape and wings)
Systems (fuel, hydraulics, cooling)
Suspension, steering and wheels
Driver comfort

In parallel with all t his it is also necessary to cater for

the FIA's mandatory and st ringent crash tests. If a car
fai ls to pass t hese, it wi ll not be homologated by the
FIA to race.
Once the main milestones have been defi ned, such
as the aerodynamic concept definit ion and the
general arrangement (the physical layout of the car
and its components), the main aerodynamic defini-
tion dates arc set:

Chassis aero definition

Crash structures aero definitions
Suspension aero definition
Wing aero definitions
Bodywork aero definitions

Then the timing for the mai n components such as

chassis, bodywork, suspension and transmission are
set. The third step is to define the product ion timing
for all of these components, together with quality
checks and tests. T he last part of the planning is
assembly. Abo~: The lenemllayout of RighI: Cmsh te$ting hn$
Now that a project plan has been defined and t he Renault 's ZOO.f RZ.f shows: alway, been "ringent ,ince
path to the fi na l product has been mapped out, it is J, IQu 'e ~ {wn, suspension it ...·tI$ introduced, and gelS
broken down into the detai led activities that will be wishbones; Z and J. fougher each yellr. It is a
followed and implemented during the execution of aerodynamic uppu major {tic/or in the
t he project. Charts of the project plan allow the team s uspension wishbone; 4, developmenf P,(}(; f'$S.
to follow the crit ical path and the critical activi ties mandatQ~Y crash SI~UCIU~e; (John Townsend)
and thus to highlight potential problems before they 5, U'lIte~ radiato~s; 6, oil
arise, and thus to find solutions early on. By creating IlInk; 7, VlQ engine; 8,
this plan the engineers can develop the necessary tmnsmisslon. Note that the
overview of the entire programme, while also going illus tration floe, nOf inc/Ulle
into the minutest detail when necessary. Along the nero{lynamlc tiel1ices. (I'iola)

way th('re will be a design review and progress is begin as early as August, but usually doesn't end until
analysed closely. If necessary, changes are imp le- February. McLaren achieved a company first by
mented to keep evcrything on target. The strategic getting all of the MP4/19's crash testing out of the
planners also keep everyone with an interest updated way before the car first ran in December 2003, but
at all times, so that evcryone is fully aware of the that is unusual.
status of the undertaking. That not only facilitates Whi le all of this is going on the engine department
collaboration, but enhances harmony and generates has already been hard at work for many months on the
team spirit, all vital factors in any race team but even next evolution power unit that will go into the new
more critical when a company grows to 400 or 500 car. Gcnerally, developing a car takes nine months, but
employees and thus moves beyond the point where developing an all-new engine takes around twice that
the team principal or evcn the tcchnical director can and manufacturers often run two separate design
be said to know c\·cryonc personally. teams, one leapfrogging t he other.
fu far as timescale is conccrned, the transmission is Electronics and systems design goes on at the same
ddined in May, assessment of the internals allowing t ime as the aforementioned processes, while chassis
the main casing design to be finalised as soon as poss- manufacture may start as early as September. Produc-
iblc. For instance, will the designer want a longitudinal tion of other components also begins at the same time
or transverse gearbox? \ViII the casing be aluminium, and continues through at least until March. This is a
titanium or composite? The choices affect weight lengthy process, of course, because the top teams wi ll
distribution, general arrangement and structure, since not on ly produce up to ten chassis a season but also
the casing is part of the FIA rear-end crash test. It also need all of the associated spares to service them. The
ha, a very significant influence on the all-important manufacturing departments for suspension and wings
de'i!;n of the rear-end acrodynamics. The other main are always particularly busy, since these are the most
aerodynamic definitions are made in July and August, easily damaged parts once the testing and racing gets
as the current car is still being developed. The design under way.
prlXess begins. By January all of the components have been
The suspension is aerodynamically defined by delivered, and go through quality control before final
September, and during October and November the assemb ly begins. The car is then checked over
final sy\tems definitions are made. Crash testing can minutely, not least to make sure that it complies with


the FIA's critical rules governing its dimensions. The The team made an analysis of the positive and
final stage is the first fire up, and then the rollout. negative aspects of introducing its new car later
The first car is usually launched to the world in rather than sooner. On the posith'e side, rules
J(lnuary or early February. In the economic climate of stability would allow it to run the previous year's
the early 21 5t Century, few teams opted for bells and car without having to make major modifications.
whistles style launches seen in the mid '90s and Since the car was strongly competitive at the end
preferred instead to unveil their car to the media as of the previous season, and had been developed
part of a test session at a circuit. By this time the further over the winter, it should maintain its
strategic planners have already turned their attention advantages over newer but less well sorted com-
to the next season's new project. petitors. The older car was also highly reliable,
Just to complicate all this, teams do not 3lw3Ys whereas the new car, which was ready for testing,
decide to debut a new car at the beginning of the new had not yet quite been 'bu ll et-proofed'. Further-
season, McLaren planned to run its MP4118 in May more, the newer car would have been at an early
in 2003. In 2002 and 2003, Ferrari opted to run its stage of its development, and the engineers and
previous year's cars for the first few races, and to drivers would thus be less familiar with its inner
bring their new challenger on stream once the workings than they were with the older car, which
European leg of the championship got under way in might compromise setting it up. Finally, there
April. This is Ferrari's case study: wou ld be more time in which to develop the new

Below: &"Iy ,u'illg of 'he the chOlilienge. lind the m, Right: 1imillg is often MlIlllysia 1004. Jagua,
1003 fem"i F1OO3·GA went 011 to win both the ,eferretl to as the 'Willl er proved ils new R5 U'as
illdic:II'etl 'he Ileetl for drive,s' OIInd construdo,s' Wo,M Chmnpionship', bUI il almost a mat"h ill quali{ying
fur,her developmen'. titles. (Clin~ Mason/Gel1y is ollly the 'summe,' se,ies {o, Ferra,i's F1OO4 . (Paul
The leOll'" r'tspontletl OIIbly /0 Images) Ihal "ounIS. I ' ere in Gi llw nl/Geny Images)

car, so that it could be debuted w hen test ing had Montczemolo summ3rised; 'We made a terrible
shown it to have reached its targeted levels of start to the season t hrough mistakes, we had a good
performance and reliabil ity. second quarter wi nning in Imol3, Austria and
As far as negatives were concerned, the older Canada, t hen a month of panic in August before we
ca r wou ld face stronger competitors wit h newer got back on t he road in t he final quarter and won a
cars which had ta ken bigger steps forward in terms record sixt h drivers' ti tl e for Michae l
of performa nce, (though t hey might on t he (Schumacher] and a record fi ft h consecutive
plus side not be as reli:lble) . The tea m would have const ructors' championship.'
to double its commit me nt in order to work on
two sep:lra te types of C:l r, which would be pote n- T he fo regoi ng perhaps gives an indication of just why
t ia1i y decisive and onerous. It would also im pact Formula O ne is such :l pressure cooker, and why
st rongly on the budget, especi all y early in t he individuals and organisat ions can only st and t he heat
season. There was also an associated risk of mis- for so long. It also places into sharper perspect ive
takes in doubling up, to both t he interna l groups those who can keep it up year after year, w hy Ferrari
and to suppliers. has done such an incredible job since the late '90s,
The data su pplied by the strategic plann ing and w hy Williams and McLaren are to be appb uded
depart ment at Ferrari, such as act ivities charts, for their utter refusal to concede defeat and t heir
time, resou rces and expenditure, provided t he relentless determinat ion t o win, in spit e of t he
techn ical department with t he necessary input to continuing dominance of t heir Maranello rivals.
make its decision. In 2002 the plan worked ' If not hing else, ' says Ross Brawn, 'all of this is
superbly, with the F200 1 holding t he fort unt il the t he answer to t hose people who inevitably come
F2002 proceeded to wipe the noor wit h its sidling up to you when a season is over t o ask the
opposition. A bad start to 2003 with t he F200Z quest ion: "What on earth do you do when you aren't
3lmost jeopardised t hings, but as President Luc3 di racing!'"


Tunnel vision
n the world of Fonnula One, the aero- An additional complication arose in the '70s when

I dynamicisl is king. And the man who can

figure out how his team can generate
more downforce for less drag than any of
his rivals, is going to be worth in real terms more than
Lotus chief Colin Chapman and his designers, Peter
Wright, Tony Rudd and Ralph Bellamy all worked
towards harnessing the air flowing beneath the car,
again using principles figured out on the remarkable
the $3001 plus that Ferrari pays Michael Schumacher. Chaparral 2J CanAm car by American Jim Hall.
Those arc the simple facts of Formula One design. Again, Bernoulli's venturi theory applies. This time
Once, aerodynamics was a black art. Teams rn:lde the air is being restricted as it passes through a
pencil-slim little cars and trimmed them at times venturi created by the ground and the underside of
with the odd tab here or there to negate lift. It wasn'l the car. As it is restricted, the air's £low speeds up
until 1968 that Formula One designers really and the whole underside of the car becomes a low
cottoned on - the way that sportsear design ace Jim pressure area and the vehicle is sucked down to the
Hall had - that using inverted wings to generate track. Ground effect had arrived.
down force was what real speed was all about. The Today Formula One cars must use £lat-bottomed
first wings were precariously mounted on stilts, chassis (as they have had to since 1983), but they
which in turn were mounted direct ly on the car's have a diffuser at the rear which curves upw:lrds and
suspension uprights. Soon these proved so ludi- helps to generate a degree of ground effect. The
crously fragile that they were banned in favour of down force created here is
bodywork-mounted wings which were part of the complemented by that from Opposife: The scale model&
car's sprung mass. Nevertheless, they continued to the wings and carefully shaped tire held in place by tin
push the tyres into contact with the road, and bodywork. overhead 'sring'. Ihrough
therefore to develop down force which made the car Overall, the aerodynamicist ,,·hieh all Ihe forces ading on
corner faster. is looking for a stable car with Ihe model are "wasu . ed. The
So how does a wing work? On an aeroplane it a good ratio of lift over drag, in ulleels are nOI aClually
works thus: a wing uses an aerafoil, teardrop shape. other words one which has alltlchetllO Ihe car bUI are
As air flows over the upper and lower sides, the air on plenty of downforce and not f . ee /0 spin On stalks
the bottom has less distance to go because the lower much drag. lie also wants one "wmlled 10 Ihe silles of Ihe
surface of the wing is A:lt. Meanwhile, air flowing on which the sensitivity to lunnel. ( IPA)
over the curved top side h:ls a further distance to pitch, the up and down move-
travel. This is where the theory expressed long :lgo by ment, is minimal. This is the key to good h:lndling.
scientist Drtniel Bernoulli comes into effect. (This On a car th:lt has low pitch sensitivity the 3/.:'rO-
18th century Swiss m:lthematician and physicist's dynamic balance doesn't shift around as the car
principle applied :It that time, of course, to fluids pitches up and down over bumps, or tends to shift its
r:lther than :lirflow.) This suggested th:lt when air's centre of gravity under acceleration or deceleration.
flow is restricted the air will speed up and its Pitch sensitivity tends to be more influential on a
pressure will drop. The :lir flowing on the underside CM'S overall beh:lviour than either yaw or roll
of the aeroplane wing is flowing at its normal rate; stability.
the air clamouring to get over the curved upper side The modem Formul:l One car is highly sophisticated
is speeding up, and its pressure is thus fa lling. This aerodynamically, and can generate close to 2,OOOkg of
means that there is more pressure acting on t he down force :It speeds of 300kph. If you put it on a
underside and less on the upper side, so the wing suil:lbly curved piece of road it could, in theory,
lifts. That, in a nutshell, is the theory of fl ight. generate enough grip to stick itself to the ceiling
Now, apply the wing to a racing car, and what shou ld it be suddenly inverted ...
happens? For a start, the wing is inverted. Now the When a designer begins to create a new car, he
straighter side is the upper, and the curved arc is to first defines the aerodynamic performance prome
the bottom of the wing. Thus the low pressure area that he is seeking. In order to do this, models must
occurs below the wing, and the greater pressure is be tested so th:lt different shapes and configura-
being exerted downwards. In the early days this was tions can be assessed. The designer uses two main
described in :leropl:lne p:lriance as negative lift; today tools here: the wind tunnel, and a computer
it is simp ly known :lS downforce, and it is the single modelling technique known as computational fluid
most irnport:lnt factor in Formula One design. dYn:lmics, or cfd.


The wind tunnel is the primary tool, and all of the
top teams have significan tly increased their invest-
ments in this field. [n 2003, for example, WilliamsFl
invested in a second t unnel that came on stream in
2004. At t hat time the most state-of-the-art tunnel
belonged to Peter Sauber's team in Hin wi l. The quiet
Swiss team owner grasped a $50 million nettle in
2000, and the new tunnel became operational at the
end of 2003. 'G iven the importance of aerodynamics,
it was a logical decision for me to build a wi nd tunnel
that sets new benchmarks,' Sauber explained. The
interesting thing is that had we invested less in the
wind tunnel, t he risk would have been higher. At an
early stage the tunnel was planned to be smaller, but
then the considerat ion was that you don't know what
is going to happen to Formula One, so we wanted to
have a working tool t hat you can also use outside of
Formul a One. It was import:lIlt to look as far into the
future as possible.'

Lefl anti beloul; Stilt· anti after two :ter;ous

moun"lll rear uoingsjir:tl acdt/ents on the Gold Leaf
appearetl In formula One in t ot liS 49Bs in the 1969
1968. JJy Monza, u·here Ron Span j:th GP (Graham HilJ ':t
Den";:t u·alches over Jack car is see" here ;n South
Brabham ':t eponymou:t BT26, Afrk a), they were banned
Ihey we re jilled 01 Ih e frmll, uvernight at MUlwco.
too. Dr;I'e rlS hated Ihem , (.~ul 1on·illlagc, .com)

&10"': A represenlation 01 the
flow Q/ air. inclulling the
boumlary layer. over a twin
elemen' reur uling. (I'i0l3)


&Iow: Aller several .'!euson.'! he,e al ZandllOOrl w'ilh

in ,,·hich boily.mountell lio,I.1 Champion·elect Murio
u';ng.'! p,ollilled nil 0/ a car'.'! Andrell; feuding Ronnie
(Iou",/o,ce. LoluS chie/Colin Peterson) dominMed
Chnpman expe,imented Ihe sp"". Ground effect
Ullih "nder·en, groum/ is still /l mujor contributo,
effect In 1977. A yelJt lute, 10 downlo,ce loday.
his elegnnl LOlus 79 (seen (~U tlon-i


The belle~./i",H1ced 'Mm, ,han 50 million ,Iul/ars. I lere (TLT) and MTS Systems Corporation, in Germany
hmoe their 0"'''' ,,, ....eI,. I.. learn jJTinc ipai Peter Sa",l,er and the United States respectively, and Sauber's
l(XU arguably 'he moSI and fechnjcai diredor 1\1/Jy aerodynamic engineers.
atlvanced ""as Sa",ber', i.. Rampf pose uoflh Iheir ne",' MTS supplied the 'Flat-Trac ' rolling road system,
H in"of/. buill al a COli of m/Jre baby. (sulton·images.col1l) which simulates the relative motion between car and
road and comprises a steel belt, which was chosen in
The tunnel was so modern that it attracted the preference to the more common polyester belts.
attention of Sauber's then operating partner, Ferrari. The steel belt is the largest ever developed for a
Now it is the property of BMW, following its takeover wind tunnel. It is less th::ll1 a millimetre thick and
of the team in 2006. The basic facility comprises two runs on an air bearing. It runs f3ster and with less
buildings under one roof, with the accent on distortion than a conventional polyester belt, and
aesthetics and functionality. Nonnally tunnels are because it generates less friction, it not only lasts
located at ground level, but part of the reason why longer but is also more accurate because there is
architect Atelier WW in Zurich won the contract was less surface heat. MTS also supplied the 'Model
its design for a structure that is eight metres from the Motion System' which handles suspension and
ground, enabling visitors to walk beneat h it even control of the test model. Data acquisition is by UK-
while it is operational. Everything is visible except the based RHS Harntec.
data acquisition section, which is embedded in a In common with other Formula One tunnels,
concrete construction. The overall building is 65m BMW-Sauber's is or closed-circuit design. Its tubular
long, Sam wide and 17m high, with a volume of stee l air circuit is 62m long and 28m wide, with a
63,000 cubic metres. Its glass fa\,ade manages to maximum diameter of 9.4111. Dirk de Beer, the head
combine its industrial purpose with its joint function of Sauber's aerodynamic group, was particularly
as a museum. The two separate sections are separated pleased with the corners that turn the air through
by a glass wall which also damps out noise. There is 90<> and link each section of the tunnel. He says: 'A
also a facility to enable Sauber teams to work on circular tunnel would be ideal, but if you tried to
different projects for different customers with build one it just wouldn't work, and there would be
complete secrecy and confidentiality. an enormous space requirement. As it is, these
The tunnel uses the most advanced technology corners are very efficient.'
Sauber could source and was developed in conjunc- Power comes from a single-stage axial fan with
tion with specialist finns Turbo Lufttechnik GmbH c3rbon rotor blades, which supplies the system's

h i nd tunnels a~e absolutely /Unnet uohich can accept full.
de r;gueur ;'1 Fom.u/a One uale cars, uses a very
,mlay. Swle "welels are sophisrica red sleel banli for
pltlCeel On a mo••;ng ground irs rol/inK road for maxi",u",
plm'lI so airflow mn be accuracy. (sullon·;I1l;,!:cs.COtll
simulate(1 as a~cllralely as and IPA)
possi/,/e. /J,1.11V·Saub er's

of the test resu lts. Though Sauber continued to test

prima rily with 60% sca le models, the tunnel can
accept full-scale cars and BMW may elect to pursue
this option in the future. Its primary aim in 2006 was
to treble the tunnel's work rate by initiating 24-hour
usage with t hree eight-hour shifts, something that
Sauber could not afford to do. Because of it s unusual
length it can also accom modate t wo of them, in
tandem, so that t he aerodynamicist s can explore t he
interaction of cars runn ing close together at very high
3,OOOkW dem:md when operat ing under fu ll load. At speeds. T his cou ld prove particularly useful in the
maximum output it can generate wind speeds of up design of fro nt wings and diffusers.
to 80 metres per second (which de Beer claims is 'Due to their highly effic ient aerodynamics,
faster than Ferrari 's tunnel) or close to 300kph within modern Formula One cars are particularly vulnerable
the test section. T his is very close to the airspeed o\"er to c hanges in airnow,' explains technical director
a full-scale car in action on the track, again enhancing Willy Rampf. 'For the first time this test
data accuracy. configuration now enables us syst em atica ll y to
The test sect ion is the heart of any tunnel, and at measure these innuences and to take appropriate
15 square metres Sauber's is unusually large and has corrective action. Moreover, given the additional
a longer rolling secti on than any other Formula One possibility of testing full-size Formula One racing
facility. There is a strong correlation between the size cars, we can measure precisely such factors as the
of the moving ground plane and the degree of realism cooling, or the airn ow around the driver's helmet.'


lAil and middlt': Sauber's
/Unnel, now operaled by
HMII'-Sauber_ can
aUl1mmodaie a full-silt' ca"
a key iaC/or in the tt'am's
abililY 10 fine-Iulle ils
aerodynamics. (l I'A)

Besides the ability to skew the

roiling road tu,ntable 10 a
yaw angle of up 10 10", 8.\111'-
Sauber 's tunnel also al/ou,s
scale /tUJdel$ to be tested in
landem. Ullimately Ihis could
be of significanl assis lanu in
facilitaling the design of tl ca,
Ihal can run in a rival's
lu,bulenl ai, wilhout losing
ils ou'1l downforce. (IPA)


Clmrpula'lQnal fluid
dynamiu is n v/lnl pa~l of
Qe .ody nnmlc rts/!(l,(h 1001ay.
111/$ sc..een imilge shows ,he
higlt-p,enu,e (red) and
lowflr-preuu,e (blue and
gN!fm) areas a$ air j1uw5 aver
a typicall'Qn1Iul" One cn r.
(~lIllon ·inmges.(om)

When very large objects, such as full-scale vans arc not a short-term thing. I think essentially the view of
under test , the test section can be converted from the team is that we intend to be in Formula One for
closed-wall configuration into a slotted-wall configur- a long time and are investing a lot of resources in
ation to avoid blockage of the airflow which would stuff like bui lding this fac ility and increasing our
distort test results. capacity with cfd, all with the aim of being there for
Another innov::ltion is the facility to rotate the test the long run.'
sect ion turntable. Formula One cars don't usually get Rampf and his team had very high hopes for the
more than 5° out of line before they use up their new faCility when it opened . 'We're expecting the
steering lock :lnd spin, but the turntable allows Gl f S to new wind tunnel to enhance the quality of our tests,
be tested at a yaw angle of up to JO c, im prove the correlation between our wind tunnel
The upper floor of the wind tunnel control room measurements and the results obtained on the race
houses the entire computer system, which includes track, as well as improve repeatability of the various
the high-performance computer for BMW-Sauber's tests we perform,' he said. 'Al l of these factors com-
cfd department. The ability to test scale models and bined wi ll enable us to build an even faster car.'
full -scale cars allows Sauber to cross-check data, and Peter Sauber accepted the huge investment with
cfd provides a t hird avenue of research to cross-chec k equanimity, and said: ' If you want to survive in
further. But at present cfd sti ll has some way to go in Formula One and be successfu l and particularly if you
Formula One before it will match the wind tunnel as want to be attractive to a potential manufacturer,
a research tool. t hen you have to have these things. It is an in\"("5t-
'At t he mOment we are inc reasing our cfd effort ment in our future that was not undertaken with
qui te considerably,' said de Beer in 2004. ' It 's cost-savi ng as its primary goal. With the new facility
probably 15 to 20% of our personnel that are we will have a great deal more confidence that what
involved with crd, and it's someth ing we are putting works fo r us during tests in the wind tunnel will also
more and more effort into. It's an area where you can work for us on the race track.'
get very significant gains. But it is still one in which Ultimately his investment turned out to be very
everybody in Formula One is finding out exactly shrewd, as BMW bought a controlling interest in his
what you ca n do. The resources that you need to do tenm in 2005 as it spl it from Williams.
cfd effectively are quite huge. You need very large The aerodyn::unics of the car d ictates its shnpe, nnd
com puters, obviously, to run accurate simulations. also the type of engine that will be used. In the d:Jys
We are cert ainly putting a lot of effort into it, but it's when nil Formul:l One engines were V I OS, the angle


of the vee could be altered if the aerodynamicist a circuit-specific compromise,' said former BM\V
sought a particularly narrow rear-end package. That Williams chief designer Gavin Fisher. '[f they are set
was one reason why the traditional 9O-degree angle too steeply, our top speed on the straights will be
gradually decreased as low as 72 degrees in some lower. If they're too flat, we end up with less down-
instances. The fact that aerodynamics can have such force, something we need in the comers'.
influence gives you a clear idea of just how much Con troversy arose at the start of the 2006 season
importance is attached to this area of design. In the when, after the Bahrain Grand Prix, some teams
past a team would get its engine, make a chassis into complained to the FIA that they believed others were
which to fit it, and then worry about the bodywork running flexible wings. Now all such structures, front
last of all. For a while the process worked the other and rear, must have a degree of flexibility. If they
way round. The aerodynamicists would come up with were mounted rigidly, a car's inherent vibrations
the outer shape of the package that would make the might easily fracture them, so a degree of compliance
fastest and most effic ient car, and the other is necessary. Watch the wings when the onboard
engineering departments had to make their cameras capture a car in a corner, and you see some
components fit into that profile. That is still primarily of that. But what the complainants meant was wings
the Case after the introduction of 2.4-litre VS engines whose fundamental geometry and/or orientation
for 2006, but the FIA made life a little more difficult moved at very high speed. They alleged that, for
for the aerodynamicists by insisting that the vee angle example, a rear wing would bend back or that the
be 90 degrees. space between upper elements might close up, all to
Several dimensions on the chassis are fixed by the benefit of the drag coefficient.
the FIA, but beyond that the aerodynamics dictate Formula One being what it is today, such things can
the chassis' design. Usually it is a m:ltter of the be very difllcult to measure physically. FIA technical
slimmer the better, but aerodynamics can even influ- delegate Jo Bauer and race director Charlie Whiting
ence whether the car has a short or a long wheelbase. investigated the wings on the Ferraris in Malaysia
The aerodynamics can be modified during testing following increasingly vehement comment from the
and races, as the wings are adjustable. The fron t wing team's rivals, but could find nothing wrong. The
generates around 25% of a car's downforce, but only complainants argued that this is because you wou ld
when the car is running in clean air. \¥hen it is behind need a whole raft of hydraulic actuators, such as you
another car, the latter's turbulence robs the following might get in aircraft manufacturing plants to measure
car's wing of downforce and the figure falls closer to bending loads across a wing, to measure compliance
10%. Telemetry shows a clear trace whenever a car gets with any true degree of accuracy. And they argued
within a couple of hundred metres of another. Since a that they could prove their case in a different way, by
Formula One car's centre of gravity is towards the rear, looking at straight- line speed measurements, and
and the front wing has to exert sufficient down force to recording the engine notes of relevant cars and using
offset that, when this happens the car tends to the audio data to compare them with a base model. A
understeer. This is why you often see one driver catch popular comparison was between Ferrari and Red Bull
another quite quickly, only to become stuck behind Racing (formerly Jaguar), as each used identical
him. The resultant understeer hurts him when he tries Ferrari VS engines. According to the gathered data,
to get out of a corner fast enough to make an over- the Ferrari appeared able to 'bend' the l:lwS of physics
taking attempt. by gaining top-end speed just at the point where all
Movable wings could overcome this problem, but the various drag-inducing factors came together to put
they have been banned since the late '60s. Thus the a brake on further acceleration from the Red Bull RB2.
designers have to compromise in their choice of wing A clarification of sorts was issued, and after Ferrari
settings, and the drivers just have to live with loss of performed relatively poorly in Australia everyone
down force when they run close together. Generally relaxed. Then Michael Schumacher won the San
speaking, the wing settings are steeper for tight Marino and European Grands Prix in his Ferrari F248,
circuits with many corners, where high downforce is and the whole can of worms was opened again until
required, such as Monte Carlo and Hungaroring; at Renault's R26 gave the red car a thrashing at Spain's
places such as Barcelona or Monza, shallow wing Circuit de Catalunya, a track deemed to be the
settings are used to minimise drag and maximise ultimate test of a car's myriad characteristics and the
straight-line speed. 'The correct wing set-up is always best guide to seasonal form. Confusion reigned.

Flexible surfaces were not a new phenomenon in In Malaysia, Honda technical d irector Geoffrey
racing. Back in Mexico 1986 Lotus ran into a lot of Will is attempted to explain a difficult situation ;n
trouble with the Ayrton Sen na~dri ven 86T when rivals layman's terms. 'The issue about the fl exibil ity of rear
alleged that its fl oor was suffiCiently flexible that it got wings is a d ifficu lt one because clearly all engineering
sucked down closer to the road surface at high speed structures do deflect. The question is whether you
and therefore generated superior down force. Ferrari are allowed to make performance benefit from that,
had a problem for a while with flexible barge boards in and the FIA - Charlie Whiting - has clarified on
Malaysia in 1999, when it was alleged that its boards several occasions that you are not. The difficulty is
sank as much as 10 mm on their mounts, thus what sort of test you come up with that is safe to
sign ificantl y closing the mandatory 150 mm gap to the perform in pare fermi! conditions because the rear
road and enhancing downforce, Eventually a visit to wings do have very sign ifi cant loads on them that you
Maranello from the FlA's Peter Wright sorted the probably wou ldn 't want to place on the ca r in pare
matter out in Ferrari's favour. Now, thanks to the use fernIe in case they fell off and hurt somebody. The
of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling in designs of the wings that people have used in the past
conjunction with fini te element analysis (FEA), it is certa inly have allowed what we call the slot gap - the
possible fo r designers to do this with a much greater gap between the first element and the second
degree of accuracy and predictability while remaining element of the wing - to either close up or to open
safely within t he elasticity of the materials used. up, and by doing so change the d rag and the lift on the
There had been no examples of wings failing because car, and you can see that in the past a number of
of excessive fl exibility. teams have gained extra top speed from that. That's
The way a ' fl exible' rear wing works is that it been tightened up a certain amount by regulation
effectively rotates backwards on its central mount at changes in the last year or SO, or more stringent
very high speed on a straight - 250kph plus - thus application of certain stiffness tests.
decreasi ng its angle of attack. This reduces drag and ' I think we probably still need to see a change ;n
enhances top speed further, but as the car slows for the regulation there to ensure that that geometry has
the next corner the flexibility in the structure pops to remain constant all the way across the speed
the wing back up, increasing downforce again. It is a envelope, and one way to do that is t o make sure that
means of reproducing the sort of concept that Ferrari the physical arrangement of the rear wing is
used back in 1968, before movable aerodynamic aids consistent with not being able t o change that gap.'
were outlawed, when its centrally mounted overhead Watched at a press conference by Ferrari technical
wing cou ld be feathered along the straights, albeit director Ross Brawn, who had said it was time for
now using carefully calcu lated structural materials wing technology to be ope ned up the way traction
instead of hydrau lic actuation. That early Ferrari control technology had been because of the difficulty
system was itself a development of the 'flipper' sty le of policing it, and that it was time to end 'a cu lture of
of wing used previously on Jim Hall's CanAm and innuendo', Willis had another go at the Niirburgring
world sportscar racing Chaparrals. in May. 'The whole issue of flexible wings has come
The other method of gain ing an advantage from t he and gone quite a lot over the last two or three years.
flexibility of structural components is to have upper It 's an (Irea which a lot of t he teams oft en talk about
rear wing elements t hat can flex t oget her at very high to Charlie Whiting, the r(lce director, seek ing
speed. In 2006 teams were allowed two upper clarifications, asking what we can do, and it's a
elements in their rear wings, above t he main plane. subject which we discuss in the Technical Working
Usually these upper elements have small separators Group from time to time, so I'm not quite sure why
mounted in the middle, to ensure t hat they stay apart this issue became quite so heated this week. It is the
and that flow through what is called the 'slot-gap' is case that people ha\-e been playing around with wings
maintained. Rivals maintained that Ferrari's refusal to quite a lot. There are two main ways. People either
use separators was because at speed the two upper try and get the whole wing to bend off... to twist off,
elements bent together, thus closing the slot gap and to reduce the drag at high speed, or play around with
reducing the associated drag, thereby boosting top mechanisms that close or open the slot gap, :lOd [
speed. At Imola, competitors pointed out, the have to say that what we've discovered over the last
Ferraris were 7kph quicker down the straight than year or so is quite impressive, the amount of
any of their rivals. in novation out there. We've seen wings that bend in


one way, flaps that bend in another way, wings t hilt
aren't bonded together. [ think we've even S('en an
Front wing
inflatilble wing, whic h I must say I was very impressed T he front wing plays an import3nt role. At maximum
with. But it's something where, if we heilr something speed over 300kph, for eX3m ple, it wi ll generate
or we hilve an ideil, t hen it's ill! part of the regulil r around 560kg of downforce. Th3t means that eight
business of making technicill enquiries to C hilrlie full-grown men cou ld step on it without causing any
Whiting, asking whether we can do it. It 's 3 little bit visible deflect ion. T he front wing is mounted
of a g3me ge nera ll y with technical advances in beneath the nose on two vertic31 sta lks, 3nd probably
Form ul a One. When you have a clever idea, or you accounts for 25% of overall downforce. One 'tweak'
think somebody else has got a clever idea, you either that appea red in 2003 was the distinctive rippled w-
try and do it yourself or if you think it's close enotlgh shaped wing on the McLaren MP4/18 which was
to a grey 3re3 you 3sk the right sort of question of the carried over to the 2004 MP4/19 and is still popul3r
FIA, so it either gets stopped fo r everybody or today.
permitted fo r everybody.' Eventually the FIA acted
prior to the Can3dian G P in June 2006 to insist that
all cars had to run small sepaT:ltor blocks between the
upper planes of their rear wings to prevent teams
letti ng the elements flex to t he point where the wing
stalled at very high speed and created 3 beneficial CdnJdy wings wue allihe
reduction in drag. rage in 1003. This is Ihe
T he aerodyn3m ic components exert the fo llowing offering from Williams on its
influences: FW15. Note aLro the endpfate
tletail and deep second
element. (Piota)

Though neVer raced in 1003.

McLaren's MP4· 18 paved the
way for Ihe evolutionary
MP4 · 19 in 1004. The latter
reto.ined this very complex
fronl wing. (Piola)

\ \
Below: Perfll,j's controversial
Alwve: In 2003 Wi/lilli/IS tried width. 21he endplilte winglel 2QQ6 front wing was thought
IIvariety off.ont uling and lip, 3 the ironl u>ing by rivals to posess an eieme .. ,
enlip/(/te refinements on it's unde.s/ralte. anll 4 Ihe vf flexibility to enhtmce It.f
1"'11'25. I ;s the endp/lHe second •.!Iemen/lip/el. (Piob) performance. (Lt\'f)


Above a ..d left: The co .. ti .. ul .. g
complexity af the mutler..
fnmt wing is evide .. t I .. these
shots of the Re ..ault 1<16, the
2005 championship.wI .... i ..g
learn's 2006 conte ..der.

