F1 2017 Report

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F1 2017 Report

Postby andone89 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:26 pm

Hi fellow F1 technical readers. I've been lurking around the forum over the years a lot and made a post here and there, but since I started uni and study motorsport engineering now, I thought it would be relevant to post my assignment here now that it has been graded.

The report includes all the major changes and differences in the technical regulations and explains the most interesting rumours and changes happening in the the world of F1.

I hope it of use for some while it is still relevant :)
written 11.12.2016

Formula One 2017 Season Technical Regulation Changes

Table of Contents
Introduction 2
How Formula One will meet the targets it has set itself 3
Bodywork changes planned for 2017 4
Minimum weight planned for 2017 8
Changes planned for the power unit development 9
Key engineers influence goes beyond just designing the car 12
The future of Formula One post CVC era 13
Conclusion 14
Bibliography 15

Formula One is at the brink of going through another major overahaul in technical regulations. As the current set of rules gets scrapped and an entire new set of rules will replace them. The aim of these regulations is to make cars four to six seconds faster than they currently are and to make the cars look more aggressive, by making the tiers bigger and setting the major aerodynamic components of the car slightly angled rearwards. All aimed at improving both the looks and the performance of the cars.

How Formula One will meet the targets it has set itself
Detailed image illustrating major design differences planned for 2017 surrounding the rear of the car (View from behind)[1]


They plan the achieve this by making the tiers around 25% bigger, than they are currently, especially the rear tiers will increase in width immensely [16]. Effectively the current rear tiers have the same width as the 2017 front tiers 305 mm and the rear tiers in 2017 will be 405 mm wide [16]. Having wider tiers will provide much needed mechanical grip for cars and the increase in the aerodynamic load on card in 2017 will further enhance the performance of the cars[10].
Some teams are predicting that their cars will be over 6 seconds faster than the one they drive currently, but some teams are less optimistic and predict a gain of around 3 seconds in lap time for 2017. [12]

I will rely my report on the official regulations and rules published by FIA and the pre-season tests Pirelli has done with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red-Bull, as these are the only hard evidence I can provide, I will also include most interesting and influential rumours circulating around the paddock and use different F1 forums on the Internet as well as some trustworthy journalist articles and predictions of some key people in Formula 1.

Bodywork changes planned for 2017

The first major upgrade so to speak from this year will be the sheer increase in the tire patch and contact with the road, since the tire width will increase by 25%[16]. This will enhance mechanical grip of the cars and will make them a lot quicker in slow-speed corners especially, where mechanical grip is crucial, since aerodynamic forces are not very great in slow-speed corners. This increase in tire width will also makes cars a bit heavier. Theoretically the improved mechanical grip will help racing, because the increased slick tire width will decrease the impact of aerodynamics and reduce the impact wake has on cars. However, the next patch of regulations changes that I will cover in this report will provide a controversial result for closer racing.

It is also worth mentioning that Pirelli has promised to sway away from designed to degrade tiers in 2017 and to produce tiers that drivers can lean onto and provide tiers that have a much wider operating window[16]. Something that drivers, especially the older generation, have called-for a very long time. Drivers admit that driving the current cars in race is driving at around 95% [19]. The days of drivers driving 100% on the limit from start to finish will possibly be back with the new tiers in 2017[16].

Vast aerodynamic changes are in place to end the dominance Mercedes has enjoyed by having a vastly superior car when compared to others. Arguably only Red-Bull has been able to produce a car with the same if not more amount of downforce that the Mercedes has, as did Ted Kravitz point out in an Sky Sports F1 end of season review of the 2016 season that the GPS traces prove that Red-Bull aerodynamics are the best on the grid or at least equal to Mercedes [17]. However, despite this Red-Bull’s progress has been hampered by the inferior Tag-Heuer(Renault) engine it has been running for the last 3 years. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently told in an article that their car has got to the end of its development cycle and that there is no scope for improvement for them anymore with the current set of regulations[20].

Illustrated image comparing 2016 to 2017 dimension differences (Top view) [3]


The front wing will be widened by 150 mm to 1800 mm, same width as it was in 2010-2013[10]. And rather than having a simple straight front wing main plane, the whole wing be angled slightly(12.5 degrees) towards the car from both sides from the middle section of the front wing, when looked from above[10]. And to avoid the front wing coming closer to the front tiers, the nose of the car has been extended forward to meet the front plane. The front wing endplates also see a more simplified legality, so expect to see even more complicated and diverse front wing endplate designs from the teams[10].
With the extension of the nose, the overall maximum length of the car will also increase. It is rumoured that the Red-Bull team will have a significantly longer wheel base than its rivals in 2017, by making the most of the allowed increased length of the cars[12].

