Ask an F1 Engineer anything

Ask an F1 Engineer anything

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Halmyre

9,060 posts

103 months

Friday 19th March
quotequote all
kiseca said:
robinessex said:
C2Red said:
MuttWagon said:
garypotter said:
Thank you OP for your honest and interesting replies.

1 question - are you aware if any ideas come from outside the team, such as a fan emailing a crazy idea? or an five year old sending in a crayon drawing that has resulted in an item ended up on one of your race cars?

Personally i feel the Merc double steering angle was a brilliant idea i wonder who came up with that and if it was from another source..
I wrote to McLaren as a child as I had watched track cyclists on blue peter wearing dimpled crash helmets for better air flow and wondered why they didn't use that texture in F1. A few days later my Mum shouted up to my room telling me there was an engineer on the phone! He basically explained it was toffee due to the turbulent air around an F1 car but it was decent of him to take the time.
I imagine that the Matt paintwork so beloved by the recent F1 generations might have a limited but similar effect; I don’t know if it’s true, but I was once told that air bound to a surface had a higher friction than air that could shear across the surface due to the minor imperfections
You mean like the dimples on a golf ball ?
I think the dimples are only effective on an unaerodynamic basic shape - like a ball. Or maybe it's that they only work on a shape that is likely to be rotating while in motion. I forget.

I think it's significant that fast jets and fast projectiles - bullets, cannon and artillery shells - have a smooth surface - not dimpled - that isn't particularly shiny nor matt in finish. Military jets tend to stay away from shiny paintwork so they glinting away in the sunlight giving themselves away to anyone within 50 miles but Concorde was glossy and so are all other passenger jets. They'd benefit a lot more from a matt finish than a formula 1 car because they spend their lives at around 3 times a Formula 1 car's maximum speed, if a matt finish did actually have any benefit.

So, I'm no expert but my guess would be that dimpled, rough finishes and matt paint won't make a Formula 1 car more slippery.

Edited by kiseca on Thursday 18th March 18:58
I'm sure I read somewhere that in Concorde's case, a high-gloss finish for reflecting sunlight absorption was more important than a low-drag finish. When they painted them blue to advertise Pepsi, it seriously affected their ability to fly at its maximum speed for any length of time.


AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
garypotter said:
Thank you OP for your honest and interesting replies.

1 question - are you aware if any ideas come from outside the team, such as a fan emailing a crazy idea? or an five year old sending in a crayon drawing that has resulted in an item ended up on one of your race cars?
You're welcome. Not to my knowledge.

Sandpit Steve

2,650 posts

38 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
Halmyre said:
I'm sure I read somewhere that in Concorde's case, a high-gloss finish for reflecting sunlight absorption was more important than a low-drag finish. When they painted them blue to advertise Pepsi, it seriously affected their ability to fly at its maximum speed for any length of time.
They painted the fuselage blue but left the wings white in the Pepsi livery, but still faced speed and time restrictions due to heat buildup

https://simpleflying.com/pepsi-concorde-livery/

In regular service, that aircraft used to be about a foot longer in the air than on the ground, due to thermal expansion, which had to be catered for in the design. One aircraft now has a flight engineer’s cap stuck next to his panel, as the FE on the final flight put it there just before they slowed down for the last time...

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
Hugo Stiglitz said:
Damon Hill, Schumacher and others were well known for developing and setting up the cars, giving feedback along the way. Damon was a test driver for Williams first as well.

OP are you saying nowadays it's more about the car, really?
No, not at all. The cars are far more complicated now than the ones Damon and Michael drove. In particular, driver's are challenged on more cognitive levels (example, adjustments on steering wheel, whilst receiving/transmitting information on radio, whilst driving wheel to wheel on the open lap on cold tyres/high fuel). The best driver is one who can excel at all these things, at the same time.

Hugo Stiglitz said:
Lewis literally turns up at pre season testing and adjusts it to his taste?
Possibly. Although usually a driver would be in the factory ahead of the season start for a number of things - seat, steering wheel and chassis fitting/ergonomics, simulator, discussions with engineers, promotional work.
Hugo Stiglitz said:


Hes not in the factory at all, doing any test miles when it's out of the box raw and doesn't sit in extensive briefings?
There are extensive briefings and debriefing either side of each session. The drivers take part in these.