Left: 2006 Toyota 'rF106 frolll

wing assemhly, festoOlled u1ith
extra winglets. (Toyola)

Front wing endplates work to their optimum. The acrodynamicists are
always aiming to get the maximum out of every
The front wing endplates are the vertical 'fences' component. Interestingly, adding frontal downforce
that primarily st op air spilling over the side of the levies a minimal drag penalty; it is the rear end of the
wing, as that would com promise its efficiency. They car that can do that, so the aerodynamicist s do what-
help to draw air over the front wing to maximise its ever they can to make the rear work better. When
effectiveness, but they also playa sign ifican t role in you achieve that you can run with less rear wing,
smoothing the airflow towards the back of the which means less drag and a more efficient car.
car. They are thus instrumental in sending the best The endplates are one area in which the spon 's
possible airflow back towards the undertray and then rule makers are continually imposing restrictions, in
to the diffuser t o make both of those components an effon to curb rising cornering speeds .

RighI: Endp/ales .fer,,/! 11"0

purposes. On their inner side
Ihey prellenl airflow spilling
off the fronl wing, whilll Ihei.
outer sirle b shaped /0
.;hannel air around the ironl
lyres. (piota)

Right: This is fhe fron,

utinglel dell/il on fhe {ronl
" ,jllg of the Williams 1'"11'2 4.


Renault also hntl some
wmplex endplnte shapes in
2003 (above) . as dill 1-"e.rarl
In 2004 (beloul). (";ob)

Renault R26 i'OIII wing 2006 tnm RO.~$O STROI i.ont

emlplnte. ..'/nt endplate.
(~ullon·impg{' ) (SUllon·;mages.oom)

High noses were almost universal by the late '90s,
having been introduced by Tyrrell 's Dr Harvey
Postlethwaite and Jean-Claude Migeot in 1990, hut
now they are tending to droop a little more once
again even though wings remain underslung. This
design concept helps to channel air round the front
wing and direct it efficient ly back towards the under-
tray :lnd diffuser. Again, Mclaren introduced some
subtle ch:lngcs on the 2003 MP4/ 18 by using a very
narrow, drooping nose and since then there has
generally been a trend back to that configuration.

Right: 'Crowdil,,' :mmll Qn

Md.a,err'$ 2006 ,\1P4!21.

Below. The dis/inC/lvl!

'llIalTulI" nose of the early-
5ea.son 2004 Williams FW16
broke new ground in lhe
search/or greater
aerodynamic efficienty. but
Ihe team later reverted to a
conventional desiKn. (I'iola)


Suspension suspension mountings fun her outwards, creating
two dist inctive pick-up points, or keels. The large
Until 200). the suspension's contribution to aero- gap between them permitted a much smoother flow
dynamic efficiency was confined to using aerofoil- of air, and was deemed to be one reason why that
section wishbones and steering arms to help year's Sauber Petronas was such an excellent car.
minimise drag. That season, however, Argentinian The jury is sti ll oul on the concept, however.
designer Sergio Rinland introduced the first tnlc McLaren embraced it and took il a Slep further on
twin-keeled chassis on his Sauber C20. Normally its extremely elegant but expensive-lo-m:lke
the lower suspension arms would pick up at a point MP4/17 chassis. Since 2005, however, many learns
in the middle of the underside of the chassis. h:lVe reverted to the single centr:lI mount, albeit at
Reasoning that this created a blockage to smooth t he bottom of a sh:lllow and hollow vee structure
airfl ow, however, Rinland moved the lower front att:lched to t he b:lse of t he monocoque.

Diffe ,ing philosophie.s; In 1001 (jn,se l) Jaguar opled for the

lutin ·hel ,haui,s tlesign 011 the R3. but reverled 10 single·keel
{o. fhe 1003 R4 (main picture). (Pio!a)

Barge boards/guide of their importance, the barge boards on Ferrari 's
1997 F310B. with their distinctive curved top lip,
vanes were instrumental in cutting down the serious
understeer which plagued the car's handling during
The vertical plates mounted within the front suspen- its initial test sessions. When Michael Schumacher
sion or just behind it, and which are often referred damaged those on his Ferrari F2002 after an off-
to as turning vanes or barge boards, are similar in course moment in the 2003 Australian Grand Prix,
function to the front wing end plates and first he lost the race, At the same time, the argument
appeared when the latter were reduced in size in within Williams over whether to have barge boards
1994. They may be horizontal or, more usually, behind the suspension or guide vanes within it
vertical, and their job is to influence the wake of the materially innucnced the FW25's concept, and it was
air flowing ovcr the front wing and to tidy it up some time before the team got on top of setting the
before it gets to the back of the car. As an indication car up as a result.

This is Ihe complete barge

board allSl!mbly from
Ferrari's lille."';",,;,,g
nOOJ·GA. (l'iola)

2004's f2004 /I,u/ " slightly

mor/1 disll ,lCti,'/1 sh(jJle t" its
barge /'Q(m/s, (I'iola)


Am:w/! and abov/! ~iglll: These
U'e~e /I.e barge board
offerings from fl. Sauber.
h. Ferrari. c. Mintlrdl anti Right; Barge boards still very
d. Renauil respecrively in much in evidence on Ihe 2006
2003. (I'ioln) BMW-Sauber "".06. (LAT)



Sidepods In the mid·Nineties sidepods tended to be quite
high and boxy, but in recent years they have become
The sidepocls alongside t he cockpit are not merely very much more curvaceous and intricate as designers
t here as a cosmet ic means of housing the water and seek to create the most efficient airnow over and
oil radiators. Their internal shaping is crucial to the around the rear end of the cars. Rory Byrne at Ferrari
way in which the car's cooling system operates, and was the first to take t his route, and others have
they also playa sa fety role by providing deformable followed his lead as they seek to emulate Ferrari's
structures on the sides of the car. runaway success.

teft: f e"tui lentls to go for

mure curvaceous sldepvtls
Ihan ilS rivals . Those uf the
F2003-GA are alsu tapered
nI Iheir leading etlge. (riola)

Right: On circuits .,.here

ambient and ,melt
temperalures are very high,
leams will a{len run
chimneys on Ihe sitlepocls 10
help eXlraCI hot air from the
mdiarors as qUickly as
jmssible. This is whlll
Renaulr used in 2003. (I'iola)

&10/.1/; To ftlti/ilale 10/.1"" Righ,; M~Larlln'$ 2006
sidepods On ilS 2004 1U.f, MN/21- another
Renflull usefl Ihese Clllfningly example of the growing
shaped mflitllors. 1 and 2 Irend 10 incorporate
indi~ale diffe,enl Iypes of chimney hot air exlmclorll
chi,mrey 1101 air exlmClOrs, j and cooling luuurn ill
ami -4 flifferillg ~oolinX Ihe sidepods.
loul/res, ("iolal (su!1on·irnag':s,':olll )

Undertray tlirflow into the kinked tlretl tlhetld of tlnd between the
rctlr wheels. It thus pltlys tI cnlcitll role even before its
The floor of the car, or the undertray, is an extremely trtliling end flicks up to form the diffuser thtlt cretltes
important component. There is, of course, a separate so much ground effect downforce tit the rear of the
floor to the chassis itself, and the undertray is a full- car. A Jabroc wooden plank fixed to the bottom of the
length carbon-fibre moulding that presents a smooth undertray is checked for wear during scrutineering at
and flat bottom to the ro.1d, and influences under-car the end of each race.

I.e/I: The flow of air belleath

a I·b.mula Olle ca. is nicely
iIluslrateri in Ihis a.II~'Ork of
a I'e.ra.i 1-"399. (Piola)

Iklow; The untlerlm<ly. also

called the ul1tle,flOQ, 0'
unde.tray. SlIlIe.ates a
considerable tlegree of
dOU·II/oru. The one·pine
moulding call be 'em(wed
t/uickly in the
euent of damage afler ,un·
ning ove, a ke.b. In Ihe
centre 0/ the IltItle,slde 0/ the
antlert.ay. all ca rs must
("orry 0 Jab'Q(: u'(}()llen
plank. (I'i ola)

&Iow: Toyow TFI06

uHilerlray fronl exlellsion.

Safety Cockpits
The need to provide a high-sided safety cockpit
around the driver's head and neck initially caused
problems with aerodynamic efficiency when the FIA
made them mandatory for the 1996 season, as their
bulky shapes increased drag. Now, however, all of the
teams have found graceful :md efficient ways in
which to incorporate them, although they do still In comparison wilh felipe he"d protection in rhl'! 1995
hurt rear downforce a liltle as the airnow around Massa in Ihe 2006 ferra,i 411Tl {fOp}. (sullon·
them is not quite as good as it was before they were 1'248 FJ (lwl/om). Gerhard images.conv'I'3ul
introduced. He'ler has ma.!rellly leu Gi lham/Getty I lll:lge~)


The airhox collects cold air and feeds it into the
engine. The faster the car goes, the greater the so
called ram effect as the air is forced into the intake.
Its design is therefore a crucial e lement which affects Below: BMW·Sauber 1' 1.06 Rollom: Re nou/I 1(26 llir/1ox,
both aerodynamic efficiency and engine performance. airbox. (su!1on';mages,com) (s utt on·;magcs,col1l )


38 "E RODY J\" M J C S

These are mount ed t owards t he rear of t he siclepocls.
in an area of the st rict regulations that is still open to
such devices, and t hey are em ployed on circuits such Helow; SidepoJ-rnoun,ed Bo,lOm; BMW-S(.l/olbe~ 1'1.06
as Monte Carlo or t he Hungaroring where higher wintle, On 2006 Toyota sitlepoJ wingiel.
down force is required. '1""106. (Toyota) (sutton .irnagCl;.com)

TI l E SC IE:-.I C I'. OF FO RM ULA O:-.lE DESIGf\ 39

Rear wheel scallops BelQ"'. Ie/I' il'il/I"",s adopted
tI$e ,;es of •.,ar "·h,,,,1
T hese are the shaped sections ahead of the rear tyres, scollops Qn Ihe l00~ fW16.
where the coke bottle effect begins as the bodywork The lower scallop II?aS added
sweeps in. Their purpose is to help clean up the to jnaease the speed of the
airflow and influence it around the rear tyre so as to air ahead of the ,ell' lyres,
maximise the efficiency of the diffuser. (riola)

Below: Renault 's R16 makes

full use of iu luw sMepods
and sweeping s~tllI(}p$ /0
dean up Ihe airflow (H<Jund
Ihe rear lyres. (sulton.
;m"gt..'S,co m)

40 AERODY:-lA~tIC5
Diffuser not permit the diffusers extending beyond the [ear
ax le line, as it used to in the early '90s, hut it still
This is the up-curved sect ion of the undertray tray accounts for almost 50% of the car 's total down force
that allows the restricted :lir beneath the car to open and is a key element as it affects the whole pressure
and spill out at the rCtlf of the car. The regulations do distribution beneath the car.


Above: I'errar; 1'248 1'1 rear

diffuser. (su!

Left: N"anGes highlighle,l

here include slight degree of
anhedral 10 ouler section of
,Jiffuser. lOge/her wilh
sIMiles designed 10 direct
airflow. (Piola)


Rear wing
Prior to 2004 the rear wing generated som e 33% of a
Formula One car's down force. This could be as much
as I,OOOkg, meaning that a car could carry another J 6
unwanted passengers there too, assum ing they could
all fit on ... However, for 2004 the FIA banned mult i-
element rear wings and instead mandated only two-
element wings. Thi s rnC3ns a main plane, with a
sma ller plane to help generate more downforcc
without t he drag penalty :I larger single main plane
might creale.

Lef': McLa~en infWt/uCl.!t/ an Above: The mulli.plane .-ea~

unusual .irfJ()p Sh(l/Hl fo ils "'ing of rhe 2003 Williams
rear wing in Aus/rill 20/)3: FW24. (Author)
inset is dewil o[ Ilr /.! jwnf
wing endp/ml!. (1';01.1)

Above: To help airflow,

Toyota began 2004 Will, 'hes/;!
infernal st rakes on its rear
wing endplates. (l'iola)

L.eft; Renaull u'us unother

team /0 interpret the tir()()py
rear wing elemelll philusophy
in 2003. (I'iola)

Above: Renault's R26 ,ea, Fl, which Michael
llIi"g was a carefully Schumacher used 10 II';" in
contrived confection of San Marino and
curvu and straight lines [or Niirburgring. The rear wing
maximum aerodynamic al/rueled greal attention
dou'11force tlnd efficiency. from riv"l designers. but, like
(sutton·images.(olll ) BMW's, ulas ini/ially ,Ieeme./

kwhe, by the FlA. The gap
Left: 8.\fW·Saulnr was one between 'he upper elements
o/Ihe teams allege,Ilo be allegedly closed up .. ,ule,
running flexible (J' load. (LAT)

'inflatable' rea. ",jng
components allhe Slart of He/ow ,ight: The ,/!{Ir wing on
lhe 1006 season ... Toyota's 'rJ'106Iwd a
(sul1on·jnwgCS, com) separator mounted belu'een
Ihe upper efemenu to prevent
Helow le[, ... as u'as l'e~ra~1 Ihe gap betuoeen tl.em [~orn
adll. ;I'S co"tr()l'e~siaI1'2"8 dosinK up. (Toyota)


mounted aft of each rear wheel, with a clear gap
Mosley's split between them. The auilow between the two wings is
much cleaner, and therefore following cars are able to
personality retain their own aerodynamic efficiency and will thus
have a better chance of paSSing. Mosley intended that
In the summer of 2005, FIA President Max Mosley the COG wing would form part of the 2008 FIA Formula
revealed his vision for the future shape of F1. Having One technical regulations, but admitted that it could be
once said that too much overtaking would be confusing adopted as early as 2007 if the teams were in favour. He
for spectators and television viewers, he changed his also spoke of a possible return 10 slick tyres with full-
tune when a survey conducted by the FIA in conjunction width treads to give drivers greater mechanical grip
with the computer technology company AMD revealed which could also assist overtaking.
what fans of the sport had known for a long time: that "This new research is important for the future of
the majority (94%) want to see mOf"e of it. Formula One,~ Mosley said. "By introducing the COG
Aerodynamic turbulence militates against overtaking rear wing, we can give motorsport fans exactly what they
by robbing a following car of vital fronlal downforce. and have asked fO(, wheel-to-wheel racing with much more
designers have focused on making their cars as overtaking.
aerodynamically efficient as possible while creating "It is our hope that the teams will collaborate with us
maximum turbulence in their wake. To obviate this, the in the optimisation of this radical new idea so that the
FIA initiated a programme of research into improving the aerodynamic benefits can be introduced into Formula
aerodynamic performance of a car when it is trying to One in 2007, rather than having to wait until 2008."
overtake. The objective was to produce regulations for a As these words were written, however, there was
car shape which would create a wake in which the widespread scepticism in the paddock that the COG
following car would generate more downforce with was quite the panacea that Mosley belieVed, and it was
reduced drag, thus removing the invisible barrier. unlikely to be adopted for 2007.
With the help of AMD, the FIA's research team reached
a preliminary conclusion which they called the Centreline
Downwash Generallng (COG) rear wing. This effectively The FIA's proposell CDG rear win, concepl. first moO/eli in
comprises two narrower conventional wings, one Ihe SUmmer fJf 1005 for inlrOliUClion ill 1008. (F tA)

44 AE RQDY:>lA.\t[ CS
Gurney flaps Wheels
The Gurney flap is a small and very simple device The wheels on a Formula One car have always
that can have a major effect. Named after legendary created a drag problem, accounting for more than a
American Formula One pilot Dan Gurney, after he third of the car's total. There is, though, nothing
and driver Bobby Unser developed it for the Gurney anyone can do about that as enclosed bodywork is
Eagles th:ll raced at Indianapolis in the '70s, it not permitted in Formula One.
comprises 3 simple strip of met:li with a 90 angle.
This is fitted to the trailing edge of a wing, front or
reaf, and forms an extra 'flick-up' which can generate
significant extr:l downforce on circuits where plenty Gurney flap
is req uired.

RighI: l'iliSIlTrangemenr of
"'int elements ,ho..', high
and low ""'$$",e a,ea" and
tire G",ney /lap, ..·lrlch i$ the
lip on the trni/ingedge of
tire ,eCont/ element. (riola)
+ High pressure

Be/o,,': On tI circuit ,,-here

l'ery higlr do"mforce i.,
nece$$a,y, .,,,ch a., Monaco.

ream., exploit any /OQphole
tlrey can {lnt/ in rhe
,eg.. /ation.l ro ,un mit/tile Low pressure
,,·ings. These are on the 2006
Mcta,en .\11'4/21. (I.AT)


Fine bridgework

f the engine is the heart of a car, the chassis changed at very late not ice to incorporat e single-lap
is t he body. Traditionally it is the part that qualifyi ng and the rule that forced teams to start the
gives the ca T its name. In t he case of Eddie race on the fue l load with which they had qualified.
Jordan's cars, fo r example, which in their The change came too late fo r cars to be re-optimised,
time used Ford, Hart, Peugeot, Mugen-Honda and so all of the teams went into 2004 with new cars.
'Ia nda engines, the caT was called a Jordan because 'Obviously that was one of the first things we
reviewed on the F2oo4,' Ferrari's chief designer Rory

lordan Grand Prix designed and manufactured the
chassis. Even that changed for 2006 when, having been Byrne admitted. 'That cha nged our thinking and our
taken over by Alex Schnaider of Midland in 2005, the approach.'
team and ca r name was cha nged to Midland. The ot her great aspect of composites is that it is
The modern chassis is of unitary or monocoque easier to repeat the production process faithfully, be
construction, which means that it is effectively built in it in chassis manufacture of the production of smaller
one piece, though in reality it is many pieces bonded compone nts such as wings. Penske Cars' composites
together to form that single entity. Its primary pur- gUn! Don Berrisford lays a few carbon-fibre myths to

I pose is to act as a bridge that connects all of the car's

other components. It provides the mounting points
for the engine and transmission, t he suspension and
steering, and all of the aerodynam ic components. Its
rest. 'It actua lly improves with age, because the resins
harden. And although you maybe don't spec ify
gauges, like you did with
aluminium in the old days, Opposite, lJy the 21st
other great function is t o house and protect the driver, you can specify lay-up, thick- Century the formula One car
which is why it is also known as a survival cell. ness and direction. In CART u··a S a complex carbon·jibr"
If t he c hassis is to perform these functions it must we and Lola worked out t he composite missile of immense
be extremely strong and robust, with very high composite side of the regula- strength and great structural
torsional rigidity. If it isn't, all of the loads that the tions in conjunction with rigidity anti i"lI'grity. This Is
suspension feeds into it will not be relayed faithfully Kirk Russell from CART. the 1t7l1imrtS f'lV21. (Piol a)
to the d river, and in turn he will be unable to relay Records are mandatory for
them to the team. There are few things worse t han a each chassis. Drawings, curing times etc. Ju st like
flexing chassis for misleading engineers into chasing aircraft. It 's actually a bit like building a spaceframe,
other reasons for a car being off the pace. you know. You can localise strength then fill in bits

The development of the carbon-fibre composite here and there.'
monocoque chassis in 1980/8 1. by John Barnard and Berrisford also liked the repeatabil ity. ' In the old
his learn at McL1 ren, and Colin Chapman at Lotus, days you could make a set of eight aluminium wings,
revolutionised chassis manufacture. Composites took and there'd be 40% difference between the best and
chassis strength another giant leap forward from the the worst. Then we tried carbon-fibre and from then
strong honeycomb alum inium structures that h3d on wings have always been carbon-fibre. The drivers
superseded Chapman's o rigin31 sheet alumi nium immediately found that the cars would repeat. What-

'tub', which h3d itself suppl3nted the we lded t ube ever you dialled in to one c hassis wou ld st ay the same
spacefmme when it first appeared in 1962. But there when you dialled it into anot her.'
was (mother v31uable advantage; composites e lim in- These new design and construct ion philosophies did
ated t he need for complex internal strengthening box not alter the fundamental requirements of t he process:
structures, and t his faci litated narrower monocoques. commonsense, experience, knowledge and fla ir mixed
This prO\'ed very t imely as aerodynamic consider- with intelligence, and clear and logical t hinking. But
ations requ ired new shapes and the modular con- now methodology and the materials and the produc-

struction that composites permitted. Now, instead of t ion process have evolved. By its very nature, the
designing cars from the inside out, designers started modern Formu la O ne car is a complex confection
to design from the outside in. A team's aero- which requires an army of people to c reate.
dynam icists could outline the optimum sha pe they When it began constru ction of its new R24
required, and it was then up to t he chassis and engine cha ll enger for 2004, Ren3ult began the work in late
designers to package al l the necessary equipment October 2003, less than two weeks after the final race
within the smooth outer shel l. of the season. The same thing happened with the
One of the other most significa nt influences is the R26 after the team won the 2005 championship with
size of the fuel tank. [n 2003 the regulations were the R25.


Producing a new carbon-fibre monocoque does not By this st3ge, a little imaginat ion allows the O\'erall
happen automatically once its design has been sha pe of the monocoque to be determ ined, in its
finalised on the d rawi ng office computers. The three separ:lte parts: upper left and right, and the
production phase cannot afford to lea\'e anything to lower half.
ch3nce, and t he technology used in the workshops at The second stage of the process is the machining.
Ren3ult's Enstone he3dquarters is cutting-edge, The 'Two five-axis machines come into play,' expl:!ins
firs t st3ge of the process involves producing upper ope rations director John Mardle. These machines
3nd lower moulds which will enable the te3m, after work to a precision tolerance of O.OSmm, and pro-
the 13ying up of the c3rbon-fibre laminates, to gramming the chassis mach ining alone requires 40
produce the first chassis, hours' work. 'They are computer-controll ed, and
'The car begins life in the form of 50mm-thick grind and mill the epoxy assembly. At this stage, the
epoxy sheets,' explains Colin Watts, composites m::ain aim is to rough out the shape. Then, bit by bit.
manager at Enstone. The drawing office issues a very the tools used become more and more delicate, until
detai led plan which is then realised in the form of the result is almost perfect. After 160 hours' work,
resin p3tterns that reproduce the form of the part to what at the beginning of the process was a rough
be manufactured. T he technicians cut the epoxy by staircase of pi led-up epoxy sheets has become a 90'~
hand ::according to the designs provided, ::and place accurate representation of the fi nal result.'
t he sheets side by side. They are then glued together, Now it is time for the elbow grease. The moulds
with two meta l ste ms run ning through t hem for t he monocoque are produced from these final
vertically to ensure they remain fixed in place, This
whole ::assembly is pl::aced in a big plastic bag, we &/ow ""d righl: Th e lubular shaped sheet aluminium
extract t he air, ::and then cook it in what is called an sp(lCeframe c/ul$sishlld nwnocoque which has I,tldt,
::autoclave at ::a pressure of l OOpsi. When the resin has lmlely been supe~seded by s l~englh for superim
com pleted this process, the whole assembly is as 1964, mltl the majority of lightness and rilidily.
solid ::as a rock.' teams .elied 0" Ihe bathlub- (~

TilE serENe!: OF FORMULA ONE OEsrG'" 49
126 C


126 C2
p:ltlerns, so the surfaces need to be mill imetre ferra,i's 126C lind 126Cl lIew ill 1981. u-llell a basic
perfect; the tiniest defect would be replicated on the chtusis "'ere tl CQmbinlllion space{rame lI'as clad ill
six chassis produced during the year, and could cause of Itrry oM (Inti relafil-ely aluminium pallels. (I'iola)
a serious delay in the build of the new car. 'When
we recei\'e the fin ished resin assembly. we then precision job. By the time the process reaches the
need to prepare it for taking the moulds,' explains st:lge of taking moulds, the team possesses :l ch:lssis
Watts. 'We use a very fine sandpaper to remove thc p:lttern :lCCUr:lte to 0.05 mm. The following stage is
last traces of the machining. paint the part black and much more complicated as we need to decide how
then apply a high-shine polish. For some parts, the moulds will be produced,' says W:ltts. 'Some
however, we coat the resin in a very low-friction l:lrge components, or those with very complex
material instead, a little like you find on non-stick surfaces, for example, require more than one section
frying pans!' mould.' A monocoque, for example, requires six
At this point, the three p:lrts of th e monocoque arc different sections to produce the two moulds; four
rcady for the moulds to be taken, which is another for the upper and two for the lower.



Above: /Jy 'he mid 70s most ,/rflssis, an,llIy 'he (!mf of lhe
reamsfavou.ed the by nou' decfllfe a/umlnium
con""ntiona/ fully-dad honeycomb hall also /,ee n
aluminium mQnOC()(jue incorporated. (Pio l~ )

Once the p:lttern has been finished, painted and of the process. After they have cooled, the moulds
covered wit h a mould release agent, the Renault are then carefu lly removed from the patterns. The
engineers cover each surface with sheets of paper cut resin pattern now has no function, and is destroyed.
to produce templates. Th e~e will then serve as As for the moulds, they are machi ned to sand off the
patterns fo r t he composites department in order that sharp exterior edges. They are subsequently used
ident ical sheets of carbon can be cut. To the throughout the season to produce new chassis.
uninitiated, the raw carbon-fibre has the consistency Renault produces two sets of moulds for each
of liquorice. 'The material we use is a type of carbon- monocoque, allowing the team to produce multiple
fibre that is produced in big sheets. T hey are stored chassis in parallel.
frozen, at a temperature of _18°C. The material In order to streamline the forthcoming build
includes a high resin content to ensure t hat t he process and optim ise reliability, Re nault c reates a fu ll-
surfaces of the moulds are completely smooth.' scale ch:lssis. Ian Pearce is in charge of sub-assembly
These cut pieces of carbon are then placed carefully operations, and oversees each stage of t he process as
on the resin pattern. t he tea m builds full-scale facsimi les o f t he
Once the sheets of carbon have been put in place, mechanical components that wil l eventua ll y form the
the whole is then put into a large plastic bag, from new car. 'We reproduce absolutely every element of
which the air is subsequently extracted to form a the car apart from the wishbones, bodywork and fuel
vacuum . This assembly is then taken to the autoclave system. We use a variety of different materials:
- a gia nt oven - where it is cured under high pressure carbon-fibre, wood, metal and even stereo-
of around 100psi. Nuts and bolts are inserted into lithographic resin models, which account for about
each side of the mould, in order to ensure they can be half t he parts. Each piece is :I 100%-accurat e dupli-
adj usted t9 perfection during the subsequent st ages cate of the real t hing.'


bfl and bdou': I'/a plfJced tvgether, end IV end, that the manufacturing tolerances have to be
compuler-ait/ed manUfaCIUf'/! Iv fo~m the basic shape of Ihe incredibly precise.' The dummy monocoque comes
a specific nrmrbe~ of cmu monocvque chassis. from the same moulds that are used to build the race
JUI/vns are Cioll vul and Ihen (Renault FI) cars and are identical except that a different grade of
carbon is used. This is easier to work with and thus
This process means the team doesn't have to use saves a lillie time.
its first pukka monocoque for prototyping work, but Once the dummy monocoque is ready, it is placed
can instead free it up to be prepared immedi3tely for on a four-sided nat bed to serve as a 'zero' reference
track testing. 'We build a mock-up for a whole host of point. All the subsequent dr:l\vings that emerge from
reasons,' Pearce says. 'First of all, we need to know the design department will be based around this. The
that all the components fit together perfectly. Once most important thing is to get the lower part of the
we've done that, we can cut all the cables and pipe- chassis ready. This is where the majority of com-
work to the right length. Components such as these ponents are housed because that optimises weight
often take a long time to manufacture and it 's vital to distribution. As parts arrive the team fits them to-
make sure our measurements are accur3te. There is gether in turn. The second stage involves mounting
so little physical space to accommodate all the parts the engine to the lower part of the monocoque.


In amn"k form, this is how
Ihe rompUler cut·oul cron
sections are glued logelher 10
form Ihe initial chassis buclr.

When the upper part of the chassis is ready, the

assemblers t3ke C3re not to glue it to the lower half
immediately. That way, they can take the monocoque
apart whenever necessa ry to make sure that
everything lines up correctly.
Despite all the cutting-edge technology used in
Formula One, measurements can sometimes be
slight ly wrong - albeit rarely. The use of a mock-up
allows such problems to be eradicated as and when
they occur. The drivers make use of the replica tub,
too, to fine-tune the shape of their seat and its
position wi thin the cockpit. The team's ch ief
mechanic keeps a dose eye on progress, too, to make Righi: Once Ihe ,~ec li()n,t are final shape of Ihe buck
sure that certain parts won't be t oo difficult to rC3ch, joinel/ logelhe. Ihey II.e u,hich Ihe new chl,s5;s
shou ld they need to be replaced in a hurry during the machllle/ilo Ihe ,nlllJlJlh will be manufactu.ed.
course of a race weekend. The mock-up is usually cO/llml'S 111111 mirror Ihe (RCI13UIt 1'1)

ready about one month before the first race chassis. In Above and rlgl.l: O nce Ihe ,aken {rom il. 'fhe actual
lhe case of the Renault mock-up, however, it remains original buck hilS burr fully chassis ""illtherr be mllde
in service throughout the season so that development p,eparefl. female m(Julils au {rom these. (Re"ault FI)
parts destined for the new car can be gauged for
accuracy. Once the moulds and templates have been Once this has happened, the software then collects
produced, the production of the chassis proper begins together all the parts to be produced from a
in the operating theatre- like atmosphere of the particular material, and organises them as efficiently
composites department. as possible. One thing that can never be changed,
A Formula One chassis is not simply composed of though, is the orientation of material when it is cut;
one type of material; up to five different types go into the fibres must run in a specific direction according
producing the finished article, including carbon-fibre, to the forces to which the part is subjected. The
resins, and aluminium honeycomb. The first step in collection of P3rts is called a 'marker', and once this
cutting the c3rbon-fibre is to transfer the digitised is ready, the machine can begin cutting. For the upper
files of each part to the Lectra cutting machines. part of the chassis, Renault cuts up to 500 different

shapes which must then be laid up in the mou ld. roll hoop, require more material to cope with the
Cutting all the markers for this part of the chassis forces involved. During the preparation of the skins,
takes between two and three hours. the plies are cooked under pressure in the autoclaves
The chassis itself is composed of three layers: the in order to 'de-bu lk' them, and squeeze the layers of
outer skin, the core (\Od the inner skin, in a sandwich material together. Once the skin is finished, it is then
structure. The outer skin comprises between 150 and cured in the 3utocl3ve before the core and inner skins
200 plies, or cut shapes of carbon-fibre. The mould is are added.
assembled, and the procedure of laying up the plies Throughout the laying-up stage of chassis produc-
begins according to the drawings received from the tion, in the composites clean room, the autoclaves
design office. Extremely ca reful attention is paid to have a number of different uses. They come into pl3Y
the orientation of these pieces. Different types of for what 3re termed 'de-bulks' and also the 'cure'
carbon-fibre are applied in layers, and the amounts of itself. An autoclave is, essenti311y, a big pressurised
material vary according to the location on the chassis; oven in which the ca rbon-fibre is 'cooked'. The con-
certoin key areas, such as the engine mounts or the stnlction of the ch3ssis proceeds in stages, laying up


the different cuts of carbon-fibre, and the autoclaves MOSI mo{le~n monl)C~/ues Right! Once 'he moulds have
have a vital role to play at each stage. Parts are UTe buill using lu'(.l female been p,oJueed, the
'cooked' at different temperatures and different pres· "wuMs, in ...hieh Ihe lu'(.l me/kulous laying.up of
sures in a vaCuum, to extract any air from the material. hull/es of Ihe ehassis are Ihe eha,uis "'eave Can
For every part that goes into the autoclave, the process laill·up prior 10 being eommence within t/,em.
is the same. The carbon-fibre laid up in the mould bond/ill logillher. (riola) (Renault 1'1)
must be covered in a breathable plastic layer, to allow
the air to eSCape. This is then covered in a breather Once the final Cllfe has been completed, and the
fabric, before being placed in a nylon bag which goes mould cracked apart to reveal the final part, the
into the oven where vacuum hoses are attached to it. upper lind lowe c chassis parts undergo final
The two principal processes with the autoclave are machining. The two halves ace mounted in purpose-
t he de-bulk and the cure. The de-bulk is used to bui lt jigs (in Renault's case on a Huron machine), and
compact and compress the material. The key factor is holes ilce machined through the carbon-fibre and into
not to go as filr as with a cure, which is designed to the various metal inserts for suspension pick-ups or
produce the finished, ' hard' material. With the de- engine moun ts. Further work on a large JOBS
bulk, therefore, lower temperatures are used to get mach ine allows detai li ng such as the obligato!),
the resin to t he point where it nows and compacts the camera mounting position, or areas around the fuel
materiill down in the mould. For each skin of the fi ller to be completed, as well as the internal profiles
chassis, two or three de-bulks might be necessary of the chassis. Once this has been done, the two
before the plies are ready for t he cure. The latter is halves arc ready to be bonded together. The chassis is
the process during wh ich the carbon-fibre acquires its now vi rt ually fin ished.
strength and stiffness. Typically, for t he fi rst cure of Machin ing the suspension pick-up points and
the chassis, it will go into the autoclave fo r three to systems mounti ng points requires absolute precision,
four hours, at up to ISO°C under a pressure of around so that the process can be repeated from chassis to
loopsi. That pressure is then increased steadi ly as chassis with 100% accu racy and confidence. [t takes
temperature rises, but the exact point at which this is around three weeks on the protot ype chassis, but
done is each team's closely-guarded secret as it can about a week per chassis subsequently.
realise a competitive advantage in t he chassis' per- In designing and producing the chassis, designers
formance. Cures are run for the core and the inner must const antly balance the connicting demands of
skin as well, but at lower pressures. weight and stiffness. The thicker the sandwich, the

stiffer the chassis, but it is also heavier; a thinner core Above and righl: Al " ... r/ou$ under pressure ill olle of
brings advantages in terms of weight, but will fl ex slages during 'he laying up Ihese giallt aulae/aI'es ((JilOI'e

more. Controls are stringent: the sides of the chass is pwcess, the , .... h,m-jihre mill right). (sutton·
structure mllst be homologated with the F[A. Teams chassis is speci...I1y 'cooked' and Renault PI )
produce a sample of t he chassis construction, whic h
is then sent away and tested with an impact As will be clea r in all aspects of Formul::l One
equivalent to having the nose of another car hit the design and construction, that kind of attention to
chassis. Once this construction has passed the detail makes the difference.
strengt h test, it is then frozen for the season. Not many of the men and wome n who manu-
During the winter, Re nau lt's composites depart- facture these works of hi-tech art wou ld ever want to
ment works night and day, literally, to produce the witness the next stage of the development process,
chassis. 'We have ten dedicated chassis laminators on when a complete chassis is put through the FIA's
day- and night-shifts,' explains Watts. 'We have two va rious mandatory crash tests (see page 65), which
upper moulds and two lower moulds in the clean are intended to provide the utmost means of
room at anyone time, and lay up two chassis simul- safeguarding the drivers in the event of foreseeable
t:meously.' Although the chassis may require the accidents. Most are conducted, under F[A super-
greatest manpower, it is actually an exception to how vision, at t he Cranfield Impact Centre in Bedford-
the composites department usually works. 'For sh ire, though overseas teams may specify more local
almost all other components, a single technician will sites of similar standard. These test s are rigorous
produce the enti re part from start to fi nish. [t is not in the extreme, but since t hey were introduced in
the most efficient method, but our system is 1985 they have been instrumental in saving lives and
optimised for producing t he best quality part. It saving drivers from serious injury. They are olle of the
improves consistency, and also gives the technicians a least-touted success stories of modern Formu la One
real pride in their work.' technology.



ufl lOp: 1'IIe bare carbo n-
fibre cumposlle nWnocoq"e
chassis - evell Ihis Iwo-,~earer
- is lin imposing piece of
equipmelll, and Can be lifled
by one man.

