Racecar Engineering February 2019

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.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min
don’t look back in anger

Ray Harroun, an engineer born in 1879 who was nicknamed the ‘Little Professor’, maintained he only really raced so as to observe his designs being tested in the field. In 1911, for the inaugural Indianapolis 500-mile race, of the entire 40-car field his yellow Marmon – AKA the Wasp – was the only car to have just one person on board. All the others had a riding mechanic, a bit of a tradition from the previous years of racing on open roads where the early racing machinery, pretty much all prototypes, were prone to mechanical failure or punctures a long way from any assistance. Incidentally, in 1912 the riding mechanics were required by the rules and were then mandatory until 1922, and then returned again in 1930 until 1937. Time to reflect For…

5 min
kiss it better

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid – is a useful acronym. It is seldom applied, however, in F1. The FIA’s 2020 through 2023 F1 tyre supply tender document is as far away from that desire for simplicity as one could imagine. It comprises 19 pages, of which only six and a bit cover contractual matters. The new tyre requirements that comprise the remainder appear as if some analytical geek in a darkened room, hunched over an array of books and downloads on every aspect of tyre design, materials, chemical properties and molecular structures, drew these up. With no relevance to real-world racing. Of course, this is surely not true. I have no doubt that the FIA has gone to great pains to ensure that input from race tyre manufacturers and teams…

13 min
tamed by the shrewd

With both worth championships, 11 race wins and 13 pole positions, the Mercedes-AMG W09 EQ Power+ could be seen as a hugely dominant design. Indeed, the ninth in the current line of Silver Arrows was the car to beat for almost all of the 2018 Formula 1 season. But it did not have things all its own way. Both Ferrari and Red Bull ran the German-branded British-built car close throughout the year. Yet while the fight was tougher in 2018, this was a car that was ready for it, largely thanks to the knowledge from 2017, when the W08 proved to be a difficult racecar on occasion, so difficult in fact that the team nicknamed it ‘the Diva’. It had a very narrow operational window, proved to be hard to set…

1 min
tech spec: mercedes-amg w09

Chassis Moulded carbon fibre and honeycomb composite structure. Bodywork Carbon fibre composite including engine cover, sidepods, floor, nose, front wing and rear wing. Safety structures Cockpit survival cell incorporating impact-resistant construction and penetration panels, front impact structure, prescribed side impact structures, integrated rear impact structure, front and rear roll structures, and the Halo cockpit protection device. Power unit See page 18. Front and rear suspension Carbon fibre wishbone and pushrod-activated torsion springs and rockers. Transmission Gearbox; 8-speed forward, one reverse, unit with carbon fibre maincase; sequential, semi-automatic, hydraulic activation. Carbon plate clutch. Brakes Carbone Industrie carbon/carbon discs and pads with rear brake-by-wire. Brembo brake calipers. Steering Power-assisted rack and pinion. Electronics FIA standard ECU and FIA homologated electronic and electrical system. Instrumentation by McLaren Electronic Systems. Fuel system ATL Kevlar-reinforced rubber bladder. Wheels and tyres OZ forged magnesium rims; Pirelli tyres. Dimensions Overall Length: over 5000mm; overall width, 2000mm; overall height, 950mm. Overall weight 733kg.…

2 min
working the wheels

Mercedes caused a minor controversy late in the 2018 season when it introduced a new design of rear wheel rim. The rim featured a number of small drillings around the hub, and this was felt by at least one of its rivals to be an unfair advantage and so it considered protesting the design under Article 3.8 of the technical regulations, which bans moveable aerodynamic devices (other than the DRS system). The suggestion was that the drillings give some kind of aerodynamic gain around the rear of the car. The FIA looked into the design of the rims and deemed them legal, and Mercedes used them in the closing races of the season. James Allison actually admits that the wheels gave a performance gain, but insists that it was not an…

1 min
an electric future for f1?

With Formula E entering its fifth season and the automotive industry increasingly looking toward mass market electrification many are asking if the future of F1 is also electric. FIA president Jean Todt has rubbished this suggestion, but engineers like James Allison think differently. ‘I think F1 will go all electric,’ he says. ‘Put yourself forward 20 years and there will be no internal combustion engines on the road, so it is inconceivable to think that we will be banging away with pistons, sparks and petrol in Formula 1. By then it will be possible to make ridiculously fast cars which are just electric. It’s going to be inevitable that F1 goes that way, and it will be fun and exciting, but it’s a question of what is the road map…