Edited by AnonymousF1 on Saturday 20th March 12:43

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
Total loss said:
I don't know about the fronts, they could be still fully mechanical, I've read before about F1 brakes being electrically activated, I assumed both front & rear?
I was being very simplistic with my explanation, probably too much, yes pedal feel is everything, not all drivers preferring the same set up, when you have different drivers driving the same car, some will say alls good and another will say the brakes require too much effort or the pedal is too long!
Fronts are conventional hydraulic operation, rears are hydraulically operated but via electronic control. This is known as BBW = Brake By Wire. It is regulatory and the same for every team.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
andburg said:
As far as i can decipher drivers have up to 3 pedal mappings for the accelerator (dry / wet / intermediate) but these can be shaped to each drivers requirements. How much do these differ between drivers?
Many more, with multiple dimensions. Across drivers in each team, not much. Across teams/engine suppliers, very much.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
TheDeuce said:
Aren't disc sizes defined by the regs - so it's actually the FIA that have mandated brakes which under some circumstances might be described as inadequate.
The regulations define the maximum permissible brake disc size - currently dia 278mm and 32mm thick. No minimum.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
A1Diego said:
My son is 11 and an absolute car geek and he so much wants to be an engineer in the motor industry and ideally F1.

By the time he is working in the car industry, combustion engines will be on the way out - do you think this will affects the skills and qualifications the next generation of F1/car engineers should be focusing on?
I shouldn't worry too much about this, the education that universities/academic institutions give your son will tailor their courses to suit the demands of the industry. In any case, gaining a good quality engineering education is about learning the basics/fundamentals/principles - these can then be applied to any engineering challenge.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
Dashnine said:
Just picking up this topic again, it’d interesting that you can see how little work the rear brakes do on an F1 car from the white wheels of the AlphaTauri car during testing in Bahrain. After a few laps the front wheels are black from brake dust, the rears are still pristine white.
On the front axle, the air that flows over/through the brakes exit across the wheel spokes.
On the rear axle this air exits inboard of the wheel, i.e. dusty brake air does not travel across the rear wheel spokes. Hence the clean rear wheels on the car you mention.

The rear brake duct exits can be seen in most images of the cars from the rear. In the below image it is the vertical duct exit adjacent to the tyre:



AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
RunEveryInchOfTheWorld said:
How long does it take to build a motorhome?
I believe you mean one of the 'Paddock Palaces' as opposed to a motorhome the driver may stay in. If so, usually a couple of days at each circuit for each team.

RunEveryInchOfTheWorld said:
Do the drivers stay overnight in them?
No, they are used for hospitality, engineers offices, drivers rooms, parts storage, etcetera. The drivers may stay at the circuit in a conventional motorhome occassionally.

RunEveryInchOfTheWorld said:
After the race is there a BBQ or party of any sort?
Yes, sometimes. It depends on which circuit it is, which one is next, and the result that day.

RunEveryInchOfTheWorld said:
Do the drivers, personal mix with other teams?
Yes very much so, the paddock is a a fairly small community.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
I think I am up to date with answering questions that have been directed to me. Please reply if I've missed any.

Total loss

2,128 posts

191 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
AnonymousF1 said:
There are extensive briefings and debriefing either side of each session. The drivers take part in these.


Edited by AnonymousF1 on Saturday 20th March 12:43
Kimi might be the exception to this, I was told by a McLaren mechanic that when he stepped out of the car at a test & was told when the the debrief of the days running was , Kimi said, you can go, I'm off clubbing.....

talksthetorque

8,840 posts

99 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
Hi - A couple of my questions were answered by other contributors, but this one remains a mystery.

How many HGVs worth of kit (everything from tyres to branded napkins) are typical at European race, and how many at a flyaway event.

A1Diego

86 posts

70 months

Sunday 21st March
quotequote all
AnonymousF1 said:
A1Diego said:
My son is 11 and an absolute car geek and he so much wants to be an engineer in the motor industry and ideally F1.

By the time he is working in the car industry, combustion engines will be on the way out - do you think this will affects the skills and qualifications the next generation of F1/car engineers should be focusing on?
I shouldn't worry too much about this, the education that universities/academic institutions give your son will tailor their courses to suit the demands of the industry. In any case, gaining a good quality engineering education is about learning the basics/fundamentals/principles - these can then be applied to any engineering challenge.
Thank you ! Are there other routes into the automotive industry - for example, through some sort of apprenticeship schemes or is the best thing to do to focus on getting a good quality degree? For the latter, are there any particular institutions with good links? I’m thinking Warwick, Coventry, Birmingham may have good links with JLR / Aston? Milton Keynes with Red Bull etc.

Sandy59

2,547 posts

175 months

Tuesday 23rd March
quotequote all
MuttWagon said:
garypotter said:
Thank you OP for your honest and interesting replies.