Lefl bOlwm: A lordan

.hassis, "'lllIllIe ,enlral
fuu/nge slm in carbon &lack.
is readiell for ilS manda/ory

flA crash ' eS I.
(Sullon.imag~,com )

Rigllt allli below: A group

indulling H.olllnd
Bruptseraede, Gerllard
Berger. l'rofessor Sid Italkins
and Cllar/ie Whiling reodies

, a fu/ly.i nstrumented cllassis

for ils crasll test,



RighI: The fIA has inlro- become so enclosed Ihal Ihey
,luce,/ a mandalary lemplale mighl '101 be able 10 evaCUllle
for Ihe cockpit opening on all il wilhin Ihe slipulated five
Formulll One chmuis, 10 seconds in the event of lin
enSU re Ihlll ,/ril'erll do '101 accident. (Piola)


The Leat-llesigned removable

setll ill noll' II/ro man,lalary,
thru enabling me,l/cs 10
remove a dril'er u'lthout th e
/teed /0 ,/isll"b his lH}s ilion
in the even' of tin lice/de .. ,.
This wuld be crue/1I1 if the
driver has suffered btlck
injuries. (Pial;!)

FIA Formula One
structure crash
testing - 1997
The mandatory chassis structure crash testing
introduced by the FIA dales back to 1985, and consists
of the following stringent tests:

TEST 1 • An impact test against a solid barrier

~ntroduced in 1985).
This is the head-on collision, the most nerve-
wracking for the designer since failure can compromise
the entire structure. The purpose is to ensure that
the car can adequately protect the driver's ankles
and legs.

Test structure: Nose box attached to a complete survival


Impact speed: 12 metres per second.

Mass: 7aOkg.

Deformation: Umited to the nose box and no damage to

the fixings of the extinguishers or seat belts. Driver's
feet have to be at least 30cm from the front of the
survival cell.

Max mean g: 25

Conditions: Full fire extinguishers fiUed. Fuel tank filled

with water.
Dummy, weighing 75kg, must be fitted with seat belts
fastened. During the impact deceleration in the chest of
the dummy must not exceed 60g for more than 3 milli-

TEST 2 • A static load test on the top of the main roll

structure (introduced in 1991)_ Some idea (){ fhe unpieasanfneS5 o{ fhe nose-impact crash fest
This is designed to assess the ability of the car to can be gleaned {rom fhese phofOs, buf Ihere is no queSfioning
withstand inversion without its roll-over hoop distorting fhe effeClivenen o{ fhe I'IA'$ sa{efY camptlign Over Ihe year.f.
or breaking under load. (John T"wII)cnd)


Test structure: Main roll structure attached to a Test structure: Nose box attached to a complete
complete survival cell. survival cell.
Test load: 72.08kN, which corresponds to a combined
load of 57.39kN vertically, 42.0SkN longitudinally and Test load: 40kN at a point 55cm in front of the front
11.48kN lateraJly. wheel axis.

Deformation: No greater than 50mm measured along Time: Test load must be held for 30sec.
the loading axis and no failure more than 100mm below
the top of the structure measured vertically. Deformation: No fa ilure of the structure or of any
attachment between the nose box and the survival cell .

TEST 3 • A static load test on the side of the nose

(introduced in 1990). TEST 4 • A static load test on both sides of the survival
This is also known as the 'push-off test', to make sure cell (introduced in 1992).
that the nose, with its energy-absorbing deformable This is the 'crush' or 'squeeze' test, and is designed
structure, remains intact during a glancing type of blow, to ensure that the monocoque chassis will provide
as if the car has struck a barrier at a relatively shallow adequate protection against side impact. The tests are
angle. carried out at various points along the length of the


chassIs. (Gary Anderson tells the story of Jordan Test load: 25kN on the first survival cell, 20kN on all the
mechanics driving to Silverstone one morning and subsequent ooes.
coming across a damaged racing car monocoque
lying in a hedge. It was Fl sized, and it transpired Test method: A pad measuring 10cm x 30cm is placed
that it was the Life - nee First - chassis from 1990 against both sides of the survival cell and the load
which, having failed its crush test, had simply been applied.
discarded I)
Position: A vertical plane passing through a point mid-way
Test structure: Every complete survival cell. between the front wheel axis and the front roll structure.
All survival cells must be produced in an identical
condition in order that their weights may be compared. Time: Test load must be held for 30sec.
The first is weighed and all subsequent units must be
within 5% of the initial weight. Deformation: No permanent deformation greater than
lmm after the load has been removed. Furthermore. on
all subsequent survival cells, the total displacement
l..~ff tilllt
below: Most cars lise delJius sut" as Ihill horiwnlll/ across the inner surfaces must be no greater than 120%
ulIuJr's"n (llIlh~ lIit1e-impact inlrus/on Slructure. Thill is from of the displacement measured on the first survival cell
a illf1iams nl'2". (Au.hor) at 20kN.

TIlE SC I [I\C [ OF f O RM U L A O:'>lE D ESI GN 67

In artu'Orirr, tlris is tire ( ru,'!1r stru( ture employed by Williams
to r/;!~' is t side impacts during the FlA's man,iatory squeeze
test , (Pi ol ~ )

TEST 5 • A static load test on both sides of the survival Deformation: Maximum displacement of 20mm and no
cell (introduced in 1988). permanent deformation greater than 1mm after the load
This is another part of the 'squeeze' test, carried out has been removed.
at driver hip level.

Test structure: Every complete survival cell. TEST 6 • A static load test on both sides of the survival
All survival cells must be produced in an identical cell (introduced in 1988).
condition in order that their weights may be compared. ThiS is another part of the 'squeeze' test.
The first is weighed and all subsequent units must be
within 5% of the initial weight. Test structure: Every complete survival cell.
All survivat cells must be produced in an identical
Test load: 30kN . condition in order that their weights may be compared.
The first is weighed and all subsequent units must be
Test method: A pad measuring 20cm diameter is placed within 5% of the initial weight.
against both sides of the survival cell and the load
applied. Test load: 25kN on the first survival cell, 20kN on all
subsequent ones.
Position: A vertical plane passing through the anchorage
point of the lap seat belts. Test method: A pad measuring 10cm x 30cm is placed
against both sides of the survival cell and the load
Time: Test load must be held for 30sec. applied,

PoSition: A vertical plane passing through the centre of Test structure: Every complete survival cell.
area of the fuel tank side. All survival cells must be produced in an identical
condition in order that their weights may be compared.
Time: Test load must be held for 30sec. The first is weighed and all subsequent units must be
within 5% of the initial weight.
Deformation: No permanent deformation greater than
lmm after the load has been removed. Furthermore, on Test load: 12.5kN on the first survival cell, 10kN on all
all subsequent survival cells, the total displacement subsequent ones.
across the inner surfaces must be no greater than
120% of the displacement measured on the first Test method: A pad measuring 20cm in diameter is
survival cell at 20kN. placed against the underside of the fuel tank floor and
the load applied.

TEST 7 • A static load on both sides of the survival cell

~ntroduced in 1991).
This is another part of the 'squeeze' test, which T"hr reu' crash SlruClur~ is Ih~ black cu.bon element in Ih~
assesses the ability of the chassis to withstand an lou'l!r parI of the phOlog.apl.. II i$ also par' of the rear·wing
impact on the underside. moun,j"g JyJlem. (Author)

TI~ E SC I El\'CE OF FORMULA O:"lE O ES I G:--1 69

The ffA's str ingent crash lest mles have uru/ouhledly litllled across the inner surfaces must be no greater than
many lives. (Piola) 120% of the displacement measured on the first
survival cell at 10kN.
Position: A vertical plane passing through the centre of
the area of the fuel tank floor.
TeST 8 • A static load test on both sides of the survival
Time: Test load must be held for 3Osec. cell (introduced in 1991).
This is another part of the 'squeeze' test, carried out
Deformation: No permanent deformation greater than at the fronl bulkhead level.
O.5mm after the load has been removed. Furthermore,
on all subsequent survival celis, the total displacement Test structure: Every complete survival cell.

Test load: 20kN. Deformation: All deformation must be limited to the
impact absorbing structure.
Test method: A pad measuring 1Oem x 30em is placed No damage to the survival cell is permissible.
against both sides of the survival cell and the load
applied. Average deceleration must not exceed 10g.

Position: A vertical plane passing through the front

wheel axis. TEST 11 • A static load test on each side of the cockpit
rim (introduced in 1996). Another 'squeeze' test to
Time: Test load must be held for 30sec. assess integrity of the cockpit opening.

Deformation: No structural failure of the inner skins of Test structure: All survival cells must be produced in an
the survival cell. identical condition in order that their weights may be
compared. The first is weighed and ali subsequent units
must be within 5% of the initial weight.
TEST 9 • A static load test on both sides of the survival
cell ~ntroduced in 1991). Test load: 10kN on the first survival cell, BkN on all
This is another part of the 'squeeze' test. subsequent ones.

Test structure: Every complete survival cell. Test method: A pad measuring lOem in diameter is
placed against each side of the cockpit rim.
Test load: 20kN.
PositIon: 200mm forward of the rear edge of the cockpit
Test method: A pad measuring 10cm x 30em is placed entry template.
against both sides of the survival cell and the load
applied. Time: Test load must be held for 30sec.

Position: A vertical plane passing through the front Deformation: No permanent deformation greater than
wheel axis and the seat belt lap strap fixings. 1mm after the load has been removed. Furthermore, on
all subsequent survival cel ls, the total displacement
Time: Test load must be held for 30sec. across the inner surfaces must be no greater than 120%
of the displacement measured on the first survival cell
Deformation: No structural failure of the inner skins of at 8kN.
the survival cell.

TEST 12 • An impact test against a solid barrier

TEST 10 • An impact test against a solid barrier (introduced in 1997).
Ontroduced in 1995 and upgraded for 1998). The rear-end equivalent of the head-on crash test.
This is designed to assess ability to withstand side
impacts. Test structure: Rear impact absorbing structure attached
to the gearbox.
Test structure: Side impact absort>lng structure attached
to both sides of a complete survival cell. Impact speed: 12 metres per second.

Test load: 7 milliseconds. Mass: 780kg.

Mass: 780kg. Deformation: All deformation must be limited to the area

behind the rear wheel centre line.
Position: 525mm forward of the rear edge of the cockpit
entry template. Average deceleration must not exceed 35g and the
peak must not exceed 60g for more than 3 milliseconds.


Air power

he engine is the heart of a racing car, but notable success were Yarnah3 and Lamborghini in the
where the human heart pumps blood, this 'SOs.
mechanical heart primarily pumps air. As a On the induction stroke the camshaft opens the
general rule, and discounting t he driver, relevant inlet valves so the cylinder draws in t he air
the engine accounts for 15%, the chassis SO% and the :and fuel mixture. As the piston re3ched it s lowest
lyres 35% of the car's overall performance. point, bottom dead centre, it begins the second
In the past , for example when Lotus and Williams stroke, the compression stroke. Now the c3msh3ft
took quantum leaps forward as they harnessed ground closes the valves so that the rising piston compresses
effect in the late '70s and the early '80s respectively, the air/fuel mixture and heats it up. The rat io by
it was possible for an underpowered car to beat one which this mixture is compressed - the compression
with:) morc powerful engine if it could generate sign- ratio - is one of the keys to engine power. In current
ificantly more grip. But when all of the major players cngines it is usually not less than 14: 1. As the piston
had powerful turboc h'lrged engi nes and broadly reaches the top of its stroke, known as top dead
similar aerodynamics by the late '80s, this possibility centre, the ignition system triggers electric detonation
was reduced significantly. Now, whcn cars are so via the spark plug, thus igniting t he air/ fuel mixture.
closely matched technicaUy because of even tighter The resultant explosion drives the piston b3Ck down
regulations, it is almost impossible for a car with a the cylinder on the third stroke, the power stroke.
really underpowered engine to make up with superior The propagation of the llame and the efficiency with
grip what it lacks in sheer grunt over the full course of which all of the mixture is burned in the cylinder is
a season. There are, however, always exceptions to another determinant of engine power. When the
rules. In 2003 Renault's wide-angle VIO was adjudged piston reaches bottom dead centre it rises 3gain, this
to be anything up to I OObhp down on BMW's narrow- t ime wit h the exhaust valves opened by the exhaust
angle engine, yet Fernando Alonso was able to exploit camshaft so that the burned mixture can be
the handling advantage conferred by his power unit's exhausted from t he cylinder.
lower cent re of gravity (among other things) to win The exhaust pipe carries it Opposile: ComfUlCl lIntl
the Hungarian Grand Prix. away 3nd expels it into the power{ul. 8MW was
All Formula One engines are four strokes that atmosphere. This is another generally ad;utlged /0 have
operate on the Otto cycle. As most readers will know, 3rea in which efficiency is a the strongest pou'e r unit
this is how they work. Pistons run in the cylinders, key to horsepower, so modern {rom ZOOI 10 Z003. (l'iol~l)
which themselves are located in the engine block or r3cing engines usc 3 single
crankcase. The pistons arc connected at their lower ex h3ust pipe per cy linder wh ic h then mates further
end to a crankshaft, which runs the length of the down its length with 3 m3xim um of t hree others.
crankcase and is connect ed via gears to four camshafts, This is 3 cont inuous process when the engi ne is
which are mounted in separate cylinder heads located runni ng and occurs at differing times in every
atop each cylinder bank. T he re are two camshafts per cylinder in a stage known as the fi ring order. TIle
bank of cylinders; one operating inlet valves the other order in which each individual cylinde r fires is
exhausts. Ignition timing and valve timing systems are designed to c reate the smoothest-running engi ne
carefully designed to make sure that valves open and possible. Generally 12-cylinders run smoother t han
close at the right times, and that spark plugs igni te the eights, which tend to vibrate somewhat , :lnd th3t'5
airlfuel mixture at precisely the right time. another reason why the V lOis a good compromise.
On the induction stroke the descending pi~ton The drive which all this action geneT3tes is t:lken
draws air and fuel into the cylinder. The air and fuel off the back of the cra nkshaft, from which the engine
are mixed in what is known as the st oichiometric is connected t o the drivertr3i n. (See Chapter 5)
ratio, 14 parts air to one part fue l. Current engines use Some 63% of the com ponents are made of
four valves per cylinder, two inlet and two exhaust. aluminium . The cylinder heads, t he crankcase, the
These are more efficient and therefore generate sump, the cam covers, the pistons and sundries such
greater power than two valves per cylinder, which had as water pump casings are all cast in the material.
been superseded in all Formula One applications by Steel accounts for almost 30%, for the long lead-time
the '70s. Under the current regulations a maximum of th ings such as the crankshaft, the camshafts which :lre
five va lves per cyl inder are 31l0wed, three inlet, two case-hardened, and the timing gea rs. Titanium is a
exhaust. Among those who tri ed those without very lightweight but expensive metal that accounts for


5% of the mix and is used for components such as the
connecting rods, the valves and sundry fasteners.
Magnesium, another lightweight material, is cast in
smaller amounts for sundry housings. Carbon-fibre is
also used to a small extent, for items such as the
overhead air box through which air is ducted into the
intakes, and the inlet trumpets and their carrier.
One material that may no longer be used is
aluminium beryllium, which was very strong and
lightweight but to which one major team objected
and sought to have banned on the somewhat specious
grounds of expense, That is thought to be one reason
why Mercedes-Benz lost some of the domination its
engines enjoyed in the late '90s,
Ceramics were once predicted to be the next big
step forward in engine materials technology, but there
seems less likelihood of that now. Nor will there be
Abo~: Typical o{ the oval pistons, another development of the '80s and
mode,n formula One engine '90s which has been banned from Formula One
ill the pillIOn u'ilh lIery engine specifications by the FlA.
IIhallow lIideli and cut-oul!! Former Mercedes-Benz engine guru Mario lllien
on the crou'n 10 {aeilitnte believed that improvements in materials technology
cleurance {o, the IIllilleli. played a key role in enhancing cngine performance.
(I>,ola) 'Today you get much better aluminiums and casting


techniques 3re much better. Aluminium has better had been the norm, and Hond3's ingenious V I2 the
properties 3nd so do the tit3nillms. You 31so get better exception, engine designers explored various solu-
finishing techniques 3nd coatings. It's a lot of things in tions to the need to generate high power 3nd torque
those are3S that have improved, and because of that figures. While Repco and Ford opted for V8s, Honda,
you h3ve greater opportunities to make lighter Ferrari, Maserati, Weslake and Matra all went with
components to do the same jobs that heavier the V12. BRM joined them after a disastrous
components used to.' flirtation with a 16-cylinder engine which effectively
Up until 2005, the Formula One regulations comprised two of its [.S-litre V8s with the vee 3ngle
stipulated th:1t engines must be normally aspirated (not opened out to :1 horizont:llly-opposed or 'flat' 180~
turbocharged), h:1ve a maximum cubic capacity of three angle, mounted one atop the other.
litres, must run on what is effectively pump petrol (not In the '70s Renault began to exploit :1 loophole that
the exotic toluene-boosted brews once popular in the permitted turbocharged or supercharged engines of
Eighties) 3nd may have a maximum of ten cylinders. 1.5 litres. These used a crnnkshaft-mounted pump
Since 2006, the rules have catered for 2.4-litre V8s, (the supercharger) or an exhaust-mounted pump
with air-restricted VIOs allowed in special cases. (the turbocharger) to force-feed the engine its fuel
When the original three-litre Formula One W3S and air mixture, dramatically enhancing its power.
introduced for [966, replacing :l [.S-litre formula in Eventually such engines became tie rigueur until they
which straight four-cylinder, flat-six and V8 engines were outlawed for 1989 in favour of 3.5-litre
normally aspirated engines. Subsequently, to reduce
I.e!I: Precision engineering is Helou': BMW's prodUCfion speeds, in 1995, after the deaths the pre\-1ous year of
e!oe.yfhing. The 8MW cylinder Mock-based 1.5-lilre engine af Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna, the FIA
head below is a rau' casling; Ihll I;"ighlies u'as ,laminated mandated a new three-litre formula which persists to
above is Ih~ finished, by irs turbocharger this day. By then the VIO was :llmost ubiquitous, only
machined end f'TOtluc1. (1JM\\1 inslil//mion. (BMW) Ferrari sticking f:1ithfully to the V12. Though it was


__- 11,°-__
__- - 90° -_ _
80° _ __

Foil' vee· a"gll1~ JIIl.Vt been gravity. l'he ulitle, the vee· 72° and 112°, :lccording to the philosophy of the
tded In ,eeen' yt'o/ItJ: 71·, SOO, angle Ihe lowe, the te n"" of engine designer. In the P3St he had free rein, but in
90" (inti J J I", Overillying gravity, bill u,hen Rennuil the modern era he not only has to work very, very
rh em thus gives an I"dicotion tried 111 · il encountered closely with the chassis designer, but often has to
vf 'ht merits and (lemerits. problems Idln packaging and accede to the latter's wishes when it comes to
The nar'Qwer the engine the ",bra/ion. Cosu'O"h {ountl choosing vee angle and pac kaging the engine's
easier it is [0' the designer /0. the same wilh fUr 3ccessories. This is because everything about the
package within the , hassis, experimenral wide.angle packaging of the car's components is c ritical to its
bu' the higher ilJ untre 0./ IIngine. (I'iola) weight distribution, bal3nce and aerodynamics, and
therefore its overall on-track performance.
morc powerful it was longer :md heavier, used more Il ow much :l ir :l nd fuel :I n e ngine can pump, and
fucl, and its crankcase was so much longer that it was the c:l lorific value of t h:ll fuel mixture, are two
fundamentally Jess torsionally stiff. There were more arbiters of horsepower. Bu t both are rigidly con-
exhaust pipes to package, which was a significant trolled, the forme r by the capacity limit, the latter by
consideration from the point of view of packaging and the regu lation Imndating pump fuel of given calorific
excess heat in the engine bay, and the unit's inferior value. Thus the way to generate more horsepower in
heat characteristics - there W:lS greater frict ion and Formula One 3t present is to make the e ngine rev
therefore greater heat t o be rejected - necessitated ever faster and thus pump more quickly. Revs,
larger radiators, which in turn had a negative effect however, generate top-end power, and that is not all
on the aerodyn3mics bec3use they generated more of the story. Bottom-end and mid-range power are
drag. In the e nd, 311 of th3t was 3 high price to pay for just as important, because they inOuence a car's
slightly superior top-end power. In 1999 all the teams acceleration out of corners. This is another reason
agreed th3t the ri A could outlaw engines wit h more why eight and ten cylinders proved more popul3r
than ten cy linders, at le3st until t he existing than 12s in the past. Even when the latter were fitted
'Concorde Agreement' runs out at the end of 2007. w ith movable in let t ru mpets in an attempt to
The number of cylinders W3S once the subject of e nh3 nce low·speed power and torque, t he big m ulti-
debate in Formul3 One, but from 1995 to 2005 all cyli nder power units were still disadvantaged.
engines had ten cy linders arranged in vee formation . Nick Hayes, former engine gunl at Cosworth
It was the angle of the vee that varied, from between R3cing, e xplained the relative meri ts of the three

nt u'itllh of Iht 111° Rtnaull
i$ tv/tltnl ht~t, bU I w is Iht
.tnunkably low tngillt
htighl, (Piola)

conflgurations. ' In terms of more cylinders, 12 versus the bore/stroke ratio was, typically, 1.3: I for the
ten versus eight, in general more cylinders mean more Cosworth DFV. Today ratios of 2.25: I are the nonn,
valve area, so you can in theory get more airflow in an creating a large piston area thanks to an extremely
engine per revolution. More cylinders also tend to short stroke.
ha\'e lighter pieces for a given capacity, so you afe An eight-cylinder three-litre engine has a large
often able to run them to a higher rpm. And both of bore, which is good for generating power, and a short
those things mean more airflow, to which you put stroke, which is also good for boosting revs because
more ruel, and that means you get more base power. the piston has less distance to travel. An eight is also
But what you do is take off some things, too. More relat ively short and therefore easy to package, and
cy linders give you greater losses. Though you are produces very good torque. A 12 can generate greater
producing more indicated horsepower, because there top-end power because of all its little pistons
are more bits it takes more power to turn them all pumping up and down simu ltaneously, but historically
round, so in theory you get a situation where a 12 12s l:lcked torque in comparison to eights, even when
versus a ten, or a ten versus an eight, wi ll each Ferrari produced a legend:lry fl:lt-12 in 1970. When
respectively have more power but a lot more losses, he began design ing t he new norm:llly aspi r:lted engine
so that the actual brake horsepower number will be that Renault would use for 1989, Bernard Dudot
different. But t here is obviously a lot more to it, broke new ground by cre:lting the VIO. This was :l
because o f the losses. More cylinders are less compromise that h:lrnessed t he best aspects of an
efficient, so you have to use much more fuel. In the eight :lnd a 12. It promised good power and torque,
end you've got a lot of things going against more and W:lS more econom ical and shorter than a 12 and
cyli nders and only a few going for t hem.' h:ld fewer frictiona l losses, and could therefore be
The bore and stroke of an engine are also critica l. packaged well . Renault set a trend that has now been
The bore is the diameter of the cylinder (and hence adopted universally.
the piston) and the stroke is the distance that piston Prior to th:lt, on the 1986 version of its turbo-
must travel for each stroke. Generally speaking, the charged VG, Renault had broken more new ground
higher an engine ca n rev, the more power it can with its valve actuation system. Rather than relying
produce. This was not always the case, particularly on old-fashioned coil springs to close the valves, in
with V I2s in t he past, but modern improvements in 1954 Mercedes- Benz had introduced a mechanical
engine design and electronics have helped. In the past me:lns of overcoming valve bounce - when the valve


Renault pioneered pneulfllllic " 'ilhin Ihe lappel; 3 lire
"alve IIClulllion in lire '80s; and 4 the camshaft.
anti /1 is now ubiquitous. /n He/ow, I and 2 are the
lire dillgram on the left. I Is rese rvoirs, 3 Ihe interlinking
lire Plleulfuzlic Cl)nneclnr; 2 pne"malk lines, and <I Ihe
Ihe pmJU"'al/c reservo ir valve /l$.~emb/y. (I'iob)

was moving at such speed that the valve spring lost its three-litre racing engine might produce 450bhp - a
springiness and was no longer able to control the then impressive ISObhp per litre - with as much as
va lve accurately. Later Dudot developed somethi ng 600bhp as the ultimate target in years to come.
that achieved t he same effect but was lighter and Towards the end of the 3.S-litre formula in 1994,
even more effici ent. He employed compressed air Ferrari was generally reckoned to have the most
instead of the springs to dose the valves. Without powerfu l engine in racing, wit h 800bhp, bu t
fro il springs which were also prone to break if the Renault's VIO was close on 780 and t he sim ilar
driver abused the engine, the unit could rev far higher engines of Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot had around
wit hout the va lve gear losing efficiency, and therefore 770. The Ford Zetec R in Michael Schumacher's
develop greater horsepower. World Championship-winning Benelton developed a
Back in 1966 t he new three-litre Formula One was maximum of 7351740bhp, proving tho'll power W3S
billed as The Return To Power. None of the engines not e\·crything.
that ran in that first season truly generated the
400bhp that was the avowed aim, and the first unit RighI: Strmnillg in its Fenari's 2oo) 052 VIO
to bre3ch that figure was the 1967 Ford Cosworth e/egall(e IIn(/ ",iniscu/e size, /xn.'er unil (above) a.,,1
DFV V8 which pumped out a healthy 40Sbhp. It was Ihe /'orlllll/(1 01111 fmginll is (/ BMW's P83 . (sulton·
reasonab ly expected that with development the ,,'urk of IITI. These (Ire in13ges.(Orn/ AM\\')

THE SCI[!l.:CE Of fORMU L A O:'>lE DESIGi\; 79
Above; The modern fumudtl
One engi"e ctlJ1nOI be
(Jivorct(l {rom ilJ tll1CilJll'/e:s.
This i.s l'errtJ ,l", 1003 VIO,
du ·a,fed by ils '(lilialo'" and
011 fIInk. (I'iola)



Again. the liny Cosu'Vrlh CR

series VlO is completely
overshadowed by the hefty
radialOrs {lnd oil lank
lII~cessa,y 10 keep il (jilI1e.


80 £NGI~E
Such figures were regained under the new three-- Such figures place into even sharper perspective
litre formu la by the late '90s, when engines reached the fabulous reliability of modern Formula One cars.
around 17,OOOrpm, as had their 3.5-litre ancestors. By the end of the 2003 season, for example, Michael
When BMW re-entered Formula One in 2000 the Schumacher's Ferrari had lasted 38 Grands Prix
stakes were raised again. The German manufacturer's without a single mechanical failure.
2003 1'83 engine was generally adjudged to be the To give some insight into the gestation period of
most powerful in the formula, with 920bhp. It gener- the highly complex modern Formul a One
ated this at a whopping 19,200rpm, or a fearful 320 powerplant, BMW engineers began conceptua li sing
revs per second. Such figures boggle the imagination. the P83 in November and December 200 I, and the
Maximum horsepower isn't everything, however, design process began in January 2002 and was
even if it is the bit that most people want to know completed in May that year. Model construction at
about. Mario lllien disliked the tabloid focus on BMW's foundry in Landshut occupied from March to
outright power figures, and drew careful distinctions. May and component manufacture took from April
'If you take power, torque and drivability, [ would say through to July. Historically, complex components
that drivability is easily the most important thing,' he such as crankshafts have a long lead-time of around
said. 'Of course you need to have the top-end t hree months.
performance as well, but there are only two really fast Initial assembly of the prototype engine took place
circuits, Monza and Indianapolis where t he drivers are in July and the first bench test was conducted on the
at maximum speed for longer over a lap than anywhere last day of that month. The first phase of test and
else, where you really need it. Al l t he other tracks are development took the team through from August to
high downforce places where you really need to have a January 2003, with the fi rst in-car, on-track deploy-
very drivable torque band which is as even as you can ment taking place on 18 September 2002.
possibly get it. If you want quick lap times, that is the Final development to race readiness occupied from
real key and is therefore very important.' October to mid-February 2003, and further develop-
Axel Plasse. one of Renault Sport's t rack test ment occurred from mid-February to the fina l race of
engineers, held a simi lar view. 'We place significant the season :It Suzuka in October.
importance on the drivability of our engine, and In 2003 BMW Williams won the Monaco,
driver comfort. We arc not obsessed with engine European, French and German Grands Prix and
power. We endeavour to produce an engine which is challenged for the World C hampionship, and by
drivable in all conditions and which gives drivers no 4 September the 2004 1'84 V I 0 engine was already
reason for complaint. Our aim is to produce an engine undergoing its first track tests in preparation for the
which drivers Gin forget all :lbout. It is often said that new season.
an engine on its own cannot win a race, but that it can The whole subject of engine testing is an industry
lose one. An engine which puts out 10 or 20 extra on its own. 'Generally speaking, testing is a me:ms of
horsepower will not change a car's overall competi- validating a new dev('lopment or a new component,'
tiveness. However, an engine which fails does.' explained Axel Plasse. ·It is an indispensable phase of
To give some idea of the complexity of its baby, t he development process and rare indeed are the
BMW released more informat ion towards the end of fields of tech nology in which engineers can allow
that season than is expected in this day of super- t hemselves not to test.
secrecy in Formula One. 1,950 CAD drawings went 'Despite the importance of calculat ion work both
into creating the unit; were they printed out and laid with in teams and at Renault Sport, nothing can
end to end, t hey would have covered 1. 3 kilometres! replace testing. To be able to predict on paper what is
Idle speed was 4,OOOrpm, maximum race speed likely to work and wh:lt isn't has ('ffectively become
19,OOOrpm and it weighed less than 90kg. In an hour increasingly important, but testing is still essential.
of nat-out race runni ng it would ingest 1,995 cubic 'Although bench testing attempts to reproduce real
metres of air and the maximum piston acceleration conditions as closely as possible, it has its limits. A
was 10,ooOg. Piston speed peaked at 40 metres per Formula One car moves, turns and accelerates
second and averaged 25 metres per second, each one whereas an engine on the bench is fixed which means
accelerating from 0 to 100kph in a thousandth of :I that a whole host of situations C:lnnot b(' simulated.
second. The exhaust tempCf":lture reached 950°, the ' Having said that, the test bench remains a rigorous
air in the pneumatic lI:llve actuation system 250°. tool which is capable of determining, for eX:lmple,


