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Racecar Engineering

Racecar Engineering April 2017

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Racecar Engineering is the world’s leading technology publication for the motorsport industry. From aerodynamics to engines and from handling theory to manufacturing practice, Racecar Engineering is read by motorsport’s top professionals. Only Racecar Engineering brings this insight every month.

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United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
zoom and bust

The lower classes, all the way down to karting, are choking on the costs Here we go again. There are 20 cars for the 2017 F1 season, two down from last year. Another team, Manor, has bit the dust. And the reason is the usual; no money was found to pay for it. This can be ascribed to one of three factors. Number 1: there is no money around. But crunch the numbers and this is palpably false. There is more disposable income around than in previous times. So, what about factor Number 2? What money there is, is not shared equitably. Resource distribution can be a large and contentious subject, and Karl Marx said a few things on this. In essence, why not redistribute the resources more equitably? Well, probably because the world…

5 min.
formulaic plotting

So let there be a return to much-needed competition on-track between different chassis and engine makes. While we are at it, why not tyres as well? Formula 2, as officially announced by the FIA back in 2015 for implementation this year, remains something of a mystery, with very little information currently available. Without the blocking hand of Bernie Ecclestone and with the start of the 2017 season imminent, it seems likely, however, that GP2 will finally be branded FIA F2. Whether this is just expediency to be followed by a new purpose-conceived formula remains to be seen. If it is not, then F2 becomes yet another one-make series. The FIA doesn’t have to follow this route beyond 2017 though, providing that an alternative promoter can be sourced in time who can deliver…

18 min.
f1 bulks up

‘We don’t know every single scenario that might load these cars up, there might be load cases we have not yet anticipated’ Three weeks or so before the 2016 Australian Grand Prix season-opener a statement from the FIA was distributed to teams and the media at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. Formula 1’s pre-season testing was in full swing but the statement drew much of the attention away from the new cars, for it contained details of a sweeping new set of technical regulations for the 2017 season. Driving the changes were calls from the promoters and fans to create a better show, with cars being driven flat out all of the time, rather than to a perceived fuel economy target. Additionally, the drivers had called for the cars to…

3 min.
the view from the cockpit

It was hard for the drivers to come up with anything meaningful regarding the 2017 cars after the first day of testing. They were in test mode, with the engines running on reduced power, the track was green, and it was more important to learn how the car reacted to set-up changes, pitch sensitivity and so on, before they got to the tricky subjects of overtaking, how the car uses each individual new compound of Pirelli tyre, and how it reacts to temperature changes. However, there were some instances of the drivers following other cars, and the comments after this weren’t encouraging. ‘I was behind a couple of cars out there and it was harder to follow, but that is to be expected,’ said Lewis Hamilton. ‘The tyres are so hard. They…

2 min.
suspension suspense

Suspension has become something of a controversial topic in the Formula 1 paddock as it has emerged that a number of teams are using, or have used, a suspension system at the rear of the car which allows it to sit up at lower speeds for better downforce, and then collapse into a low-drag configuration at higher speeds. There is a debate over whether theses layouts should be outlawed in 2017 as ‘moveable aerodynamic devices’ and a technical directive has already been issued, but many feel that it is not sufficient. ‘Unfortunately the regulations as they are at the moment are quite tricky,’ Nick Chester of Renault explains. ‘It’s always been hard to interpret since the World Motor Sport Council decision, when actives went back in 1994. The interpretations of passive…

10 min.
rubbered up

Pirelli had to introduce a completely new design and construction process One of the big unknowns for the 2017 Formula 1 season was the tyres. They are wider, have a different profile and construction, and have new performance targets. F1 has effectively wound the clock back to a time when visually the cars were more appealing. The wider tyres were a step that most agreed would help achieve that goal but, as is always the case, this has led to consequences for the tyre supplier, Pirelli, which had to introduce a completely new design and construction process. The company’s machines first had to be upgraded to cope with the new tyre sizes and construction. Tyre production takes place in facilities in Romania and Turkey, with one or other chosen to supply the…