Ask an F1 Engineer anything

Ask an F1 Engineer anything

Author
Discussion

williamp

17,578 posts

237 months

Monday 4th January
quotequote all
Do you have a bit of a car to design, or do you all design all the parts?

The cars at the end of the season are often very different and much quicker then at the start of the season, seemingly due to the upgrades. Do you ever think "why didnt we do this back in januay?"


jsf

22,352 posts

200 months

Monday 4th January
quotequote all
kiseca said:
One that popped up recently on PH from a knowledgeable person and challenged my wisdom earned over the years from magazine soundbites: How much of a Formula 1 car's suspension movement is in the suspension, and how much is in the tyre?

I'd heard, either on TV or in magazines, that more than 50% of the car's suspension movement is undamped movement in the tyre sidewall. I also recall from John Barnard's book that he did away with conventional suspension joints and replaced them with flattened, flexible ends on the suspension arms, because the suspension hardly moves and a flexing arm can manage it.

However, I've just 15 minutes ago seen a post saying that the suspension, particularly the rear suspension, moves a lot, and posted a picture showing a Merc's rear end leaning at an appreciable angle. I trust the poster, but I also trust my memory, so I need a tie-breaker hehe



Edited by kiseca on Monday 4th January 16:57
Just to be clear, this varies a lot from era to era and for different reasons around how that car generation generates its grip.

I could give you the deflection dyno curves for some F1 tyres that show you deflection due to load and high speed growth, but it's confidential info. I use that info to calculate ride height change that occurs as speed increases.

The best place to see how much the cars move their suspension is if you watch them from the rear through the Beckets complex at Silverstone, it will blow your mind.

sgtBerbatov

2,597 posts

45 months

Monday 4th January
quotequote all
I asked this on Twitter to Gary Anderson, he didn't respond, so I'll ask here.

So Nick Writh did a lot of work with CFD, both with Simtek and Marussia/Virgin/Manor racing. The latter being CFD only, having never seen a wind tunnel. It didn't work out, and none of the F1 teams seem to use CFD only, and use it in conjunction with a wind tunnel.

My question though is, why? Is it because CFD match the data given by wind tunnels? Or is it a cost thing?

BoRED S2upid

16,503 posts

204 months

Monday 4th January
quotequote all
Do you think if the FIA just stopped pissing about with the rules every few years the cars would be more competitive and even? I’m guessing the engineers would year on year improve the car and catch up with the leading cars or would the leading constructors still have an advantage?

350Matt

3,616 posts

243 months

Monday 4th January
quotequote all
sgtBerbatov said:
I asked this on Twitter to Gary Anderson, he didn't respond, so I'll ask here.

So Nick Writh did a lot of work with CFD, both with Simtek and Marussia/Virgin/Manor racing. The latter being CFD only, having never seen a wind tunnel. It didn't work out, and none of the F1 teams seem to use CFD only, and use it in conjunction with a wind tunnel.

My question though is, why? Is it because CFD match the data given by wind tunnels? Or is it a cost thing?
the reason the Virgin VR01 struggled was it was grotesquely overweight and very low in downforce
the safety margins on the mechanical parts were huge so there was only 1 Kg of ballast on the car whereas the Mclaren had about 40 kg of ballast ( and associated COG gain)
and yes there was an offset shall we say in what was required from the car to turn the tyre 'on' and the what the CFD said was required

turns out a bit of windtunnel data to give you a datum isn't such a bad idea.........

sgtBerbatov

2,597 posts

45 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
350Matt said:
sgtBerbatov said:
I asked this on Twitter to Gary Anderson, he didn't respond, so I'll ask here.

So Nick Writh did a lot of work with CFD, both with Simtek and Marussia/Virgin/Manor racing. The latter being CFD only, having never seen a wind tunnel. It didn't work out, and none of the F1 teams seem to use CFD only, and use it in conjunction with a wind tunnel.