I lowever, a bench test is a bit like a computt'f
inasmuch as it can only quantify parameters that art'
quantifiable. Some parameters - such as the charac-
teristics of a new type of fuel - are difficult to put
into figures in order to evaluate performance gaiM.
On the other hand, there are many sublecti\"('
considerations - such as drivability and response
which can only be judged by a driver. Track testing is
,m intermediate phase between bench testing and
race use. It's the final link in the chain before a part
or a new development can be raced.'
All engine manufacturers have access to highly
sophisticated testing equipment that can Simulate
conditions on the track. Renault, for example, ha~ a
three-phase system of engine testing that is u~ed
prior to the first track tests.
The first is the motored dynamometer. This IS
driven by electrical motors, and enables the
engineering team to test the accessories on the nt'\"l
engine, such as the different pumps. As soon as the
major components of the new engine are ready, thi~
equipment is also used to check that specific area\ 01
the powerplant are functioning correctly. As an
example, the engine block fitted solely with the
cylinder heads is tested to assess the distribution,
according to head of dyno testing, StephanI'
Rodriguez. 'Jn this configuration, the engine is n<1t
fired up; the electrical dyno permits us to che(k
certain technical solutions, or do short endurance
runs. The tests are designed to ensure that everything
is working correctly, and are therefore not
particularly severe.'
Once this phase has been completed, the second b
a visit to the thermal dyno.
This occurs around four weeks after the fim
phase, according to the arrival of the primary
components and the adjustments that need to IX"
made during installation. The engine \\111 then IX"
fired up for the first time. 'It is a pretty spt'cul
moment,' said Rodriguez. 'The first aim is to ensure
the engine starts! Then, we check and measure
dozens of parameters connected with the lubricatlOl
systems and temperatures. We also draw the fiN
power curves.' The first fire-up is alx)\"{' all to
Tht' f!,..hawlU of a H,\/IV PB4 ",eter '(J()m in Munich /(jAle reassure lhe engineers. At the beginning, the te~t i~
1'/0 glou, red hot as the unit to its maximum rell relatively undemanding; Renault's 2004 RS24 VIO
enginef!'s in the dynanw- lim;t af 19,f)()().pm. (IJ.\'I\V) (and all of its subsequent units) was thus analysed in
its tiniest details for an entire day. After th~t the
whether a partiLular engine is developing, say, three cngine begins its pukka development programme,
brake horsepower more than another. This is which is separated into two sections. The thermal
something which a driver is incapable of doing. test benches chase absolute performance, testing

82 L'\GI\1
engines with modified cylinder heads or valves, for T his way they can programme in the characterist ics
example. Specific components and the performance of different circuits, to provide empirical evaluation
of the engine are tested according to a number of of various configurations, based on data acquired in
precise parameters. Amongst this bewildering range previous races t here. The m<1jority of engine
of tests, only the parts which bring a significant development is thus done on the test benches,
performance gain are retai ned. From this point t hough the final work must always be completed in
onwards, t he three dynamic dynos at Viry-Chatillon t he fonn of track tests.
are running all day. T his ceaseless search for optimum rel iabil ity
The dynamic dyno is the final phase and is became even more crit ical in 2004 when new regula-
regarded as the ulti mat e torture chamber for an tions were introduced.
engine. Once new designs have demonst rated an In bygone days engines were simply plugged in and
acceptable level of perfo rmance on the thermal dyno out like light bulbs. If one broke, another went in.
they are taken to the full dynamic dyno. One tests 'The days have long gone when you might try and
the engine on its own; another tests both engine and make an engine work at t he track,' said former engine
gearbox. At this point t he ai m is to check t he engine's builder Brian Hart in the '90s. 'When an engine
reliability, so the load on it is steadily increased so arrives at t he circuit today it's like a set of tyres. You
that it gets a t horough workout. The most dema nd ing just put them in and take t hem out.'
circuit on the calendar is reproduced in its smallest At one stage there were even 'grenade' engines
details using the onboard te lemet ry from t he specifically for qualifying; short-life units t hat were
previous racing season and the engine must complete literally meant to produce fabulous horsepower
700km at qualifying speed before it is passed. 'The increments over t he normal race engines, for just
process then becomes a continual exchange between enough laps to get the driver a decent grid place.
the thermal dynos, which propose performance gains, The economic dimate, and a general tightening of
and the dynamic dynos, which check their reliability,' the regu lations for 2003, t ended to discourage such
said Rodriguez. ' It is a d ifficult ba1.:lnce to ach ieve; in units. However, there was a return to the sight of
developing the engine, we are constantly treading the engines being worked on in the paddock, as new rules
fine line between performance and reliability.' allowed teams to replace some items when t he caTS
Dudot, who returned to Formula One with were kept in JXtrc len"e after Satu rday afternoon's
Renault in 2003, said: 'You have so many tools to single-lap qualifying. On more than one occasion
control and check the engine and the running of the Mercedes-Benz received permission from the
car, but all these tools bring us so many questions, technica l stewards to replace suspect valves on Kimi
and you need new areas in which to work to find the Riiikkonen's engine.
answers. It is very interesting, but due to the fact t hat As an indication of the deve lopment process
you have lots of new questions, you also need to have during a racing yea r, BMW 's P83 powerplant
lots of new people to analyse and process all t he data underwent nearly 1,400 technica l modifications.
that you acquire. That is the reason why Formula From 2004 onwards, however, new regu lations
One teams are growing so much. demanded th<1t teams could only use a single engine
'Back in 1989, when Renault Sport began with its per car per race weekend, Any engine failure during
normally aspirated VIO, we had about 50% fewer that time wou ld automatically mean that the driver
perwnnel. I think that is the rat io for all the main whose car had to receive a replacement powerplant
teams. We generate so much data that you need all had t o drop ten places on the starting grid.
these extra people to go t hrough it.' The idea, though unpopular at first, was nothing
When they have been passed racewort hy, all new. Taking the wind out of the sails of critics who
engines are set up specif"ically for the next circuit on suggested that the FIA did nothing to try and conta in
the calendar, engineers ensuring beforehand that
things such as the fue l mapping are correct for a given Next sp read: Pa ckaging is a packaging the rea, end b
renue. All teams use their full or transient critical pa,t of fo,mula O ne pa , ticular ly importa nl. lIere
dynamometers for this work as well as reliability design, and since the engine a,e four "a r ia lions On a 1003
assessment. 'Vie can simu late race distances and ant/ t,a nsmissio n account fo , Iheme. from Fe rrari, ] '1}'OIlI,
certain conditions, as well as how well the engine such a s ignificant po ,tion of HAn lI ()nt/a and Jaguar.
picks up out of corners, its drivability,' said Illien. (jeM, i t f ,,/lou's Ihat (~ 1I11 0n ·i mag{!s . (o rn )



84 [;o.;CI)li

• •
-~ ---::...




Above; All forumla One ,a~1i ]op tighl; Cooling iii a "lId,1I RighI; Allention to detail is
use a;tbo](t$ 10 If'oop cold II;~ parI of e"gine perfor'''lInce. ,filallo p~eve"t o"e~hellti"g.
;"'0 Ihe e"gine. 1'he intake The lilg"i/ IImoun/ of /j,\-111' uses "'etal shr(Jllds
desigll lI"d shape lire critical hellt thaI mllli/ be diuipaled and insu/atlon material to
i" helping the engl"e 10 Iii evident from Ihe large lilze prolect its VIO fro", hellt
breathe ptOPlirly 11",1 ofjllst 01111 of this Williams's thllt '"" tum ;'$ exh"II,~ts rlld
tellerille maxl'"IIIII power. water alld oil tadialors. hOI 1II11h the IIlIgI'Je rU""/"1t
(AlI1hur) (Alilhor) III full revs. (Author)

costs, the FIA sought as long ago as 1993, at the height winning an advantage that way while possibly
of the arguments over the ban on electronic 'gizmos', depriving spectating fans of the sight of their cars and
to introduce a limit on the number of engines teams drivers. In extremis, the better·heeled teams might
could use during a season. The idea was that the same even consider building different life expectancy into
engine must remain in a car throughout an entire their engines depending on the circuit. Different
event subject to a maximum of 12 engines per team manufacturers would attach different 'Iife·times' to
per season. Use of the ~pare car would count as an v:lrious components, too, depending on the inherent
engine change, as would removal of the sump or the reliability of their powerplant. Another possibility was
cylinder heads. The smaller teams proposed a limit of that a team could have fresh short·life engines ready
six to eight engines per team per race meeting, to try for the race so that, when they swapped to them and
and counter the 'grenade' qualifying engines that were lost their ten grid places, they had a more potent
prevalent at the time. means of getting back up to the front of the field on
That part icular pliln was unworkable, and pre· Sunday afternoon.
d ictably everyone forgot about it. Until FIA president There was also the possibi lity that teams would
Max Mosley raised it again over the winter of 2002 develop 'quick change' engine installations, SO that in
when he and Bernie Ecdestone introduced swingeing the event of a chassis problem the entire rea r-end of
changes to spice up the series after that year's Ferrari the original race car could be removed and switched
domination. Mos ley talked then of three·race engines, to the waiting spare car, which would not be equipped
but Renault's Pa t rick Faure was among those who dis· with an engine of its own. BMW's Mario Theissen said
missed the idea of building 'tractor engines'. categorically that his team would not use such a ploy:
At that time a typical Formula One engine was 'It has not become more important and there have
designed to run a maximum 500kms prior to a been no developments in that direction on the
rebuild. Somet imes this wou ld mean scrapping FW26,' he said. But Ferrari engine director Paolo
cylinder heads, or even blocks, depending on how Martinelli said: 'For sure the engine will be different
deliberately marginal the design was. In 2003 BMW in 2004. It will lead to a significant reduction in costs,
produced 200 of its PS3 VIOs, and BMW Wi lliams which is necessary. The engi ne is the car now, not the
wou ld take ten to a race. Engines would usu:llly be chassis. There will be an impact on strategy, and we
changed after practice and qualifying, and each was c::lnnot discount qllick·change engines. And one
virtually priceless compared to the staple Cosworth important point is that we must use the dynos even
DFV which had begun its extraordinary career in more to test the engine via extended race simulations.
1967 at [7,500 a shot. That will save time developing the engine on the
For 2004 Mosley's reguliltion mandated that an track, when the team needs to focus more on setting
engine must be capable of covering at least SOOkm, or up the chassis and the aerodynamics.'
one Grand Prix weekend. The idea was to reduce costs The need to focus on longevity took some of the
but some argued that such a regulation would have the impetus out of advanced development projects
effect of increasing budgets as manufacturers sought believed to be underway at both Mercedes-Benz and
the best way to bulletproof their existing power units. Renault to save even more weight and lower the
This is easier said than done since it is quite dearly not centre of gravity further by doing away with the
just a matter of beefing everything up . There are some camshafts altoget her. Both companies were thought to
5,000 inter-dependent components in a Formu la One have embarked on research into engines where
engine, and changing one often has a deleterious effect complete valve actuation was via electronic solenoids.
on others unless they too are changed to cope. Time will tell what future this concept has.
Then t here was the matter of how much distance a In 2005 Mosley mandated engines that would last
team could expect to run during a Grand Prix two Grands Prix, and in practice the whole concept
weekend. Obviously those who took advantage of worked perfectly well and nobody really tried to do
running three test cars on a Friday would cover more anything silly that was against t he spirit of the rule. As
mileage and would therefore need a longer life long- costs and speeds rose early in the 21st Century,
life engine, which could put them at a disadvantage on however, he continued to seek further means of
race day. Equally, some teams might make the deciSion slowing t he cars down. One such method had already
to do less running during a weekend, in order to keep been mooted in 2004: reducing engine capacity again.
their engines as close as possible to 2003 specification, Yet again, change was in the air.


Oiling the wheels Cario, for instance, high-viscosity oil is supplied because
of the high loads imposed by the constant shifting
Friction and heat are the traditional enemies of between high-speed acceleration and braking, as that
Formula One engines, and as specific outputs have causes the temperatures In the engine to rise higher
again climbed closer to 1,OOObhp after the halcyon than normal.
1,400bhp days of the turbos, lubricants have had to Finding the ideal mixture is a lengthy process: the oils
change to keep pace. mixed in the computer are produced in small quantities
The baSIC function of the oil In an engine is not just to for testing purposes. If these are successful, the
lubricate metal-la-metal interfaces, but to take heat away lubricant has to be tested by the FIA to ensure that it
from sensitive spots. Engine oil must retain its properties complies with the regulations. Only thefl are larger
at all temperatures. It must not evaporate too quickly, quantities produced, which in turn are subject to
must protect against wear and, through so-called high- constant purity monitoring.
temperature viscosity, it must also ensure that all the The most important task for the oil engineers starts
components to be lubricated are continually bathed in the weekend of the race, when regular samples are
oil. The forces within an engine, as we have seen, are takefl for analysis after each session of practice. Using
simply so high that any failure in the lubrication very sophisticated X-ray equipment they can detect any metal
qUickly leads to failure in the engine. residue which makes its way into the oil, due to engine
Teams have specific oil supply contracts, and the and gearbox wear. This means that under certain
major players such as Castrol, Shell and Mobil use conditions engine damage can be avoided. Depending
synthetically made oil mixtures developed specifically for upon the oil's degree of impurity, the engineers can then
their engines. The fOffilulae for these are as closely make a decision on whether a part may have to be
guarded a secret as the bore and stroke measurements replaced straight away.
or tyre compound formulae. During the race computer telemetry further monitors
Interestingly, far from being the thick fluid one might the o il's perfoffilance, providing further notice of
expect, Formula One is low-viscosity and therefore impending problems.
flows like water. This is because oil that was too viscous Typically, in the course of a racing season an oil
would create drag and therefore have a harmful effect supplier will provide around 30,000 111res of engine oil
on the engine's all-important ability to rev. 'The lubricant and 3,000 litres of transmission oil, and at each race a
determines the so-called friction coeffiCient between the team will get through some 200 litres of the fOffil6f and
engine parts that slide over each other,' Dr David Hall, 75 lilres of the latter.
head of lubrication development at Castrol explains. 'The As important as the all is the fuel. This must also
lower it is, the easier and faster all the parts can move. comply wilh the FIA's regulations which make pump fuel
Therefore, low friction results in higher speeds, along mandatory. FOffilula One fuel is mixed in batches by
with lower friction loads on the components and a each supplier, who must then supply the FIA with a
reduction in fuel consumption.' 'fingerprint' for that batch. Even if a fuel matches the
The compromise between performance and reliability batch sample, jf it doesn't have the same fingerprint as
is crucial. An oil that is too thin can lead to premature that homologated for each race, it will be deemed illegal.
failures, partly because it does not dissipate heat as Naturally, fuel plays a crucial role in the efficieflCY of the
effectively as a thicker oil. But an oil that is too heavy not combustion process in an engine and thus in its overall
only restricts revs but actually adds to the car's overall power output, so the oil companies are continually
weight. An engine uses around ten litres of oil, of which introducing new fuels as a season progresses. A typical
seven are located in the crankcase and cylinder area. example was Shell introducing a new low-sulphur fuel
During testing, the engine oil is renewed on a daily for Ferrari at Indianapolis in 2003; this was a direcl
basis, and often oil company representatives will response to sporting director Jean Todt's call for every
experiment with oil levels and will take regular samples one of the team's partners to produce the maximum in
for laboratory analysis. the aftermath of the Hungarian Grand Prix, where
The optimum composition of lubricants is determined Ferrari's t itle chances hung in the balance. The success
with the aid of computers, with factors such as the of everyone's efforts ultimately enabled Ferrari to win a
characteristics of the track affecting the format for record fifth consecutive Constructors' World
specific events. At tight, tortuous tracks such as Monte Championship.


The VB engine

10p lef,: A "/lUI breed of 'lop righl: Renau/l's highly Sflll$Qn.Clearly visible here Above lefl: BMW P86 V8
powf!.pi"nl: This 1$ /Ionda's effective NS161.4·li,.e VB, is Ihe 90·,legree vee angle engine. (BMW 1'1)
RAS06E VS flnglne. ;nlruJuced '" meel Ihe neW manliare{ll,y Ihe FlA. Above righl: Toyota's RVX-06
(Iiondu G I' LId) regulation.f fur Ihe 1006 (~ul 101\- V8 engine. (Toyota)

ew proposals from Max Mosley have had Subsequently a lot of double dealing went on, and
quite the same incendiary effect as his as GPWC metamorphosed into GPMA, the Grand
diktat that engines shou ld be reduced Prix Manufacturers' Association, the situation
from 3-litre VIOs to 2.4-litre V8s. softened. GPMA conceded that the engine rules had
The flrst wind of it came at lmola in 2004, during to c hange, while sticking out for other improvements.
the San Marino Gr:Jnd Prix. As that weekend As it became clear that Mosley wanted the smaller
developed, cynics detected a pattern in the way things engines by 2006, the major sticking point was that
unfolded. First there was Michael Schumacher's two teams preferred the idea of staying with 3-litre
recent visit to Dublin as p:lrt of his remit to :let 3S an VIO engines, reduced in power to last up to six or
ambassador fo r FIA road sa fety initiatives. The n there eight races by means of an air restrictor. Ilowever, the
was the question posed to him in Thursday's press FIA believed they would still have too much power
conference about whether he saw a need for the (800+ bhp) compared to the 2.4-litre V8s which
current cars to be slowed down. Then Mosley's raft of were then expected to produce around 720.
proposed changes - including the change in engine 'Most people I speak to are still enthusing about the
capacity :md configuration - was leaked to sections of motorcycle fight between Max Biaggi and Valentino
the media, and when the full official list appeared on Rossi in South Africa recently,' Mosley sa id in 2004.
desks in the press room the foll owing morning, a 'Most of them haven't got a clue what type of engine
governing body spokesman's suggestion that it had the MotoGP bikes run, or what an ECU is or who
'acted quickly to put out the correct story after all the makes it. They want to see the human element in
media speculat ion ' was seen as a disingenuous races, not a computer-controlled spectacle. The
smokescreen to obscure all the politicking. manufacturers are coming to realise that. Some teams,
The clear intention was to peg horsepower back to including their engine manufacturer partners, need
700-750bhp. At that stage the proposal also called for 1,000 people to put two cars on the grid, at a cost of
the engine manufacturers to be told what materials 150 million Euros. They all know that is not
they could use and what manufacturing processes sustainable, which is why they are prepared to talk.
would be permissible. It also called for a standa rd And cost savings will filter down to the smaller teams
engine control unit (ECU), something that Mosley too, and they need to be kept in business.'
had always been particularly keen on, since it would In the end, the compromises resulted in 2.4-litre
mean that the riA could make certain that electronic V8s arriving for 2006, with the old Minardi team, now
dri\'er aids such as traction control really could be owned by Red Bull energy drink magnate Dietrich
policed effectively enough to be outlawed. Manual Mateschitz and renamed Taro Rosso, allowed to use a
transmissions and clutches were also part of the deal, restricted 3-1itre Cosworth VIO. From 900+ bhp,
together with the need for every car to run with power outputs had fallen to 750 for the best VBs. The
standard specification brake discs, pads and calipers. Cosworth VIO had more power and torque, but was
The rules would also embrace a chassis st iffness limited to 16,700rpm by a 77mm restrictor under an
specification (to limit handling perfonnance), an FIA-calculated equivalency formula.
increase in minimum weight of at least 50kg to After all the hoohah died down, the change of
eliminate the need for ballast, and a combined tyre fonnula proved quite painless, as it usually does.
and aerodynamic package to achieve specific targets Behind the scenes, however, plenty of people had a lot
for cornering speeds, straight-line speeds, grip and of work to do. 'Of course the VB has been a completely
braking performance. To obviate the tyre war that had new type of engine, so it was quite tough and we have
seen lap times drop so dramatically during the 2004 to work hard,' admitted Ferrari's engine director Paolo
season, only one tyre manufacturer would be allowed. Martinelli. ' I think each of us is working hard, trying to
Subsequently, in anger at the proposals, the develop as fast as possible, as usual in Formula One,

alliance of car manufacturers, Grand Prix World with a brand new e ngine. You can say that we have a
Championship Holdings (G PWC), which had already different learning curve than we had with 10 years'
proposed a breakaway rival championship, pulled out experience with a V I O. Most of the job, or the majority
of the Memorandum of Understanding with SLEC of the very important or predominant factors, was well
Iioidings, the company owned by the Ecclestone known. Sometimes, we find some new items, some
family which at that time ran Formula One, and out new areas, where you can find perfonnance and then
of negotiations about the sport's future . you have to push hard for development.'

THE SCI(:-<CE OF J'ORML.:LA 0:-<[; OESIGl\" 91

Ren:lUlt's Rob \Vhite, however, was quite happy, and this leads to a d ifferent pattern of vibrations. The
even though t he Regie's RS26 VS was one of the last VIO entered a critical vibrational area between
to reach the track. ' It's certainly t rue t hat we were 12,OOOrpm and 14,OOOrpm. T his was not really an
the last on to the track, which came about from our issue, as the engine did not spend much time in this
explicit choice not to do a hybrid car in which we put rev band and smoothed itself out again as the revs
an early version of the engine into a converted car of increased. A V8, however, ha s different
a previous generation. Thi s was a thing we looked at, characteristics that take it into more dangerous
honestly, very, very briefly, and figured that for us it territory, as its vibration curve peaks later than a VI O's
would not be best use of our resource. We looked at - from approximately 16,OOOrpm - and continues to
how to construct the project planning frOIll the climb from there. It is therefore no longer possible for
moment we knew what the rules would be until the the designer to think in tenns of getting through a
date of the first race. We tried to build in the d ifficult patch before everyth ing is all right again. The
experiences frolll previous engine projects. Frankly, problem of constantly increasing \'ibrations had to be
we did what we thought was right for our team in our confronted head on. If a designer fa ils to solve a VS's
context and we were, I think, reassured that it played vibrational problems, t he service life of the engine
out well for us. suffe rs and the loads exerted on t he chassis and other
' It 's a new experience work ing on this family ofVS components can also become a factor. In order to get
engi nes. They're not the same as V lOs, but they on top of t his problem , t he calculation and analysis of
clearly have some very important family similarities. each individual engine component has to be tot311y
There are 3 lot of the genes of the previous V I 0 reliable. T his analysis is only pan of a bigger challenge.
engines built into our VB. I think that's part of t he Detemlining how t hey work wit h 3nd against each
way in which we approached the design of it. We other in simulations of the overall system is the
t ried to set ourselves aggressive performance t3rget5. main task.
We tried to set ourselves clear reliability objectives The reduced mass inherent in the VB should mean
that we thought would be worthy of a World less in the way of 'bad vibrations'. However, the
Championshi p campaign. The di fficu lty of regulations have limited the designers' natural
developing the VB is of course due to the phenomena tendency to seek exotic - and therefore expensive -
t hat are particular to V8s. There are some, but ult ra-light materials. They ca n only work with
behind all of that, the physics is the same, the conventional steel, titanium and aluminium alloys.
engineering is the same and we 're pretty confident Interestingly, the new breed of V8s is heavier than
that the people, the skills, the techniques that we its V I 0 predecessor, despite having two fewer
have arc portable between VIO and VB engines.' cylinders. That's because the rules say that engines
Though fundamentally the new VB was a VIO with must not be lighter than 95 kgs, inclusive of the intake
one fifth cut off, and a now-compulsory vee angle of system up to and including the air filter, fue l r3il and
90 degrees, it was an entirely separate concept with injectors, ignit ion coils, sensors and wiring, alternator,

I its own specific requirements. A VB has a distinct

firing sequence and dema nds a fundame ntally
cool3nt pumps and oil pumps. It does not include
liquids, exhaust manifolds, heat protection sh ields,
II diffe rent crankshaft design. Whereas a 72-degree
offset crankshaft was used, for example, in BMW's
oil tanks, accumulators, heat exchangers and the
hydraulic pump.

I, PBS VIO, VB powerplants can feature crankshafts

with either fou r t hrows spaced at 90 degrees or four
throws spaced at 180 degrees. Standard production
The new regulations also stipulate that the
engi ne's cent re of gravity must be at least J 65mm
above the lower edge of the oil sump. Designers h3d
engines 3re fitted wit h 90-degree crankshaft variants previously managed to lower the 10-cylinder engine's
due to their better dynamic attributes, but a ISO- centre of gravity to the benefit of the car's handling.
degree cr3n kshaft is f3voured in racing car engine However, the longitudinal and lateral position of the
deSign. The improved performance this allows offsets VS's centre of gravity has to be in the geometric
the disadvantages in terms of dynamics. centre of the engine (+/-50mm).
Mechanical dynamics and vibrations represent a T he mandatory minimum weight and the
particu larly critical area of development for the new minimum height for the centre of gravity means that
gene ration of V8s. They have different firin g the V8 is much heavier than it actually needs to be,
sequences and intervals to their VIO predecessors, but in turn that enabled designers to create a more

rigid crankcase, to the benefit of the cars' handling. improved weight distribution also improved handling
And because it was no longer necessary to watch agility. Thus, though straight-line speeds feB compared
evcry single gram, they also made several static with 2005, cornering speeds generally went up (hand-
components such as thc block and heads much more in-hand with tyre development) and often lap times
robust and t hus helped to increased the service life of fe ll . Gencrally, the drivers found the smaller-capacity
the engines to meet the new rules demanding that cars more fun to drive round corners.
each unit serve for two races. The one fly in the ointment, at least initially, was
Previously, the d imensions of an engine's bore and Toro Rosso's V IO, especially when Vitantonio Liuzzi
stroke were a closely guarded secret. Now, however, proved very quick in practice in Bahrain and Malaysia.
the cylinder bore is limited to a maximum of 98mm. The reasoni ng was that while Toro Rosso might be able
The gap between the cylinders is mandated at to run more wing and thus h3ve a small down force
106.5mm (+/-O.2mm), and the central axis of t he advantage because of the Cosworth V IO's greater
crankshaft must not lie any less than 58mm above the torque and power, that would be balanced by the
reference plane. agility of its V8 rivals. Soon, however, Mercedes-Benz
Another critical change in the regulations was the and Toyota were squeaking in indignant complaint.
ban on variable intake systems. Known as 'trumpets', Speaking for Mc laren Mercedes, Ron Dennis said:
thesc cou ld previously be used to optimise the car's ' First of all , all the teams who had committed to
torque curve. The fixed duct lengths now make running VSs very much appreciated that there was
achieving good engine drivability a more exacting going to be an advantage from running V I Os and going
challenge. Designers now have to strike a compromise down an equivalency route. We signed a document
between max imum power and good drivability. that undertook to each other that we wou ld run V8s.
Where the best compromise for the pipe lengths is to The team that was given the concession to run VlOs
be found depends on various factors. The t rack layout was Minardi, and it was given the concession for
and the we:nher, for example, both playa role. Teams financ ial reasons, not fo r performance reasons. There
favour one set of intake pipe lengths for circuits with are several parameters of the engine that must be
long straights - such as Mon7..:l, Indianapolis and Spa- addressed when ach ieving an equiva lency.
where power is critical, and a different selection for Horsepower is one, :lIld it is someth ing that
twistier Grand Prix tracks such as Budapest and absolutely you can achieve, but a V IO engine will
Monaco, where drivability is more important than always give more torque. It might or it might not
!"3\,' power. T he same applies in wet weather. The air fo rm an equivalency, but it's important to remember
intakes are, by definition, part of the engine and arc that the reason for the engine issue in the fi rst place
included in its 9Skg maximum overall weight, but was for cost reasons, not a formula by which people
they can also be changed up to qualifying. had a choice. T hat formula has been contracted out
Variable exhaust systems and variable valve control deliberately by people who wanted VS engines. That
systems were also proscribed from 2006. The power is a clean, clear, analytical statement of fact.'
supply to the engine electrics and electronics is Patrick Head, however, believed the Cosworth VS
limited to a maximum of 17 volts and the high- was a better bet t han the V I O. 'From what I've seen of
pressure fuel pump must now be mechanically power curves, run at its maximum, it's certainly below
operated. Only one actuator may now be used to the VS from Cosworth. The thing about it is that it's
activate the throttle valve system. With the exception so under-stressed that it can be run at its maximum
of the electriC auxiliary pumps in the fuel tank, all every lap of the race, cvery lap of qualifying, every lap
sub-components must now be driven mechanically of practice. That gives a certain advantage. The other
and directly via the engine. thing is that it would have been a much bigger
Architecturally, t he VS configu ration was better problem, I think, if one of t he manufacturer teams had
than a V I O. It was shorter, which mcant 110t only that decided to go that route because the Cosworth VIO
it could be packaged better for optim ised weight engine never had variable trumpets and as I understand
distribution, but also that lhe rear end of the car it, it has not been optimum-tuned for the lower revs,
could be cleaned up aerodynamically. for the restricted intake. I'm sure that if any of the
Then there was the fact that the configuration manufacturers had gone that route - because you are
required less cooling, which in turn meant less radiator allowed to run with those engines in exactly 2005
area and a further enhancement to aerodynamics. The specification and t hey'd have had their variable


t rumpet s and they'd have re-d one t he camshaft s and BM W's D r Mari o T heissen saw three advantages of
t he ports and all t he rest o f it t o optimise it for t he new a restricted V I O. 'One is peak power, even if you
rules - then there would be a few people howli ng l ike app ly the restrictions in a very crude way by pUlling
hell now. Providing it's only the Cosworth V IO and it a p lat e i nto the air tru mpet , [ would expect it to have
d oesn 't get optimised f or that , then it brings anot her a higher pea k power, though m aybe not too much.
t e3m out there which w ouldn 't othenvise be out t here. Second one is h igher torque, w hich shou ld put you in
['m not sure that Colin KoUes from Midland feel s the a posi t ion at t he st art t o overtake maybe one or t wo
same wa y, but I don't have a problem with it.' ca rs, :m d at the exit o f a corner, t o accelerat e much

Transcript from press 'On the transmission, braking and steering, the on'Y
discussion there was whether it would be more economic,

briefing with FIA given the current state of knowledge, to stay with an eIec-
trooically controlled differential but with the electronics

President Max completely under the control of the FIA, so that there were
no traction control Of anything of that kind. And whether we

Mosley - Monaco, woutd be better staying With modem gearboxes rather than
purely manual gearroxes, It was pointed out that we would

4 May, 2004 never go back to the old 'H' and missed gears and all of
that. 1l\at is in the past. But on the transmiSSion, braking
'Thank you very much for being here. It was a very good and steering, complete agreement that we would simply go
meeting. Where I had expected very significant dispute fOf the least expensive solution and perhaps most import-
and debate, there wasn't any. It was very constructive. In antly complete agreement that there will be no traction
a nutshell the proposals for 2008 we simply announced. control, no electronic driver aids, they are going to go.
We went through them all with the teams and discussed 'We also had agreement on standard brake discs, pads
them all in some detail. and calipers, and agreement on reducing the weight limit.
'As far as doing things sooner than 2008, there was a The weight limit may come down even more than we had
wide measure of agreement that we need to bring in thought because eliminating a lot of the electron ics and
changes much sooner. 1 think we are going to see a new the technology from the cars will in turn make the cars
engine formula in 2006. The engine manufacturers are much lighter. so the final reduction in weight may be very
going to make proposals in addition to those that we have significant. and therefore the energy going into a crash.
made to reduce the engine costs by 50 per cent. It was But With that comes the need for very substantial
pointed out by one of the major manufacturers that we are reductions in aerodynamic downforce and changes to the
currently spending one thousand million Euros a year to tyres, and also an increase in the drag of the car.
provide engines to 14 of the 20 cars and it therefore 'On the sporting aspects, again agreement that we
should not be too difficult to reduce that by 50 per cent. would not have a spare car as it is currently known, they
That will make a big difference. Conversely, a thousand would have a spare chassis (a spare monocoque rather)
million Euros is simply not sustainable, it is not sustainable ready In a box, like the Formula 3000 teams, but there
by any calculation. The only discussion on the engine was would be no third car in the Pits. The cars would certainly
whether it was more economic to extend the engine life of be in pare ferm6 overnight. you would be able to adjust
a Vl0 rather than to have a 2.4. That's to say a Vl0 3-litre the car but not rebuild it. There was complete agreement
doing three races, four, five and eventually six races, for the need of a single tyre supplier. There was just one
rather than a 2.4 V8 doing at least two races and possibly question about c urrent contractual commitments, which
more races later on. But the multi-race engine principle is we think could be resolved. But there was no question
completely accepted: the need to reduce the power is that all of the teams recognised that if we had a single tyre
completely accepted. Even the standard ECU may come supplier It would be far less expensive, because of testing,
in before 2008, that is part of the package of cost it would be fairer, because everybody would be on the
measures they will be discussing, and of course a same basis. and there would also be a very important
standard ECU means standardising all of the electronics safety aspect In that with a single tyre we wou ld be able
on the cars. The other engine proposals I think will go to control the degree of grip and therefore preventing
through as a matter of course and come in before 2006. excessive cornering speeds. We might even be able to

quicker. That's what we saw in Bahrain. And the third at the Nurburgring, 'but J would think M ercedes-
advantage is that this engine is good for several Benz has other things to think about than what we are
thousand kilometres and you can basically go at d oing w ith our engine. Like trying to win a
qualifying pace throughout the race, Those are the championship.. Besides, the system governi ng our
major differences from a t echnical perspective.' engine is meant to be an equivalency formula, not a
Former racer Gerhard Berger, who had entered penalty. '
into joint ownership of Taro Rosso with Matesch itz, When the Taro Rossos had f::liled to score any
had the last word. 'I don't know about you,' he said points after nine ra ces, the bitching quietened down.

