Note: This is essentially my analysis piece for Richland F1, with some added bits and pieces, illustrations and details about the fuel flow monitoring changes that were introduced. Exam season is in full swing so apologies for the not-so-exclusive content this week.
Barcelona is pretty much the best playground for an F1 car. Aerodynamics are severely tested with a variety of long, high and medium speed corners spaced out by a series of straights, whilst the final sector is now a good hunting ground for those with strong mechanical grip after the circuit layout changed in 2008.
With such an emphasis on aero, updates are often developed from around the end of the winter testing period specifically for this race and on into the middle of the season. Teams recognise this as an opportunity to jump ahead of their nearest rival but with almost everyone making gains all of the time, eking out that extra tenth of a second from the overall package is all the more crucial. Continue reading →
Pre-2009, it was fairly uncommon to see the cars covered in Flow Visualisation Paint (or Flo-Viz). However McLaren were in a spot of bother with their MP4-24 and were taking every measure to raise their competitiveness and I distinctly remember the brightly coloured stuff plastered over the car numerous times in winter testing. Since then flo-viz has been a common feature during testing and even during free practice on a Grand Prix weekend. This boils down to the fact that testing is limited and – with the car’s aerodynamics becoming evermore complex – analysis of exactly how airflow is behaving as the car goes round on track is essential to development.
We hear a lot about wind-tunnel correlation and teams complaining that their car is not performing as it should compared to the figures they produce in the factory, and these statements are all very relevant in today’s formula. Although some wind-tunnels allow some degree of artificial pitch and yaw movements, most teams will be testing their scale models in a straight line to oncoming airflow. They can turn the wheels to the airflow in a bid to understand airflow behaviour during a corner, but you then have to take into account the load on the tyre, the sidewall compression, bumps, tiny driver inputs, air temperature… The list goes on! So what’s the best tool for on-track aerodynamic measurements? Pitot tubes quite possibly, but a flo-viz is another brilliant method. Continue reading →
I have done a brief analysis regarding Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from the Australian GP, after finishing a brilliant second on his Red Bull debut, for richlandf1.com.
It’s basically how fine the regulations are surrounding the FIA’s standard fuel flow sensor and how the team failed to meet the requirements that the FIA set around monitoring the flow rate, rather than a breach of the flow rate itself.