Category Archives: Other

Why Technical Reliability Holds Key to 2017 Formula One Championship

By Ben Woods

The 2017 Formula One season promises to deliver one of the closest races in the battle for the Constructors’ Championship in the last five years.

The dominance of Mercedes in recent history has seen the title become a one-sided affair, with the team winning the crown for the past three seasons on the bounce. However, the rise of Ferrari this term has provided competition at the top, with Sebastian Vettel challenging Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.

Due to the performances of the German and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Italian outfit have pressed Mercedes at the top of the Constructors’ Championship, and are now down to 10/3 in the F1 betting to secure the crown this season, which may represent good value when used in conjunction with bookmakers’ £50 free bet offers. The quality of the teams and drivers involved will ensure that the battle will go down to the wire.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the race for both awards will be the reliability of the vehicles, which has already played a significant role thus far.

Verstappen’s Woes


Source: Max Verstappen via Twitter

Red Bull have endured numerous issues with their two cars, which has effectively ended their charge for both Championships. No driver has been frustrated more by issues than Max Verstappen as his progress has been stymied this term after his breakout campaign in 2016.

After a strong practice session in Bahrain, the Dutchman looked on pace to claim a high spot on the grid, only to fail to fire during qualifying. Despite the setback, Verstappen was on pace for a strong finish in the early stages of the meet. However, he suffered a brake issue as his left rear overheated, sending him careering into the tyre wall on lap 12.

The 19-year-old looked to be challenging Hamilton in Canada for the lead after making a bright start to the race, rising through the field from fifth on the grid. On this occasion a problem with the ERS battery led to his demise in the meet, cutting off the entire power supply to his RB13.

Oil pressure was his downfall in Baku, ending his race on lap 12, while his poor fortune continued as a collision forced him out of the Austrian Grand Prix after just one lap. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, his issues are not consigned to just one area of his car, which has prompted suggestions that Red Bull should perform a complete rebuild of the vehicle during the upcoming break. While the cars tend to be broken down to be shipped between races, they are often split into multiple sub assemblies that are wholly checked over rather than completely stripped apart to save time.

Whether that will be enough to turn the tide for Verstappen is another matter, considering that there will only be seven races left in the term.

Overcoming Issues


Source: Red Bull Racing via Twitter

The Dutchman’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo also suffered an issue with his brakes at the Russian Grand Prix, with his right rear catching fire. The Australian had previously had his home Grand Prix in Melbourne ended with a fuel-cell problem after 28 laps, although he also endured a crash that had dropped him down the grid.

Since drastic changes were made to the Red Bulls before the Spanish Grand Prix to improve the aerodynamics, Ricciardo has remained clean in his outings, including his victory in Azerbaijan, to at least make his presence known in the Drivers’ Championship.


New bargeboards were one major revision among many alterations to the RB13 at the Spanish GP

One of the reasons behind Ferrari’s challenge has been the reliability of their SF70H. The car has provided the speed to match Mercedes’ W08, but has also proven to generally have the endurance and the robustness to keep their drivers on the track for the majority of the campaign.

Only a crash sustained by Raikkonen in a collision with Verstappen, caused by Valtteri Bottas, has prevented the Ferrari from finishing every race this season, while Vettel has been a model of consistency leading the Drivers’ Championship.

The team are expected to take grid penalties later in the season after an early spat of turbocharger failures but it appears as if the Scuderia have got on top of this problem for the moment.

Mercedes have benefitted from the same success as their rivals, with only one major engine issue forcing Bottas out of the Spanish Grand Prix that may well have been caused by his crash with Raikkonen and Verstappen. Hamilton had been flawless until the Austrian Grand Prix when a gearbox issue forced a change, dropping him down the grid, with the same problem hitting Bottas a week later in Britain.