give up the grooves and go back to ordinary slick tyres. engines should have a vote on the engines, and the
The wheels will be wider at the back and narrower at the people who don't make the engines should perhaps not
front, that results from the abolition of the ballast. dictate what they should be, but to be discussed. The
'There is agreement that we need a new qualifying basic principle will be that the person who has an interest
system. I reminded them all that the current qualifying in something has a vote but if you have no interest in it,
system was proposed by the teams. The suggestion now either because you are not in the championship or
is that they should come forward with new proposals for because it is something you don't do - you're not an
qualifying, but these must take into account the needs for engine manufacturer or whatever, those with no interest
television for people like me, who watch most of the races would have no vote. What that comes down to is a much
on television. more open and flexible system for changing the rules
'There was a lot of discussion about the scoring of than we have at present. It would be much more, actually,
points, whether we should have a constructors' under the control of the FIA, as perhaps it should be.
championship with more than two cars scoring, or 'The idea of technical rule changes being made befOfe
another suggestion that has come forward is whether 1 July to come in not the following year but the year after,
there should be an engine manufacturers' championship, and the sporting changes before 1 July to come in the
and this is something that we are going to consider fallowing year was generally accepted. What it all comes
carefulty. But everyone is agreed on the need to strongly down to I think is that, except for minor details, virtually
encourage the major manufacturers to supply engines to complete acceptance of these very revolutionary
the independent teams, and I think we will have no proposals, agreement on the objectives and agreement
difficultly in coming up with a good solution there. that the engine manufacturers - the seven companies
'There was a lot of discussion also on allowing the sale concerned with engines - are going to sit down together
of chassis to encourage smalter teams to enter the to reduce the costs of the engines by 50 per cent. I think
Championship , but reservations in that there are fears really I couldn't have asked for more from the meeting.
that if we altow the free selling of chassis, FOfmula One
might become like other racing series with one Of two or
three makes and lots of people in the same cars. There
was a feeling we would come up with solutions to these
problems and I think that will certainly prove to be the
case. But there is a strong desire to encourage new
teams to come in, but understandably the existing teams
do not want to give up any money or privileges as a result
of that. But we wilt now see a much easier entry route for
new teams, it is recognised that we do need 12 teams to
lake part,
'The idea of guaranteed entnes for teams that contract
for a long time, agreed by everybody. The idea that we
should have majority voting on rule changes, but only
those teams voting that were contracted to take part in
the season in which the rule change applies was agreed. nA I'reside"l Max Mosll!)! is IIII! archlleel oflhe proposed lieU'
We may have to introduce some sort of reserve there rilles aimed al relllie/nK co~1S (lIIll Improving Ihe spectacle of
because it is reasonable that the people who make the formula One. (ClivI' Ma~onlG('lIy lnmg.'~)


-.... Transmission
Drive lines


he Formula One car's drivetrain comprises its performance. All Formula One e ngines have
the engine and transmission, but it is relatively narrow power and torque bands; t he car
always the engine that d raws the most must therefore be geared so that the e ngine operates
:lttention. Everyone wants to know how within these bands in order to achieve maximum
much power an engine has; it is a sexy, vibrant, high- performance. For that reason they all use seven
profile part of the machine. The transmission, for.."ard gears with relatively close f3tios, so that t he
figurative ly and almost literally, lives in its shadow. It driver can always keep the power unit 'on the boil'.
is a P3rt of the car that is difficu lt to quantify in per- Gearing a car for the corners on a particular circuit is
formance terms and therefore it receives little an 3rt, 3nd nowadays the engineers sort thi s out with
'publi city' unless something goes wrong. Nobody but the 3id of computers and a wide range of ratios, long
the engineers and. possibly, the driver, is ever inter- before a car actually arrives at t he track in question,
ested in which car has the fastest gearshift or the Thereafter only small ratio changes are likely.
lightest transmission. It doesn't help that the gear- A gearbox has an input shaft which tf3nsfers the
box is one of the most closely guarded technologies power from the engine to the gearbox. This ca rries
in the C:lr, and that designers like discussi ng it evm one set of gears, whi le another set is mounted on
less than they do the engine or their overall down- a separate shaft and is free to move backwards
force figures. Yet the best designs are as intricate as a and forwards, so that at diffe rent t imes d ifferent
Swiss watch. gears mesh with those on the input sh3ft, depend ing
Piston-engined vehides need a gearbox because, upon which rat io is selected by t he driver. By
although the engine generates torque or twisting changing the position of the
power, it cannot develop enough for the vehide to gear lever, the driver moves Opposile; Minardi has been
move if it has a direct drive, or a drh'e ratio of I: I. In gear selectors within the quite advenlurous. Above is
other words, one complete revolution of the e ngine gearbox which dictate which its conventional2001-100Z
while the vehide is at a standstill cannot generate one gears will mesh to create the gearbox casing. Be/OUI is .he
complete turn of the driven axle, and thus move the desired ratio. Drive is then complex lilanium unit that
vehicle forwards. What is needed is a set of different taken from a pinion at the end replaced il. (Piola)
ratios, which enable the vehide to movc from of the second shaft, which is
standstill, and then keep moving while matching the ma ted to a crown wheel so that the drive is tu rned
engine's speed to that of the vehicle. through 90° to turn drive shafts which transmit it to
[fthere W3S on ly a first gca r ratio of, for example, the driven wheels. All Formula One cars have rea r-
3.4: [, the vehicle would move but pretty soon the wheel dri."e.
engine would be scre3ming its head off at the top of When a car is turned through 3 circle, the inside
its rev range, and the vehicle's outright speed would rear wheels turn through a shallower circle than the
be severely limited. Even if there was a second gear outer rear wheels. Therefore some means must be
and a third, say with respective ratios of 1.9: I and provided so that the inner wheel does not have to
1.4: I, there wou ld still be times, fo r example when rotate 3t the same speed, or do as much work, as t he
the driver wanted to cruise on motorlvays, when outer as t hey follow their different pat hs t hrough a
there would be insufficient ratios. He would t hus corner. Without this it would be extremely difficult,
need a fourth gear r3tio of 1: 1, and to provide relaxed if not impossible, to make the car turn at all. The
driving once the car had reached cruising speed, he mechan ism which e nables t his to happen is t he
might have an overdrive ratio of, say, 0.75: I. d ifferential. Formula O ne differentials are highly
Road cars and race cars differ in their require- complex components that are recognised by designers
ments. Most manual road cars have five forward to exert Significant influence over a car's handling.
speeds (though some top-line sports cars now have Some differentia ls incorporate a mechanical
six), and their ratios are sufficiently well spaced to limited-slip faci lity that helps to prevent wheel-spin
make maximum use of the engine's broad power under heavy acceleration by locking the differential.
band, ,md to permit rapid acceleration and serene A completely locked differential is ideal for accelera-
and frugal high-speed cruising with the highest ratio tion, even in the wet, but of course a car with a
acting as an overdrive. Generally, there is a gap of locked diff would have great trouble getting round
I,OOOrpm between norma l road car gears. The race corners. It would always want to underst eer,
car needs little of this; instead it needs to maximize especia ll y when under power. Today, Formula One


cars use electro-hydraulic limited-slip differentials Ahov.!: Ferrad'$ below thaI is Ihe
which allow ei ther the engineers or the drivers to /rtl'lsmiuion department tit conventional "nif will.
make constant small adjustment s via buttons on the Martmello b mo re akin ro the differential ahead
steeri ng wheel. The electro-hydraulic differential can an e"fHnS1v.! private oflhe gears; and below that
steer the car by controlling the differential torque hospifal. (Ccn y Illiages) Ihe {UllOured system u-jlh
across the axle. The torque distribution differs in Ihe gears ahead o{ the
different states, such as when the car is under power Right: These are the three differential and there{ore
on acceleration, or when it is not, on the overrun main configurations {or within the u1heelbase. I
under braking. Under these cond itions the limited- "'o,mulo One gearboxes. is the mainsha{t; 1 the
sl ip differential can induce a yaw or turning motion AI Ihe tvl' Is the transversal laysha{t; 3 the gears;
that will occur in add ition to any steering input rn::lde layollt, 1I'llh the gears alld 4 Ihe differential.
by the driver, or it can resist yaw and enh::lOce "Inning ac,oss the 1I0x; (riola)

stability. The electro-hydraulic differential complies that drive to be separated momentarily when the
.....ith the FIA's strict regulations and is easier for the driver wishes to effect a gear change. This is called
engineers to set up to provide a given set of c hamc- the clutch, and without it the car could not be
teristics. The C3r's onboard computer controls a driven, and nor could the gears be changed.
Moog \"3Ive, which regulates the hydraulic pressure The clutch is mounted on to a round plate on
..... hich. in turn regulates the torque going through the rear of the engine. which is itself bolted to
each output Sh3ft, while electronic sensors monitor the c rankshaft and called the fl ywheel. The clutch
differenti31 wheel speed. has a pressure plate. which is part of the clutch's
A Moog valve is based on technology developed external cover, and a driven plate, which is mounted
during World W;lr Two due to the need to convert an inside. The gearbox input shaft passes through
electrical signal into a pressure differential which in them both.
tum drives a spool valve. This valve controls the flow, When the driver wishes to change gear he must
and the pressure and flow velocity of the hydraulic interrupt the connection between the engine and the
actuator or cylinder. Moog valves are popular in gearbox. which is maintained by springs in the clutch
Formula One because they control equipment with cover. forcing the driven plate into face-to-face con-
precision ;lnd with wry high response and therefore
facilitate the operation of all the servo-hydraulic BeloUl; The wineglllSS llnd dutch. Though tin}' (111 "1m
control systems currently used. chllmpllgne bottle C(lrk diamf</"r) it Can
Another mechanism is also needed to pass the prrlvlde remarlmblt mort than 9OObhp. (ZF Sn(hs
drive from the engine to the gearbox. and to enable per!fpectilJf! for this Sluhs fl AG, Germany)




tact with the flywheel. When the driver actua tes the John Coope r 's eponymous team and Colin
clutch pedal, hydrau lic fluid pressure forces the C ha pman's Team Lotu s used proprietary Jac k
clutch pressure plate into contact with the driven Knight, Colotti and, late r, H ewland transaxles.
plate, momentarily wit hd rawing t he latter away In these early days the transmission was merely
from the face of t he flywheel. Drive is interrupted there to transmit the power to the road. But with t he
fo r as long as the driver operates the clutch, so he can three-litre fo rmula in 1966 came a fresh role as
change gear. When he releases the clutch peda l, drive suspension components were mounted on to the
is resumed. gearbox, which thus assumed a stmctural duty on
Formula One clutches use three or more ca rbon the car as well, and designs became more integrated.
drh'e plates and arc brilliantly compact uni ts that The fragility of ZF's transmission, however, was
arc litt le larger than a man's hand -span. This is the Achilles Heel that cost Lotus the 1967 World
critical as engine and chassis designers continually Cham pionship with Chapma n's innovative Lotus 49.
call for ever lower crankshaft centrelines to lower In the '60s the American transmission genius Pete
the engine's centre of gravity. The diameter of the Weismann, worked close ly with Jack Brabham,
clu tch is one of the limiting factors in this, but a experimenting among othe r things with automatic
typical AP Racing unit is around four inches. In transmission long before it became a feature of the
t he case of t he Formula One clutch, the operation of scene in the early 2 1st Centu ry. Another pointer to
t he modern transmission is so smoot h t hat the t he future ca me w hen March designer Robin Herd,
clutch does not need to be activated on upshift s. in search of a low polar moment of inertia, sought to
There is also less impact on the clutch on down- make his March 721 X less like a dumbbell wit h a
I shifts, when it is used, so it is race starts that impose
the greatest loadings, and therefore components are
weight eithe r end, by positioning the gearbox in front
of the rear axle line and thus packaging the weight
I carefully'lifed'. along t he sha ft to make the car handle better.
The most significant development, however, came
in 1975 when Ferrari mounted the gearbox trans-
versely on its title-winning 3 1ZT. T his was one of t he
[n the past two decades t he gearbox has become a first successfu l conscious efforts to package the
key part of the Formu la One car, and an area in gearbox, rather than leavi ng it a passenger.
which development has been expended. It is no On engineer Mauro Forghieri's design, the gear
longer simply regarded as the means by which the cluster was mounted transversely between the
engine's rotating motion and power is converted into engine and the rear axle. This made the engine/
fo rward movement. It is a crucial component. The gearbox unit significantly shorter and e nhanced t he
gea rbox has to w it hstand high loadings and car's balance and track performance.
temperatures, while also performi ng a structural Forghieri's design endured until 1987, when for
duty. Thus the tolerance of compone nts and the other re3S0ns of packaging Ferrari reverted to a more

I reliability of the gear-assemblies playa crit ica l role in
the overall reliability of the car. It is why today's
conventiona l longitudinal gearbox , where the gear
cluster was once again mounted inline, behind the
II units are built with the close attention t o detail and
preciSion of expensive timepieces.
rear a~le line.
The late '80s was a period of experimentation in
[n the 'SOs t he swit ch from fro nt- to rear-engi ned the transmission fiel d . \'Veismann was active again
I, cars necessitated the development of suitable with Mclaren's Gordon Murray when the South
transaxles - a combination of gearbox a nd African designer collaborated on the design or the
differential that is fitted to the rear of the engine to MP4/4 which went on to win 15 of the 1988
transmit the drive. Previously, with the front-engine season's 16 races. Their gearbox was designed to
cars, the gearbox had usually been fitted to the back opt imise the very low crankshaft centreline on
of the engine, and this unit was connected to the H onda's t urbocha rged V6 engine. At Bene Hon
differential on the rear a~ l e via a lengthy propeller fe llow South African designer Rory Byrne came up
shaft. Some front-engined cars, however, balanced wit h a longitudinal gearbox in which the gear cluster
their weight distribution (and th erefo re their was ahead of the rear axle line. Separate castings for
handling) by mounting the gearbox with the the he ll -housing oil t:lrlk and gearbox facilitated
differential at the rear. The new breed of cars from faster ratio changes by splitting the two, to provide



access to the gears. Williams, meanwhile, produced In 1988 McLaren took a wmpa~ t
its first transverse gearbox on the Judd-engined maximum ad"anlagfl of thfl gearbox flspedalfy for it.
FW12. While all this work was going on, John low crlllduhaft centreline of (Pa~ca ' Ro ndcau/Gcct y
Barnard and the late Dr Harvey Postlethwaite wcre Honda's V6 engine. and built Images)
undertaking experiments with the most significant
gearbox development at Ferrari; the creation of a That system failed and was quickly withdrawn,
dramatic new means of shifting gears. In 1974 together with another attempt, on the 1978 Lotus 79
Chapman had experimented unsuccessfully on his which used a German Getrag transmission, when
ncw Lotus 76 with a standard five-speed Hewland again the technology was just not t here to support the
FG400 gearbox which was fitted with a hydraulic system, and it was abandoned.
system for changing gear. The car used four pedals, Towards the end of the '80s things had changed.
a throttle to the far right, a standard clutch to the The same sort of electronic control systems that had
left, and two inter-connected brake pedals in the enabled massive progress to be made in the field of
middle. This gave drivers Ronnie Peterson and Jacky engine management, boosting power outputs, were
lckx the choice of right- or left-foot braking, also available for the transmission. At Ferrari, Barnard
Chapman firm ly believing that two-pedal control and Postlethwaite set about util ising them to revive
was the way to go, the right foot dealing with Chapman's concept of 'dutchless' gear changing.
the throttle, the left, braking. The clutch pedal They achieved this with a revolutionary concept.
was only necessary to get the car off the start line; The electro-hydraulic system featured steering
after that the driver used a press-button on top of wheel-mounted gear selector paddles which initiated
the conventiona l gearlever to actuate the clutch signals to electronic valves in the gearbox. These in
when changing gea r, which itself actuated the t urn simultaneously activated hydraulic actuators and
system via a hydraulic pump driven off the engine the dutch mechanism to select the individual gears.
starter motor. The gear cluster was an in-line arrangement located


The 19891'emHi Ihe sport by fadlilaling
Imnsmisslon. dcsigllct/ by fingertip electro-hytiraulic
Johlr IJllrnlirtilllrd lIarvey gearshifting. It is ubit/uiwus
Itmielhwallc . rcr'ollilionised loday. (riola)

behind the rear axle line. Thus, instead of lifting off the revs sky high. Barnard and Postlethwaite were so
the thrott le momentarily while moving a gearlever convinced of the merits of their system - and history
backwards or forwards through a conventional H- would prove them absolutely right as everyone came
pattern gate, all the driver had to do was keep his to embrace their idea - that the monocoque of
fOOl down while flicking paddles located just behind rerrari's new-for-1989 639 did not even have a hole
the steering wheel. In later years teams came to in it for the conventional gearshift linkage. \'Vhen
develop their own specific interpretations of this t he car had failed to do a full race distance prior to
technology, and that can differ from car to car its debut in the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix at Rio
according to driver preference. At BAR in 2003, for de 1acarepagu3, there were some grave doubts
example, Jenson Button preferred to activate the about Barnard's insistence on not designing-in an
right paddle to downshift and the left to upshift, emergency facility for convent ional t ransmission,
whereas team-mate Jacques Villeneuve liked to pull and driver Nigel Mansell even booked an early flight
just one paddle forward to upshift and away to in expectation of swift retirement! Instead he won
downshift. the race, and thus was the new technology baptised.
rerrari's technology was so revolutionary that Soon everyone began to employ it, some using
there were inevitable problems. Many times engines pneumatics instead of hydraulics for actuation.
were literally split asunder when software problems Besides the speed of gear-shifting, the beauty of the
initiated shifts from seventh to second gear, sending new technology. once it was fully sorted, was that

Above: ""errari has alulays Below: This i.s Ferrllti'.s 1999
been innOVlIl ive where the tran.smisslon: I ;.s the
transmiuion is ~on~erned. gellrbox cll.sillg; 11"e
This is its 1998 design. where different/nl; 3 .suspension
1 is the metal casting .,",u.ning point.s on the rear
housing the gears, and 1 is Cfll!lh structure; 4 moullting
the carbon-flbre hell-hmUllng point; 5 electronics; 6 the
and the ~arboll-fibre !nil-housing; 7 the oil tallk; 8
st ructure tht/! is now suspension mounting points;
mounted on the tran.smi.sslon mill 9 the allnchments 10 rhe
on every Cllr. (Piola) engine. (Piola)
missed gearshifts became a thing of the past, elimin- control valves from seven on the original 1989 design
ating t he spect re of over-rewed engines. to just two. This led to further experimentation with
The next step forward came with new materials materials and the actual structure of the gearbox
for the gearbox casing. Predictably, it was the inno- casing, which was subject to the very high power out-
vative Barnard who experimented with a fabricated puts which had increased significantly, and dynamic
titanium transverse gearbox on the 1994 Ferrari loadings as aerodynamic improvements enhanced
412Tl, instead of the conven tional cast magnesiu m. cornering speeds. Thin-walled aluminium castings,
On this unit he also reduced the number of electronic sim ilar to those used in engine technology, usurped

InnQlIllfiQn {loos nor {11"'ay,

p"y off. 1",,,1 Srewa,r ,ea,fily
a{lm/rred rlrar b"i/{ling its
Qwn ciubon.jib,e gea,box

casing /Q' 1998 "'as _,imply

/00 much /Q, his s",all u"",.

magnesium because although slightly heavier, their the engine to the final drive unit. This super-compact
superior stiffness offset any weight disadvantage. new unit, the work of Englishman John Sutton, also
It was not long before Barnard began experiment- consumed less power and allowed faster gear-shifting.
ing with carbon-fibre composite casings on the 1998 [n 2003 Mclaren ran its new MP4/ 18 in testing, in
Arrows. About the same time Alan Jenkins was also 'N specification with a conventional longitudinal
at work on a similar concept for that season's transmission and in 'X' specification with a new
Stewart. Both suffered cracking and stiffness prob- carbon-fibre unit designed by Sutton. The car never
lems, and Paul Stewart later admitted that such raced, but the MP4/19 which evolved from it carried
technology came far too soon for his fledgling team to over Sutton's innovative nl:w transmission.
handle properly as Stewart reverted to aluminium.
Ferrari next experimented with vastly expensive
cast titanium, in conjunction, ironically enough, with
the under-financed Minardi team which acted as
guinea pig in 2000 and 2001. Initially this collabora-
tion comprised a hybrid fabricated titanium gear
casing with a carbon-fibre suspension mounting

structure, before Minardi introduced a cast titanium
unit in the middle of 200 1. Subsequently Ferrari pro-
duced its own evolution of that with one-piece gear
casing, bell-housing :md suspension mount casting on
its domimmt F2002 in 2002. Its advantages were
strength, stiffness and minimum weight, and they in
turn led to improvements in the handling of the car
because of enhanced weight distribution and rear-end
packaging opportunities. With springing provided by
torsion bars rather than coil springs, Ferrari's cast
titanium gearbox situated significantly smalle r
dampers either side of the input shaft running from

Compact an~llight. furari's

1003 transmission pluce{l as
mu~h weight wi possible
within the 1'2003-GA's
wheelbase fur optimum
hamlling balance. (Piol~)


The next major step forwa rd came when Williams period of what Renault 's Rob White described as
pioneered so-called 'seamless shift ' technology. Was 'shrapnel time.' This was exactly what everyone went
th is effect ively 'Son of CVT, the OAF-based through whil e developing electro-hydraulic
continuously variable transmission with which it had transmissions in the late '80s and early '90s, and not
experimented in the '90s until that technology was unlike the problems that faced Anthony Fokker whcn
outlawed by the FIA? Patrick Head quickly dismissed he developed his synchronisation gear that enabled
that notion. World War One pilots to fire through their plancs'
'No, there is no connection. CVT sought to propel lers.
maintain the same engine revs at all times. Effectively, 'We are talking about milliseconds,' Head
what sea mless shifting seeks is zero interrupti on in continued, 'and initially it was a matter of perfecting
the drive between the engine and rear wheels during the synchronisation. Some teams have invested more
gearshifting, by virtue of very, very rapid sensing and than $6m in transient gea rbox dynos, but we did not
control of the gearchange. have one 3t Williams. Because ofthat we did a lot of
' How it works is that you put a new gear into d3m3ge to ou r winter testing programme as we
engagement while you are still in the previous gear. So lea rned things the hard way, out on the track.'
while you are in t he lower gear the system puts the
drive into the higher gear as well . Just as t his pulls the &low: Nico Rrube,g set Righ I: The 2006 Renaull R26
engine into backdrive on the overrun in the previous {aslelf lap on his FI debul in Iransmi.ssion ass~bly,
gear, as the new gear takes up the drive it pops the old Bahrain, 2006, d,illing ,his «mIpiele will. rear
gear out of engagement.' \\'ill/ams Coslt'O"h 1-W28 will. sw:pen.sion , relleals ils
This all happens very, very quickl y, and not uomless.slri/t ',orumission. compacl des i"..
unexpectedly development of all systems included a (,;lges.COIn) ($u UOfI·inmges.rom)


If anything, in terms of its concept the seamless transmitting drive. That can be particularly hurtful at
shift owes perhaps more to the philosophy behind the a track such as Imola , where you arc going up and
old preselector gearboxes used in roadgoing cars such down the gearbox. That's probably the worst-case
as Armstrong-Siddeleys and in '50s racing cars such as circuit, and round there the seamless transmission can
Conn:lUghts, whereby the driver selected the next be worth up to four-tenths of a second a lap.'
ratio he wanted in advance, but only activated it when When you consider that you'd need another loobhp
he operated the dutch. from the engine to achieve that sort of performance
The aim of seamless shifting is simple and logical. gain, seamless shifting is clearly worth having.
There is something like a 30 millisecond period Williams investigated the concept for three years
during the gearshift process when the engine is cut and worked on its actual system for I B months before
whi le the transmission goes into another gear and introducing it for the 2006 season on its Cosworth-
before the engine power is reinstated,' Head explains. powered FW2B. Honda and Mclaren also had slightly
That is 30 milliseconds of stalled energy time in the different systems ready to run, while Ferrari and
drivetrain, and the overall influence of the shift on Renault were also working on it. BMW had a system
your lateral acceleration can be as much as 90 ready for introduction later in the year, based on
milliseconds by the time you have hit this spike and \Villiams' after lessons the two learned during their
the system has recovered from it. So 90 milliseconds 1999-2005 marriage, which ended in divorce in 2005
is the Teal damage, if you like, for each gearshift. as BMW went on to buy Peter Sauber's eponymous
That's 90 milliseconds in which you are not Formula One team.


108 TRAl\SM ISS IO'i
'fop lefr: 'rllis iIIu$rmrion &IIOIn lefr: In irs nalted Abor'f>: Whell ir is IIKessary
gi,"s some idea of u""ar a farm rhe Formula Orre to change gear raliw III raCe$

siuab/f! pieu af equipment rransmiuion s~aruly or during resring, rhe

rlre mOlle~n Fa~",ula One seems able ro cope "'irh rransmission is septlrared
rTan$miuion ,an bf!, and 900bhp of engine po"'f!r from the engine complete ."';th
..·hy $0 m .. ~h deSiKn efforr in adllirion ro rhe rhe enlire rear sU$pension
goes inlf) minimising irs suspensirm loalls. alld Illillg assembly.
..leighr. ( ( (SultOll.ilnages.cut11 )

T H E SC I El'C E OF FOR M tLA O:-l E DES I G:-I 109

· Electronics
Trace elements
here isn't 3 driver in Formula One who ably you might get just as good a lap time with the
doesn't spend ages poring over the traction control switched off. It's only really helping
telemetry traces from his car after a to make the tyres last longer and look after them,
practice session or a race, even though although I think Michelin has already said that with
some of them profess to hate the modern-day spy-in- traction control the wear is actually worse than it
the-cockpit that has left them no hiding place when was. I think it's different for different teams.'
it comes to making excuses for poor performance or Some believed that the increased electronic
driving errors. [n the distant past a favourite trick was freedom improved the morality of Formula One,
for a driver to find out where the rev counter tell-tale after allegations that some teams had been cheat ing
was located so that he could zero it before an irate with what amounted to traction control. 'Well,' Head
team manager discovered that his speed was the said, 'there's less concern that some people might be
product of over-revving the engine, but today there is circumventing things. I won't say cheating. There was
literally nothing that a driver can do in the cockpit of all this talk that Ferrari had some clever system of
his car that his team cannot detect on the telemetry traction control that was legal even though it was
back in the garage. traction control. Well, if you actually look through
Electronics, however, have also been helpful to the regulations there were so many different things in
drivers. In t he engine they fac ilitate minutely different articles up to Barcelona that were catch-all
controlled ignition t iming and fuel metering. Fly-by- wordings, right down to as basic as the driver must
wire throttles mean that there is no mechanical link drive the car alone and unaided. It was difficult to see
now between the t hrottle pedal and the engine; how anyone could come up with something that was
everything is done by electronics there, too, to traction control but was legal. There was talk that
achieve maximum efficiency. 'You know, it's amaz- Ferrari was varying the power
ing,' American F3000 driver Townsend Bell reported of the engine around the cir- Opposile: The 0/ lhe
after sampling a BAR for the first time. 'They have cuit. In the places where the Iwffln: lelemelry anti
actually developed a spring system so that the wheelspin was high it would compulers everywhere in
throttle stil l retains the same feel it would if it had a make the engine less powerful. Ferru.,i's pil garage. (Clive
normal cable, even though it is really now on ly Well, I'd say it would be a Maso n/Getty Im ages)
another button on the car.' prelly fine judgement whether
Then there is traction control, which has long been that could be regarded as legal or not. But [ have no
one of those bogeyman driver aids so detested by idea what it was or was not doing. But now there is
purists who believe that the driver should have to be not so much talk up and down the pit lane that teams
the arbiter of the balance between throttle opening might be cheating.
and grip level. It has undoubtedly helped lesser 'You've got to remember that certainly last year,
drivers over the years to keep up with their superiors, and the year before, rightly or wrongly everyone had
just as the electronics in the transmission have made the view that Ferrari was being favoured by the FIA.'
the missed gearshift under pressure a thing of the Traction control's role is to prevent wheelspin. It
past. It was outlawed for 1994, and then allowed thus has three prime funct ions: it enhances traction
back in at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2001 as policing out of corners, it reduces tyre wear, and it enables
it proved almost impossible. Those who t hought drivers to push to the very edge in the knowledge
everything would be different were surprised to see that their car will help them. If you dispute the latter
that little changed as far as respective performances point, Heinz- Harald Frentzcn spun his Prost in
were concerned. ' ( think to achieve 90% of what Hungary in 2001 because the traction control fai led
might be available From traction control is probably him at a crucial moment when he had the car
pretty easy and within the capability of all the teams tweaked-up in a nice four-wheel d rift.
quite readily,' Williams technical director Patrick The system works by using sensors to monitor
Head observed at the time. 'So what you are actually wheel-speed and cutting the power to individual
seeing is whether one team's traction control is better cylinders when incipient wheels pin is detected.
or smoother or less damaging to the tyres than Sensors independently measure the difference in
another's. it's probably quite a fine difference. [n rotational speed of the front and rear wheels and
truth, on a new set of tyres, if you are actually looking collate the data. Formula One cars tend to be set up
at a grid poSition as opposed to track position, prob- to oversteer since this helps the driver turn into


corners belter, but if the detected amount of slip fall s police it was all but impossible. There were sugges-
outside this pre-cletennined window, the onboard tions that it should be banned midway through 2003
management computer will cut the fuel supply to - certainly for 2004 - but in the end everyone
individual cy linders and reduce the power. That's eventually agreed that it was better to keep it than to
why, when a driver is accelerating hard out of a tight go through the 3ggmv3tion and protests that would be
corner, you will often hear his engine popping and the inevitable corol13ry of a new ban. Such is the
banging as if it is about to blow up; it isn't, it is merely progress of t echnology.
having the odd cylinder cut out to ensure that the One of the prime arguments in traction con trol's
rear wheels maintain maximum traction at all times. f:lVour, espoused by teams and drivers, is that it en-
Like brake balance, the degree of traction control is hances safety, particularly in the wet. There's no
adjustable via a control on the steering wheel. doubt about it,' Toyot3 driver Ralf Schumacher
Extensive tests are carried out to programme the suggests, 'it's safer with traction control. Without it I
software precisely fo r the traction control. 'Only a think there would be a lot more accidents.'
perfect ly functioning programme ensures that the Part of the quid pro quo for t he retention of
desired advantage can be achie\'ed for the driver,' says traction control in 2003 was that for 2004 other
Sam Michael, technical director at Wil liamsF I. 'But driver aids such as launch control and full y automat ic
at the end of the day the driver is the measure of all gearboxes were banned.
things. He has to coax the best out of the car using all Launch cont rol is another of those syst ems that get
the electronic aids at hand. Thus, a driver's skill will up the purists' noses. An electronic programme too!"
always be more important than the technology over the entire starting procedure for the driver, so all
factor .. he had to do was instigate it via a button on t he
Traction control was banned at the end of 1993, steering wheel prior to the start of the race and then
but subsequently was sa nctioned again in 1995 when hang on to the steering wheel when the car took off.
an exasperated ri A finally adm itted that trying to A computer-controlled pre-set ideal engine speed and

112 ELECTRO:'>llC5
Lefl: Magnerl Milfelli's Above: David Coulthau/ put need to make up or down changes. It ensured also
engine conlrO/llnit is his win (/I Monuco in 2002 that the driver did not stall his engine, either at the
a compacr bllt Ile/'errhe- wholly down 10 the start of a race or during a pit stop. It was another
leu vital component of superiority ", Ihe s,"., of example of electronics playing a decisive role and the
seV(!rnl current FI cnrs. McL{lren'S launch conlro/. technology was so sophisticated that each of the
(sulll)n. imag(' (Clive Mason/GellJ I ma~ws) 10,000 or so sequential shifts that would occur
during a race took a mere 20 milliseconds. That
clutch engagement process did the rest. In 2002 advantage would remain under the new rules, but
David Coulthard won the Monaco Grand Prix from from 2004 onwards drivers had to flick the gearshift
polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya, after making a much paddles themselves to effect gearshifts.
better start. ' It was nothing to do with me,' the
victorious Scot revealed. 'I'd like to thank McLaren's
computer boffins back in Woking for this win.' The modern Formula One car is a mass of telemetric
Purists always argued that launch control took sensors located in strategic places to measure every
away from the driver one of his key means of making component's activity, efficiency and status. Teams
up ground in a race, and the effect iveness of ind i- can literally run hundreds of sensors if they wish, and
vidual team systems in 2003 certainly backed up the frequently do in testing. In races, however, up to 2S
view. Renault, in particu lar, had an almost bullet· functions are usually monitored. All manner of
proof system that enabled Fernando Alonso and Jarno parameters arc checked, such as engine revs, water
Trulli to make ballistic dragster starts. Through into and oil temperatures, oil pressure and the pressure of
2006, the Renaults were generally adjudged to have the pneumatic valve actuation system, throttle
the best starting software in the business. opening, fuel now, fuel consumption, ground speed
Since the semi·;)utomatic electro-hydraulic gear- :lnd the point at which the driver selects his gear,
box gained favour in the early '90s, it had evolved to steering input, brake temperature, brake wear and
the point where gearshifts were pre-programmed via retardation, suspension movement and loading, g-
the onhoard computer, thus relieving drivers of the force, etc. If a team has been experiencing problems


in certain areas, perhaps the temperature within the only use systems that were previously managed (and
clutch bell-housing, this can also be monitored until a indeed still could be) solely by the driver.
suiuble cure has been identified and implemented. This was an important distinction. Back in the
The data that is gathered in this way is stored in an 70s, for example, a driver could adjust things such as
onboard recording system and then transmitted in anti-roll bar settings from the cockpit. Mario
three ways. In the first, each car transmits data to the Andretti indulged his Indianapolis-bred penchant for
pits in real time, so that there is a continuous flow of playing with the set-up of all his race cars whi le on
information the whole time that they are in action on the move by having the means incorporated on his
the track. This way the engineers can assess whether Lotuses of adjusting the roll b:lfs this way. But the
the car is working within its defined parameters, such rule in 2002 was that the on ly things that can be
as the centre of aerodynamic pressure, roll stiffness, changed are electronically governed, rather than
ride height, etc. mechanically.
The second means stores the information and Zamm:m Ahmed, one of the engineers who has
downloads it directly to the computers on each lap as come into Formula One at Sauber Petronas via its
a car passes a radar beacon that is usually set up a few strong Malaysian links, explained. The sort of things
hundred metres before the pits. This is turn activates that we could adjust via two-way telemetry were
an onboard tnlnsmitter whose signal is picked up by engine critical parameters: rpm, pressures,
an antenna located at the relevant pit garage. This temperatures, fuel mixture, traction control, engine
antenna is li nked directly to the engineers' braking, gear shifting. That sort of thing. The other
computers. thing that takes priority was chassis performance,
The final means is when the car stops in the pits. mainly the hydraulic differential and brake balance.'
An engineer can simply plug in his own portable lap- Two-way telemetry had two main functions over
top computer to the car's onboord system and down- and above the ability to allow a team to take control
load as many as 12 million bits of dau in moments. away from the driver if and where necessary; it could
Thi s third method is the safety net. The other two are help simply to keep a car running if a problem that
not quite infallible as they rely on radio transmission might otherwise have proved terminal arose, and it
from the car, and at times this may be compromised could en hance certain aspects of its performance. It
by fluctuations in radio reception due to buildings, allowed teams to anticipatc problems. 'If on the last
changes in the elevation of the track, or interference lap of a race, for example, you noticed the hydraulic
from external electronic systems. This can be pressure was falling,' Minardi engineer Andy Tilley
particularly problematic at street circu its such as suggested , 'you might have chosen to disable the
Monte Carlo. gearshift. It was probably quicker just to do that
For the 1994 season FIA banned two-way tele- than to try and exp lain to the driver what to do. By
metric traffic, though it subsequently made a brief the time he'd done that he'd changed gear and
comeback for 2002 before being banned again for broken something.' Probably the most significant
2003. Pioneered back in 1993 by McLaren on its example of two-way telemetry helping in a race
MP4/S, two-way telemetry facilitated a wireless came at Monaco in 2002 when Mercedes' engineers
connection between the car and the engineers in the detected a slight problem with David Coulthard's
pits and enabled data to be downloaded fro m the car, engine, which then began to smoke visibly when ju~t
and for tnlckside engineers to upload data back to the over one-third distance. Suitable adjustments were
car. Teams developed very sophisticated systems made, just as everyone was sitti ng on the edge of
which enabled them to ma ke changes to a car's set-up their seats anticipating the imminent demise of the
while it was st ill raci ng on the track, thus alleviating Scotsman as he led the race, and he was able to carry
any set-up shortcomings and removing the final on and score a memorable triumph.
'guesswork' from one of the most highly demanding At Magny-Cours Nick Heidfcld's Sauber Petronas
aspects of racing. C2l developed a problem with its traction control
In 2002 it worked like this: A team could intervene when a sensor failed. He lost traction and therefore
from the pits via a digital laser link to alter a number performance, but while it was a debilitating problem
of the car's electronic management parameters. One it was not terminal. For a while he simply turned the
laser on the car transmitted data; another in the pits system off, but the team worked at finding a solution
did likewise. The rule, however, was that they could that at least alleviated the problem.

