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Light and aerodynamic bodywork

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As with every component on a modern Formula One car, the bodywork fulfils a number of different tasks. The most obvious is covering the internals of the car, but its primary role is to increase aerodynamic efficiency, so how do engineers design it to be aerodynamically efficient and as light as possible, while also staying within the regulations? The vast majority of body panels on a Formula One car are made from different types of carbon composite materials. Optimising these materials to...

Tyre modelling

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Tyre performance has a huge effect on the dynamic behaviour of a Formula One car, or any race vehicle for that matter. In order to fully understand tyre behaviour, all the teams use virtual tyre models to assess the impact of changes to the chassis and aerodynamics on the way a tyre performs. Predicting tyre behaviour is complex though, and teams are constantly looking for the best balance between maximising grip and extending tyre life.  In addition, the 2014 Formula One rubber is...

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...

Suspension trends

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The past few years have seen the leading Formula One teams continuously evolving their suspension systems, with designers taking some radical approaches to both front and rear set-ups. For the front suspension, the most significant trend was a move by Ferrari and McLaren to a pullrod- instead of pushrod-actuated system. Ferrari made the first move in 2012 with the F2012, and McLaren followed in 2013 with the MP4-28. The main impetus behind this switch was to optimise the front aerodynamic...

Power steering systems

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An effective steering system is one of the most basic requirements of any racecar. In the realm of Formula One, packaging space available for the steering components is minimal, yet the demands placed on them are considerable, both in terms of mechanical performance and providing the driver with the necessary levels of steering ‘feel’. In principle, the steering system of a modern Formula One car is not that dissimilar to those found in a roadcar, it is simply more optimised and...