Formula Essay

Formula 1 Racing General Information Racing Strategies Chassis Aerodynamics
Construction Brakes Wheels and Tires Safety Safety Features of the Car Safety
Devices of the Drivers Powertrain Engine Technology Materials Transmission:
Technology Cockpit Instruments Switches: Displays and lights: Steering wheel and
pedals: Conclusion References Car Specifications and Performance Figures
Comparison with a passenger vehicle: APPENDICES A Technical Specification
-Williams Renault FW19 Formula 1 Racing Car B Technical Specifications -Renault
V10 RS9 Engine Summary Formula 1 racing has become the second most watched
sporting event in the world. Many of the spectators do not know realize how much
research and testing goes into a Formula 1 racing car. Many people are unaware
of how technical and computerized these cars are. These cars are made of new
space age materials and test new types of systems on the car. A Formula 1 car is
one of the safest cars in the world. The cars are constantly being used to test
out new safety features and improving the existing ones. The engines are used to
test new computer systems that control vital functions. There are many aspects
of Formula 1 that go not behind scenes. These might just be more interesting
that watching the Formula 1 cars race. The Technology Behind Formula 1 Racing
INTRODUCTION The sport of Formula 1 racing is one of the most technical and
advanced sports in the world. Formula 1 racing cars utilize new technology to
constantly improve in the areas of performance and safety. This sport is
responsible for the development of safety features that you would find today on
a commercial passenger vehicle. Formula 1 racing is an international sport that
is followed by millions throughout the world. Each year about 10 different race
teams and 20 racing cars compete for the Formula 1 World Championship and
Constructors Championship. The chassis of the current Formula 1 cars is made of
aluminum tubing and composite material of carbon-fiber and aluminum honeycomb.

It supports four wheels, the brakes, suspension and a rear mounted engine. The
chassis contains many safety features. Over the years the safety of Formula 1
cars has increased and as a result, todays cars are superior to previous models
in the 1980’s. Formula 1 cars contain safety features such as a roll bar,
puncture proof fuel cell and a five point safety belt. The drivers wear fire
proof clothing to protect them in case of a fire. A Formula 1 racing car has
many onboard computers to control everything from brakes to the engine. There
are also many restrictions on minimum lengths and weights. Formula 1 racing
remains one of the most technical and computerized sports in the world. This is
a report which provides information on Formula 1 racing in general as well as
the chassis, safety features, engines and electronics in the cockpit of a
Formula 1 car. General Information on Formula 1 Racing Formula 1 racing is an
international sport with races called Grand Prixs being held throughout the
world. These are held in Canada, Japan, Australia and many of the European
countries. The drivers are also from many different countries. Formula 1 races
are held on race tracks that are called “street courses” because there
are both left and right turns. These tracks have an average length of six
kilometers and it takes a Formula 1 car about two minutes to do a lap for an
average speed of 300 km/h. Most of these tracks have long straight sections and
tight turns. A Formula car must have an open-wheel design (Fig. 1-1). This means
that the wheels cannot be covered by sheet metal. The engine is mounted behind
the driver, and it powers only the rear wheels. A Formula 1 racing team consists
of two race cars with crews and drivers for each car. These teams are
responsible for designing the chassis of the car. A separate company makes the
engines. For example, Jacques Villeniuve’s team is Williams and his teammate is
Heinz-Harold Frentzen. The Renault company that supplies the engines for Team
Williams. Each year the teams compete for the Drivers World Championship and the
Constructors Championship. Usually there are about 17 races per year. In each
race the teams have an opportunity to receive points for each of the
championships. The first six positions of each race are awarded points; these
points are given to each driver and team with the winner of the race receiving
the most points. The driver with the most points at the end of the year is
declared the world champion and the team with the most points wins the
constructors championship. (Wilkinson, 1996) In order to win a race, each team
and driver develops a race strategy. One factor in a race strategy, would
determine when the driver would come in for a pit stop. During a race, the cars
will require at least two pit stops for tires and fuel. The teams must determine
how much fuel they need for the race. More fuel means more weight and therefore
will slow the car. A Formula 1 car can be refueled and receive a complete tire
change in about 7 seconds. In order to produce the fastest lap times the driver
must follow a race line. A race line is the straightest way around the track; a
driver makes a race line by “apexing” turns. Apexing is when the
driver comes into the turn on the outside of the track. When the driver enters
the turn he steers to the inside of the turn. When the driver reaches the inside
of the turn, he accelerates out of the turn and swing, wide to the outside of
the track. ” Sometimes two- to three-tenths of a second per lap can make
all the difference.” (Andretti, 1996) In Formula 1, drivers try to pass
each other. One way they do this is by out braking the other driver. As they
approach the turn they try to brake as late as possible. The driver who brakes
last will usually pass his competitor. However, he is risking entering the turn
at too high a speed and crashing. Another method that Formula 1 drivers use to
pass is called drafting or slip screening. This occurs when a driver follows
another driver closely and is able to build speed to pass him. This occurs
because the driver in front clears all the air out of the way for the driver
behind him. This, in turn, allows the car following to build speed because there
is reduced drag. (Newman, 1994) Figure 1-1: Jaques Villenuve in his Williams
Renault FW19 Formula 1 Racing Car The Chassis Components of a Formula 1 Racing
Car Aerodynamics The aerodynamics of a Formula 1 car is very important to its
performance and handling. Due to it extreme high speeds, the car must be very
streamlined. All the corners are rounded to get the least amount of drag. These
cars are wind tunnel tested to determine the best shape. In Formula 1 racing,
the cars have to make many turns at high speeds. In order to make a Formula 1
car corner well, it must have downforce. Downforce helps to keep the car glued
to the track and it will help prevent the car from skidding off. A Formula 1 car
produces downforce by its front and rear wings. These are similar to airplane
wings that are turned upside down so they will produce lift in the negative
direction. This keeps the car pressed on the ground. The race teams can adjust
the angles of the wings to increase or decrease downforce. The more downforce
the car has, the better the corning ability, but acceleration will decrease. In
order to do well in a Grand Prix, a race team must adjust the wings to fit the
characteristics of the track. In wet weather, the teams will run with greater
downforce. The greater downforce is necessary because the cars need more
traction. (Newman, 1994) Figure 2-1: Model of Aerodynamics Chassis Construction
The chassis of a Formula 1 car is made of many new materials. The frame is made
of aluminum tubing while the side panels are made of a composite of aluminum
honeycomb and carbon-fiber. Aluminum honeycomb is aluminum with holes in it.

