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Aerodynamic effects of tyre deformation

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The aerodynamics on a Formula One car are refined to the nth degree, with engineers chasing the smallest gains to trim an extra hundredth of a second off lap times. As a result, no stone is left unturned in the quest for improvements. Being open-wheeled vehicles, the tyres of a Formula One car play a major role in its aero performance and, as such, understanding their impact here is an important part of optimising the car’s overall aero package. Tyres are dynamic entities though, so...

The inerter

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Inerters first surfaced in the secretive world of Formula One when McLaren began using a suspension component dubbed the J-Damper. This was in fact an inerter, a component that while elementary in theory, provides a powerful additional tool when controlling chassis movement. The inerter was developed by a Professor Smith, of Cambridge University, England, as a solution to the age-old problem of balancing ride compliance with stiffness. A regular suspension set-up, be it on a car or...

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...

Additive manufacturing using metals

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The proliferation and benefits of additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing as it is now more commonly known, has enabled it to find favour across multiple industries. Formula One is no exception, with the sport consistently being one of the earliest adopters and hardest driver of new technologies in its continual search for performance gains. 3D printing with polymers has been available for more than 20 years and has been used by Formula One engineers, but if you exclude the...

Heads up displays

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Projecting information directly into a driver’s line of sight allows them to process it up to 50 times faster than normal. This is due mainly to the shorter eye movement required and the fact that their attention can remain focused on the road ahead. Such technology features in everyday life for some drivers, as it is currently available in some Audi, BMW and Mazda models, for example. With market research predicting that 9% of all new roadcars will feature a HUD (heads-up display)...