Category Archives: Analysis

Analysis: Why are Mercedes off the pace in Singapore?

Disclaimer: I have very little data to draw my opinions on Mercedes’ strange lack of pace in Singapore, so take this with a big pinch of salt. The team do not understand the situation (yet), as said by Nico Rosberg in his post-qualifying interview. Therefore you can take whatever you want from this article, or even nothing at all. I thought I’d give my views on the situation because it’s interesting. It’s good for the sport that Mercedes are off the boil and it’s generating both excitement and discussion. So let’s discuss! Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Immediately after qualifying of the 2015 Singapore GP finished, I darted for a pen and paper and kept watching the Sky broadcast. I have taken notes from interviews and compiled a bit of data from the session to attempt to explain why Mercedes found themselves on the third row of the grid, 1.4s off Sebastian Vettel who was on pole.

In this post I am going to give my opinions as to why the Silver Arrows were so wide of the mark. Continue reading

Advertisements

Analysis: 13″ vs 18″ wheels

13v18

Bernie Ecclestone has to decide whether he wants Pirelli or Michelin (or perhaps both) to produce tyres for Formula 1 from 2017 onwards, but he has a few factors to consider. Michelin will only supply tyres if they are able to manufacture 18 inch wheels, rather than the current standard of 13 inches. Whilst Pirelli have tested the former wheel concept a few times over the past two years, they do not seem overly fussed as to which direction the sport takes and, to top it all off, the teams would rather stick with the current design.

So why are 18 inch wheels becoming an increasingly popular size in motorsport? Formula E tyres (which are supplied by Michelin) are wrapped around the larger sized alloy rim, but what difference does this make to the car’s performance? This blog post aims to answer these exact questions. Continue reading

Analysis: The future of F1 design?

If you are even remotely interested in Formula 1 you will be aware of the current debate being had over whether the current formula is just not up to scratch. Is it the speed of the cars? The tyre degradation? The power units? DRS? These are some of the many questions that have caused the FIA to reconsider the direction F1 is taking and how to alter it for the better.

This blog post is not going to go into the ins and outs of the debate (thank goodness), but I will now share with you and explain the ideas behind my 2017 – the year the FIA want to get things done by –  F1 car concept using a couple of illustrations I did a few months’ ago. Seeing as F1 does not return until next weekend, now seemed like a good time to post this piece.

The general idea behind this car is to follow what the FIA is wanting to do, which is make them faster. Personally, this is not what I would do if I was in charge but I’d better get used to designing around regulations I don’t like! This car therefore represents an emphasis on ground effect and underfloor aerodynamic performance to improve laptime. It should also make following another car in turbulent air a bit less of a challenge as a result.

Bare in mind that these are my personal views on the subject and I am always very interested to hear your comments on this! Please leave them down below (pretty please).

2017 prediction

This is my first interpretation of the very basic outline that the FIA have suggested F1 cars should look like come 2017. It is not overly aggressive as I’ve tried to be fairly realistic rather than display some crazy, wing-clustered machine! Continue reading

Analysis: Nissan GT-R LM NISMO

Nissan GTR LM Nismo

As Le Mans 2015 kicks off today, a new competitor in the LMP1 category is making its debut – Nissan have entered the fiery pit that has belonged to Audi for many years. With Porsche coming in last year and Toyota sparking a resurgence against the dominant four rings, endurance racing has never been more popular in its entire history towards the front end of the grid.

Nissan’s challenger – the GT-R LM NISMO – is nothing short of the word different. It completely turns the philosophy of the modern high end endurance racer on its head, but Nissan are confident that in the future this will be a competitive design.

How is it different to the others?

The GT-R LM NISMO’s engine is a longitudinal front mounted 3 litre twin turbo V6, its power delivered to the front wheels via a 5-speed Xtrac sequential gearbox. The car also incorporates an epicyclic gear cluster to finetune final drive, much like you would find in an automatic transmission. Considering that there is a new fuel flow limit for this year’s World Endurance Championship, its power output of 500hp is pretty good.

As per the regulations, the Nissan is also equipped with hybrid technology in the form of two Torotrak flywheel energy stores, linked to a pair of motor generator units (MGUs – see more on these here) on each front wheel. These have an additional 750hp available so the total potential power output is a staggering 1,250hp.

The flywheel energy stores are also capable of sending energy to the rear wheels via two MGUs located inside each rear hub, which at times can make the Nissan an all-wheel-drive weapon. However it is unlikely they will run energy rearwards for this weekend as they have encountered some reliability issues in recent testing.

All of the car’s radiators are packaged tightly around the powertrain.

The front tyres are also larger than the rears at 360mm and 230mm respectively. This allows greater traction at the front driven wheels whilst reducing friction and creating more space at the rear for the diffuser. More on this in a moment… Continue reading

Analysis: New FIA front wing test explained

The FIA are poised to introduce a new test on front wings in an attempt to crack down on extreme cases of flexing that have often been seen this year via the car’s onboard cameras, as of the Canadian grand prix.

The front wings are currently tested by placing a large load on the endplates to prevent excessive bending and twisting at speed – as seen primarily during the 2011 season – which focuses on the main wing structure.

However the new test is aimed specifically at the wing’s inboard flap section, which have already caused controversy before the 2015 season when Red Bull were excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi after their wing was discovered to contain an extreme amount of movement under load in an illegal manner. Continue reading

Analysis: Brake-by-Wire

This may seem like old news now but I figured I’d do this analysis anyway because it helps me understand these things, and hopefully it helps you too!

In 2014 the FIA allowed F1 teams to use a “powered control system” on the rear brake system as the additional regenerative capabilities of the MGU-K under the current regulations resulted in inconsistent retardation of the rear axle. Not that the teams had a choice as to whether they used such a system, as a conventional hydraulic setup would be incredibly inconsistent and – more importantly – unnatural to the driver. This system is more commonly known as brake-by-wire (BBW)

So what exactly happens when the driver hits the brake pedal?

BBW

Continue reading

Analysis: 2015 predictions

2015 is just around the corner and, for the second year running, I have drawn up some predictions as to what we could see next season. The new nose regulations will make a noticeable difference to the appearance of the cars next year – gone are the ‘finger’ (or ‘anteater’ or whatever you want to call them!) appendages and in their place will be designs similar to that on the Mercedes/Ferrari or Williams, depending on how the engineers interpret the rules.

2015 side & plan

Continue reading