The total width of the car will also increase to 2 000 mm, a much welcomed return to the 90’s when it was the last time we saw 2 m wide cars[10]. As with the total width increase, the step plane of the floor of the car in 2017 will also increase to 1600 mm from current 1400mm[11]. The reference plane will start 100 mm farther away behind the front axle, 430 mm instead of the current 330 mm[11]. The wooden plank will also be allowed to be pocketed for weight saving next year[11].
Perhaps one of the biggest rule changes in aerodynamics will be the increased size of the diffuser. Its height will increase from 125 mm to 175 mm and its width will increase from 1000 mm to 1050 mm wide[11],[7]. But one of biggest change is that the diffuser will start 175 mm ahead of rear axle from next year, currently the diffuser starts from at the rear axle[11],[7]. Coupled with the height increase of the diffuser this will create a lot more surface area and consecuently produce more downforce [12],[7].

But the rear wing will see a slight return to the pre 2009 era, because its height will be dropped by 150 mm, from 950 mm to 800 mm, and the width will increase by 200 mm, from 750 mm to 950 mm, and it will move 200 mm rearwards, thus moving it away from the rear wheel centre line[10]. The rear wing will be tilted rearwards in 2017[10].
Bargeboards will also go through a major design overhaul in 2017 with the aim of releasing the strict restrictions imposed on bargeboards in 2016[10]. The bargeboards will be extensively larger. This will be a good thing for teams that have been struggling with guiding the airflow around the front tiers and towards the rest of the car, since it will be a lot easier to guide the air with a lot bigger bargeboards. Expect to see many different approaches and designs in that area and much development in the early part of 2017 season. Something similar development wise, to what we saw in 2009 with the double diffusor, with teams copying each others work and spying on each other to see who has done what and why and who has come up with the best design.

The maximum allowed bodywork width will increase from 1400 mm to 1600 mm next year[10]. The sidepods will also be angled 15 degrees rearwards when viewed from above and will feature an angled leading edge in top view[10]. This also follows with the angular theme the 2017 aerodynamic regulations have taken in order to improve the aesthetic looks of the cars and to make them look more aggressive.

Pat Symonds told Ted Kravitz in the 2016 Chinese GP in a post-race interview, that the wind tunnel model Williams has been running in the wind tunnel already looked a lot more like a proper race car and others have also confirmed that the 2017 cars will look more aggressive aesthetically[21],[12].
Although, much has been said about the increased performance in 2017, few are optimistic that this will contribute to improved racing[21]. Perhaps Formula One is taking a step back in the sheer number of overtakes, when compared to recent years, due to the increased amount of downforce the cars will have and thus being more affected from the wake of another car[21]. Therefore, following other cars will be harder through bends and corners, but slipstreaming on straights will be even stronger next year.

Jenson Button recently told in potentially his last ever press conference that he does not mind the changes and welcomes the increased difficulty in pulling of a successful overtake next year, by suggesting that although the number of overtakes in the V10 era was lower than it has been in recent years, the satisfaction he got from overtaking cars back then was worth so much more to him than it is currently[22]. Therefore, it is hard to tell how good or bad the new regulations will be for overtaking.

Minimum weight planned for 2017
The weight of the cars will also increase, because the minimum weight of the cars will be 722 kg + tiers(estimated 5 kg) instead of the current 702 kg[23].

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was very critical in February of the planned increase in weight in 2017. Saying that F1 was going wrong direction and that when he joined F1 in 2007, the cars were 600 kg instead of the current minimum weight of 700 kg. He also made a point about the potential increased wear on tiers caused by the heavier cars, suggesting that Pirelli’s tiers struggles are caused by the increased weight of the Formula One cars[23]. Also other motorsport enthusiasts have rallied behind Hamilton’s opinion and supported the idea of decreasing the minimum weight of the cars[12].

What is more, the maximum allowed amount of fuel will increase a further 5 kg in 2017, from 100 kg to 105 kg for the race distance. The controversial fuel-flow meters will still be there and the fuel-flow rate will be kept same at 100 kg/ per hour[23].

However, the increase in weight will not be too influential, since Max Verstappen said in a recent article that he is heavily focusing on his physical condition in order to be fully prepared for the 2017 season and the physical demands the fastest ever cars will impose on drivers throughout the field[18].

Changes planned for the power unit development

There are also changes in place for the token system that Formula 1 has been running for the last 3 years to restrict engine development and to keep costs under control [23]. Teams have agreed to delete the token system and to free up engine development, in order to let other engine manufactures to catch up to Mercedes faster and to improve their engines over a season by doing unrestricted amount of in-season power unit developments [12].