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Carbon-fiber is twice as light and strong as aluminum. The front nose of the car
is made of Nomex honeycomb. It is twice as light as aluminum but not as strong.

These materials are now being used in cars and mountain bicycles to save weight.

(Ferrari Racing, 1997) Figure: 2-2: Carbon-Fiber Strip Brakes Formula 1 racing
requires a great deal of braking power. Typically, a Formula 1 car will have to
use its brakes 12 times per lap or 900 times a race. On average, Formula 1 cars
have to slow down from 280 Km/h to make a turn at 160 km/h, which puts
tremendous stress on the braking system. If Formula 1 cars had brakes like a
commercial passenger vehicle, they would wear out in a lap. A Formula 1 racing
car use a four wheel disc brake system which means that each wheel has a disc
brake to help it stop. A disc brake consists of a rotor (Fig. 2-4), caliper and
brake pads. When the driver hits the brake pedal, the caliper which contains the
brake pads squeezes the rotor from either side and slows the car. The car is
slowed down because there is friction between the pads and the rotor. This
friction causes the brakes to become very hot. When disc brakes get hot, they do
not function very well. To help reduce this problem, Formula 1 teams now use
carbon brake pads. The new carbon pads wear less and work better at higher
temperatures. These carbon brakes work most effectively at temperatures of
350-500 degrees Celsius. (Fig. 2-3) To keep these brakes cool, Formula 1 cars
have brake cooling ducts that channel air over the pads and rotors. These
cooling ducts are made of carbon fiber to save weight. Formula 1 cars employ
dual circuit brakes. Dual circuit brakes allow the front and rear brakes to work
independently of each other. This system allows the driver to adjust how much
braking force goes to the front and back. The driver can adjust the brake
balance in the cockpit of the car while moving. Formula 1 racing is responsible
for improving the effectiveness and durability of the brakes that you would find
on the commercial passenger vehicle. (Williams Racing, 1997) Figure 2-3: Glowing
Hot Rotor Figure 2-4: Brake Rotor and Caliper (Ferrari Racing, 1997) Wheels and
Tires One of the most important parts of a Formula 1 car are the tires. The
tires are the only contact with the track. They are responsible for the handling
of the car. Formula 1 cars use two types of tires depending on the weather. In
dry weather, the cars use a dry weather slick (Fig. 2-6). The slick has no
treads on it and it has a smooth surface. When this tire gets hot due to the
friction of the track, it becomes sticky and that helps to grip the track. This
gives Formula 1 cars superior corning ability. The rubber of these slick tires
are rated from “A” (hard) to “D” (very soft). The harder the
tires, the less it wears but it is not as sticky. A very soft tire would be used
for qualifying because the tire only has to last for one or two laps. A dry
weather slick can be damaged by braking too hard. If the tire locks when
braking, the rubber will instantly overheat and stick to the track, causing a
“flat spot” on the tire. Such a tire will not be round, causing it to
slow the car down. For optimum performance, the tire temperature should be
around 100 degree Celsius. In wet weather the cars will use a wet weather tire.

