Ferrari: front suspension installation

Ferrari inerter visible through the hatch in the top of the chassis

Unusually for a teams media image, this shot shows the front inerter installation on the F10.  What we can see here is the car without its access panels, revealing how the team mount the inerter between the front suspension rockers.  An inerter is a simple device akin the Renault Mass Damper, pioneered initially by McLaren.  It consists of a weight that spins on a threaded rod as the suspension moves, in order to balance out the ‘bounce’ of the tyres.  This creates a more consistent load at the contact patch and resultingly better grip from the tyres.

We can also the linkage in the steering column in the larger access panel. 

While on the edge of the monocoque is a round adjuster for the torsion springs.   This has been reported as a ‘ride height adjuster’, but a similar pair of adjusters has been on the top of the Ferrari moncooque for years.  I suspect these are simply the same preload adjusters, re-sited to suit the  “V” nose.

Advertisements

Bahrain: Petrovs Renault retirement

In this weekends race Petrov retired with e a suspension problem, it transpires the ride height adjusting shim fell out between the carbon pushrod and the titanium end fitting,  Here James Allison explains “On lap 11, Vitaly reported that the car wasn’t behaving normally and he began losing a lot of lap time to Barrichello. We called him into the pits for a precautionary check and found a problem with   the   right-front   suspension   pushrod   that   forced   us   to   retire   the   car.   Upon   further investigation, it transpired that the pushrod had been touching on the chassis when running on very heavy fuel at the start of the race. This damaged the bolt that attaches the pushrod to the car, and meant we lost a shim from the suspension, causing the DNF. Robert preferred a slightly different ride height and was fortunate not to encounter the same problem. We are, of course, disappointed  that  we  did  not  discover this  problem  during  pre-season  testing.  The  parts  in question will be modified for the next race to ensure that it cannot recur.”

At the top of the pushrod You can see where it splits to allow the shim to be inserted

 

Pushrods: these are normally used to adjust ride height, adding shims between the carbon pushrod and the metal top section

Bahrain: diffuser clarification

Although some aero devices were deemed legal in Bahrain, the FIA scrutineers did take a different view of some teams starter holes.  This hole is allowed with in the rule to be in the diffuser in order to alow the starter mechanism to be inserted.  Normally this is a simple round hole, but some teams have expanded the hole into a much wider ellipse shape.  This effectively makes the starter hole an extra slot to alow the diffuser to be steeper and create more downforce.  The Scrutineers have asked for these designs to be changed before the Australian GP.

McLaren Snorkel: How it works

MP4-25 - The infamous snorkel

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/82001

It has now emerged from comments by Martin Whitmarsh to Autosport.com that McLaren do indeed have a link between their rear wing and the snorkel on the top of the chassis.  While a link between the two parts emerged during testing as they were both fitted with the same aero testing set up, it is only now that the full picture has emerged.  Using the driver to interact with the snorkel feeding the rear wing and its attendant slot, the wing can ‘stall’ increasing straightline speed when the driver needs it.

How its done…

The snorkel on the top of the chassis feeds a duct passing down inside the footwell, its position is some where around the pedals, most probably it runs down alongside the brake pedal\footrest so as to avoid the mandatory padding inside the cockpit.  This duct has a ‘hole’ in it to ‘cool’ the driver inside the cockpit.  However the duct continues inside the chassis, past the fuel tank and up and over the airbox (probably passing by the hatch fitted high up on the engine cover), then through the shark fin and into the rear wing flap. 

When the driver places his foot\leg over the ‘hole’ the flow is diverted into the rest of the duct and this feeds the slot on the rear wing flap.  There is enough airflow through the convoluted duct to disrupt the airflow under the rear of the wing, effectively breaking up the flow around the wing.  This is what F1 aerodynamicists term a ‘stalled’ condition, although this is different to the term ‘stall’ used in aeronautical aerodynamics.  In this ‘stalled’ state, the strong spiralling flows coming off the wing, that lead to the huge drag penalty a highly loaded F1 wing incurs, break up.  With out these flows and their resulting drag penalty, the car is able to get to a higher top speed, by around 3-4kph.

When the driver is ready to brake for the next corner, he releases foot\leg and the airflow passes back into the cockpit and the rear wing flow reattaches, creating downforce and its attendant drag.  In this format the car can lap normally with its wings delivering maximum downforce.

This set up is legal as the rear wing slot in itself is legal (used by McLaren, BMW Sauber last year).  There is no specific working to prevent wing stalling in the rules.  There are no moving aerodynamic parts, except perhaps for the drivers foot\leg.   It’s a piece of interpretive genius, but perhaps as far removed from the spirit of the rules as you can get. 

What now

Of course now its deemed legal, teams can either formally protest it or adopt it themselves.  Doing the the latter is possible for most teams, as they have apertures in the footwell area to fit a snorkel, while the shark fin and rear wing are easily created.  But, finding a route for the duct out of the tub might prove the headache, as the monocoque may not have any openings sufficiently large enough.  This year the monocoque is also is subject to homologation and hence cannot be altered until the 2011 season.  Of course ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’, teams will not want to lose a straight line speed advantage.