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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...

Traction control in Formula One

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I suppose it couldn’t be Formula One without some form of controversy or even scandal. Designed to produce just that little unfair edge over the competition, be it commercial or technical, the fact that some teams are prepared to go beyond what most of us would refer to as the rules of the sport is just another indication that motorsport at its pinnacle is all about business and apparently little else. In the past we have had the McLaren ‘spygate’ and the Renault...

A breath of fresh air

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The internal combustion engine is, I suppose, a bit like the human body, in that it takes in oxygen at one end, burns it to create energy and then expels the waste gases to the atmosphere. And also like the human body, give it too little oxygen and its performance suffers; likewise too much. But just like the baby bear in the tale of the three bears, somewhere between too salty or too sweet, rich or lean, the mixture is just about right. In calibrating the engine, engineers can of course...

Front hub instrumentation

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Within the tight confines of a Formula One car, the need to record thousands of channels of data from hundreds of sensors means packaging instrumentation needs careful forethought. A case in point would be the need to place sensors around the wheel hubs, as various aspects of wheel, brake and suspension data need to be recorded. This area inside the wheel is only reached through slim wishbones, and with the limited volume available inside the 13 in wheels, space for packaging is at a...

Wiring connectors – past and present

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I can’t think of anything more annoying than those little intermittent electrical faults. You know the type, the ones that cut the engine out halfway around the first lap of practice and then mysteriously disappear when you get the car back to the pit lane afterwards. At this point the older hands among us resign ourselves to a long day ahead. With modern diagnostics systems, problems with engine management, wiring or sensors are generally easy to diagnose, even when they’re...