This tire has grooves that force water out from beneath the tire so it can grip
the track better. This wet weather tire can clear up to 26 liters of water a
second. These tires do not have the performance of a dry weather slick. The lap
times of the cars will be slower and they will not be able to corner or
accelerate as fast in wet conditions. The tire sizes on a Formula 1 car are
provided in the following figures: Figure 2-5: Tire Sizes Figure 2-6: Dry
Weather Slick (Renault Racing, 1997) Safety In Formula 1 Racing Safety Features
Found in a Formula 1 Racing Car In the past few years, the cars of Formula 1
have been going faster and crashing harder than ever before. The safety features
on a Formula 1 car are very complex and are constantly being improved. Many
safety features on a commercial passenger vehicle have been tested and first
used in Formula 1.The new Formula 1 cars are now safer than they have ever been.

Like most race cars, a Formula 1 car has a roll bar. This will prevent the
driver from being crushed in an event of a roll over. The roll bar on a Formula
1 car is located behind the driver, where the air intake for the engine is
placed. Another safety feature of Formula 1 is the puncture-proof fuel cell.

This fuel cell is designed to withstand a crash by deforming; this will reduce
the chance of fire in a crash. The fuel cell is covered in Kevlar which is the
same material used in bullet proof vests. This makes the fuel cell very strong.

To absorb energy in a crash, the chassis is made of impact-absorbing body
panels. These panels will crumple in a crash and absorb most of the energy. This
same technology is now used on commercial passenger vehicles and is called a
“crumple zone.” In the event of a crash, the wheels of the car are
designed to break off. This will make the car slide along the ground, making it
slow down more quickly. This also helps to prevent the car from tumbling or
rolling. One of the most important safety features of a Formula 1 car is the
five point seat belt. It is called a five point belt because it connects to five
points on the car. This belts restrains a driver’s shoulders and lap in the
seat. The first application of seat belts was in Formula 1 racing; now they are
a standard safety item in commercial vehicles. If there should be a fire in the
car, the onboard fire extinguishers will automatically activate to extinguish
any fire. The driver can also manually turn on the fire extinguishers with a
switch in the cockpit of the car. When racing in wet weather, the cars throw up
a large spray of water from the tires. Each Formula 1 car has a bright red light
mounted on the rear which makes it visible to drivers following behind. Another
safety feature on Formula 1 cars are the rear view mirrors. These mirrors allow
drivers to see cars behind them that might try to pass. This will help prevent
drivers from cutting off other drivers and causing a crash. Young, J. (1995).

