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Managing brake cooling flows

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Under braking, the friction of the brake pads against the disc transfers the kinetic energy of the car into heat, which passes through the brake disc, pads and caliper. Unless this energy can be removed from these components then eventually they will fail, and there are three main mechanisms through which this heat can be dispersed – convection, conduction and radiation. By far the most efficient method of heat transfer from the brakes is through convection. This is achieved by blowing...

Composite automation

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Carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) parts make up the majority of a modern Formula One car by volume. The combination of light weight and high strength makes them ideal for car construction, but they do have their disadvantages. One of the most notable is the cost, in both time and money, of producing the complex parts used in a Formula One chassis. Even Formula One teams have finite budgets, so the latest developments in automated composite production are of increasing interest. These...

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...

Additive layer manufacturing

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Formula One is often one of the earliest adopters of new technologies and materials, driven as it is by the teams’ perpetual search for any performance advantage. A prime example here is the commercial advent of additive layer manufacturing (ALM) more than a decade ago. The original process is called SLA (Stereo Lithography Apparatus) and soon became known as Rapid Prototyping (RP). The early materials had limited stiffness and stability, so their applications were predominantly...

The start procedure

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Since launch control was banned for 2008, it’s been down to the driver to manipulate the clutch and throttle to gain the perfect start – albeit along the way being aided by a number of passive electronic systems. With the clutch controlled via two paddles on rotary sensors behind the steering wheel and the fly-by-wire throttle pedal, there can be no active intervention on the part of the ECU, simply a linear response between the driver controls and the clutch/throttle....