Ask an F1 Engineer anything

Ask an F1 Engineer anything

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AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
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williamp said:
Do you have a bit of a car to design, or do you all design all the parts?
Generally people will start out in one particular dept working on one particular part. Once proficient in that they'll move around, working on different parts of the car in different ways. The idea is to make each engineer as capable as the other and give them as much breadth of experience as possible.

williamp said:
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?"
All the time! Hindsight is great eh. A worse feeling is seeing another team do something better than you, and thinking 'why didn't we just think of that'.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th 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?
CFD is a simulation of reality. A wind tunnel is a scale of reality. Guess which one's closer to reality?

Muzzer79

4,535 posts

151 months

Tuesday 5th January
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V10, V8 or V6 Hybrid?

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
BoRED S2upid said:
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?
No because every time they piss about with the rules it gives engineers, manufacturers, suppliers and all the other parts of the industry a whole load of work to do, and therefore jobs/salaries/income/economic value.

From a pure sporting point of view changing the regs so often makes no sense though, agreed.

shirt

20,215 posts

165 months

Tuesday 5th January
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when pundits talk of a car being suited to / tailored to one driver [usually the no.1] but not the other, is that something inherent to the design of the car or just that more hours of simulation and testing are devoted to optimising the set-up for that driver? surely the range of adjustment in the car enables it to work with more than one driving style.

do modern driving styles differ that much anyway?

kiseca

8,838 posts

183 months

Tuesday 5th January
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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.
jsf said:
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.
Lots of great insight there. I have a much fuller picture now, thank you both! Surprised to hear that flexures had a limited life but it all makes sense - back in 1989 if I recall the cars ran a lot lower until the plank was introduced (1994?)

Is there any reason flexures fell out of favour or is it just because of more suspension travel?

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
mikeiow said:
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?
Yes, 2014 at Melbourne was an eye (ear?) opener for all when the swarm of lawnmowers went by for the first time on the opening lap.

FE doesn't appear to have had much impact other than attracting potential manufacturer entrants away from F1.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
rdjohn said:
Presumably, every time that Pirelli increase the tyre pressures and carcass construction, that percentage changes?

How big an impact will 18inch rims have?
Tyres are the single most important part of any road vehicle, particularly a racing car, so sensitivity to them is high. I think it was 2017 when Pirelli changed the construction mid-season (or reverted back to a known, more robust construction) and this made a notable change to the cars' performances relative to each other.

It remains to be seen what impact the 18" rims will have, but the tyre profile is dramatically lower, so I imagine a great deal.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
rdjohn said:
Are you a one-team man, or have you moved around?
Multi team.

rdjohn said:
As a general rule, are staff moving between teams on a regular basis?
No general rule, some stay and progress. Some move for new challenges. Some don't have a choice, e.g. smaller teams go out of business, struggle to pay their staff on time, etcetera.

rdjohn said:
Are there some people who come, have a go for a few years, and then leave the sport?
Yes, some even less than this, e.g. a couple of months and decide it's not for them.

rdjohn said:
Thanks for creating an interesting thread during the closed season.
Welcome!




AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Jehu son of Nimshi said:
How much would it cost to photocopy, say, 780 pages of technical documentation? Asking for a friend.
I have no idea, but I'm told there's a shop in Surrey that offers very favourable rates.

(Best question yet).

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Muzzer79 said:
V10, V8 or V6 Hybrid?
V10s, at Monza, all day long.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
shirt]when pundits talk of a car being suited to / tailored to one driver [usually the no.1 said:
but not the other, is that something inherent to the design of the car or just that more hours of simulation and testing are devoted to optimising the set-up for that driver? surely the range of adjustment in the car enables it to work with more than one driving style.

do modern driving styles differ that much anyway?
Some drivers prefer a certain setup, and excel when it's perfectly tuned to suit them. Some have the ability to extract the most from whatever they're given. Each car will be set up to get the most for what each driver wants.

Good example - Seb in the 2011 Red Bull. He took certain corners flat without lifting, where Mark couldn't, as he was more comfortable with the balance/what the car was doing. Fast forward to 2020 and Seb is dramatically slower in the Ferrari than his team mate, as this car inherently seems to suit Charles more. Or more likely Charles is more capable of getting the most from whatever he's given.

Driving styles do differ. The best drivers alter their styles to suit the car, usually lap to lap as variables change.

AnonymousF1

Original Poster:

77 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
kiseca said:
Is there any reason flexures fell out of favour or is it just because of more suspension travel?
Stiction, weight, angularity, fatigue.

JPvanRossem

942 posts

30 months

Tuesday 5th January
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Did you ever meet Jean-Pierre van Rossem?

TVR_Steve

2,670 posts

129 months

Tuesday 5th January
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I have no question that would be worth your response, nor of significant interest to add to this thread. I just want to say thank you for the insight you give, I appreciate it.

JPvanRossem

942 posts

30 months

Tuesday 5th January
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Is it a sport or a business to you?

otolith

43,938 posts

168 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
Are you ever allowed to take cool things out of the bin?

Benrad

644 posts

113 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
How useful is benchmarking the other teams (within the rules)?

My experience of benchmarking, as a performance and emissions engineer developing heavy duty diesel engines, is that most of the value is in testing the engine, not photographing it. You get some data from F1 and you can take pictures and 3D scan on the grid until this year, nothing like what we get by putting the competitor engine into a test cell. Unless you get some actual hard data I just can't imagine there being much value in copying, I'd imagine there's a very real risk of making your own design worse rather than better.

Second, more human, question. Have you ever had any specific recognition from a driver about a part you designed/change you made either privately or through the media?

petop

1,833 posts

130 months

Tuesday 5th January
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Have you ever when no one is around in the Factory got in a car and done your best F1 engine noise impression?

JPvanRossem

942 posts

30 months

Tuesday 5th January
quotequote all
What did you think about the statement, "Bring back the fking V12s"?