Some people neve, actually tire telemetry SUeenS
see tlrei, Gars raGing on (luring a Grand Prix.
tire trad•. flue Jagua, (Mark Thompson/Celly
softu'are engineers monitor III1:1gcs)

All of the big money teams were running in real

time in 2002, and Peter Sauber invested dose to $6m
to join them for 2003 when it was announced that
two-way telemetry was banned again. The FIA was
concerned because, as Tilley outlined: 'If you wanted
to you could select a different differential map for
each corner, working from the pits. You could
actually be scrolling down you r computer enabling
just that while the guy is driving the car, if that's what
you wanted to do. On the most sophisticated systems
you'd have triggers and sensors to do that, but you
could do it manually if you wanted to.' There were
also fears that the facility might exist for one team to 'Option I' entails a full check of computer source
try tampering with another's cars, electronically. code, to ensure that the system complies with the
$0 now teams are back to just relaying information Technical Regulations. The FIA then copies the
from the cars to the pits. Most use a VHF radio link programmes and holds them as a template, so that
to provide 'ship-to-shore' communications between when programmes arc uploaded at race meetings
driver and the pits. The driver's helmet carrieS a they can be compared with the initial 'fingerprint" to
microphone which is controlled by a push button on ensure that no cha nges have been made to the
the steering wheel. The driver can only speak while approved software. Any updates must be re-
activating this button but can receiYe at any time inspected as an 'Option Ire-check'.
without recourse to separate movement. Communi- 'Option 2' involves a less detailed pre-season check
cation is on a specific frequency, and usually only the on the control software but a detailed check of
team manager will speak to the driver during the upload software. When programmes are uploaded at
course of a race. All transmissions are encrypted to a race meeting the FIA will take copies which it keeps
prevent rivals eavesdropping. The telemetric sensors indefinitely. These may be inspected in detail at any
provide around 100 impulses per second. Real time time, even after the season has finished. Under
information flow is around I Mb of data per lap, while 'Option 2' teams can make regular updates to their
the .semi-real time download each lap provides the software without the need for continual re-approval.
engineers with around a.5Mb. If a team chooses 'Option 2' it may be subjected to
They are, however, completely at liberty to exploit a full source code inspection at any time, and in
real time computer connections between the race either case all hardware must be inspected and
track and their factories. Thus engineers at the track documented to facilitate monitoring of changes
can directly relay information to the factory while the during the Season.
cars are running, and if there is a problem, either with Liverpool Data Research Associates Ltd (LORA),
programming or set-up, the engineers at the factory the independent company that the FIA employed to
can use the full might of the team's facilities to investigate teamS' computer software, explained
produce a correctiye solution. They cannot do this, sourCe codes thus: 'Computer instructions are usually
however, while their cars are in action. called machine code and are represented internally as
Since the arguments of 1994 the FIA has initiated a series of noughts and ones, known as binary
stringent checks on computer software, and all numbers. This form of instruction is vel)' difficult for
systems on board a car, or which can be connected to humans to understand, so computer languages have
it, must be validated by the scrutineers before a race been devised that enable us to express instructions in
meeting. At the beginning of each season teams are a form that is more natura l to us. Programmes
given the choice of having their systems inspected on written in these languages are known as source codes.
two different levels. A computer cannot use them directly but they can be

THE SC1EJ\"CE 01' FORMUL .... O:-lE DES1GI' 115

tmnslatcd into machine code that it can understa nd Avove: Communication is Ihe RighI: The shrouding veneath
by using ,mot her programme called a compiler. n{Wle 0/ !he gmne. Ihe cars' sidepods ({Ivove
When the machine code is loaded into the Th.oughflu! {I Ntre. seni"r and velolll) is Ihe ideal place
computer's mernOfy, the processor can then execute leam englnee.s an{1 for locating a 101 0/ the
the instructions that are described in the source slrategisl!l (lhisl$ FerMr;) complex electronics, nOI juS!
code.' monllQ, {Jata using sc, eens vewuse it is othe,wise dead
Electronics hold the greatest scope for t eams t o on Ihe pit u'all 10 keep Ihe s/Xlce bUI also because it Is
cheat, somet hing that has long been a source of d,lvus in/" ... ,.',J. (e li ..' easier to cool '01n/)(men l$
concern to the FIA after the controversial 1994 Mason/Gclty hllagc~) mounled Ihe,e. (Author)
season. In the past teams have been fi ned for failing
to di\'ulge their source codes, arguing that such a Formula One race, because we have to look at t hem
informat ion is confidential. FIA president Max in fairness to all the other competitors.'
Mosley disagrees. 'Source codes are regarded by Under Article 2.6 of the regulations it is the duty
some people as confidential because t here are big car of the competitor to satisfy the stewards that his car
manufacturers, for exam ple, wh ich use simila r complies. Thlls they cannot avoid revealing inform -
source codes on their road cars,' he says. 'Our posi- ation required by the technical stewards. Over the
tion is simple. There are some things that we don't course of a season, the latter will probably carry out
have to check; for example, suspension geometries. 100 r:lI1dom checks.
But in any area that we need to check, because it is Electronics are also used to police the drivers;
an area that might concea l a breach of the rules, then all ca rs carry sensors to detect any jump starts.
our position is very simple: if you bring it to a face J lowcvcr, on the flip side, the latter have a special
meeting, we are ent itled to check it. So, if yOUf bl1tton on the wheel to press to engage th e pit lane
source codes afe so secret that you don't want us, or speed limiter during pit stops, so that the car simply
anybody, to look at them, don't bring those codes to ca nnot go any fas ter than the law allows . T he latter



have been known to malfunction t hough, most car and engine manufacturers develop the engine :md
notably when t he Sauber Pelronas team suffered ECU together, and wou ld rather keep doing t hat than
t hree stop and go penalt ies in the 2002 Canadian have to implement a third party's assessment of what
Grand Prix .. they should use. O ne problem early in 2006 was that
no definition of a sta ndard ECU existed. C hanging
ECUs and all of the integrated code associated with
Perhaps t he greatest cont rol electronics exercise is them is such a major undertak ing that softwa re teams
over engines, and r IA President Max Mosley h'ls long would not have a great deal of time left before the
wanted a standard electronic control unit (ECU) so proposed int roduct ion of standard ECUs on January
that t he FIA effectively decides what level of power 12008.
and performance is acceptable, and can police th ings 'I think in principle most of the manufacturers
such as the vexed t raction control. When he fi rst would prefer freedom with t he ECU,' admitted
proposed t his it was as popular among the teams and Toyota team principa l John Howell early in 2006.
manufact urers as a rattlesnake in a lucky d ip, but 'At least the actua l cost of the ECU itself is not of
gradually people have mellowed. T he problem is that an extreme magnitude. Okay, one wou ld probably

need to be more draconian in restricting electronic possibility of some sort of power modulation, 'But if
capacity to significa ntl y reduce the cost area. I we all get put to a standard ECU, then those of us,
think there is an issue of actually ensuring that few of us, with devious minds will turn their
there are no artificial aids which are intended to be attention to other means. It's a change and I can
eliminated, such as traction control in the future, understand that a lot of people, like BMW, building
and therefore by having a standard ECU it may their own ECUs, will find it an interesting challenge
make it very easy to police and avoid any rumours which I'm sure will have some relevance and some
of a certain team having this capability or not, and knock-on to their road car development. It must feel
[ believe that's one of the reasons that the FIA very uncomfortable for engineers to be told "No, you
wishes to integrate the actual standard ECU, but I can't do this, no you can't do a job in that area" and
think as a pre ference we would prefer to keep be given what will probably be a fairly middle-of-the-
freedom.' road piece of hardware. It doesn't feel very Formula
Williams' Patrick I-lead said that he was not One-ish but anyway, that's what we're told we're
convinced that it would automatically follow that getting and it seems it's still Max and Bernie's game
having a standard ECU wou ld eliminate the so that's what we've got to play with:
'As we understand,' said Dr Mario Theissen of
BM\V-Sauber, 'the original aim was to rule out
artificial driver aids, and we fully support that, even
if road cars h:l\'e it. We want to see the best drivers
out here and want them to cope with the car at the
limit and that is certainly more exciting without
driver aids. We have had talks between the
manufacturers and some teams, I think it was a year
ago - at least a year ago - about how to achieve that,
and we came to the conclusion that it should be
possible to do that with a controlled section,
accessible to the FIA, to make sure that there are not
artificial driver aids. We would prefer to go along this
route because today virtually everything comes with
its electronics and virtually every function is
controlled electronically. So in order to have the
possibility to test new functions, we would need to
have access to the electronics and then you are
immediately down to the question: what is
standardised? Is it a certain area of the hardware, is it
the basic software as well, even the application
software? It's quite a difficult and tricky area, so, as I
sa id, we would prefer to have a common sta ndard
which ensures that there are no driver aids and such
aids cannot even be perceived to be there, but then
to do our own stuff in order to develop the same stuff
for testing and racing.'
Assuredly, this was olle area in 2006 in which the
arguing was fa r from over.

T'flclion con"ol comell inlO Barrichello in Ihe 1I0n,la

illl own in conditionll, nil
U·' el RAJ06, bUI abo plays nn
seen here in pre·seallOlI ill/purllmr role on n ,/ry
resling Ulilh J<ubens roml. ()ullon.im3K<".com)


and steering
Dampened ardour

I ,


he suspension is one of the most highly GIrT}' the brake cool ing ducts or act as one itself, to
loaded and crucial parts of a Formula One ensure that the temperatures generated by the
car, and another one that's easy to overlook. frictional interference of t he brake pad against the
But its structural integrity is one of the disc is kept in the socre range.
cornerstones of a car's performance. To appreciate The upright and ca llipe r also have to resist braking
that, just consider that all of the loads absorlx.>d by a loads when the driver requires the 60Skg car to slow
racing car, whether they be lateral cornering loads, from, say, 300kph to speeds as low as 4Skph in the
vertical1oods, or acceleration or deceleration I03ds, are case of Spa's La Source hairpin. The forces here are
all initiated by the tyres' contact with the road and aTC enormous as the brake disc is effectively t rying to
then fed into the chassis via the wheel/tyre unit, twist t he upright on its suspension arms. Any flexure
through the axle/ upright assembly, the suspension here wi ll make t he car extremely unstable under
arms and then finally via the push rod to the heavy braking.
spring/damper units. The stability of the stnlcture While the rear uprights have to deal with forces
obviously also plays an important role in the manner in arising from the engine's power, the fronts have to
which the tyres interface \'lith t he track. incorporate mounting point s for the steering arms
The suspension upright performs several tasks. wh ich connect the wheels to t he steeri ng rack t hat is
Principally it provides the bridge between the chassis mounted atop the chassis. It is vital that there is no
and the geomet rically ideal position of the outer excessive movement or flexure here, not just because
ends of t he suspension arms. But it is also houses the that might prejudice the d river's control but also
wheel-bearing on which the axles rotate, and acts because it would generate inaccu rate feedba ck, which
:IS :I mounting point for the brake c:llliper, which he might then misinterpret
nips the axle-mounted disc. It also has a br:lke- while fighting on the edge of Opposite: Th e rea r
cooling function. It fo llows, then, that strength is t he control in a race. suspe nsion layout adopud by
primary requirement 10 t he upright, and one of t he Uke brake callipers, up- lI'Ilflams fo, ils I'W]5 in
significant problems th:l1 hgu:lr's R3 faced in 2002 rights these days are ma nu- 2003. The yellow dulled lin e
when the C:lT was first lau nched, was flexing in the factured in meta l matrix llenote.~ Ihe Inc/lnellto,slon
rear uprights. because it is so light and ba r. (Piota)
The upright has to connect the points in space strong. Previously wi re-cut
determined by the geometry chosen by the designer- titanium and cast titanium were used as uprights
the actual angles of the suspension :lrms where they developed from the Triumph H era ld proprietary road
are located and when they are operat ing. It is thus car components that were used in the '60s to the
important that the unit is structurally strong enough fabricated steel units of the '80s. Titanium fabric-
to withstand forces acting upon it without distorting ations proved unsuccessful for some time because the
and t hus influencing this geometry. If th:lt happens, m:lterial is so notoriously difficult to weld. Failures of
any flexure under load, either at the mounting points such units were believed to have caused the deaths of
or across the structure, will not only affect the Peter Revson at Kya lami in 1974 and Patrick
geometry but will also induce an un-damped move- Depailler at I-I ockenhe im in 1980. Eventually
ment in the load path between t he tyre :lad the improvements in technology gave titan ium its day,
damper. Thus there will be movement th:lt is not until meta l matrix took over. Ferrari's metal matrix
specifically controlled by t he damper, and this can uprights are about 20% lighter than t he titanium units
influence response to steering input, generate a lack and twice their price. To give some idea of the
of feel for the driver, reduce the car's inability to advantage, Ferrari's titanium front upright weighed
carry cornering load, and make it sensitive over 1.1 kg, and its metal matrix upright weighed 9OOg, a
bumps, or a combination of all of these proble ms. very significant percentage saving.
Wheel-bea ring loads are also very high, under braking Metal matrix components, a mixture of aluminium
and acce leration and when cornering, so the upright and carbon-fibre, are extremely difficult and
must be strong enough to withstand these, too. expensive to manufacture and require significant care
During braking t he carbon-fibre discs glow red hot during the machining stages as the gases produced
and generate temperatures in excess of I, 100oe, so during the process can create serious health issues.
the upright must also deal with this hostile The important factor here is unsprung weight.
environment. At the same time it must also either Picture the vehicle's chassis effectively hanging

THE SC IE:-l C E or f O RM U L A ONE DESI G N 121

Above 1l11t1 be/ow: There is Above is the f'O/Ii suSpel1SiOIl Above: \'isible here is the Below: "'errari'slou~'
great e/egl/l1ce ill the plIshrmlol1 the Wil/iml1s mamler ill u'irlcir mal1Y teams ulishbolles 011 ils 1-'1001 cllr
suspel1siol1 compol1el1ts of FW14, belolllthe 1001'er frol1t still mOUl1t their front pickell up 0/1 a com mOil
the 11I00/erl1 formula Ol1e car. u'ishlxme. (Author) suspel1slon. '''his is the sil1gle- mounling bel1ealh Ihe fwnt
keel design , u'here the louoer of Ihe Single-keel chassis.
suspension ar,"", pick up On a (Piula)
common lower mt)unting
point on the untlersille of the
ch".~.~ls. (Author)


Aool1e fond be/ow: In 2f)()1 C20 ,hnssis ran straight
Sergio Hill/tlntl dfweIoped down to crellte sepnrnle
the 'twin -keel' chnssls mountinKs [or the lower
concept (llbove tlntll,elow), [rolll suspension wishbones.
where the sides o[Snuber's (Piola)


AbovlI!: Undercar artworks
snow nOUI twin·kll!el chllss/s
can II!nh"nce airflow over
thll! front wing by
dim/nating thll! blockage
caused by the mounting
polnl for single.lreel front
suspensl(m fles/gns. (Piola)

Left: rerrarl constantly

expedm.mlS uli th new
upright tlesigns, in II bid
to Impart further strength
while reducing unsprung
weight. (Piola)


RighI: Other teams have
IQ//ouoed fertnrfs lead In the
use 01 cast titanium Ironl
uprights. (Piola)

Below: The Ironl suspe'l$ion an

>1WS1 Formu/a One ca,s now
IQ//aU's Ihe filii blade pivol
sySlem pioneered by John
Barna,d u'hen he u'as u!orking
al I'e"ari in lhe '90s, (Aut hor)


between the wheels on the suspension arms; that is Above: I Ike i l$ rivals, RighI: Some learns mouni
the sprung weight. The wheels and everything else lI'illiams shapes ils ,heir fro n' dampers alOp Ihe
'outboard' of the suspension arms are unsprung. The suspension (omptJnenls 10 monocoque, bu' il'iIliams
lower the unsprung weight, the less likely a car's pmvltle optimum op'etl,o lowl.. Ihem illside
handling is to be :lffccted when it is negotiating aerudyn{lml~ efficiency. Ihe ~hassis, dOll'n ill Ihe foot.
bumps and undulations. (Author) wel/, on Ihe /'\1'24 . (Au1hor)
A sign ificant change was introduced by Ferrari in
200 I when it relocated the front suspension pushrod the shape of the notorious chicken bone) is universal.
to a mounti ng point on the front upright, from The arms are mounted by simple plates to the chassis
its more usual position on the outer end of the lower and in practice need only very limited upward and
front wishbone. This g:lve a more direct load path downward articulation. As the arms move up and
fr om the upright to the damper. [t had been common down, a rod mounted on th e lower wishbone, or on
pt:lctice on rear uprights, but they had no need the lower section of the upright, activates the springs
to pivot as there was no steering function. The modi- :md dampers which are mounted on the chassis.
ficat ion provided the driver with much better 'feel' Because it operates diagonally and pushes the
through the steering. damper, this roo is called a pushrod. In previous
Composites are also used in some suspension arms, applications where the dampers were mounted at the
as ca rbon-fibre units are some 400g lighter than their bottom of the chassis - si nce discontinued for reasons
steel equ ivalents. Today the use of upper and lower of efficiency and safety - the reverse pattern applied
wishbones (so-called because of their resemblance to and pullrods were employed.


In order to maximise aerodynamic efficiency, the spring's rate is expressed in terms of the amount of
suspension arms have an aerofoil section determi ned force it need~ to compress or twist it. Some springs
by wind t unnel research, and these are tested for helVe rising rate, which means their characteristics
effkiency and st rengt h on factory rigs. To make sure differ depending on the load imposed. There are two
that the componen ts are strong enough, they are schools of thought still in FomlUla One; some designer.;
subjected to loads far higher than they might be still use coil springs, others, such as Ferrari, opt for the
expected to encounter on the track. torsion bars - introduced by Colin Chapman back in
The purpose of the springs is to provide necessary 1970 on his Lotus 72 - fo r packaging reasons.
compliance as the car traverses bumps, while t he pur- Damping is a key area of race car performance.
pose of the dampers is to absorb excessive compliance Dampers are high ly sophisticated, and have a wide
and damp it out. Teams will experiment with different range of adjustments. [n the interests of packaging,
rate spri ngs until they find an optima l compromise; a some have their own hydraulic flui d reservoirs.


Above and righf; The rear cor's rear profile. "islb/e
lSuspenlSion of fhe Williams hue are lhe pushrods, lhe
1' 11']4 ;IS a mOlSfe'piecr of coil.sprinpdamper unlu
cunning packaging, and (mJ lhei. rocke, links 10 lhe
everyfhing /if IS beneafh fhe finy rear anfi-roll bar.
engine wver, minimising fhe (Author)

The suspension push rod activates a rocker which is

linked to the springs Jnd the separate dampers. The
latter use hydraulic fluid which compresses as the
damper rod is actuated. The \·iscosity of the fluid and
the valves within the damper influence the degree of
resistance and can be altered to provide different
behavioural characteristics. Again, teams will carry
out lengthy experiments to arrive at suitable damping
specifications for given Circuits, leaving fine adjust-
ments open to the driver.
Another mean s of stiffening the suspension is the
use of anti-roll bars, which these days take the form
of torsion bars. These arc activated when the car is


cornering. If they are set up to be stiff, the car will ferrari 's 1'200],GA rellr bar springs which are
resist roll during the corner. If they are set lip to be suslH!nsion reliet/ 0 11 lor.~jtln. (;ompaC/ antllight. (Piola)
more compliant, the car will be less resistant to roll.
A further refinement is the use of 'bump rubbers' to heading, compared to the angle at which the driver is
restrict t he spring travel. The springs strike against pointing the car. It is said to be understeering when
them and so keep the car from grounding as it the front tyres' slip angle is greater than the rears',
bottoms Ollt. and oversteering when the rear tyres' slip angle is
The suspension is one of the most adjustable parts greater than the fronts'. In practice, understeer
of the car, and the manner in which the vehicle is means that the front end tends to wash out and the
'set-up ' has a profound influence on its tr::lck car runs wide turning into a corner; overstee r is when
behaviour, ot he rwise known as 'handling'. The aim is the back end steps out and the driver has to apply
to set the car up perfectly for a given circuit. Perfect corrective opposite lock to prevent a spin.
handling is when the balance of the car - the differ- The more neutral a car's handling, the quicker it is
ence between front and rear-end grip - is the same, and the easier it is to drive at its maximum. It wil!
[n other words, the car tracks neutrally through a also use its tyres better than a car that understeers or
corner, and when it reaches its limit of grip does so oversteers, In practice, a degree of either character-
equal ly at each end. The influencing factor in deter- istic is to be expected,
mining understeer or oversteer is the slip angle of the An influencing factor is how 'soft' or 'h3rd' the
tyres, This is the angle at which the tyre is actu311y suspension is set. On the one hand it must be soft



Abovl!': This vieul shouis Ihl!'

complete layout of
McLarell's MP4/17 IJ ,ear
suspe"sion. (riola)

enough to absorb shocks or uneven surfaces. or to Above righr: Hidde" Imw"g functions Iwry from season
allow the driver to vault kerbs. On the other hand, a fhe brake mDsler-cy/inJer to -reasoll. This is the 2003
certain level of stiffness is necessary to stop the car fluid reservoirs at the fwnl Williams I'W24 's wheel.
from grounding. A car that is set up too soft may have of the 200J \l'illilHflS 1'11'24'5 shouli"g Ihe complex hUIIOIIS
good traction and compliance over kerbs, but it will chassis Is fhe elegant po ....e' thaI operated systems s uch
wallow and 'Ooat' in corners; a car that is set up too steering. (Author) as brake balallce, tNlelion
st iff wi ll dart from bump to bump. Personal co",rol seW"g, drinks bollle,
preference plays a large part in this compromise. Hight : The Sfeeri"g u'heel is ship-to-shorl!' raJio, fuel
Jacques Villeneuve, for example, preferred to have one of the fDslesl-chDnging miX/UTe control alld
his cars sel up rebtively stiff so that they responded compone,,/s 0" the mode,n Jiffere"tial sellings.
like a kart to his inputs. For.mAa One car, as (Author)
The high cornering speeds at a circuit such as
Hockenheim require a relatively soft set-up, to
generate the necessary grip. Conversely, the best
example of a hard suspension set-up is that used at


Monte Carlo. The tight streets arc best tackled with Abovl!: Tnl! l i;oyula TfW6 's Ihl! leam . The Hml
t he precise handling generated by a stiff set-up. sll!eri.. t ",'ned is eve .. nt(JN1 p~efe"e(llhis bUlle,fly
So many f~ ctors come into play that, as BMW ~(m,p/ex Ihm, Williams's. a ..d shape. (I';ob)
Williams discovered in the early part of 2003, failure nas a disli"Cli vl! shape.
to fu lly understand a car's set-up requirements can (To)'ota) Hithl: I'isibll! here (I,I! Ihe
be costly in terms of results. Once engineer Frank IU'O p(I(MIII., on the back of
Demie had come on board wit h his vast race engin- Abo-'e ritnl: Afd.a~en·' Ihe William,' Sleuing ,,'heel.
eering experience, the team made rapid headway. But ""hel!l wa s diffuenl atai .. u·hieh enable Ine drive, 10
finding the Holy Grai l is no casy undertaking at the i .. Ihe days u,he .. Milta cha .. ge ge(,~, "'ill. his
best of times. ll iikkl ..en ",'as d~ivingf(}~ finge~lips. (Author)
'The suspension is one of the mo!;t sensitive areas
of a race car,' said Sam Michael. at that time chief While general suspension operating principles arc
operations engineer at BMW Williams. 'It has to unlikely to change, materials technology is continu-
Teact extremely sensitively. At the same time, it has ally evolving and a new rota ry damper holds much
to be very robust to be able to withstand the forces promise for the fu ture . Thi s, the Sachs rotary
generated . It is important to set t he suspension damper is a vane-type hydrau lic actuator driven by
so that all four whee ls constan tly have the same the rotating end of the torsion bar. The rotat ing vane
level of contact wit h the road, so that the ca r is displaces hyd r,lUlic fluid from one chamber to the
as ba lanced as possible in any situation. This other, metered by normal damper-type valves. The
guarantees the manoeuvfilbil ity and enslIres the trick lies in seali ng the vane and shaft without too
ideal transfer of forces during braking and much friction, but the packaging is much neater and
accelerat ion .. also keeps the damper out of the airflow.

132 SUSPENS10r.: A'ID STE[Rl:-l G

Fena ~i's J989 640
tra llsmiuion int rod uced the
jlngutip g/!a ~shjft that
Fo~m ufa One d~il 'e~$ ,alre

fu~ t W illed today. (Pi ola)

Ferrari already uses a vane-type rotary act uator to policeman. Wheels new off in other accidents, too,
drive the gcar change barrel, and is investigating using notably at Canada and Spa in t 998. As part of his
t he technology further in the dampers. safety crusade, Max Mosely introduced wheel tethers
The FIA's Peter Wright, the former Lotus designer, for the 1999 season.
maintains that the introduction of wheel tethers into 'We were incredibly lucky at Spa, because
suspension systems was 'probably the biggest single somebody was killed by an errant wheel in a minor
step forwa rds in the last 10 years.' These heavy-duty race there a year later', Wright said. 'It happens.
cables were intended to prevent wheels flying off in You've only got to look :It La Source at that time, to
accidents, and were prompted by the startline see the number of wheels flyi ng around. It was pure
accident in the fateful t 994 San Marino Grand Prix at luck that somebody d idn't get hit.'
Imola which ultimately triggered Ayrton Senna's fatal In 1999 Mika Hiikkinen and Ricardo Zonta had
accident. When JJ Lehto's Benetton stalled on the accidents that proved the value of wheel tethers.
grid, he was struck from behind by Pedro Lamy's Initially they had a breaking strain of 5000kg. Later
Lotus, and one of the Lotus's wheels was thrown over twin tethers were introduced, and the breaking strain
the mai n grandstand. It injured spectators and a has increased to keep up with the energy of accidents.


Now the strain tends to break the first wheel tether systems have built-in fault detectors and usually
but not the second, which retains the wheel. They are operate off a pump on the back of the engine that is
not infallible, but they have made a definite driven by a shaft mounted in the gearbox. Electronic
contribution to enhanced safety. power steering has been banned.
Steering goes hand-in-glove with suspension. All The modern steering wheel has a distinctive 0-
modern Formula One cars use rack and pinion steering, shape and is custom-made for the particular driver.
where a pinion gear is attached to the end of the steer- Besides being the most important component on the
ing column and operates in a rack mounted on the top C3f, bec3use of its ability to tr3nsmit instant messages
of the chassis. As the steering wheel is turned the to the man who controls it, it is also the centre of
pinion moves the rack. As the latter moves to one side operation for the controls.
or the other depending on the direction in which the
wheel has been turned, it in tum pushes the steering
The yaw angles at which modern Formula One cars
run are relatively low, so they can get away with
arms in one direction or the other and they turn the limited steering lock and have such precise steering
front wheels. The system operates on the Ackennann ratios - around 1.5 turns lock-to- lock - that a driver
Principle, which means that in order to help the car doesn't need to work away at the wheel. That means .1
turn, the inner wheel moves at a smaller angle than the they can have a su rprisi ngly small diameter, around
outer wheel, rather like a differential helps the inside 250rnm or so.
wheel to describe a smaller arc than the outer.
In recent years power assistance has been some- /n Canada in 1998 II fi~Sf' sfIl~flinr IIccidenlll"d mo~e
thing of a political hot potato. Today drivers benefit come~ fangle brlu_n Alex fi~sf.come, fIUlyhem af Spa
from systems which rely on hydraulics, like road cars, Wun '$ &nrlftm IIntl Jelln Illter in 1998 it ""liS f(}Q
to provide greater or lesser degrees of assistance. Alul'$ 5l1ube~ Illunchrd much. lind iong'lIu1llifed
Generally 30% is regarded as sufficient for a \l'u~~ InfO II fl!r~ifying series unul trthers finally
gym-trai ned racer, while still providing him with a of ~oll$. d"~ing u·hieh hl$ car appeared for fhe 1999
reasonable level of feel. Teams also incorporate safety lost bOfh fronf ,,·heels. Affu srason. (Da\'id Taylor/Getty
features, in case of power-assistance failure. All tht! 199451'" MM/no Images)


: Brakes
Disc jockeys

very time a rookie driver first steps into a When Jaguar won the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours
Formula One car, inevitably it is the after equipping its C Type sports cars with disc
braking performance and not the power brakes, the motor racing world woke up, albeit slowly
and acceleration that makes the biggest in some cases, to the new revolution. Discs are now
impression. The sheer speed of the car rarely fazes universal in all forms of racing and on many road cars,
good drivers, but getting used to just how late you o3lthough cheaper models still use drum brakes on the
C::ln brake in a car with carbon-fibre br3kes to reo3r wheels, complementing discs on the front.
Formula One standard takes a bit of learning. More The primary benefit of the disc brake is tho3t it is
than anything, it is a malleT of the d river not enclosed like the drum, so the heat dissipntion is
reprogramming his mental level of trust to caler for much more effective, The disc rotates on the end of
the awesome stopping power. the o3xles, usually within the wheel, and is gripped
Ever since racing began, the ability to brake l:lter under bro3king by a calliper which has a cylinder and 03
than the next man has been a key part of overtaking. brake pad either side of the disc. When the driver
In the '60s and early '70s the Swiss driver Jo Siffert operates the bT:lke pedal, hydraulic pressure pushes
revelled in fitting the description of 'the last of the the pistons further out of the calliper so that the pads
late bnlkers'. o3re forced into contact with the surface of the disc to
The introduction of the disc brake in the '50s was slow the car down.
a major step forward. Prior to then cars had used Until the '70s cast-iron was the c hoice of material
drum brakes. These comprised large cast-iron drums for discs, with some reasonably exotic choices of
which were fitted on the end of the axles, so that material for the co3llipers, At
they were cO\'ered by the wheels when the latter times the latter htlVe been Opposile: Uke yoad ca~s.
were fitted, Inside the drum were two semi-circular mounted in the nine o'clock all Fo~mufa One CIl ~S use II
shoes, whose shape fitted the smooth internal shape position behind each wheel; dUIl/·circuil hmhng sy51em
of the drum, When the driver operated the brake at the six o'clock position to in the in'ereSls of sllfe/y,
pedal, hydraulic pressure from a master-cyl inder lower the centre of gT:lvity, or (Piola)
mounted behind the brake pedal, and smaller the co3llipers have been
separate cylinders fitted inside the brake drum, doubled up, with a pair, one mounted at nine o'clock,
pushed smal l pistons which in turn moved the shoes and the other at three to countero3ct braking forces.
outwards until they touched the inner face of the Equo3lly, designers ho3ve experimented with the
drum. The resultant friction slowed the rate of number of pistons, or 'pots' per brake. Six-pot
rotation of the drum, and thus slowed the C:l r down. callipers became very populo3r because of their en-
Drum bmkes were relatively inefficient, and h:ld ho3nced efficiency o3S three cylinders each side of the
poor heat rejection properties. Despite copious disc pushed the po3ds into contact with the disc.
finning on the outside of the drums, which came to In the '70s tho3t innovative designer, Gordon
be located in the airstream just inside the wheel's Murray, experimented with carbon brakes on Bernie
inner face, overheating was a constant source of Ecclestone's Brabham Alfa BT45, whose large fuel
concern and led to brake fade. This was a situation in capacity and relatively high engine weight posed
wh ich the brakes became so hot that they lost t hei r further braking problems as the South African sought
efficiency. As the hydraul ic flu id suffered he:lt to make a silk purse out of a concept that some
transfer from the hot brakes it lost efficiency too and believed to be a sow's ear. Once initial problems with
boiled, creating greater t ravel on the brake pedal. weaT characteristics were overcome, carbon brakes
That is what a driver means when he complains about became de rig/leur from the 'SOs onwards, Apart
a 'Iong pedal.' Most drivers prefer the brakes to from their dull black colour (which glows cherry red
operate with \'ery little pedal travel because it is a under very hard braking), carbon discs look
confidence booster. It's good to know that when you outwardly similar to their cast-iron counterparts, but
tap the brakes, they will react instantly, especially on they operate now in conjunction with high-tech
tight street circuits such as Monte Carlo. There is composite carbon pads. Not only is the level of
nothing more off-putting than racing there with a efficiency extremely high, they aTe also lighter than
long brake. In extremis, brake fade requires the their conventional steel counterparts.
driver to pump the pedal to restore hydraulic Many purists have blam ed them for the lack of
pressure and reduce peda l travel. overtaking in modern racing, because their incredible