1 question - are you aware if any ideas come from outside the team, such as a fan emailing a crazy idea? or an five year old sending in a crayon drawing that has resulted in an item ended up on one of your race cars?

Personally i feel the Merc double steering angle was a brilliant idea i wonder who came up with that and if it was from another source..
I wrote to McLaren as a child as I had watched track cyclists on blue peter wearing dimpled crash helmets for better air flow and wondered why they didn't use that texture in F1. A few days later my Mum shouted up to my room telling me there was an engineer on the phone! He basically explained it was toffee due to the turbulent air around an F1 car but it was decent of him to take the time.
Back in the early/mid 90's at the end of a season, I wrote to Williams then McLaren wondering if a flexible rear wing could be used. ie to bend at higher speeds thus reducing drag & increasing speed further. Both very politely replied thanking me for the suggestion, but advising that scrutineers would soon pick up on this so basically a non starter. Interestingly a few months later during the following pre-season testing, I read in a motorsport magazine that at least one team (not Williams or McLaren) had been found experimenting with a flexible rear wing. In fact if I remember correctly wings had failed during testing and caused a few 'offs', maybe that's how they were found out. Anyway from what I later read, the upshot was that a new scrutineering test was introduced soon afterwards, which involved hanging a weight off the rear wings and measuring the wing deflection. Probably just a coincidence but I have always wondered scratchchin

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Friday 2nd April
quotequote all
talksthetorque said:
How many HGVs worth of kit (everything from tyres to branded napkins) are typical at European race, and how many at a flyaway event.
Anything up to 5-7 per team. Less for a flyaway but still a substantial amount of kit.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Friday 2nd April
quotequote all
A1Diego said:
Thank you ! Are there other routes into the automotive industry - for example, through some sort of apprenticeship schemes or is the best thing to do to focus on getting a good quality degree? For the latter, are there any particular institutions with good links? I’m thinking Warwick, Coventry, Birmingham may have good links with JLR / Aston? Milton Keynes with Red Bull etc.
It depends what level your son would like to work at/get to eventually. Apprenticeships or college route are available e.g. OCVC at Bicester. Some teams operate an apprenticeship type scheme of their own. With the right experience, this will get you in at Mechanic/Technician level.

Engineer level will require a degree minimum. Graduate/less experienced positions are fiercely competitive so picking an institution that has a proven record of supplying graduates to the industry is key, e.g. Oxford Brookes for design engineers, Southampton for aerodynamicists. Teams tend to have strong affiliations with particular universities too, taking students for placements throughout their degrees and then as graduates. Example: - Red Bull and Loughborough.

Benrad

644 posts

113 months

Saturday 3rd April
quotequote all
Kudos on keeping this thread up for so long OP, I've really enjoyed reading all the replies.

I'm not sure how to phrase my question so I'll leave it fairly open.

What's the role of artificial intelligence algorithms in F1 at the moment? AWS are bigging up their work with the organisers but do the teams use it, what for?

Megaflow

7,447 posts

189 months

Saturday 3rd April
quotequote all
AnonymousF1 said:
talksthetorque said:
How many HGVs worth of kit (everything from tyres to branded napkins) are typical at European race, and how many at a flyaway event.
Anything up to 5-7 per team. Less for a flyaway but still a substantial amount of kit.
The TV compound and kit requires another 10-12 if I remember correctly. By the time you add Pirelli and the FIA it has got be be close to 100 trucks.

Teddy Lop

4,692 posts

31 months

Saturday 3rd April
quotequote all
Sandy59 said:
Back in the early/mid 90's at the end of a season, I wrote to Williams then McLaren wondering if a flexible rear wing could be used. ie to bend at higher speeds thus reducing drag & increasing speed further. Both very politely replied thanking me for the suggestion, but advising that scrutineers would soon pick up on this so basically a non starter. Interestingly a few months later during the following pre-season testing, I read in a motorsport magazine that at least one team (not Williams or McLaren) had been found experimenting with a flexible rear wing. In fact if I remember correctly wings had failed during testing and caused a few 'offs', maybe that's how they were found out. Anyway from what I later read, the upshot was that a new scrutineering test was introduced soon afterwards, which involved hanging a weight off the rear wings and measuring the wing deflection. Probably just a coincidence but I have always wondered scratchchin
when was it, about the mid-noughties there was a big hoo-hah over flexi wings, that passed the weight test but still bent under high aero load. Quite clever really, extra weight testing brought in IIRC.