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For reasons that have been explained in depth in various other F1-Monitor articles, composites are still the favoured material for the construction of much of a modern Formula One car. The composites industry is constantly evolving and new materials with improved properties are being developed. One area of advancement with particular relevance to racing applications has been the development of CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) varieties that can resist high-temperature environments...

Why CFRP makes Formula One cars safer

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McLaren and Lotus debuted cars in the 1981 Formula One season featuring CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) chassis, and since then the sport has been dominated by the material. Its combination of high strength and light weight makes it the perfect material for car construction. And in the intervening 30 years, engineers’ understanding of the material’s properties and capabilities have improved markedly. Some of the biggest advances have been in the area of design and...

Monocoque materials

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While the monocoque of a modern Formula One car performs multiple functions, including aerodynamic performance and the provision of sufficient stiffness (combined with the powertrain and suspension) to ensure adequate traction and handling, its primary purpose is to protect the driver. To this end the Formula One technical regulations require chassis to pass a series of impact and intrusion tests before they can be used in competition. This requirement was first introduced in the...