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Are regulations stifling CFD development in Formula One?

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It has long been debated, and to an extent accepted, that the regulations have stifled creativity of design in Formula One, but is it now possible that this has spread to creativity in simulation methodology? The long and the short of it is yes, but the questions remain: is it possible to be creative within the regulations, and what do the current regulations implicitly prohibit? The regulations impose a limit on the combined use of CFD and wind tunnel time must fall below a limit line....

Formula One side impact structures

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For many years the regulations governing Formula One car construction have paid great attention to reducing the loads experienced by drivers during front and rear impacts. However, despite having to undergo side intrusion tests, it is only relatively recently that concerted efforts have been made to mitigate the loads exerted during a side impact. To this end, 2014 saw the introduction of new side impact structures on cars, designed to absorb energy in the event of such an impact. The...

Wheel coatings

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Controlling tyre temperature is of vital importance to the performance of a modern Formula One car – or any racecar for that matter – with teams constantly striving to get the most from each tyre compound they use over a stint. Controlling the heating and cooling cycles a tyre is subjected to helps provide more consistent performance. Recently, some teams have begun to use a coating on their wheel rims in an attempt to transfer more heat into the tyre, in order to reduce the...

Advances in optimisation software

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Computer-aided engineering packages are the primary tools used by Formula One engineers to design, develop and manufacture their racecars. The use of finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation has intensified over the past 20 years as computing power has continued to increase, enabling more complex models to be solved in the shortest timescales. The increasing complexity of the modern racecar, from both structural and aerodynamic perspectives, has led...


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Since the post-1993 ban on active technologies, the FIA has been reluctant to allow more forms of electronically controlled systems. Yet for Formula One, in 2014 it decided to allow a brake-by-wire system. Rather than this being a performance-based rule change, the decision was to account for the greater degree of energy recovery available through the rear axle without upsetting the brake balance. When the energy recovery system (ERS) is in harvesting mode, there’s a drag applied...