Figure 3-1: Formula 1 Car Crashes. Driver is able to Walk Away. (Ferrari Racing,
1997) Safety Equipment Drivers Use The most important safety device for the
driver is his driving suit. A driver suit consists of a one piece outer layer,
shirt, pants, socks, racing boots and gloves all made of Nomex. Nomex is a
flame-resistant cloth that will protect the driver for up to 12 seconds in a 700
degree Celsius fire. The driver wears a full face helmet. The helmet protects
the driver’s head in the event of a crash. The visor of the helmet is very
strong and is capable of absorbing a rock traveling at 500 km/h. This is
important because these cars travel at very high speeds, and the open wheel
design will throw debris at other cars. If the car does start on fire, the
driver can breathe using an oxygen bottle. This bottle is attached to the helmet
by an air hose. The oxygen bottle is located behind the driver. Under the helmet
the driver wears earplugs and a balaclava. Earplugs are used to protect the
driver’s hearing because Formula 1 engines are very loud and can damage hearing.

The earplugs are also used as a speaker so that the driver can hear his pit crew
talking to him. The balaclava is made of Nomex which will protect the driver’s
face in a fire. (Young, 1995) Figure 3-2 Five Point Seat belt; Figure
3-3:Driving Gloves; 3-4: Helmet and Driving Suit (Ferrari Racing, 1997)
Powertrain of a Formula 1 Racing Car Engine Technology One of the most important
parts in a Formula 1 racing car is the engine and transmission. Formula 1 teams
must try to find the right mix between power and reliability from their engines.

A Formula 1 engine can have between 8 and 12 cylinders. The maximum displacement
of a Formula 1 engine is 3 liters. Displacement is calculated by measuring the
total volume in each cylinder and then multiplying it by the number of
cylinders. A commercial passenger vehicle can have a displacement between 1.0
and 5.7 liters. A Formula 1 engine produces about 700 horsepower. A normal
passenger vehicle with a displacement of 3 liters produces about 140 horsepower.

A Formula 1 car is able to produce so much more power because it uses many new
technologies. These engines have four valves per cylinder, two valves are for
the intake and two valves for the exhaust. The four valves allow more efficient
flow of fuel and exhaust gases. The camshafts are gear driven instead of belt
driven to eliminate slippage. The computerized fuel injection system allows the
fuel to enter the combustion chamber efficiently to produce the most power. The
fuel injection system is controlled by the Engine Control Unit or ECU. This
computer controls all the vital functions of the engine. The ECU will adjust the
engine to ever changing conditions in atmospheric pressure and humidity. The
camshaft opens and closes valves using a new system called air timing. Air
timing uses compressed air to open and close the valves; this eliminates the
need for valve springs which can break. In order to keep the engine running
cool, a Formula 1 engine uses dry-sump lubrication. This system pumps the oil
under pressure all over the engine and transmission. Formula 1 teams also
wind-tunnel test their combustion chambers to identify the best design for
maximum efficiency. (Renault Racing, 1997) Materials Used In the Construction of
the Engine (Renault Racing, 1997) Aluminum- Cylinder heads, sump pump, pistons
Magnesium-Oil pump housing Carbon Fiber- Air box, coil shield Steel- Camshafts,
crankshaft, timing gears Titanium- Connecting rods, fasteners (Renault Racing,
1997) Transmission Specifications and Technology The transmission on a Formula 1
car is very complex. The transmission or gear box is semi-automatic, which means
the driver does not have to push in the clutch for shifting gears. The only time
the driver has to use a clutch is to start the car from a stop. The clutch is
located on the left side of the steering wheel and is operated by fingers on the
left hand. On the right side, there is the paddle which is used to switch gears
using the fingers of the right hand. The driver will pull the paddle towards him
to switch up a gear and move it away to downshift. The engine will automatically
disengage the clutch when the gears are being changed. This type of shifting is
called sequential and is similar to a motorcycle. This means that you have to
switch through all the gears when downshifting. All Formula 1 cars must also
have one reverse gear. The race teams try to find the right gearing to suit each
track. The racing teams must find the right match between top speed and
acceleration. They do this by changing gear ratios. An example for these ratios
is 3:14:1. This means that the wheels will turn once when the driver shaft
rotates 3.14 times. A 4:10:1 ratio would mean it would have better acceleration
than 3:14:1, but a lower top speed at the same engine speed. (Renault Racing,
1997) Cockpit Instruments Buttons The cockpit of a Formula 1 car is very complex
with many switches and buttons. There are four buttons on the steering wheel of
a Formula 1 car. The first button is the engine kill switch which turns off the
engine; the second is the neutral button that puts the car in neutral from on strategy
adjuster, allows the driver to adjust the revolutions per minute for the engine
and the shift points. The third dial, the air/fuel mixture, adjusts the mixture
of fuel and air entering the engine. (Young, J. 1995) Displays The cockpit of a
Formula 1 car has many displays; the largest is the liquid-crystal display. This
display shows the current gear the car is in, last complete lap time and the
current lap time. On the left side of the dash is the RPM indicator for the
engine’s speed. The right side of the dash contains warning lights for the high
temperature, low oil pressure and fuel pump. (Young, J 1995) Controls As in a
commercial passenger vehicle, a Formula 1 car has a steering wheel and foot
pedals. The stressing wheel is flat on the top so the driver can see over it. As
described earlier, the clutch is located behind the wheel on the left side. The
driver would only use the clutch to start the car from a stop. The two pedals
are the accelerator and brake pedals which are located on the floor and operated
by the drivers feet. The accelerator is used to make the car go faster and the
brake pedal is used to slow the car. (Young, J 1995) Comparison Specifications
Between a Formula 1 car and a 1995 Dodge Caravan (Ferrari Racing, 1997; Dodge,
1995) Conclusion Formula 1 racing is one of the most technical and computerized
sports in the world. Formula 1 racing is constantly changing and improving in
the areas of chassis construction, brakes, tires, aerodynamics, safety, engine
reliability and power. Formula 1 racing is in the forefront of development of
safety features and technology found on a commercial passenger vehicle. Formula
1 racing cars are the safest cars in the world. They can crash at 300 km/h and
the driver can still walk away. Over time, these cars have become faster and
safer. This is due to extensive research done by each race team. All the parts
of the car go through many tests and modification to find the best possible
design. Formula 1 also uses many computers to control many functions on the car.

