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It’s all too easy to oversimplify the electronic installation on a modern Formula One car – the ECU usually gains the most attention – but supporting that is a host of other hardware devices, all part of the car’s overall system. We have covered the ECU in a previous F1-Monitor. The triangular box is often sited inside the cockpit in the ‘V’ below the driver’s legs, while some teams mount it in the sidepod. Being air-cooled, the sidepod location is...

Direct injection

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As I write this there are only just over two weeks to go before the first of the Formula One winter test days at Jerez, and while many a race enthusiast might be concerned about the changes in the sound the new turbocharged V6 power units will make, as an engineer I am thinking about things that are arguably perhaps much more fundamental. So at a time while many may be looking at what has been brought in for 2014, as an engineer I am looking more to what has been left out. Perhaps the most...

Cooling calibration

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The 2014 Formula One regulations present engineers with a host of challenges, not only in terms of designing all-new power units and energy recovery systems but in ensuring they are integrated as efficiently as possible into the car packages. One area of particular concern is the cooling systems, which must accommodate the heat rejection needs of both a turbo-supercharged internal combustion engine and two energy recovery systems. By and large, modern racecars still rely on water-to-air...


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Despite some significant advances in polymer and composite materials in recent decades, race engines remain stubbornly metallic. While Formula One transmissions have embraced composite materials in their main cases, a combination of regulation and experience has deterred engine design engineers from using anything other than metals for most applications. We use a number of different metals as a matter of routine. Pistons are almost always made from aluminium, crankshafts are normally made...

Fuel cells

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The phrase ‘quiet revolution’ is often used to describe significant but gradual change that is accepted without fuss. The advent of electric transport and motorsport feels like this, but the on-track result will also be quiet, and concerns about the lack of noise has given rise to synthetic noise generators for electric road vehicles to mimic the sound of various types of engines. Batteries made from lithium-ion fuel cells are the most popular way to store the energy on electric...