Abo",: 11'1/1;0"'" used silf! rom/ruclion of the Below: 'n ZOOI ferrari once '/UC/!I dflsiln,t/IO ,""n ou
, .. -a_petlat wn/rol on ,I., pet/als in the i"lerellt of again shOll'fui iu 'nnovalir'e bmlte cooling. &{ore long
1-1.'2-4. The Ih,oll{e is on Iight",S5, and the two 5",,,1:u'ne" the fl00J everyrme else follou>ed
the le/t in Ihis photo. master-cylinder pislOns appelHet/ uluh ({rum-slwped ., .. if. (Piola)
the bmke 0/1 the right. ope,ared by the limite pililaI.
Nole carbon-fib" compo- (Author)

Above: This is Fe~~a~i's Helaul, By 2003 Ihe 11'il/iams
/-']OO3-GA ~eM en,l, delailing engineers had folloU'etl
Ihe ~ea~ suspension and Ihe ferrari's lead, introt/uclng a
la/est version of ilS bNlke ,Irum ,iuet desig/! of Iheir
duct design, (Pioia) OWII. (I'iola)


Aholle lef,; 1006 I"urari US Abrovto ~ight: This is tM soiutiorl and ilgain in 1999, and found that the efficiency and
,:J f,OII1 b1llke (lutlmbly. 1m the 1006 8.\ IIV-Snubt!r feel were very similar to carbon discs, though the
(sullon· imag~.(OIll) Fl.06. (sution-irnages.(,,"I) weilr rilte WilS in ferior.
'There WilS very little difference between them
ilnd carbon brilkes,' Patrick Head, engineering
director of Williams, confirmed. 'Carbon brakes are
more powerful, it's just that what we were running in
efficiency has so reduced braking distances that one
of the traditional p3ssing opportunities of racing has lielou'; 111 Ihll f1~sl corner ill Schumacher slips a/read of
been ste3dily diminished. Interestingly, however, IUI/lmlll ill 1004 hOlh team-mtl/II R"ben.f
\Villi3ms conducted experiments 3t Silverstone in /:ermrls lire lockll1g !heir Barrichello. (Mark
1995 with 3 C3r equipped with cast-iron brake discs, b1llkes as Michael Tho1l1pson/GI:tty In.3gcs)


With $(J much ,Jucting 10 keep

Ihe b,akes u'ithin Ihei, co"ea
ope,aling lempe,alu,e,
up,ighl$ a,e ha,der wId
harder 10 $PUI. (Piola)

the old days was a cast-iron disc with a fibrous pad, probably make little difference, both to cost and to
and what we ran during those tests was a cast-iron effi ciency. '
disc with a sintered carbon metallic pad.' When
something is sintered it has been turned from a
powder state into solid state by the application of The braking system on a modern Formula One car
heat. 'It was a completely different pad, but the naturally relies on a split hydraulic system, so that
same sort of brakes t hat arc on the touring cars. Very fai lure of one part of the system still enables the
powerful , but a different deal. I don't t hink they back-up to operate on three wheels. Since 1993
wou ld have lasted a race as well as a carbon disc, but power assistance has been banned fro m Formula
as far as retardational power was concerned, they O ne, but electronic brake balance mechanisms are
were pretty much t he same.' permitted even though they appear to be a driver aid.
It is possible that cast- iron discs with special The driver can operate the system to move the brake
material specification to reduce t hei r weight cou ld balance fore or aft according to circumstance, thus
prove as effec tive as carbon discs in lightness and optimising braking effi ciency. In the past he could do
operation, but today t he latter are so good and so t his usi ng cable-operated adjusters. Today's systems
well established that it wou ld take a brave man are actuated via buttons on the steeri ng wheel. The
to seck to upset the status quo. Besides which, driver can thus press the relevant button before, or
riA president Max Mosley sou nded a doubtful note going into, a corner in order to shift the balance to
when he observed: 'The probl em is that it would be the front or feaf wheels. Since he has to do this
very hard to police what materials might be used. himself and there is no automation, it doesn't count
There are so many additives that one might then put as a driver aid.
into a cast-iron brake disc that, really, it would The toughest circuit on brakes is Monte Carlo,


Lefl: This is Ihe pel/al Right: AP's calliper is a fine
nl·up usell by Fe~r(lrl, wirh piece of casting and rhe
side·plales 10 SlOp Ihe disposilion of irs six pistons
drillft,s' feel sli,'ping off lhe is c1ea~Iy eviden/. (I'iola)
petlals, (Piola)
Far righl: Dar'id Coulthard
preferred three-pedtll
control. This u'as his ser-up
(/I McLaren. (l'iola)

'If you were pulling 4.5g on a hig stop, that'd be

pretty good. Not bad at all.' And that is not the end
of the extremes. The brakes reach temperatures of
1,000°C, there is pressure of 1,200psi in the
hydraulic nuid lines (which have specia l outer
braiding to prevent the possibility of them bursting),
and the drivers needs to exert some 150kg on the
brake pedal every time they apply it, over 300km
races ..
Within limits, Formula One discs operate better
the hotter they get, which is just as well given the
temperatures they are subjected to. As it has always
been, overheating is thus still a problem that requires
some cleverly thought-out solutions. Teams change
their brake cooling specifications from circuit to
circuit, depending on how hard each track is on
braking. All Formula One discs are ventilated, which
with its 14 corners and the need for thousands of means that slots cut into the disc help to circulate
gearshifts during a race. On its short straights the car~ cooling air to ensure that the brakes do not operate
accelerate up to 290kph, hut inevitably have to brake outside their specified temperature range. They are
hard for the next corner. One of the toughest sec- also fitted with sensors that inform the team of
tions of any track is the run from the Portier corner impending problems. This became important after
through the tunne l and down to the hairpin. Cars shattered discs affected some teams in the late '90s,
reach their maximum speed on the approach to the hut even so Kimi Raikkonen's Mclaren-Mercedes
chicane, before the driver has to brake very hard and suffered a rear disc failure in the closing laps of the
downshift through the gears from seventh to second. 2003 French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.
That means going from 290kph down to SOkph in Today's cars have to use aluminium callipers. The
seconds. Not surprisingly, this subjects the brakes to FIA has attempted to place some limit on braking
enormous stress. On another section, Beau Rivage, perfomlance by specifying aluminium, a maximum of
the speed drops by a similar amount. The highest six pistons and two brake pads per wheel. Most
deceleration under braking recorded in Formula One callipers are manufactured in MMC - metal matrix
was 5.99g, but even today the telemetry often composite - strengthened and stiffened some 20% by
records spikes around 4.5g. That means that while the presence of a silicon carbide particulate in the
braking a driver weighs four and a half times his aluminium. For a time some teams favoured stiffer
normal body weight. When you consider that callipers manufactured in Albermet, the trade name
Formula One cars accelerate at only 2g and rarely for aluminium beryllium metal, an aluminium
exceed cornering forces of 3 or 3.5g, it puts the beryllium alloy which has a remarkable performance.
performance of the brakes into even sharper Since these were 30% lighter than standard units
perspective. there was a considerable saving in unsprung weight
'High fours are a good figure,' suggests former overall. but aluminium beryllium has since been
Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar engineer Gary Anderson. banned hy the FlA.

142 IlR A K£S

There is however a price to be paid for all this Generally speaking, the more downforce in a set-up,
efficiency, 3nd that is that the brake discs on a the more dr3g that is created, so t hat when a d river
Formul3 One car have to be replaced as a matter of lifts off the throttle the ca r will already start to slow
routine after each race. itself because the engine power is no longer offsetting
Tyres are also part of the braking efficiency the drag. This can also reduce braking distances.
equation (see Ch3pter 9) since it is ultimately all 'The braking procedure in a Formula One car is an
about the coefficient of grip. Slick tyres have a wider extremely complicated one,' said Gavin Fisher, former
tread surf3ce and therefore put more tyre into chief designer at WilliamsFI. ' It is the interplay
contact with t he road. \¥hen grooved tyres were between brakes, tyres and aerooynamically generated
Imde 1ll3nd3tory for 1998, the level of grip fell by down force that guarantees ideal deceleration.'
some 20% since there was less rubber on the actual Argu3bly, it is still down to where the best driver
r03d surf3ce. While this slowed down cornering can brake bter than his rivals, but we are now talking
speeds it naturally also affected grip under braking. such sm311 dist3nces th3t their effect on overtaking
For a while, as intended, they opened up braking has for many ye3rs tended to be minimal. Braking is
distances, but soon the tyre manufacturers developed thus another area in which technology has robbed the
better tyre construction and compounding which driver of an area in which his own feel, courage 3nd
restored the lost grip. expertise might be exp loited to generat e an
The aerodynamic set-up also inOuences braking. adv~mtagc on the track.


· Tyres
Daylight rubbery
lithe sensations that the Formula One car 'Stirling Moss started me thinking along these
, relays to the driver come primarily from lines,' Mosley admitted, 'when he was talking about
four little rubber contact patches. The historic cars and sa id t hat you should never allow
lyres give the car its 'footprint' on the historics with t readed tyres and historics with slicks
track, and while you need many other things going for to race at the same time, because the performance
you too, if your lyres aren't up to it you are never gap is so enormous. This set the whole thinking in
going to get thc job done, Failing to get the best out train. What actually h3ppened was that slicks and
of them can have a similar effect, as BMW Williams aerodynamics came in 3round the same time, 3nd o ne
and Mclaren Mercedes showed in 2002 when they has always thought that the enormous climb in
didn't make the best use of their Michelin lyres and perform.mce was due to aerodynamics, but in fact the
Ferr3ri and Bridgeslone romped away with the World quantum jump W3S slicks.'
Championship. The idea worked initially but the tyre wars
'The four lyres dictate everything, and unless you between Goodye3r 3nd Bridgestone, and latterly
are kind to them and don't take too much out of Bridgestone and Michelin, generated such a high level
them, you're going to be in trouble,' said former of development that soon cornering speeds went up
Jordan designer Gary Anderson. 'They arc the biggest again as softer, more durable, tyres evolved. Had
thing, to be honest, the biggest individual component slicks kept developing, however, it's fa ir to say that
on the car, which gives you grip. You must look after cornering speeds would now be even higher.
them. It's what this is all about.' Whet her it is a racing tyre or a road tyre, the basic
The old adage is that lyres are round, black and manufacturing principles are the same. Once the
boring, but not in Formula One. TIley are the mech- rubber has been taken from plantations, it is blended
anical prima donnas. Their compound (the mix of t he with carbon black (which
rubber) and t heir construction (the precise way in gives the lyres their colour), Opposile: A [ilmiliilr sight in
which they are made), exert major influences on su lphur and other materials the Formulil One pilddodt:
their behaviour. But they are also sensitive to such as oils, resins and plas- the tyre sMck.
temperature, track surface and driving style, not to tidsers to form a compound (~ulton-i1l1agt.'S.co1l1 )

mention the car's handling characteristics, grip level pre-determined by design

and traction. But when your tyres are working in your engineers working wit h sophisticated computer
corner, fighting for you, there is no cheaper or better pfogrammes which take into account previous o n-
way to make a big jump in lap speed. track testing experience. In Formula One, tyres are
Since 1998 the FIA has made grooved tyres usu311y bui lt within a two-week lead-time. (Even less
mandatory in Formula One. Prior to 1971 tyres had than that in 2003 when Michelin had to modify its
been treaded, but development in various areas of the front tyre design after complaints by Bridgestone.)
sport saw the pure slick lyre evolve. Effectively this Once extruded rubber sheets have been formed
had no tread; put another way, its tread extended from the basic materials they are laid up on circular
across the whole surface of the tyre. This enhanced formers, where other materials such as woven nylon
grip significantly, unless of course, it was raining. or polyester and bead rings are laid up to form the
Then the tyre had zero ability to swipe away water, basic carcass on which the rubber is then wound. The
and the driver was in trouble. In the 1975 British way in which the various materials are laid up, in
Grand Prix at Silverstone a breakers' yard de\'eloped particular the angles of each ply, have a critical effect
at Club Corner when a late rain shower caught out on its ultimate performance. The end result of t his
driver after driver running on slick tyres. process is the creation of the 'green' tyre, which is
In 1997, anxious to curb cornering speeds and b.1rely recognisable as t he real thing. It is then placed
spotting a cunning way of bringing tyres out of the in a two-part metal mould, where heat and pressure
area of the technical regulations (where any changes are applied for a specific period to cure it and give the
required unanimous agreement of the teams) and tread its pattern.
into the sporting regulations (where changes could be Formula One tyres 3re constructed along similar
made on safety grounds without unanimity) . FIA lines to roadgoing radials. Their sidewall stiffness is of
president Max Mosley hit on the idea of introducing paramount importance in determining their influence
grooves. This would effective ly reduce tread area on steering input, feel and response, and is a fun ction
again, and therefore cut cornering speed. of the construction design. They afe designed to fit


660mm diameter wheels. Ory weather fronts fit Modun for",ula One cars silleU/alI depth is slllllller.
between 30Smm and 355mm rim-width wheels, the use much higher profile Lou, profile tyres were tried
rears 36Smm to 380mm. Both front and rear dry tyres than their rond cn. in 1971, but led to serious
weather tyres have four 2.Smm deep grooves which brethren, I" other words th~ vibration problems.
are IOmm wide at their base and 14mm wide at their mlio 0/ tread u,jdth 10 (Au.Iior)
contact surface. There is a SOmm spacing between
their centrelines. The front tyres weigh around 9kg 'monsoon' conditions. There was then a general
and helVe an overall tread contact aTea of 280sq cm; outcry and the one-wet rule was rescinded on grounds
the rears weigh II kg and have a tread aTea of 440sq of commonsense in favour of a choice of two.
cm. The tyres are tubeless, and are inflated by A wet tyre is designed to be 'soft' enough to pro-
specially processed air converted into nitrogen-rich vide as much grip as possible in slippery conditions,
gas which thus ensures that they retain constant but the moment the track begins to dry out, the
properties. They do not operate in a benign movement in the tread can quickly start leading to
environment, for the temperatures across the tread overheating.
of :I slick could re:lch 120°C, at operating pressures Typically a manufacturer will send 1,400 tyres lo
lower than the usual 30psi of road cars. Typically, each race, where the well-trained fitters from Bridge-
front tyres run at 20-24psi, rears at 17-19psi. stone and Michelin can fit 100 tyres an hour. On the
Over a race weekend each driver is allowed 10 sets Thursday prior to a G P they will fit around 750 tyres.
(40) dry weather tyres and seven sets (Z8) of wets In the course of a season, a tyre manufacturer will
(excluding 'monsoon' wets), which have a much more make between 50,000 and 60,000 covers.
distinctive tread designed to clear away gallons of
water a second when the car is travelling at maximum
speed on a wet surface. There may now be two types The two most critical factors in the interface bet .....een
of wet; a full wet for 'monsoon' conditions, and an car and tyre and tyre and track are the choice of
intermediate better suited to less wet conditions. The rubber compound, and the temperature at which it
choice of two was re-introduced shortly after the operates. Compounding is an art, and not surprisingly
Z003 Braz.ilian Grand Prix, when for the new season the rubber recipes are closely guarded secrets. When
the FIA had allowed teams only one type of wet tyre. Lucky Strike BAR Honda switched from Bridgestone
However, Bridgestone and Michelin gambled on to Michelin for the Z004 season, the Japanese
intermediate tyres but were subsequently faced with manufacturer ensured that the British team did not

retain any of its tyres that the French manufacturer As far as the operating temperature is concerned,
might then have been able to dismember and analyse. tyre engineers must select in advance of a race the
Teams test continually prior to races. One of the two compounds they believe are best suited to a
purposes of this is to determine the right tyre specific temperature window. In testing and even at
compotmd for a given circuit, and how long a tyre is races tyre engineers continually take temperature
effective before degradation robs it of performance. readings at the most varied points in the pit lane , in
Generally speaking the softer the tyre, the more grip order to record the temperature of the asphalt as
the tyre will generate, but its longevity will be accurately 3S possible. This provides a reference
relatively less than that of a harder compound. point, and unless it is rnining, the temperature rarely
Ilarder tyres, by contrast , last longer; but their drops below 10°. However, even a difference as
inferior grip gener3tes lower cornering speeds. At small 3S one to two degrees in track temperature
races drivers have a choice and can leave it until (which is more relevant to lyre performance than
Friday evening to make it; after that, however, they
must stick with that choice. Cars are placed in pare The "'(lnner in u·hich wet n,idgestone.shod Jo,dan
ferme after the single-lap qualifying session. They u'eafher f)',eil dell' U'(Jter I'o,d heads fo, eventual
must start the race on the tyres with which they aU'a), fro ... beneath fhe "eml victory in Ihe B,azilian
qualified, and must subsequently fit replacements of is superbly illuiI"(lfe(l ail GP in 2003.
similar compound during their pit stops. Giancarfo Fisichella's (SUI Ion·


Thl! Iy,l! fille,! and engineer! each driver u'as allou'ed
playa crucial role in seven sets of dry·u'ealher
enabling leams 10 nwke Ihe lyres in 10101 over a .ace
mOSI of Iheir rubber choice 01 weekend.
elleh Grantl!',ix. In 2006, (sutton ·

ature of around [OO°C. Special electric tyre warmers

are wrapped round the tyres to achieve this since it
is vita l that the tyre performs to its optimum from
its first lap. One of the things a driver learns early in
his career is the importance of generating sufficient
heat in his lyres; spinning on the opening lap on cold
tyres is a frequent reason for retirement in junior
Formula One tyres often need careful nurturing. In
2001 Michelin's tyres did not perfoml to their best
unless the driver had scrubbed them in; this entailed
putting several relatively gentle laps on them until the
shine and the sprigs of rubber known as 'sprue pips'
from the moulding process had been worn away. The
contrast in performance between scrubbed and un-
scrubbed tyres was thrown into stark perspective that
season at Spa. On scrubbed rubber Giancarlo
Fisichella thrust his Benetton Renault into second
place and eventually finished third; team-mate
Jenson BUlton, who had not been allowed out to
scrub his tyres in the morning warm-up, struggled
with understeer down the field as a result.
1yres which are too cold wil! create oversteer as
the car slides around; in extremis this can cause the
rears to overstecr and blister, as the rubber tread
starts to separate from the tyre's carcass.
ambient temperature) is enough to change the The modern Formula One tyre lasts about 150
window in which a tyre performs to the best of its kilometres, though this is dependent on the precise
ability. 'The tyre pressure is then matched to the blend of compound, operating temperature and the
asphalt temperature,' explains Sam Michael, driver's driving style.
technica l director of Williams. The front tyres run In the overall package of the Formula One car, a
between 1. 14 :lnd 1.2bar; the rears at 1.02 to question is frequently asked: which is more
1.0Sbar. If the temperature is cool and the tyre too important, power or handling? Distilled to its basics,
hard, then the car will slide around as much as if the is grip more important than grunt?
temperature was warm and the tyre too soft. As The simple answer, of course, is that both are im-
little as 0.1 bar either way, or even a difference in portant, but in Formula One nothing is ever simple.
pressure between each tyre, can be enough to There are different percentage returns for the same
compromise a driver's chance of achieving the effort from the respective chassis and engine
ultimate lap time. Interestingly, drivers of the designers. A poor chassis can disguise a strong engine;
calibre of seven-time World Champion Michael equally an excellent chassis can often flatter an
Schumacher can detect such minor discrepancies. average engine.
Teams go to great length to ensure that the drivers Tyre perfOTrl13nCe is the single fastest way to
get tyres at the right temperature. They arc inflated improve lap times. An improvement in grip wil l result
to the specified pressure, and are also pre-heated for in an improvement in lap time. An improvement in
up to two hours to their optimum operating temper- an engine's power output will also achieve this, but

148 TYKE S
not to the same extent. It requires a much larger
percentage increase in horsepower to achieve the
same resullo
'The most important thing for a designer is to
understand where you should be concentrating your
efforts. and that should be what makes the biggest
difference to lap times. · says senior BMW \Villiams
development engineer Frank Dernie. 'We have had
simulations for a number of years and even with the
simplest of simulations you can look at which various
things make the most difference, and at the absolute
top of the list is the tyre. It's never been different, the
fact is that the laws of physics haven't changed; the
facts have always been the same but not everyone
realised what the facts were, and that includes the
people who were designing the cars.'
If you made a comparison between two widely
differing Circuits, such as the tortuous Hungaroring
and the much faster Monza, an increase in
horsepower would have a much more significant
effect on the lap time at the latter rather than the
former. A 5% increase in power at Monza would
recluce a theoretica l lap time by O.8sec while a similar

He/ou' ami righl; 1·he lyre (Ir(lce weekend ill all

mallulaclurers sel up finely wealher condilions Iv ensure
etluippet/ tle/l'Ol$ ill Ihe Ih(ll each le(lm ha.~ ilS
patltlock, the lyre a/lolled share 01 rubber.
[illers work /1(1t 0111 over (slIt1o,,·inmgt's.colll )



l.efl; 'Iy~es only Itlsl tl finile RighI; Shown he,e i$ Ihe
lime in Ihe heal of Formula
One bailie. Top (Iefl) shows
slighl difference in Iread
u'idlh and shape u-hich lel/ro
the a~gumenl belu'een
how the tread lend$ 10 smea r
acro$$ the Iy,e u,hen il SelS Michelin and Bridgeslone al max 355mm
retllly hQI, while (be/oul) Monta in September 20m,
moSI lyres halle a/mo.!1 tlm/lhat some feel swung the
become sllcb by 'he lime I' IH,./(l Championship back ill
.Irlver COllies In 10 hb pit tit favour oiSchulllache.,
the end of tI Grand Prix Ferra.1 and Bridgeslone,
stint. (~ LJU o n .i mn !,:I!-~.CQm) (Pinla)

increase in grip would reduce it by 1.25sec. If you

were to apply the same performance improvements
for engines and grip at the Hungaroring, the
respective improvements wou ld only be 0.4 and
1.94sec. For I lungary the grip/engine performance
ratio is 485.00%, while at Monza it is 156.25%.
While t his is sim ple, achieving increases in either
power or grip does not come without a price.
However, manufacturing a better tyre is the cheaper
alternative and has fewer knock-on effects that need
to be taken into consideration. Generally speaking, an
improvement in the tyre is just an improvement in
the tyre, and the lap times drop as a result. An
improvement in engine power, however, can have all
sorts of hidden effects - such as a corresponding
reduction in re liability, narrowing of the power curve
or the need for larger radiators to maintain the
cooling, which might result in an increase in drag.
Aerodynamics also play an important role in
getting the tyre to work and, just as importantly,
al lowing it to survive, 'A typical simulation will show
that losi ng a bit of drag in the same way as gaining a
bit of power makes a difference to the lap time but
far less than you expect, whereas a bit more down-
fo rce force makes a huge increase,' Dernie says. ' In
the si mulation you tend not to have tyre degradation,
so if you just take downforce all on its own you go
faster as it helps the lyre enormously, particularly in
medium-speed comers. By comparison the tyre is Williams director of engineering Patrick Head has
better everywhere; it 's got better t raction, better no doubts about how critical tyre performance is to
braking. The tyre is probably t he least glamorous part lap time, but knows it is also just one of many factors.
of the racing car but t he most important, and it was ' People love to know how important the engine is
just as true in 1980 as it is today.' relative to the tyre, and what percentage the engine
If a tyre manufacturer gets its compounding and provides and what percentage the tyre provides, but
construction right it is then a matter of the team and
I the reality is if you want to be quick you've got to
driver honing the set-up of the caT to exploit it to the have everything working the best you possibly can.'
full. But if they get it wrong, the durability of a race At Indianapoli s in 2005, Michelin got things
tyre can always be compromised by even the smallest spectacu larl y wrong in the USG P. Bridgestone, via its
degree of understeer or ovcrsteer. Firestone involvement in the Indy Racing League and


the Indianapolis 500, knew that a new 'diamond qualifying went ahead, with all of the Michelin teams
grading' surfacing in the Speedway 's Turn One had a adopting fresh recommendations from the tyre
deleterious effect on lyre wear during the 500. manufacturer regarding those parameters. However,
Accordingly it did its homework prior to the Grand these recommendations changed the wear rates and
Prix there in June the following month, where Tum performance of the tyres, so some Michelin teams
One would become Turn 13 as the direction of the headed into the Tace with less data on predicted
circuit was reversed. Michelin did not do this, and in performance because the data they spent their time
practice on Friday it soon became apparent that it had gathering on Frid3y and Saturday had been rendered
a serious problem on its hands. Ralf Schumacher academic. Higher tyre pressures, for example, led to
crashed his Toyota very heavily in Turn 13 as a result oversteer and higher wear and there was no way to
of a left rear tyre failure (it was the second year in predict with suitable accuracy the extent of this.
succession in which the young Gennan had crashed
there). A weakness in the sidewall, exacerbated by In th" zoos us GP Uf .. 'ny, in the absence of nwre

the diamond grading, prompted serious concern Inllianapoiis, Ralf suitable rubber. Ihe leams
about the durability of the French tyres. Schumacher crashed his runn; .. g Ihe J'reneh lyres had
Michelin initially believed that Schumacher's tyre Toyota liS a .esu/t of lefl rear nO option but 10 pull OUI al
failed because of Toyota's combination of suspension Mltheli .. lyre failure. The the SIll.' o/Ihe race.
camber angles and tyre pressures. Practice and damage to the e,lt ifllilca/es (S " lIon·jl1lag~s.col11)

152 n i l ES
With increased wear came the increased risk of lyre As a compromise, Michelin asked the FIA t o install
failures. a ch icane before Turn 13. The response from FIA race
Michelin had some tyres with supposedly stiffer director Charlie Whiting, at Max Mosley's behest,
sidewalls sent over from its base in Clennont-Ferrand was unequivocal: 'Your teams have a choice of
ready for Sund3Y (it transpired that they were not nmning more slowly in Turn 12/13, running a tyre not
stiffer, being tyres of the type last used in Spain), and used in qualifying (which would attract a penalty) or
in the meantime the Michelin teams spent all of repeatedly changing a lyre (subject to valid safety
Sunday morning arguing with Bernie Ecclestone and reasons). It is for them to decide, We have not hing
the FIA about the best course of action. Michelin put to add.'
its hand up and confessed that its tyres were not Nine of the teams said, 'No chicane, no race.
suitable for the track, which has the longest full Ferrari, sensing its first victory of 2005, said, 'No
throttle run of any on the calendar and includes the problem.'
two banked corners, Turns 12 and 13. 'Having Slowly, a ludicrous situation worsened, and little
collected the results of our in-depth analysis from
France and the USA,' it said, 'we confinn that with T he ,liffere nce in Ji,/elmll on a Toyota) is evident in
the tyres on which we have qualified we are not able deforma lion /Jelu"een Ihis shol laken as the ca rs
to sufficiently guarantee the total safety of the Bridges/Qn6 (left, o n a negoliated Tu rn 13.
drivers. ' Jordan) anti Michelin (righI, (s u tton ,images.colll )


by little Formula One at the Indianapolis Motor situation, The world soon learned just how bad t he
Speedway went from critical to needing life support. sit uation was. AU 20 ca rs appeared on the grid after
There were suggest ions of imposing a 2S0kph speed the formation lap, but after the green fl ag lap all of
limit in the banked turns, or, even more stupid, the Michelin-shod cars pulled straight into the pits
letting cars race, but behind the safety car. But on a and were pushed straight into their garages. It was
day that called for strong governance, innovation and unprecedented.
compromise, or at least a decent back-up plan, On the grid, the two Ferraris were joined by two
nothing happened. 10rdans and two Min ardis , the latter two teams
At 12.30 Jordan's Tiago Monteiro left the pits, obliged to race by their Bridgestone contracts, and the
followed by the Ferraris and his team-mate Narain suicide act was complete. Bitterly disappointed fans
Karthikeyan. As the brinksmanship continued, it was gave what passed for a show a major thumbs-down.
another five minutes before Williams, Renault and As Mi ch ael Schumac her led team-mate Rubens
BAR sent their cars out, followed by Minardi , Toyota,
Sauber and Mclaren. Polesitte, Jllrno T,u/lj'1 BritlgeSlolle·shod I'""a,is
'The future for FI and Michelin in t he US is not TO)'011i /elids Michelill 'l head for Ihe grid lillhe end
good,' Bernie Ecc1estone conceded as he worked the rUlllle ,1 blick inlO Ih e pits liS, of Ihe filled fo,rnliliml llip.
grid, and not even his legerdemain could rescue the in Ihe tlilliince, Ihe (sullon·; n.ages,com)


Barrichello around in what was meant to be a race, with the announcement that they were continuing
the crowd were on t heir feet - leaving. There was their plans under the Gnnd Pri x Manufacturers'
more action in the car parks t han on the track. Irate Association for a separate racing series. It was not
fans react ed by t hrowing d rink cans. '$ back' signs until May 2006 that t his spectre fina lly disappeared
proliferated. Schumacher won from Barrichello, and as ongoing negotiat ions were concluded, to their
for the first time si nce Zandvoort 196 1 all starters satisfact ion, and they signed up to a new Concorde
finished. '\Ve went alit there to have fun, and that's Agreement for 2008.
what we had,' Schumacher said. 'It was not the right As these words were written, Edouard Michelin's
way to win my first race of the year, but it wasn't :I company was unlikely be around to see thi s Brave
disaster.' It might not have been for Ferrari, but on its New Dawn. Having bitten its self-constructed bullet
deathbed in the us Formula One slapped its fans in and made fin ancial reparation to all of Indianapolis's
the face. June 192005 was the sport's bleakest day disappointed fa ns, it was due to withdraw at the end
since Ayrton Senna was killed. Not one soul profi ted of 2006, giving Bridgestone a supply monopoly agai n
from a victory so hollow you could hear the wi nd fo r 2007.
whistl ing all t he way t hrough it. Tyres: round black and boring? Not in Fonnula One.
Describing events at the track, Indianapolis Motor One of the major factors influenci ng the race at
Speedway president and chief operating officer Joie Indianapolis that year was the FIA rule change which
Chitwood III said it was a 'major setback' to F I 's banned tyre stops. This gencr:lll y worked extremely
future in the US , but th3t talk of voiding the contract well to enhance the spect:lc\e, notably at the
with Bernie Ecclestone's FOM company (which runs Nurburgring where leader Kimi Riiikkonen nursed a
out in 2006) was premature. 'What occurred today badly vibrating flat -spotted right fro nt Michelin on
was something we were not prepared fo r. \Vc his McLaren, only to have his suspension break as a
invest ed a lot of time and effort in pre paring this result on the very last !3p. Il owever, for 2006 tyre
property for a world-class racing event. The inability stops were perm itted once ag:lin for reasons that were
to have con trol over the actions t oday ... to say it's a not entirely t ransparent. The FI A argued against itself
disappoi ntment is an understatement. Everyone here that free-for-all tyre changing in races would enliven
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pri des things further by eliminating the 'slow-bum ' nature of
t hemselves on producing world-class events. The fact 2005 races, and increase the level of competition.
we had no control over what occurred is our greatest Elsewhere, drivers were still only permitted seven
disappointment. No one at the Indian3polis Motor sets of tyres over a race weekend, with no more than
Speedway is proud of wh3t occurred tod3)'.' two specifications to be provided by the supplier.
Al legedly, circuit boss Tony George was denied his Tyres used in quali fying and the race had t o be of t he
right by promoter's option to h3ve installed a chicane. same specification.
It would not have been perfect, but it wou ld have
been t he best compromise, and precedent for it
existed with t he chicane in Spain t hat the drivers had Just before the Monaco Grand Prix in May 2006, t he
insisted on back in 1994. As fo r t he Michelin teams, FI A started the tender process for a single tyre
they had no option under Indiana Sta te Law but to supplier for Formula One from 2008 unti l 20 10.
withdraw. Had any of them raced on tyres Companies wishing to make a bid had until Jun e 23
acknowledged to be unsuitable, they could have faced to submit an appli ca tion, with the decision due t o be
prosecution even had there not been any furth er an nounced on July 5.
incidents. The successful company would be expected to
Mosley was accused of t rying to use the situation supply tyres free of charge to t he le:lmS with :l
to force independent-mi nded Michelin out of the maximum of 300 sets only for testing purposes each
sport, so that Bridgestone could have a su pply calendar year. Tyres would be avai lable in four
monopoly, and of obliging George not t o use his different com pounds and would be tested and
promoters' option. There was talk of action against developed by the top five teams who would each be
the seven teams, but thankfully commonsense invited to do I,OOOkm of testing.
prevailed and things settled down once more. Later Bridgestone was expect ed to bc the successful
Mosley became bullish again, until in September the ca ndidate, with possible opposition from Mi chel in,
so-call ed rebels fired a fresh sa lvo across his bows Pircll i and Goodyea r.


