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F1 insider information - very interesting!!!

Discussion in 'F1' started by Far Out, May 11, 2009.

  1. Far Out

    Far Out F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2007
    9,718
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    Florian
    I had the opportunity to listen to a lecture today held by the director of AVL's racing department. For those of you who don't know the name: They're the biggest independet drivetrain engineering company and supply, among other services, every F1 team with engine test benches. The guy who held the lecture knows F1 inside out, but as all teams are their customers, he didn't have a biased view or any agenda (like, for example, a team engineer who's in an interview).
    I was only able to take notes of the more trivial parts as I was too busy paying attention when it came to the real engineering topics, but those might be pretty boring for the non-professional anyway. If you are an avid F1 follower, most will be obvious to you anyway, but it was nice to finally see numbers and not just vague explanations.

    If you don't want to read everything, important parts are bold. TAKE A LOOK AT THE FERRARI KERS REMARK AT THE END!!!
    My (random) notes:

    • F1 cars have about 300 parameters you can (and have to) tune
    • For every race, about 50000km are done in simulations
    • If you thought F1 cars were especially streamlined: So wrong! Their drag coefficient is >1 due to the wings. Comparison: Today's street cars average at about ~0.3, trucks ~0.75
      [*]However, for each Newton (-> unit of force) in downforce, you only need 0.3 Newton in additional propulsion to compensate for the additional air resistance
    • Wings close to the ground raise the downforce by 50%, but the car starts to "jump" with around 10-20Hz, which is difficult to control and has rendered many designs that looked fantastic in simulations undriveable
    • More wings have less air resistance than one single wing producing the same downforce
    • Brawn uses a lot of small wings where the rules allow it. The result is a very stable car.
      [*]50% of the downforce is generated by the car's floor.
    • Diffusors are very efficient: 1 Newton in downforce requires only 0.14 Newton in propulsion
      [*]We will see triple diffusors soon
      [*]The multiple diffusors will be one of the few engineering achievements which will find their way into production cars. I'm not an aerodynamics engineer so my explanation might contain some mistakes: If I understood correctly, one of the disadvantages of diffusors is that they are sensitive to changing distance to the ground, which might lead to dangerous situations if the driver expects a completely tame car. However, with the multiple diffusors, this problem can be solved (don't ask how!).
    • F1 tires are more flexible than the actual springs
      [*]One of the biggest problems of the 2009 rules is that the rear tires are vastly undersized, especially when KERS is added. A lot of teams have trouble with them.
    • Road tires are capable of 1g lateral acceleration. F1 tires can take up to 1.5g - when they're hot. If they're cold, 0.3g -> less than the tires on your car.
    • During hard braking, tire temperature raises up to 30°C
    • The McLaren of 2009 features a suspension pointing upward, resulting in a high roll center which allows them to use very soft springs. The downside is that the track width changes a lot, which causes the tires to overheat. Remember what Hamilton said about his rear tires yesterday?
    • The maximum bore allowed is 98mm, which all teams use. However, the 98mm are perfect for a rev limit of 20krpm. For the new rule of 18krpm max, 95mm would be best, but the teams aren't allowed to change their engines anymore
    • Compression of the engine is about 13-14:1. At high engine speeds, the centrifugal force stretches the con rods so much that the compression rises to 15:1. He had a rod of the 1984 BMW engine (the turbo beast with up to 1400hp) that stretched up to 1mm. Freaky!!
    • Due to the high engine speeds, the ignition point has to be very early - 50 degrees! This results in the engine effectively knocking all the time.
    • The valves lift about 15-18mm, which is twice the amount you find in road car engines.
    • Gearboxes are non-synchronized and spur-toothed (<- correct word?)
    • For electric energy storage of the KERS system, you have two alternatives: a) "Supercaps" (large capacitors), which need a lot of space, or Lithium Ion batteries, which are difficult to handle under changing temperature (-> Kimi's car some time ago)
    • Now the most important part which hadn't been discussed here at all, or at least was new to me: Before the first race, Ferrari had by far the fastest car, even faster than the Brawns - until FIA deemed their KERS batteries in the front wing illegal for safety reasons (in case of a crash, spectators might have suffered from gas coming from the leaking batteries). Ferrari had to relocate everything, completely destroying their weight balance and packaging.

    That's it... I think. As said, the last point was completely new to me. Did we talk about that?
     
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  3. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

    May 12, 2007
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    #2 kraftwerk, May 11, 2009
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
    Great post Florian, danke for taking the time, not read it fully but skipped to the bit you highlighted.