Exploded view of the major components of the current Formula One power unit[4]

Formula One will continue with its current V6 Turbocharged Hybrid engines. Engine manufacturers will however have to use more standardised parts in order to keep costs under control [23]. And teams will be restricted to only four power units per season. A massive step from only 10 years ago, when teams were using new engines almost every race and used one-third as much fuel as they are using currently [8]. Predictions and rumours are telling that we can expect a power output of these power units in 2017 to be around the 1 000 horsepower mark [24].

Detailed Picture of Mercedes Turbulent Jet Ignition design[5]

Honda engines from next year will include the Turbulent Jet Ignition (TJI) the Mercedes team has been running from the start of 2014 and also Ferrari from 2015 Canadian GP. Renault made the upgrade in 2016 Canadian GP [8]. The TJI system is basically a pre-chamber, where fuel and air mixes before it is ignited and it bursts itself through some holes between the pre-chamber and the main chamber so that the combustion process could be more efficient and powerful, thus improving fuel efficiency and power output, because the explosion inside the chamber will be a lot more even [8].

Honda’s engine plans for 2017 are still to this date up for much debate, but a move to TJI system is predicted for them in 2017 [12]. The Honda engine will also include a new turbo design, probably like the Mercedes split turbo design or an entirely different design of their own [12].

Picture of the combustion process inside a cylinder with and without pre-chamber[6]

So far it is predicted that all the different engine manufacturers power units will be almost equal in terms of fuel efficiency and power output in 2017 [12]. Because of that, Red-Bull is considered to be the main rival for Mercedes in 2017 [17]. Also Ferrari may still surprise by producing the fastest engine-chassis package against the odds. Ferrari’s engine already is on par with the Mercedes one, so gains in their chassis performance are needed to have a chance to fight with the Red-Bulls and Mercedes cars in 2017 [17].

Key engineers influence goes beyond just designing the car
Management of Formula One teams has always been almost as important, as the engineers that are working there [1]. Ross Brawn, who has won 10 constructors and 10 drivers world championships in Formula One, also told us about his struggles and achievements in Formula One in his new book called Total Competition Lessons in strategy from Formula One by Ross Brawn and Adam Parr. He recalled that he always took a very cautious approach to the staff throughout his years in Formula One and tried to take into accounts everybody’s different characters and opinions when putting together a team [1].
Perhaps his bravery to take the responsibility for anybody’s mistake who worked under Brawn in the hierarchy got rid of the fear that had been cultivating in the Italian team and still is there to this date [1].

James Allison, who was the Technical Director of the Scuderia Ferrari, announced his departure from Ferrari at the end of the 2016 Summer [25]. This move was unexpected and only time will tell, whether Ferrari and got its management sorted in time for a brand new set of regulations, which evened the playing field for all the teams [17].

The dark horse of 2017 will be the struggling McLaren-Honda team [17]. Furtherrmore, Ron Dennis has stepped down from his role as CEO and chairman of the McLaren Technology Group [26]. And there are rumours that Peter Prodromou, who was one of the two key designers that made the dominant Red-Bull cars during the 2010-2013 F1 seasons, alongside with Adrian Newey, is set to leave the McLaren-Honda [12]. However, McLaren’s true potential is yet to be unlocked since Honda has not provided them a competitive engine yet, but the free up of regulations that govern the power unit development will provide Honda the chance they needed to catch up [23].

Both the McLaren’s and the Ferrari’s cars performance will be unknown, since both teams have done significant changes in their management system and the outcome of all of this is extremely hard to predict. As Luca Baldisseri, the ex-chief engineer of Ferrari, told the newspapers in October this year that the Ferrari is no longer a team, but a group of scared people [13].

That is why, having key people in place in key positions is very important for every team that wants to succeed in Formula One. Because fear never leaves space for much innovation [1], [17]. Therefore, it is vital for any team that wants to succeed in Formula 1 to hold onto their key people such as James Allison, Paddy Lowe and Peter Prodromou and for to hold onto Adrian Newey. Because in the end, they are the ones who have the put the ever more complicated puzzle of F1 together.

The future of Formula One post CVC era

Liberty Media, who is taking over from CVC Capital Partners, whose only intentions have so far been to pump as much money out of Formula One as possible, is set to be the new major stakeholder in Formula One in the early part of 2017 [27].
The deal will cost Liberty Media around 6 Billion pounds if completed [15]. The Chief Executive of Formula One Group Bernie Ecclestone suggested in an article recently that he has doubts over Liberty Media’s capability to complete the purchase. So far Liberty Media has purschased 10% of the shares [15].
Therefore, the future direction of Formula One remains under a question mark, but one thing is for certain that the 2017 is to witness one of the fastest cars ever to be produced. Like Mercedes engineering director Aldo Costa put it, next year is going to be a game changer [28].

