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Over the past two seasons, tyres have been in the Formula One spotlight more than ever. Unlike previous seasons, tyre development has been driven by the need for a sporting spectacle rather than ultimate performance. This has placed both Pirelli and the teams in an unusual position. Pirelli has had to build a less than optimal tyre, one that will degrade at a set rate on all the different track surfaces, while the teams have had to try to gain an understanding of the tyre’s...

Wheel aerodynamics

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At first glance, wheels may appear to be a fairly simple component, but in Formula One they are in fact highly optimised aerodynamic devices. The airflow through a wheel can have a considerable impact on the overall aerodynamic performance of a car, and is the subject of intense development by teams. Although the FIA has tried to regulate out such developments, teams are constantly finding ways to circumvent the rules to gain improved performance. So what systems have been devised to eke...

Carbon and its fibre composites

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In providing the physical contact points with the track surface, the ‘corners’ of a Formula One racecar –the wheels, brakes, uprights and suspension – could be argued to perform the most important function of all. Reacting forces induced by tyre traction, the generation of aerodynamic downforce, deceleration and acceleration make these elements among the most highly stressed in the overall car package. Like every other aspect of a racecar design, these areas are...