    Yes now you mentioned it I was aware of it but forgot : as I said the FIA(max) v FOTA(luca) war will continue.

    FIAssistance flew out the window.

    Well was aware of the crash test stuff, not it being faster than the Brawns, not sure how he could know that.
     
  4. mousecatcher

    mousecatcher Formula 3

    Dec 18, 2007
    2,116
    san mateo, ca
    huh, just like the slicks on my puny (170HP) formula car. i don't have the aero to get much beyond that though.
     
  5. Far Out

    Far Out F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2007
    9,718
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    Florian
    Thanks Steve! To be honest, I only took the notes to share them with you guys ;)

    I too wondered about his comment. But then again, in his position he seems to have access to pretty much all teams, and he didn't have a reason to make favourable comments about one specific team.
     
  6. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

    Sep 25, 2006
    23,267
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    Ian Anderson
    Firstly, many thanks for posting Florian - Interesting indeed. A couple of comments (FWIW) follow:

    I'm not at all happy with that comment..... If it were true then airplanes would still be bi-planes.....



    That's not what my eyes were telling me - At least in Bahrain - That thing looked to be about as stiffly sprung as a kart...... High roll centers have some benefits, but not a lot in F1 design AFAIK.... Hmmmm.....

    Again, thanks for posting, cheers,
    Ian
     
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  8. jk0001

    jk0001 F1 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2005
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    Great post! Thanks.
     
  9. mat

    mat Formula Junior

    Mar 24, 2006
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    Mateusz
    that is a great piece of information and F1 knowledge. thanks so much for it! facts like these should be more popular as they make F1 much more fascinating
     
  10. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

    Feb 9, 2005
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    Great information, thank you for the thread.


    I found this statement to be very telling of the difficulty that Ferrari is having this season:

    "Before the first race, Ferrari had by far the fastest car, even faster than the Brawns - until FIA deemed their KERS batteries in the front wing illegal for safety reasons (in case of a crash, spectators might have suffered from gas coming from the leaking batteries). Ferrari had to relocate everything, completely destroying their weight balance and packaging."
     
  11. Far Out

    Far Out F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2007
    9,718
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    Florian

    As my branch of profession is mainly electrical stuff, I'm completley clueless when it comes to aerodynamics beyond the Bernoulli equation. However, he had pictures of the turbulences a rear wing consisting of a single part produced and the according image of a rear wing made of a lot of smaller wing parts. The latter was obviously better. I think the comparison to bi-planes is a bit problematic as on a F1 car, you have several sequences of wings behind each other. Maybe someone with more knowledge can chime in!


    As said, the F1 springs are extremly stiff anyway. A "soft" F1 spring would still be completely unacceptable in any usage beyond "flat road course, lightweight car", so you don't necessarily see the difference between "F1 hard" and "F1 soft". The roll center thing however was pretty clear from just looking at the suspension configuration. I'll see if I can dig out a picture tomorrow, too late for me already ;)
     
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  13. Ferranki

    Ferranki Formula Junior

    Mar 9, 2007
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    Buffalo NY
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    Ken
    +1
     
  14. Ralph K

    Ralph K Formula Junior

    Sep 18, 2008
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    Ralph
    It's very interesting. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    However, as an aerospace engineer, I have to disagree with a couple of points.

    The last note about Ferrari's KERS is very very informative. Thanks again for sharing!!
     
  15. Prova85

    Prova85 Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
    1,954
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    Kenny K
    Great info! Very interesting. Thanks!!

    I had read somewhere or perhaps saw on a BBC pre-race show recently that the problem is that the fronts are too big in relation to the rears to get an optimal wear balance. They're the same size as last year but have much more grip and with the new aero rules and cars with KERS this has caused mucho problems with balance and rear tire wear. BS is working on a smaller front tire or perhaps a larger diameter wheel/lower profile tire scheme all around for next year.
     
  16. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

    Sep 25, 2006
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    Ian Anderson
    Well gone on then - Please expand! :)

    I (and I'm sure Florian) have no problem with an "intelligent disagreement" - But, you gotta let everyone know which, and why!.......

    A (pretty much) constant angle of attack is one *big* difference of course - The "standard" wing profiles from aerospace all graph their performance across different AOA's at different speeds. [Just thinking aloud here btw.]

    I also suspect (nothing more) that the "multiple small wings is more efficient than one big one" comment is referring to "flow modifiers" that "prepare" the air for the subsequent wing. Throw the ground into the equation and it starts to get interesting.......


