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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...

Challenges of manufacturing Formula One energy recovery systems

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Changes in the Formula One regulations and developments in technologies often push manufacturing to its very limits. Not only is manufacturing generally near to, or at the end of, the development process it has to deliver right first time, on time – and, in motorsport, in very little time. The introduction of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in 2009 combined with the current turbo era has certainly introduced new challenges and pushed ‘green’ technology far beyond the...

Dynamics optimisation and construction of Formula One brake pedals

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A driver’s ‘feel’ for braking is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of racing. As much as the talk of brake disc/pad materials, it’s also the kinematics of the brake pedal that are crucial to giving drivers what they needs at their foot.  Fundamentally unchanged in its design for decades, the brake pedal is at in essence a simple part, being a pivoting lever with a plate for the driver’s foot and a bearing housing midway up the lever for the bias...

Control electronics for the ERS-K and the ERS-H

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The advent of Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) in Formula One since 2009 has brought a new breed of electronic device into the sport, the ERS control electronics (CE). With Formula One’s greater exploitation of ERS for 2014, and with only five CE units allowed for the year, the CE has become very important. The function of the CE is to control the ac three-phase power of the Motor Generator Units (MGUs) and the dc power from the battery. Currently Formula One uses two MGUs, one for the...

Formula One fuel the turbo years

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1988 was a memorable year. Not only were the two greatest drivers of their time – Ayton Senna and Alain Prost – battling for supremacy, and doing it within the same team in similar cars, it was also the last time turbochargers were used in anger in Formula One. Back then, and much like 2014 in some respects, one team dominated. In 1988 it was McLaren. Winning all but one of the races that year using a V6-configured engine; there the similarities end though. In 1988, the winning...