It has become apparent that in the quest to find every millisecond Mercedes have been running the seamless shift system too aggressively, resulting in too much torque from the power unit being transmitted into critical components in the gearbox. As a result the team will have to be more conservative with gear transitions – cutting drive from the engine when the driver upshifts is one way of doing that.

Although what might seem a small issue at the time can have huge ramifications in the races for the Drivers’ and Constructors Championship. Speed can make a vital difference, but reliability is the crucial factor in deciding the outcome of Formula One’s top awards.

Could Technology Put Amputees Behind The Wheel Of Formula 1 Cars?

By Jason Cullen

What does it take for an amputee to drive a racing car? Three things: technology, innovation and bravery.

You may have seen the story of Billy Monger – a teenage racing driver who had to have both legs amputated after a horrific high-speed crash – getting back into the cockpit of a racing car.

Billy Monger

This heroic feat is nothing short of inspirational. A true testament to internal fortitude and the human spirit, to get back out there after such an extreme accident in Formula 4 and race again.

His and Team BRIT’s (short for British Racing Injured Troops) aspirations to become the first all-disabled team to race in the iconic Le Mans 24 hours event will be nothing short of spectacular when it happens.

However, it takes more than just the human spirit. It also requires a lot of technological and engineering innovation to get to the point of getting an amputee up to this racing pace. And with that, two questions come to mind:

  • What is this technology?
  • Could the technology put amputees behind the wheel of Formula 1 cars?

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Announcements 8…

Why do I bother numbering my announcements? Anyway…

Quick update on what’s happening on theWPTformula blog for what hopes to be an exciting year of motorsport, particularly F1. Alongside my studies I am pleased to say that I’m currently writing for Motorsport Week and with that I will sometimes feature in their partner eMagazine, Motorsport Monday. In fact, you can already find something of mine in this week’s issue, here. It’s a triple-page guide to the 2017 regulations (preview below) and it’s free to read.


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Why working in F1 is not my dream job…



If you came up to me a couple of years ago and asked where I wanted to be working in the future there was only one answer: a design engineer in Formula 1. I wanted to graduate from university, dive straight into the design office of an F1 team and get stuck in – the idea of climbing the ladder and reaching the top ranks of a top team such as Ferrari or McLaren was exciting, even if I knew the dream would take years to achieve.

I admire those who are already at the top of the engineering pyramid in the sport. Adrian Newey, Paddy Lowe, James Allison and Ross Brawn to name a few who have cut it at the top of the pinnacle of motorsport. I wanted to replicate their success and have a profound impact on F1 and motor racing in general. You could argue that I, or anyone else who has the same ambition and drive, can still do exactly that. However I have been slowly taking backwards steps to see the bigger picture and I am realising that perhaps this is not possible in the way the engineers above have achieved.

Hundreds of people make up F1 teams in this era. Take Mercedes as an example: Over 500 people work on the power units alone, plus a further 500 on the chassis. Rewind 30 years ago and this number was perhaps 50, budget depending. This naturally means that anyone walking into the sport now will have a tougher time making a name for themselves than they would have done previously. Yes, F1 is a team sport, but who doesn’t want to be at the heart of it, driving development forward and leading a team into the history books? Continue reading

Silverstone Single Seater Driving Experience


Not a tech related post but I thought I’d share this with you.

As some of you may know, my parents gave me a single seater driving experience at Silverstone for my 18th birthday, all the way back in 2013! Unfortunately – thanks to the miserable British weather about 90% of the time – it took me three attempts to complete the damn thing: the previous two occasions had been called off due to excessive rainfall and poor visibility. Continue reading

The Mercedes W05: How it dominated in 2014 – Part 2


Part 2 of mine and Matt Somerfield‘s eBook on how the Mercedes W05 dominated in 2014 is available to buy on the Google Play store for just over £4. It explains all the aerodynamic details of the (statistically) most successful F1 car to date and also runs over topics such as FRIC suspension (pictured above). Please purchase it – a lot of effort went into this part of the eBook so we would really appreciate your support.