In the past few years, normal passenger vehicles are using the computer to
operate the engine and electronics in the vehicle. This allows the engines to
run more efficiently, and this in turn is better for the environment. Formula 1
racing will continue to be the most technical and entertaining sport in the

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Cars. Minneapolis: Capstone Press. APPENDIX A Technical Specifications: Rothmans
Williams Renault FW19 Formula 1 Racing Car Engine: Renault V10, RS9, 3 liter
normally-aspiratedManagement System: Magneti Marelli Transmission: Six-speed Williams transverse
semi-automatic Chassis: Carbon Aramid epoxy composite, manufactured by Williams
Suspension: Williams. Torsion bar front, Helical coil rear with Williams-Penske
dampers Cooling System: Two Secan water radiators, two IMI oil radiators Brakes:
Carbone Industrie discs and pads operated by AP calipers Lubricants: Castrol
Fuel: Elf Wheels: Oz; 13 x 11.5 front, 13 x 13.7 rear Tires: Goodyear Eagle
radials Spark Plugs: Champion Cockpit Instrumentation: Williams digital data
display Seat Belts: Five point Williams Steering Wheel: Personal Driver’s seat:
Anatomically formed in carbon/epoxy composite material Extinguisher Systems:
Williams, with Metron actuators and FW 100 extingishants Paint System: DuPont
Front Track: 1670 millimetres Rear Track: 1600 millimetres Wheelbase: 2890
millimetres Weight: 605kg Overall car length: 4150 millimetres Figure A-1:
Rothmans Williams Renault FW19 Formula 1 Car (Williams Racing, 1997) APPENDIX B
Technical specifications Renault V10 RS9 Engine Engine Type: piston driven,
normally-aspirated Horsepower: 700 Number of cylinders: 10 cylinders V-shape (71
degree angle) Displacement: 3 liters 2998.1 cc Cam Shafts: 4 gear driven Fuel
Injection: Magneti Marelli digital injection Timing: Air Timing Number of
Valves: 40 Electronic ignition: Magneti Marelli solid state Engine Length: 623mm
Engine Height: 542 mm Engine Weight: 121 Kg Engine Height to Cylinders Heads :
395 mm RPM Redline: 18,000 rpm Transmission/Gearbox: Six-speed Williams
transverse semi-automatic Limited slip Figure B-1: Renault V10 RS9 Engine Figure
B-2: Wire Outline (Renault F1, 1997)


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