My question though is, why? Is it because CFD match the data given by wind tunnels? Or is it a cost thing?
the reason the Virgin VR01 struggled was it was grotesquely overweight and very low in downforce
the safety margins on the mechanical parts were huge so there was only 1 Kg of ballast on the car whereas the Mclaren had about 40 kg of ballast ( and associated COG gain)
and yes there was an offset shall we say in what was required from the car to turn the tyre 'on' and the what the CFD said was required

turns out a bit of windtunnel data to give you a datum isn't such a bad idea.........
I remember, and they screwed up the calculations on the fuel tank so it wouldn't last a race. Meaning they had to turn the engine down.

But how much of that cock up was down to the designer or to CFD? And how is a wind tunnel that much different to what CFD can provide?

Thing is, I don't know much about either, so I can't really articulate what I'm trying to get at.

eps

5,445 posts

233 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
sgtBerbatov said:
350Matt said:
sgtBerbatov said:
I asked this on Twitter to Gary Anderson, he didn't respond, so I'll ask here.

So Nick Writh did a lot of work with CFD, both with Simtek and Marussia/Virgin/Manor racing. The latter being CFD only, having never seen a wind tunnel. It didn't work out, and none of the F1 teams seem to use CFD only, and use it in conjunction with a wind tunnel.

My question though is, why? Is it because CFD match the data given by wind tunnels? Or is it a cost thing?
the reason the Virgin VR01 struggled was it was grotesquely overweight and very low in downforce
the safety margins on the mechanical parts were huge so there was only 1 Kg of ballast on the car whereas the Mclaren had about 40 kg of ballast ( and associated COG gain)
and yes there was an offset shall we say in what was required from the car to turn the tyre 'on' and the what the CFD said was required

turns out a bit of windtunnel data to give you a datum isn't such a bad idea.........
I remember, and they screwed up the calculations on the fuel tank so it wouldn't last a race. Meaning they had to turn the engine down.

But how much of that cock up was down to the designer or to CFD? And how is a wind tunnel that much different to what CFD can provide?

Thing is, I don't know much about either, so I can't really articulate what I'm trying to get at.
The slight irony is that round the corner - as in a 15 minute walk from Nick Wirth's place is/was the Toro Rosso wind tunnel.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Muzzer79 said:
Who's the most talented driver you've seen driving for a team you've been in?
Mika

Muzzer79 said:
How did you get into it?
Knew as a teenager it's what I wanted to do and worked out what I needed to concentrate on to give me the best chance of getting there. Maths and physics at school got me to a good engineering degree. Then post grad studies and a relentless work ethic got me in to it.

Muzzer79 said:
Which era of regulations did you/do you find the most satisfying and why?
The next regulations are always the most interesting.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
kiseca said:
One that popped up recently on PH from a knowledgeable person and challenged my wisdom earned over the years from magazine soundbites: How much of a Formula 1 car's suspension movement is in the suspension, and how much is in the tyre?

I'd heard, either on TV or in magazines, that more than 50% of the car's suspension movement is undamped movement in the tyre sidewall. I also recall from John Barnard's book that he did away with conventional suspension joints and replaced them with flattened, flexible ends on the suspension arms, because the suspension hardly moves and a flexing arm can manage it.

However, I've just 15 minutes ago seen a post saying that the suspension, particularly the rear suspension, moves a lot, and posted a picture showing a Merc's rear end leaning at an appreciable angle. I trust the poster, but I also trust my memory, so I need a tie-breaker hehe
50% would be a reasonable approximation for the front. Much less at the rear where heave travel is far greater.
Flexures were indeed favoured for a period but not so much anymore. I think last time I saw them used was c.2014 on the inboard end of the front wishbones of some cars.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Nampahc Niloc said:
How annoying do you, as an engineer, find it when people say “F1 is rubbish because it’s all about the car”?
I don't find it annoying at all. There is an element of truth in it.

mikeiow

3,052 posts

94 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Did you hate the new noise when the major engine changed a few years back?
I suspect we are all used to it now......but I hated that first season!