2017 Formula One season will cement itself as the pinnacle of motorsport once again and we will probably see the fastest ever Formula One cars breaking lap record, after lap record and setting new boundaries for car manufacturers for what is possible in a race car. Expect to see decreased 0-60 times and cornering speeds that will boggle the mind. The new aggressive looking cars will also appeal to the younger audience that the Formula One has so dearly graved for in recent years. The increase in cornering speeds will result probably in the fastest cars the world has ever seen going around a GP circuit.

• Book by Ross Brawn and Adam Parr “Total Competition Lessons In Strategy In Formula One” published 2016 [1]
https://www.facebook.com/DieHardF1Fans/ ... =3&theater
(cited 02.11.2016) Detailed image illustrating major design differences planned for 2017 surrounding the rear of the car (View from behind) [2]
http://cdn-7.motorsport.com/images/amp/ ... arison.jpg
(cited 01.11.2016) Illustrated image comparing 2016 to 2017 dimension differences (Top view) [3]
http://www.racecar-engineering.com/wp-c ... 34laef.jpg
(cited 10.11.2016) Exploded view of the major components of the current Formula One power unit [4]
http://vtec.academy/wp-content/uploads/ ... jpg?ver=30
(cited 04.11.2016) Detailed Picture of Mercedes Turbulent Jet Ignition design [5]
(cited 04.11.2016) Picture of the combustion process inside a cylinder with and without pre-chamber [6]
http://icdn-1.motor1.com/images/mgl/VQk ... e-view.jpg
(cited 25.11.2016) Illustrating image of 2017 diffuser dimensions [7]
(cited 04.11.2016) Mercedes TJI video [8]
http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/3359 ... ar-weight/
(cited 02.11.2016) GP Update, Hamilton minimum weight article [9]
http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2016/05/10/s ... 2016-2017/
(cited 01.11.2016) F1 Fanatic, 2017 rules compared [10]
(cited 25.11.2016) FIA, FIA F1 2017 technical regulations [11]
(cited 25.11.2016) F1Technical.net, forum [12]
http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/177 ... aldisserri
(cited 25.11.2016) ESPN, Ferrari ex-chief mechanic Luca Baldisseri [13]
http://www.cvc.com/Media-Centre.htmx?ta ... 1620091901
(cited 07.12.2016) CVC, Liberty Media and CVC [14]
http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/eccle ... se-856654/
(cited 07.12.2016) Motorsport, Liberty Media Bernie Ecclestone [15]
https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/head ... tyres.html
(cited 04.11.2016) F1.com, 2017 Pirelli tiers [16]
(cited 08.12.2016) Youtube, F1 Sky Sports season review video [17]
http://www.skysports.com/f1/live-blog/3 ... sip-column
(cited 07.12.2016) Sky Sports F1, Max Verstappen on 2017 fitness [18]
(cited 08.12.2016) BBC F1, Fernando Alonso on Pirelli tiers [19]
http://en.f1i.com/news/79298-mercedes-m ... wolff.html
(cited 08.12.2016) en.f1i.com, Mercedes Toto Wolff talking about 2016 car development [20]
(cited 04.11.2016) Youtube, Ted Kravitz talking with Pat Symonds after 2016 Chinese GP [21]
(cited 07.12.2016) Youtube, F1 2016 Abu Dhabi Drivers Press Conference [22]
(cited 04.11.2016) Wikipedia, F1 2017 Wikipedia [23]
http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/127 ... urrent-v6s
(cited 04.11.2016) ESPN, F1 engine power output [24]
http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/ ... es-ferrari
(cited 07.12.2016) Sky Sports F1, James Allison leaves Ferrari [25]
(cited 07.12.2016) Autosport, Ron Dennis [26]
(cited 01.11.2016) Motoorne Rahutus, Audio Podcast in Estonian about CVC and Liberty Media [27]
(cited 04.11.2016) Youtube, Mercedes Engineering Director Aldo Costa talking about 2016 [28]
Last edited by andone89 on Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: F1 2017 Report

Postby PlatinumZealot » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:55 pm

Hmm. I grade it a C..
No hypotheses or calculations presented. Assuming this is a technical report.
"I appreciate artistry, I appreciate technique, I appreciate strategy, tactics," TDG said. "When I look at him and watch him race, no matter who it is, I see how he breaks down his opponent."

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