the breed
Quality street
by the cnd of the Z003 World Champion- 'Apart from this,' says Brian O'Rourke, chief com·

O •

ship season, Michael Schumacher's Ferrari
had survived 38 races - more than two
seasons - without a mechanical failure.
That was a stunning record, and is a testament to just
how reliable the modern Formula One car can be, if
posites engineer at \ViIliams, 'production time h3S to
be kept as short as possible. Our parts have to be
supplied to us very quickly. Indeed, sometimes
modifications have to be ready for use at the next
r3ce. This means the parts h3ve to be made quickly.
there is sufficient time, money and intelligence Over3ll, meeting this requirement profile means that

behind it to render it bulletproof. we have a hi·tech level that is comparable to that of
The so-called 'sln311-part breakdowns', that have space rese3rch.·
for so long robbed drivers and teams of expected High load·bearing capabilities, fast availability and
success, have become increasingly rare. When he
visited the Austra1i::ln Grand Prix in Melbourne in
2003, former Ferrari driver Chris Amon could only
reliability at low weight - this demanding combina·
tion Ciln only be 3chieved by using hi-tech materials.
Carbon·nbre composite is a good example.
smile philosophically at Schumacher's remarkable Approxim3tely 60% of a Formub One car comprises
car. In his day he lost Grand Prix triumphs for the the carbon· fibres which are embedded in epoxy resin
Prancing Horse for reasons ranging from differential (also known 3S CFRP). This includes the monocoque
failure to trivia such as a blown fuse in the fuel pump. chassis, the crushilble nose assembly that plays such a
This progress has not happened by accident. It is a key role in s3fety, the front and rear wings, parts of
blend of choosing the right materials for the job, and the suspension, the clutch and the brake discs, and
implementing stringent quality control programmes. some of the engine's ancillaries. Carbon is clearly an
As we have seen, the Formula One car is a confection extremely versatile material.
of state-of·the·art materials: carlx)n·fibre composites; Carbon·flbrc byers, consist· Opposite; Tesling is anolhe~
metal matrix; thinwall aluminium; titanium; magnes· ing of individu31 fibres woven means by u-hieh learn5 t~y 10
ium. Nothing less will do in the never·ending search for together, C3n be shaped to ensure thaI Iheir cars are as
lightness, efficiency, durability and reliability. suit almost any requirement. reliable as possible. ( Honda)
Prototypes of individual components afe made at The c3rbon layers are formed
great expense, and then tested thoroughly on factory and then b3ked to !ll3tch the intended application.
rigs until they arc passed as satisfactory. They then C3rbon only weighs a quarter of a compar3hle
provide the templates for mass production as a team's quantity of steel, but can withstand twice the load
latest challenger comes on stream. In the longer term, 3nd has impressively high rigidity.
derivatives of the components themselves, or their Titanium h3S similar properties for Formula One
manufacturing processes, may filter down to road 3pplic3tion, though like metal matrix, which is a
cus. Such is the manner in which Formula One, the mixture of carbon·fibre and aluminium, it is very
greatest category of motor raCing, helps to improve expensive. Its m3in 3dv3ntage is that it weighs only
the breed. Today 's advantage on the circuit may be half as much as steel, but when used as an alloy it can
tomorrow 's revolution in vehicle manufacturing. match steel's strength while remaining almost
This technology transfer is what lies at the heart of corrosion free. h is widely used in engine manufac·
major motor manufacturers' substantial investment in turing, as well 3S P3rtS of the suspension and gearbox.
Formula One; they are not merely there for the Even lighter, and 31so mainly insensiti\'e to external
publicity benefits and image enhancement. The influences, is magnesium. Formula One wheels are
processes and the philosophies that generate the made solely of this light alloy, which guarantees
successful Formula One car can also be utilised in maximum strength with minimum weight. Apart
road·car production. This is especially true in areas from this, magnesium is 31so used in gearboxes or in
such as tyres, electronics and materials. combination with 31uminium for the onboard
Three important factors lie at the heart of materials computer's c3sing. Its one disadvantage is that it
sourcing. They must be light enough not to jeopardise burns so fiercely that magnesium fires are notoriously
ideal weight distribution. They must be capable of difficult to extinguish, but fire is much less of a
withstanding extreme forces during races, without danger in modern Formula One than it used to be,
allowing defects to arise. And they must enable the thanks to signific3rlt adv3nces in design and safety.
caf to comply with the FIA's safety standards and Aluminium is primarily used in engines and trans·
cr3sh tests. mission c3sings, and in conjunction with carbon·fibre

THE SC 1E:-..I C E or FO RM l; l A ONE DESIG .'J 157

in the chassis. As a material it demonstrates how the iron's 7.86g!ccm) and its durability. Now aluminium-
technology transfer from Formula One to road-car bodied road cars, such as Jaguar's hllest XJ series, arc
production works, but it highlights some of the becoming increasingly popular too because of the
associated problems. Aluminium is a popular metal metal's resistance to corrosion :lrld its light weight,
because of its low density (2.7g!ccm in comparison to and the beneficial effect that the latter has on fuel



Lt!ft: Carbon-filnt! composite Abor'e: Carbon-fibre i$ Formula One carbon brake disc can cost between
material has Its Oll'n ,'ery Ihe perfect material for 1,300 Euros and 4,000 Euros is immaterial. Indeed,
distinctive IIppetlrtlllee. III/ng$ uther than mO"OCOII"(' units 3re changed after each race. But such materials
( ~ utton -irn~K(,~·cOIll) chassis, s"ch as brake could only be used on the most expensive road cars.
discs and s"spensio" There is no doubt, however, that exotic materials will
Below left: A case-study in CQmponenU, and ancillary continue to make inroads on production cars in the
improving Ihe breed and a items such as brake future. Aluminium will become even more popular as
r1Ulsterpiece of packaging_ coolint: scoops. it is fully recyclable: it can be re-melted and used
Rena"lt's 1<16. (Rrnault 1'1) (suI tou-imagcs.oolll) again in high-grade applications. Even carbon, which is
extremely expensive because of its production
method, is now being used in the manufacture of
economy and performance. However, aluminium is upper-market sports cars.
much more difficult to process, particularly to weld, Safety experts from the Allianz Centre for
because it has a lower melting point than steel, and Technology in Munich expect carbon-fibre materi:lls
like titanium it can only be welded when air is to m:lke their way into low-volume passenger-car
excluded. This requires a painstaking and costly production soon. 'Examples here are ceramic brake
design, which in turn increases costs. discs, which are reinforced by ca rbon-fibres, or
Cost, of course, is much less of a consideration in individual carbon-fibre components, ranging from
Fonnula One than it is in road car manufacture, where plenum chambers to roof modules, as used in sports
unit cost is all-important. One is effectively a series of cars, ' says Dr Christoph L::auterwasser from the AZT.
perhaps ten limited-run prototypes, while the other is ·Progress in production technology is n:ltural1y
a mass-production process that will run into many decisive in terms of mass production, although
thousands. In the latter instance cost is a key factor as fundamentally carbon-fibres have a series of highly
even the slightest increase in unit cost will have appealing properties - next to weight, these include
serious repercussions. For example, the fact that a crash behaviour and corrosion resistance.'


Both of these properties will enjoy increasing
priority as the road car world becomes ever more
conscious of the need to conserve, and the need to
enhance safety even further. FIA president Max
Mosley's initiative with the European NCAP crash
testing will also lead to further technology transfer
from Formula One to road GlrS.
Titanium also has excellent corrosion resistance
and high strength and its limitations are its high cost
and the difficulty of processing it cost-effectively.
It is, however, used in medical technology, spectacle
frames and some motorcycle exhaust pipes. In
the meantune, Formula One continues its role as its

Building reli:lbi[ity into Formula One cars also teaches

manuf:lcturers valuable lessons that can have direct
applications in the road car world, where reliability is
also essenti:ll. BMW Williams, for example, has
implemented a multi-stage quality management
programme to guarantee the greatest possible
reliability. Everyone of a car's 10,000 or so parts is
subjected to its specified control checks.


te/I: Carbun-fihre exhlwsl Above: Composile malerial.~ personnel whose lives were dedicated to that pursuit
duel (abOl'e), al1I1 suspension are laid OUI p rior III at Williams, and a further 220 at BMW Motorsport.
"nd brake cooling dUel selection. Qualily wnlrIJl i~ Their safety net had an extremely fine and intricate
cump"nen/$ (be/ow). paramounl al al/limes. mesh. Computers helped quality management in the
(",lIon-; nUlgCS.(OIll) (suI Ion ·imagp..s.(om) field of conception and design, but the next stage
could only be carried out by hand. The designers
High temperatures, humidity, vibrations, incred- began working on the development of the chassis and
ible acceleration and braking forces; Formula One is a engine for the 2003 BMW Williams FW25 at the
hostile environment that pushes everything to the beginning of 2002, (md the first components were
limit. It's why most teams apply the basic principle: delivered in the summer. As a result, the team was
'Trusting is good, but checking is better'. It's not too able to test the engine on the test bench in
fanciful to suggest that in FomlUi:J One, quality September, before taking it to the test track for the
control can be a matter of life or death. That is the first time in O ctober.
reason why we do not allow suppliers to construct ' Product Lifecycle Management' or PLM ,
safety-related parts. We produce all of the critical supervised the quality monitoring of individual parts
parts ourselves,' says Alex Burns, General Manager at at BMW W,lliams. In a workflow that was a true
WilliamsFl, who is responsible for quality control. logistical masterpiece, the lifecyc1e of every
Excellence is the watchword of every team, from component was tracked and constantly documented.
the conception of a car all the way through the design Regardless of whether it was a seal, a damper or a
and production processes to final operations. The suspension wishbone, the quality engineers recorded
standards are higher than in any other undertaking all data, such as: the production and processing date,
outside aerospace. Everything has to be co-ordinated the delivery deadline and the results of quality
perfectly. When BMW and Williams were working checks. A record was kept of every single part of a
together, between 1999 and 2005, there were 450 Formula One car; if a fault occurred, it could be


. ......:: : ..

- . -


teft; Suspe'lSion ul/s"hon~s
ami their moulds (ahovf! (nul
b~/ow) are checked for
qualilY al all limes. AlllemllJi
operale sy$/ems Ihe
imlillidua/ maker of ea,h
ron/pOllenl mn .-eadily be
( ~ultoll·;lnagcs.coll1)

Righi; Typical of Ihe quality

colllwi an(1 rigorOU$ lesling
$}'$tems emp/oye(/f,y motiern
fJ teams ;$ Ihis $;ngle,posl
II'SI rig al Tuyola. (T0YOHl)


identified and fixed immediately. Components also AbOlle: Th e Sellen-po$ler lest reliability of its componen/$.
had marks so that the staff member responsible for rig is (In Olher pollU/{1r CIbyotu)
making it could be identified. Other teams use me{ln s ofp"' If/" g " Ct. r
similar systems. Ihrough " $im ... lallu/ Right: An ... "usual overhead
The art of troubleshooting and avoiding problems is Gra",/ Prix progMmme '0 vie .... of the Honda RA UJ6
perfected on the racetrack. All of t he sensors on the verify an{1 ""ha nce ' he (I-Ionda G P LId)
BMW-Sauber F 1.06 in 2006 wcre used to monitor the
track's features and deliver data on the perfonnance tested on Thursday. Even changes in the software can
and state of the engine, transmission and other units to be made from one day t o the next by modifying the
the team's pit-lane control centre. Two BMW parameter settings. More significant modifications, for
engineers continuously monitor the engine online and instance to the aerodynamic components, can be
the team communicates with the driver on t he radio. implemented within weeks, once 311 the stages of the
This intensive data gathering and monitoring enables quality checks have been completed.
the team to identify and react immediately to any
problems th3t 3rise. Once all this data has been
gathered, further detailed fau lt analysis can begin, The final means of imparting quality, long before a
either after a test, a practice or qualifying session, or a Formula One C3r 3rrives anywhere near a race track,
race. The C3rs 3re completely dismantled and sub- is to check out many of its systems on test rigs well
jected to more than 200 diagnostic checks. Minor before it leaves the factory. It is anot her key part of
defects can be remedied before the next Grand Prix. the process.
If, for example, problems have arisen in a fabricated No matter how good the design process is, being
component during a race, by the following Tuesday a able to prove it before a car runs is critical. Mu ltiple
designer can already be at work devising a remedy t hat component test rigs are thus used to measure things
can be produced on the \Vednesday. This can in turn be such as stiffness and ultimate strength. The latter


may entail an impact, or else fatigue simulation. Long the vehicle to a fully representative cycle of what it
before it goes off for its mandatory crash test s will encounter on the track. This will be based on data
the monocoque is subjected to torsional load tests, gathered previously, and the cycle ca n be varied to
while suspension, steering, dampers and electro- cater specifically for all types of circuit.
hydraulic systems are also tested on purpose-built The hydraulica lly-powered seven-poster test rig
rigs before assembly. [n the case of suspension, comprises four vertica l eleCl ro- hydraul ic actuators,
some teams use a single-corner rig, which takes up one beneath each whee l. Three tension st ruts linked
minimal space and can be put to work while the to downforce 3ctuators pull the chassis down to
fu ll-size car is needed elsewhere. T he sprung mass represent 3erodynamic downforce, roll, pitch loads
of the real race car is suitably represented, as is and load transfer.
down force, and the rig can be used to measure This system is so accurate that the team can re-
effiCiency or longevity. Likewise dampers are also programme dampers, suspension and wing sett ings to
put t hrough their paces on specially calibrated rigs. compare results, or it can let drivers pract ise t heir art.
A Kinemat ics and Compliance (K&C) measuring When BMW Wi lliams tested young up-comers Nico
rig enables caTS to be given a fu ll workout at the Rosberg and Nelson Piquet Jnr at Jerez in December
factory, to make precise measurements of the kine- 2003, they allowed each of t hem to 'drive' the
matic and compliance characteristics of suspension sim ulator for eight hours apiece on a simulation of the
and steering systems. Span ish circuit.
Brake and tyre manufacturers also have their own In the merci less c rucible of Formula One,
test rigs, which again help to prove and develop the perfect ion remains a utopian goal. But therein lies one
product before it goes into battle. of the great appeals of this highest echelon of motor
The most important rig is the seven-poster road sport, in which everyone in a team, from the principa l
simulator. 'learns mount a complete car on thi s ex- to the production line worker, has their eye focused
pensive piece of equipme nt, so that they can subject solely on the attainment of excelle nce.


The future
Shifting sands
As we htlve seen, Formultl One is never static. Nor is principa ls to attend but were told in no uncertain
it even free of politics. As the fight for the World terms that it was a now or never meeting, and t hat if
Chtlmpionship gathered strengt h at the Sptlnish nobody attended, various proposa ls, in particular
Grtlnd Prix in May 2006, news came t hrough of the Mosley's proposed freeze on engine development
first meeting of Max Mosley's newly formed Sporting would simply go through on a nod.
Working Group (SWG), held in Barcelona the Under the FIA's sporting regulations for 2008 and
previous Wednesday. This WtlS ch3ircd by Cha rlie beyond the SWG can change the rules by majority
Whiting and comprised representatives of 3[[ t he votes, whereas up until then unanimity will remain
major teams. Allegedly, mOSl htld wanted their tC3m necessary. Changes that affect the rules beyond
2008 will then be ratified by a new F I Commission
Mil:': Mosley. (sutton.images.coUl) which was schedu led to be chosen soon after the
Btlrcelona meeting by the World Motor Sport
Counci l.
An FIA propostl l th:1l engine de\'e!opment should
be frozen for three yetlrs was initially rejected, but a
two yetlr freeze WtlS tlccepted until an initiative by
McL1ren, under any other business, which led to the
whole idea of a freeze being rejected. Eight tetlms
voted in favour, and four against. (The 12th team,
Prod rive, had only been nomintlted for 2008 the
previous mont h after the FIA brought t he 2008
entries fo rward 18 months and kept the entry
window open for on ly 10 days, in an effort to
galvanise the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association
(GPMA) into action.)
A suggestion that erring tetlms should carry ballast
rtlther than incurring grid pbce penalties (usually for
engine failures outside races) was also vetoed, but
there was unanimity that standard engine control
units (ECUs) should be adopted not just in races but
also in testing.
Mclaren chief Ron Dennis said: 'Primarily I want
to see F I get better, and grow. Looking at the process
that unfolded on Wednesday, I am encouraged by the
fact that it was a democratic process. If that's the way
we are going to build our future, by evaluating all the
options, we will have a very good F l .'
The SWG was Mosley's br3inchild in the interests
of breaking the frequent dead locks that resu lted from


H.on Dennis. (sullon-inmj.\cs.(orn) 1'<1' Symonds. (Slltlon.irn3j.\e~.(orn)

the demand for unanimity (which would remain a On the following Sunday it was announced that
feature until the new sporting regulations come into the G PMA teams - BMW, Honda, Mercedes, Renault
effect 18 months later). That , more than anything else, and Toyota had fin ally signed up to the 2008
has frequently strangled progress in the past . Initially, Concorde Agreement, and Bern ie Ecclestone signed
following the Barcelona meeting, the Fl Commission his part of it, on behalf of FOM and his new partner
was expected to adopt the new changes, especially as CVC (which had bought the rights to Fonnula One
Mosley had recently said in a letter to the teams t hat earlier in the year) , t he following Friday. Depending
the SWG's proposals would on ly be rejected by the upon your source of information, this was either a
Commission, or by the World Motor Sport Council, if long-term victory for Ecclestone and Mosley, or
doing so was in the 'overall interests of the Formu la victory for the teams. Certainly the laner got a much
One World Championship or of motor sport in bigger (50%) sli ce of the pie immediately, with 60%
general. ' That seemed unlikely to be the case in this coming in the future.
instance, at least until Mosley's representatives in '1 think we should look at all the positive things
Spain indicated strongly t hat t he president was not that have come out of t he GPMA: for example, we
going to take kindly to havi ng his proposed freeze know about the funded aerodynamic research, the
vetoed. The general consensus in the paddock had been fact that the teams arc communicating, talking about
that this first SWG meeting had been a sign that the common issues; so m:lOy positive things about the
sport was finally beginning to pull back from the bri nk GPMA,' said Renault's director of engineering Pat
of apparent self-destruction. Now people were not so Symonds before the deal was finali sed. The teams
su re after all. It depended on how you defined are now signing up for 2008 and a lot of good things
democratic. Subsequently, Mosely overruled the SWG have come from that. 1 think we should fo cus not on
and insisted that an engine freeze would go ahead. "has the threat of a second series gone away?" or


things like that. I think we should focus on the very that would be perfect, as a first step. Maybe that is
many positive t hings that have happened in the last feasible. From Mercedes' side we are vcry open on
year or two as a result of the formation of the new regulations that help to make that happen, but
GPMA.' we absolutely have to make sure that we achieve
The teams remained uncertain about the benefits these goals. It's not a long time ago that we tried to
of an engine development 'free7..e'. achieve these goals with the V8s and 1 think it's fair
'Well, first of all I have a big problem with the to say that at the beginning we have costs and at the
expression "freeze·',' said Mercedes-Benz's director of end there might be a possibility to save 10 per cent or
motorsport, Norbert I-!aug. "'Freeze" is something for whatever, but we need bigger steps, that is for sure.
the fridge but not for Formula One and that's why I That's why it needs to be carefully thought through
don't think we should use a word like freeze. We are and we are in the process of doing so, and I think
very interested in saving costs, as everybody knows. [ there are constructive discussions in place.'
think the manufacturers again had a very constructive Nick Fry, team principa l at Ii onda (which had
discussion in that direction, together with Renault, evolved from BAR for 2006), thought much the
Honda, all the guys who are here. And if you compare same. 'I think the saving of money is something we
that to five years ago, say, I think we are really on a would completely support. The car manufacturers are
very good path. It's constructh'e, respectful but it spending enormous amounts on changing the engines
doesn't necessarily mean that all the problems arc year after year, so to reduce that is clearly something
solved, but at least it is respectful and we listen to we would want. I think the question is the way that
each other. I think the combination of the discussion you go about it, and we're not at all convinced that a
and of the various manufacturers leads us in the right freeze is a good idea. As you probably know, that was
direction. [ think that if we cou ld cut the costs in half tfied in North America in oval rac ing and kind of

Norbe~I II ...,g. ( Nick J'ry. (LAT)


:llmost directly led to one m:lnufacturer pulling out technical element. We need to maintain that
and then the other one did so a couple of years or so technical element and I think engines revving at
later. So I don't think there's any good evidence that 19,000 rpm or whatever is part of that spectacle. And
that's a good thing for racing. I think that what we've it's part of what both the casual and the dedicated
got to do over the next couple of months is sit down spectator like to see, So we don 't want to throw the
3S a group and work out the best way to sa\'e money, baby out with the bathwater, we need to think
[ think the meeting th:lt took pl:lce at Ferrari earlier carefully about what we do. We've got to try and get
this year was a first step, but no doubt between now this - round numbers - 50 per cent cut in our engine
nnd June there will be more of those meetings.' budgets but still provide good entertainment for all
Ferrari's engine director, Pnolo Mnrtinelli, said: 'It those people who want to come and watch us.'
was an important meeting in Maranello, but it is not Another big question is the benefit of technology
the only meeting we 3re going to have. The aim was transfer, between a manufacturer's motors port
quite clear: to limit economic resources devoted to programme and its road cars. Honda believes in open
the engine's continuous development. \lIfe are not development, and passes on the benefits of that to its
fixing the engines for five years - we are saying that customers, 'Formula One is very much an engineering
each year we can make a step forward in project for Honda,' Fry said, ' It's developing the
development. We have frozen something, which is the engineers and the technology thnt feeds into the road
starting page and the details have to be examined cars .md that is important, but nt the end of the day
together before we get to what the rules wi ll be we don't want to end up competing with ourselves.
finally. We want to have an area in which we can So, i think there is some common ground that can be
continue development. This is an important part of found and that is all around what I call usable
supporting Formula One. We just want to establish technology that can be used in a road car environment
what the constraints will be each year. It would be
very difficult if each year you had to start with one "'limo Marfinelli. (sullon . i nm~C'S,com)
piece of paper and you had to make a completely new
engine. We need to have a freedom there to keep high
tec hnology in Formula One and continue.'
Pat Symonds said that Renault was very firmly
committed to cost-cutting. 'If you look at an average
budget for a Formula One team in round numbers, 50
per cent is going on the engine, 50 per cent is going on
everything else: the chassis, running the team etc etc.
So, as Norbert said, if we can cut 50 per cent out of
the engine budget, 25 per cent out of the overall
budget then yes, that is the sort of thing we should
do. The FIA 2008 regu lations, as published, are quite
draconian on homologation of engines, but of course
by entering the 2008 championship, as we all have
done now, we inherit the right to discuss these
regulations and Max has been very open about it. The
first of those discussions did take place at Maranello
earlier in the season, with only :I few teams there
because it was a very early stage of discussion, but
there was a reasonable amount of agreement. I think
th:lt f:lr from it being the final solution or anything,
the idea of homologation is reasonable, but it should
not be 'freezing' an engine, that's totally wrong. We
would need to allow some scope for development, we
wOllld need to bear in mind th:lt rormuln One is a
spect:lcle, it's entertainment, it's :I sport :lnd an
clement of it, unlike many other sports, is the


Symonds, as an engineer, is predictably enthusiastic
about a possible new avenue of research as so many
old ones have been dosed down. ' Hybrid technology
is very, very interesting and since Max first proposed it
we have spent a fair bit of time looking closely at it.
The more I look at it, the more interested I am in it.
If you look at the motor industry 50 years down the
line, hybrid technology will prob3bly be reason3bly
commonplace, but it won't 3ctually be the
fundamental energy·saving - there will be lots of other
things. We probably won't be using fossil fuel engines
etc. But nevertheless hybrid technology will form p3rt
of whatever automotive power is used so it is an
interesting thing to do. It's quite a fascinating subject
when you consider how it might be used strategically
in a race it may help to answer some of the questions
about how we are going to overtake and things like
that. It is very interesting and as an engineer I love it,
of course, But as for trying to look after the business
interests, yeah, it is going to be expensive. I think that
if it were totally uncontrolled, it would be ridiculously
expensive and we would be trying to reinvent the
wheel, but 1 think it would work with a little bit of
control on it. Max has, for example, said that maybe
the FIA will supply the super capacitor packs and
things like that, and we will work on developing things
like motors, motor generators etc, maybe there is
Sa", Michael. (MUlon. images.(orn) some interesting stuff there. But I do think we helVe to
get our house in order first and deal with the
or in other fields. So I think what we've got to do fundamenta ls and we have to walk before we can run.'
between us is to sort out the wheat from the chaff - Williams' technical director Sam Michael said: ' I
for example, some of the materia ls development is have similar thoughts to Pat. It does need a lot of
very applicable and some of it is less so.' work and is not something that is going to happen
The majority rule will undoubtedly help here. immediately for 2008 or 2009. 1 think there is still a
Hybrid technology is now 3 definite possibility lot of groundwork to cover 3nd in particular the sort
after the FIA relaxed its rules Oil the subject in 2005. of details on whether you can use a static capacitor or
There is general agreement that the sport needs to be not, because you can spend anywhere from say 50
seen to be moving with the times and to be applicable grand to probably five million pounds on a capacitor
to road cars, with the cave3t that new technology system and you don't want a race between who can
inevitably raises costs again. spend the most on capacitors, which is what is
'I think as road cars become ever more happening in the road car industry at the moment.
environmentally friendly and efficient, Formula One Max is sensible enough to know that 3nd he knows all
needs to move in the same direction and that is those details already. That sort of thing will be sorted
something that needs to be done gradually bec3use out early on and it is not a short·term project.'
the cost of that kind of technology is enonnous,' Fry And so Formu la One continues, argu ing and
said. ' Honda is quite adept at hybrid technology so counter.arguing its technology. As this second edition
we might be in quite an advantageous position, but I went to press, many good things had happened to
don't think we'd advocate doing it quickly because take the sport on to the next stage. Equally, Illany
the costs are so enormous. But I can certainly see an things remain unresolved. Such is the nature of the
environment in five years' time where that type of beast. But one thing is certain: the future for Formula
technology is employed on Formula One cars.' One is far from dull.


The opening :I t t he front of the engine cover to A computer circuit in which the system operates
encourage admission of ram air into the engine. automatica lly.

An oven in which carbon-fibre composites are baked The sect ion of the undertray that sweeps up to
to cure them into thei r intended operational release t he air that has been speeded up during its
co nclition. journey beneath the car.


A vertical panel situated within t he front suspension The pressure generated by t he car's motion through
t o infl uence airflow aft of t he front wi ng. Also the air, which tends either to push it (in the case of
ca lled a t urning vane. high-pressure now over the body) or suck it (in the
case of low-pressure now beneath the car) on to the
BUCK track.
A wooden structure that duplicates the intended
final shape of a component, such as a monocoque DRAG
chassis, from which the chassis moulds are taken. Air resistance to the car's forwa rd motion.
Something that all aerodynamic researc h aims to
CAD reduce to a minimum.
Computer-a ided design.
CAM A vertical surface on the end of a wing, to innuencc
Computer-aided manufacture. airnow.

A carbon-impregnated cloth used in chassis Federation lntern:nionale de I'Automobile - the
manufacture. governi ng body of world motorsport .


The point on the car through which the fo rces A culting or milling machine capable of operat ing
gene rated by its weights are said to act. through a wide variety of angles.


The point on the car through which all of the aero- A syste m wherein there is no mechanical link
dynamic forces may be said to act. bet ween components, just elect ronic, as in a
Formula One car's throttle system.
Comput3tion31 nuid dynamics - a branch of FOCA
mat hematics used to create predictional models for Formula One Constructors' Association - the
aerodynam ic study. association of Formula One teams.


A test rig comprising four posts, which can input Pitch sensitivity is a key to good handling. On a car
forces to areas of a car on test. Used for static that has low pitch sensitivity the aerodynamic
assessment of a car's behaviour. balance doesn't shift around as the car pitches up
and down over bumps, or tends to shift its centre of
GCU gravity under acceleration or dcceleration.
Gearbox control unit -the electronics system which
controls the gearbox's shifting action. PLANK
The rubbing strip of wood - usually labroc - fitted
G FORCE longitudinally beneath the floor of a car.
The force of gravity acting upon a car or driver.
GRENADE ENGINE A suspension component that operates a bottom-
The term given in the past to special racing engines mounted spring/damper unit by pulling in response
created purely to have a short life, and to produce to movement of the suspension wishbones.
maximum power, for qualifying. They were so cloS('
to the edge of mech:miC;1 1 reliability that they PUSHROD
frequently self-destructed. A suspension component that operates a top-
mounted spring/damper unit by pushing in response
KEVLAR to movement of the suspension wishbones.
A woven material used in race caT chassis and
component manufacture. RAM
Random Access Memory.
The pressure of air Oowing over or under the car RIDE HEIGHT
when it is in motion that tends to try and lift it off The height of a car's chassis abovc the ground
the road. reference pl:lnc. It can be set to different
measurements at the front and the rear. The front is
LIFT OVER DRAG usually set slightly lower to give the car a degree of
The ratio of downforce (negative lift) to drag. High rake which helps its dynamic performance.
figures are the best.
MONOCOQUE The lateral rolling motion of a car, especially during
The name given to a racing car chassis structure in cornering.
which the body and the chassis are integrated as one
component. ROLLBAR
A metal bar, usually steel because of its strength
OPEN LOOP properties, which acts like a spring in the suspension
A computer circuit in which the system must be system to resist a car's tendency to roll during
operated manually. cornering.


The tendency of the rear of a car to slide wide of the A hoop incorporated into the chassis structure -
intended line through a corner, due to the rear tyre immediately behind the driver's scat and also by his
slip angles being greater than those of the front tyres. legs - to offer protection in the event of the car
becoming inverted.
The tendency of the front or rear of a car to move SCALLOP
up and down, independcntly of each other, in A shaped section of extra bodywork designed to
reaction to changes in the road surface or influence airflow.
aerodynamic loadings acting upon the car.

A test rig comprising seven posts, which can input A system of electronically monitoring road wheel
forces to areas of a car on test. Used for static speed and, at the onset of wheelspin, reducing
assessment of a car's beh:lViour. engine power to control or obvi:lte it.

P:mei on the side of the car housing the water The area of the tyre that interfaces with the road.
radiators, :lOd an area of deformable structure. On slicks it is full width; on grooved tyres the area
is Significantly less.
The actual angle at which a car corners, compared UNDERSTEER
to the intended angle selected by the driver's The tendency of the front end of :l car to slide wide
positioning of the steering wheel. The angle may of the intended line through a corner, due to front
differ if the lyre is sliding across the road surface tyre slip angles being greater than the rears.
due to speed reducing its level of grip.
SLIPSTREAM The detachable floor of the car.
The suction effect gener:ltcd by airflow around the
back of a car travelling at high speed. WIND TUNNEL
A structure, usually with belt-driven moving ground
SPLITTER to simulate a car's motion over ground, in which
A horizontal plate designed to separate - or split - scale models are tested in fast-flowing air to
airflow, thus directing it to different points of calculate a car's likely aerodynamic behaviour in
the car. full size.

Horizontal or vertical plates designed, like An aerofoil-section horizontal surface designed to
end plates, to control airflow over a car body. create down force.

A system mounted onboard :l C:lr, which gathers A small extra wing, usually mounted on the
d:lt:l electronically during power running, either bodywork just ahead of the rear wheel.
storing it or transmitting it to the driver's pit.
The tendency of a car to move laterally away from
its intended direction of travel.


No book writes itself, especially;] technical one. But Whitmarsh, Mario mien; Mild SeI!en Re'laul,: Bradley
in a world where secrets arc guarded as closely as they Lord for his excellent media information on dyno
are in Formula One, the writer appreciates even more testing and chassis construction, John Mardle, Ian
the help he is given by those who afC prepared to Pearce, Colin Watts; 1eam Sauber Pelronas: Pett'r
'bre:lk the code' and divulge useful information. Sauber, Willy Rampf, Dirk de Beer; and Penske Cars:
I'd thus like to thank the following for their Don Berrisford.
assistance, and their insights into the elite club that is Special thanks too to Jonathan Williams for his
Formula One engineering these days: hospitality, wllspish humour and the chance to
photograph a modern Fl car in peace at Williams's
BMW Williams: Patrick Head, Gavin Fisher, Frank excellent museum.
Demie, Sam Michael, Dr Mario Theissen and Martin Finally, but most certainly not least, my thanks to
Bendrich of Allianz for his informative media the incomparable Giorgio Piola for the artistic skill
information on all manner of technical matters; within his unique technical illustrations which
Cosworth Racing: Nick Hayes; Scltderia Ferrari brought the text alive.
Marlboro: Luca di Montezemolo, Jean Toot, Ross
Br:)wn, Rory Byrne, Paolo Martinelli, Enrico David Tremayne
Lombardo; Wesl McLare" Mercedes: Martin Harrow 2004


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