How do you feel Formula E will shake things up as we move slowly away from the 'fossil fuel' era into a world of EVs? Are you (& the teams) influenced by it in any way?

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Steamer said:
How many hours a week were you working? (average-ish if possible)

Whats the work / life balance like?
It varies depending on the time of year, your role, travelling, the project you're working on and whatever the pressures/deadlines are. Average 55hrs/week across the year I'd say.

Work:life balance is what you make of it. Some people live for the job so have no life outside of it, but they're on cloud 9 doing it so all is good. Some people see it as just a job and keep the balance in context of that outlook. Everyone's different!

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Dynion Araf Uchaf said:
how do you feel when you've spent hours designing a part for the car, that the drivers then say is 'st' and makes the car worse. And then the second driver says the same thing.

and then in another paradigm, it gets fitted on to the car again and the new driver loves it and goes 0.5s quicker.
An important part of being a good engineer is leaving emotional attachment aside, remaining impartial to them, and following rational data to give you the fastest bits. I'd like to think I'm good at doing this, but seeing a part/process/procedure you've worked on make the car go faster is always a great feeling.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
pistonheadforum said:
Have you ever worked with anybody who is a lead-swinging-by-the-book-sorry-on-me-tea-break-that's-not-my-job-out-the-door-by-4:30 sharp type or are they all super keen do anything superstars pulling all nighters?
No-to-the-first-bit, yes but to differing extents for the second bit. Everyone is keen, not everyone is super-keen.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
TTmonkey said:
How many races will be cancelled this year? And where?
Absolutely no idea. Hopefully 2021 is going to be better than 2020, but if it's not I'm confident we'll find a way.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
jjones said:
What do you think Ferrari were up to that gave them additional power?
No idea, various rumours and bits of gossip about the grid but I'm not a PU expert by any stretch so can't confirm the validity. The best ones usually come from forums/the media.

rdjohn

4,836 posts

159 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
AnonymousF1 said:
kiseca said:
One that popped up recently on PH from a knowledgeable person and challenged my wisdom earned over the years from magazine soundbites: How much of a Formula 1 car's suspension movement is in the suspension, and how much is in the tyre?

I'd heard, either on TV or in magazines, that more than 50% of the car's suspension movement is undamped movement in the tyre sidewall. I also recall from John Barnard's book that he did away with conventional suspension joints and replaced them with flattened, flexible ends on the suspension arms, because the suspension hardly moves and a flexing arm can manage it.

However, I've just 15 minutes ago seen a post saying that the suspension, particularly the rear suspension, moves a lot, and posted a picture showing a Merc's rear end leaning at an appreciable angle. I trust the poster, but I also trust my memory, so I need a tie-breaker hehe
50% would be a reasonable approximation for the front. Much less at the rear where heave travel is far greater.
Flexures were indeed favoured for a period but not so much anymore. I think last time I saw them used was c.2014 on the inboard end of the front wishbones of some cars.
Presumably, every time that Pirelli increase the tyre pressures and carcass construction, that percentage changes?

How big an impact will 18inch rims have?

rdjohn

4,836 posts

159 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Are you a one-team man, or have you moved around?

As a general rule, are staff moving between teams on a regular basis?

Are there some people who come, have a go for a few years, and then leave the sport?

Thanks for creating an interesting thread during the closed season.

Jehu son of Nimshi

14 posts

12 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
How much would it cost to photocopy, say, 780 pages of technical documentation? Asking for a friend.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Jasandjules said:
Who has the most input into a "new" design? Do the drivers get a say?
Rarely does a single person put the majority of input in. The different departments all feed in to it, from simulation, to design, to manufacture and testing. The driver's usually have nothing to do with the car's design (most of them don't turn up to drive it until long after the majority of it has been designed and made!) but have input to the setup of the car and altering the handling characteristics to suit them.