Senna’s unique throttle technique (Honda demo)

Senna’s unique throttle technique (Honda demo)

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LaurasOtherHalf

14,813 posts

137 months

Sunday 5th May
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SturdyHSV said:
Was there not a PH article some time ago where the author went on a driving course (one of the cars was possibly an Astra?) and there was an unusual technique of a relatively sudden initial input to the car for changing direction before then being smooth and so on?
I can recall being told this, I may be wrong but I’m sure it was something to do with centrifugal force shifting the air in the tyre to the outer sidewall in the first steering motion, so the second more progressive steering can lean on the outer edge and grip.


markcoznottz

4,958 posts

165 months

Sunday 5th May
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Senna karting in Japan 93, towards the end of the video you can clearly hear him stabbing the throttle in the apex of the corner.


https://youtu.be/LWs3p4HQAPs

Kraken

949 posts

141 months

Sunday 5th May
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Rob Wilson explains his technique with a hand and candle analogy. If you hold your hand above the candle for a few seconds then you get burnt but if put your hand right into the flame and out again quickly you don't get burnt.

He basically says that a modern tyre can take a short, high load much better than a longer, lesser load so cornering should be all about getting the car flat and straight as quickly as possible.

Maybe why Jackie Stewart is such an advocate of the smooth, long turn method rather than quick rotation as the tyres were more suited to that in his day.

sweegie

33 posts

140 months

Sunday 5th May
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This stabbing on the accelerator is to modify the % of diff lock applied to the rear wheels. Modifying the % lock to the rear wheels will drastically change the corner entry behavior of the car.

Olivera

3,332 posts

180 months

Sunday 5th May
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sweegie said:
This stabbing on the accelerator is to modify the % of diff lock applied to the rear wheels. Modifying the % lock to the rear wheels will drastically change the corner entry behavior of the car.
In a FWD Honda CRX?
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jsf

12,759 posts

177 months

Monday 6th May
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Kraken said:
Rob Wilson explains his technique with a hand and candle analogy. If you hold your hand above the candle for a few seconds then you get burnt but if put your hand right into the flame and out again quickly you don't get burnt.

He basically says that a modern tyre can take a short, high load much better than a longer, lesser load so cornering should be all about getting the car flat and straight as quickly as possible.

Maybe why Jackie Stewart is such an advocate of the smooth, long turn method rather than quick rotation as the tyres were more suited to that in his day.
The slip angle required for peak load varies considerably between tyre constructions, slip angles were much higher in the JS era, as were the flex of the chassis and suspension components.

The driving technique required varies considerably depending on the characteristics of the drivetrain, chassis, brakes and tyres and the type of event you are competing in.

TobyTR

420 posts

87 months

Monday 6th May
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How does Senna's technique compare with Schumacher's?

iirc, from what Jonny Herbert and Jonothan Palmer said, Schuamcher gets fully on the power very early off the apex and uses multiple steering inputs to balance the car out(?)

sisu

439 posts

114 months

Monday 6th May
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TobyTR said:
How does Senna's technique compare with Schumacher's?
Father, Son and the holy spirt...

Men in loafers 30 years ago made it look easy.


Damianos

33 posts

8 months

Monday 6th May
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sidewinder500 said:
Yes, it is Rob Wilson, driver coach extraordinaire...
He had a column on EVO magazine for a few months, were he explained the sudden initial input technique very nicely. Will try to find the issue and post it here.


Will94

18 posts

93 months

Monday 6th May
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This article

https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.jim-cla...

described Jim Clark using something similar (quote from Team Lotus manager, Peter Collins)

"He also made great use of stabbing at the throttle mid-corner, which adds to the belief that he was trying to make the back move to steer the car more as required.

"His throttle blips were not as frantic or aggressive as Keke Rosberg’s or Ayrton Senna’s in later years, but they were definitely part of his bag of tricks."

Collins attributes the success of this, in part, because Lotuses at the time were set up to understeer.

So maybe rather than it being a technique that is universally 'better' than the technique Jackie Stewart advocates, its effectiveness might be determined by a host of characteristics such as car set-up, engine characteristics (e.g. turbo vs NA), driven wheels, the availability of driver aids and, as others have mentioned, tyres.

