Williams – Lowline gearbox in detail

Copyright Andrew Robertson (@JarZ)

Having been obvious at its launch the Williams FW33 has a radical shrunken gearbox case. Now we can see how the case is actually configured, which is close to the diagram I posted back in February (http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/williams-fw33-lowline-gearbox/). As I explained Williams sought to remove as much blockage ahead of the beam wing as possible, to do this they lowered the top of the gearbox, switched to a Pull-Rod set up and repositioned the differential much lower. The revised layout has lead to a very neat gearcase.

Nico / Slideways @ Autosport.com

Copyright Andrew Robertson (@JarZ)

To get a reference point for what we see in this picture, it’s the lower wishbone that’s fitted. This is usually mounted halfway down the gearcase and the top wishbone mounts above it. So what we are seeing is the casing dropping downwards from its front face to create a low flat top. It’s this front face that also gives an idea of how high a conventional gearcase is. So clearly Williams have lowered the case dramatically (see below).

Copyright: Andrew Robertson (@JarZ)

Copyright: Andrew Robertson (@JarZ)

Equally the differential (the diff’ circled above) is very low too, normally its several centimeters above the lower wishbone, now the diff’ is below the wishbone. This is why when we see the car from behind; we can see the driveshaft’s angle upwards from the gearbox at an extreme angle. Above the diff’ is the bolt on wing mount, as explained in my previous article, this metal structure supports both the rear wing and the top wishbone. One curiosity of the diff’ and wing mount set up is how the diff’ is removed. Normally the gearcase is split to allow the differential to be removed from the back of the case. Perhaps with the new Williams set up, the case has a cover over the left hand side of the differential and the diff’ is removed sideways. This set up would create a slightly stiffer case, critical for its complex waisted shape.

Copyright: Andrew Robertson (@JarZ)

Not seen in this picture is the top wishbone, it mounts to the top of the bolt-on metal pylon and also to the pick up on the front of the casing (circled above)

Copyright: Andrew Robertson (@JarZ)

Williams have also switched to a pullrod suspension, this places the rocker linkage and the dampers low down at the front of the gearbox. The dampers heave spring and inerter have to pass horizontally across the front of the gearbox; they enter the gear case via the aperture seen at its lower front side.

More info on Pull Rod Suspension
http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/red-bull-pull-rod-suspension-what-is-looks-like-how-it-benefits-aerodynamics/

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7 thoughts on “Williams – Lowline gearbox in detail

  1. Scarbs, wouldnt the narrow angle between the upper and lower wishbones produce a more pronounced arcing action during large wheel deflections resulting in lack of grip due to the reduce contact patch. or does the wheel not move that much so it doesnt matter

  2. I was just wondering how effective running the bodywork up to the beam-wing would be rather than the abrupt surface changes (such as on the Williams) we’re seeing this season?
    *This is 100% under the assumption that the added bodywork would provide non-turbulent/clean airflow to the beam but that’s quite an assumption…
    I guess it would work similarly to the shark fins but horizontally – the bodywork beneath would be as is, just with a ceiling.
    Love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this.

  3. As an aerospace worker (gearboxes, specifically gears) I have to admire the craftsmanship. That’s one really TIGHT box =) I see cooling as the biggest issue that could pop up, not so much the worry about the extreme driveshaft angle. I’m sure they have it covered though.

    Keep up the EXCELLENT work CS!

  4. Pingback: FIA extends DRS zone ahead of first race | F1 Fanatic round-up

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