    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  17. Seth

    Seth Formula 3

    Feb 8, 2004
    1,532
    Texas
    #14 Seth, May 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    It has to do with endplates on the "wings", also

    "The lift to drag ratio is a good term for describing the ‘efficiency’ of a wing section. In rac-
    ing applications we are generally required to maximise this. This philosophy may also
    apply to the vehicle as a whole but on some circuits there may simply be a requirement
    to maximise down force. The design of the aerofoil section for use in an F1 application
    cannot be translated directly from the aeronautical situation. But it may be compared to
    the aircraft wing during landing, when a large amount of lift is required at ‘low’ speed,
    and the drag penalty is relatively unimportant." (From my aerodynamics teacher)

    With the endplates on an airplane you would have a greater lift advantage (+ vs - compared to F1), also I added some pics comparing different wing combinations on F1 cars, the data though does include endplates, and the values are total lift coefficient (Cl)
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  18. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    #15 tifosi12, May 11, 2009
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
    Actually I did bring the last point up:

    http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=230202&highlight=KERS+wing+Ferrari&page=3

    Of course Ferrari can now blame the unfair FIA for banning batteries in the front wing, but

    a) would that have worked at all? and
    b) their weight distribution can't be that bad because they did pack batteries way up front as evidenced by Kimi's battery exploding and creating white smoke a couple races ago

    The problem with batteries in the front wing is that there is very limited space and you also need to run cables all the way to the back. In an accident that high voltage might become an issue, particularly for the driver (although right now they still have that issue with the batteries up front).

    Also these "batteries" would have been insanely expensive because they would have been custom made to follow the profile of the front wing. I never heard that the FIA actually banned them, but thought that Ferrari gave up on the idea on their own.
     
  19. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2004
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    Hmmm... Considering the 12K rpm wasn't broken until Renault showed up with hydraulic valves around 1990 I also find this one a bit fishy. I don't think any F1 car in the early to mid 80s was revving beyond 10K, or close to half the current engine speed.

    I've also seen skidpad numbers of over 1G for cars shod with road tires.
     
  20. dmaxx3500

    dmaxx3500 Formula 3

    Jul 19, 2008
    1,009
    very cool,thanks,please post more ,great insider news
     
  21. TooTall

    TooTall Karting

    Sep 15, 2006
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    Those were the unlimited boost 1.5L 4 cylinder engines that the Brabhams ran. They had special qualifying engines that would make 1400 hp for a few laps, i.e grenade engines. The race spec engines were around 1000-1100 hp. Those engines only had to last the length of a single race. It's amazing to think how todays engines make the power and turn the revs they do and last multiple weekends. Those BMW I-4s were actually built with used production car blocks. They found that "seasoned" blocks were more stable.
     
  22. ProCoach

    ProCoach F1 Veteran
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    Not true. Andretti said the Alfa V-12 3-liter would routinely rev to 12,500. The one I drove had a redline marked at 11,500. This was 1981.
     
  23. ProCoach

    ProCoach F1 Veteran
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    True, not uncommon at all and in excess of 1.1-1.15g steady state (on track, not even a skid pad) on Hoosier R6's or other stickies, more with compression.
     
  24. ProCoach

    ProCoach F1 Veteran
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    +1. Thank you.
     
  25. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

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    That I know. But my point is that they weren't revving more than a Ferrari F430 can today. Granted the HP level isn't as great but the point made was it was due to centrifugal force rather than HP.
     
  26. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

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    Interesting. That I didn't know. I had (it's now missing) "The Turbo Era" by Niki Lauda that went into great detail about the turbo cars and engines. I'll try to find it again to get a precise number for redline for some of those engines.

    Anyone speak German? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BplWPco6REg
     
  27. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ

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    #24 DGS, May 11, 2009
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
    Consider jib sheets on a fore-and-aft rigged sailboat, and compare "leading edge slats" on aircraft wings.

    Remember those experimental sailboats with a big rigid aircraft type wing mounted vertically?

    I also suspect that the airspeed range also has something to do with it. Which is why you have slats and flaps on wings which need more lift at lower speeds, but cruise near the Mach. F1 cars are quick, but they don't quite make that kind of airspeed on the straights. ;)
     
  28. SRT Mike

    SRT Mike Two Time F1 World Champ

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Great comments... in addition, since Ferrari themselves are saying they have made a big step forward and closed the gap to about 3/10ths per lap in speed, obviously the gap was much more than that before, maybe even 1 sec per lap. I would have a really hard time believing that battery placement in the front wing vs. a few feet further back would be worth a second a lap. Sounds like a bit of an excuse to me (not to say it wasn't said, I'm sure it was, just seems hard to beleive)
     

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