Brett748

266 posts

107 months

Monday 6th May
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One thing is for sure I’m not going to try and critique Senna’s throttle control because he certainly knew a lot more about driving than me, or anybody else on this forum and possibly the world at his best.

sparta6

1,197 posts

41 months

Monday 6th May
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TobyTR said:
How does Senna's technique compare with Schumacher's?

iirc, from what Jonny Herbert and Jonothan Palmer said, Schuamcher gets fully on the power very early off the apex and uses multiple steering inputs to balance the car out(?)
Schumacher also braked twice before most corners, the first in order to stabilize the car.

coppice

5,188 posts

85 months

Monday 6th May
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Sennna's technique was clearly audible trackside in F1. But I never heard him use it in F3 - but with 160bhp and a very narrow power band you wouldn't really , would you ?

jsf

12,759 posts

177 months

Monday 6th May
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sparta6 said:
Schumacher also braked twice before most corners, the first in order to stabilize the car.
laugh

HardtopManual

1,125 posts

107 months

Monday 6th May
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sparta6 said:
Schumacher also braked twice before most corners, the first in order to stabilize the car.
Where did you read this? It doesn't make any sense. He braked - then came off the brakes and coasted(/accelerated again?) - then braked again?

HardtopManual

1,125 posts

107 months

Monday 6th May
quotequote all
Kraken said:
He basically says that a modern tyre can take a short, high load much better than a longer, lesser load so cornering should be all about getting the car flat and straight as quickly as possible.
Another explanation I don't understand - Button was known for being very kind to his tyres, yet everything I've read says that his driving style was the most "classical" of the field when he drove in F1. I thought flat car theory was more about getting on the throttle as quickly and aggressively as possible, which you do by completing the car rotation as early as possible? One example being exiting from Ascari, you don't point the car towards the entry to Parabolica, you stop turning when the car is facing down the straight and worry about moving over for the best line through Parabolica when you get there.

Kraken

949 posts

141 months

Monday 6th May
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There is an enormous amount of information about it in the specialist press and on the 'net. I don't know all the science but enough top level drivers trust Wilson to show that he must know what he's talking about. Button has often struggled to get his tyres into the operating window.

markcoznottz

4,958 posts

165 months

Tuesday 7th May
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Kraken said:
There is an enormous amount of information about it in the specialist press and on the 'net. I don't know all the science but enough top level drivers trust Wilson to show that he must know what he's talking about. Button has often struggled to get his tyres into the operating window.
Strange that, given how good he was in a kart. At the time he was thought better than Hamilton.

Alan Dove

1 posts

Tuesday 7th May
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Hello everyone, I saw a bunch of hits on my blog so I'd thought I'd pop in to add my thoughts! Thanks Kraken!

I spent far too many hours watching videos on this and can't remember everything I did to discover when he first started doing it. Senna himself actually stated he didn't fully understand why he did it. It's just something he developed and practiced over time though he did say it was incredibly hard physically to do it at the limit. In my view this was a universal driving technique for Senna. You can see him blipping the throttle in karts in the late 70s (not definitive, but it's the best I could find and looks pretty much on the money) and he did the same when he drove the KT100 on a Japanese TV show in 92/93 and another in 92 at his home circuit. For me, due to the effect this has on the carburation of a 2/ engine (basically it can flood the engine and you need to run a tad leaner than usual) it seems unlikely that Ayrton would transfer this technique from cars to karts, considering just how successful he was in karts. Also it's worthy to note just how early he gets on the throttle when he does it in a kart. That looks like a well practiced kart technique. For me, unless someone can provide any evidence to the contrary, this technique was developed in karts. All this talk of diffs, turbos etc... contributing to the development of this doesn't hold much water, in my view. The technique has to be looked at from a fundamental general driving model that encompasses most vehicle types.

That's why I prefer looking at driving from a neurodevelopmental point of view than a pure technical one mainly because, despite intellectualising every little detail of technique, just how race drivers do what they do is still a massive mystery. The fact Senna developed a very unique technique that he stated is as much a mystery to him than to any one, is even more remarkable. Coming from a coaching perspective I think that there is no one technique to rule them all (hence the motivation for the video). I certainly think that the way Senna's brain interpreted traction and the circuitry developed may have been fundamentally different to the standard due to this technique, this I believe is where the difference may lie. Is this an advantage? Who knows.



Bo_apex

857 posts

159 months

Tuesday 7th May
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HardtopManual said:
sparta6 said:
Schumacher also braked twice before most corners, the first in order to stabilize the car.
Where did you read this? It doesn't make any sense. He braked - then came off the brakes and coasted(/accelerated again?) - then braked again?


Same car. Same corner. Different techniques.

Edited by Bo_apex on Tuesday 7th May 16:40