Can Helmets be a source of extra speed? - a theory..

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Post Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:01 pm

The FOZ wrote:A few problems.

Visibility - Nearly anything moving through the air can be detected. Even gasoline vapors, which are otherwise invisible, refract light and give a "ripple" effect. Today it's very cheap to buy very, very good photography equipment - cameras in the 20+ megapixel range and with the sheer number of spectators at events, someone would catch a shot of it happening, sooner or later.

Size - Anything capable of making that much of a difference would likely take up a fair amount of space, if not for the substance itself, then for the delivery system, most likely pressurization of some sort.

Volatility - Again, anything capable of making that much of a difference is likely going to be very cold, very harmful to people, or otherwise unwanted anywhere near one's head.

Safety - Even if the substance and it's delivery methods were safe, compromising a helmet is something nobody wants to do. Every square centimeter of material removed from the helmet for a delivery system would be one less square centimeter of energy absorbing materials protecting one's head in a crash situation.

The concept is creative, I'll give it that, but realistic...not as far as I can see.


Good points. However I think these could be overcome with enough effort.

Visibility: The 'ripple effect' can be dismissed as buffetting off the helmet. The outlet nozzle can be oriented to simulate the buffetted air.
Plus the system would not have to be used at every track. Just at the 'weaker' tracks. Or possibly only at one or two of the 'weaker' tracks.

Size and safety: Remember that the system does not need to supply a prolonged increase in power. A slight reorder of qualifying results or pit stops can change the outcome of a race. Assuming the storage would be in lieu of the driver's drink supply system, only a reroute (& resize) of the 'straw' thru the helmet's air vents would be needed to run through the helmet without sacrificing helmet integrity. No helmet material removal required. Pressurization only needs to be in the bottle and we've all seen those small (sometimes annoying) foghorns.

Volatility: Although somewhat of a fire hazard, oxygen gas (or some other balanced, noble gas combination of it) doesn't pose the threat say a gasoline supplement would.

As is natural for 'concepts', quite a few things are assumed. Actual power increase, actual effect on lap times, amount of substance required, the effect of adding any substance suddenly to the engine intake, reduction of effect by the air cleaner, etc. Is it feasible? I think it is. Would I do it as an amatuer? No because of personal ethics (gratification of winning fairly). Would I do it in the pro leagues? No because the risk of getting caught is too great. I'm more thumbs up about 'grey area' cheats (innovation) than blatant cheats.

Why does it seem like I'm defending this as if I support teams doing it? Boredom.

Regards,

H. Kurt Betton
bettonracing
 
Joined: 12 Oct 2007

Post Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:37 am

Thanks for the interesting comment guys.. A key point of the idea was that because it wasn't a fixture in the car - would it get discovered on checking? No.

Do they check drivers' overalls or the contents/size of their drink bottles before/after races? I'm not sure they do.

How hard, in theory, would it be to place a clip-in bottle of some kind into the cockpit when the driver gets in? The notion of a fuel additive of some kind improving reliability or horsepower is known for sure but I concede the finer details are where this would probably fall over. But people can find ways around these things sometimes.

R
Rob W
 
Joined: 18 Aug 2006

Post Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:08 pm

It's a nice thought, but on a practical basis I do not think it would work, here are my reasons;

1) drivers need a drink during hot races - as such a secod tube going into the helmet would definitely attract attention.

2) Perhaps Scarbs could help here, but I think the drivers drinks supply comes not from the bottle you see them walking aroung the garage with, but is mounted into the car. I am quite sure the scrutineers would pick up on any unusual design for such a drinks bottle (such as it being a pressure vessel!).

3) The drivers helmet is already used as a performance improvement gadget by guiding more air into the box.;
http://www.f1technical.net/articles/17

I'm hopeless at remembering dates/races, but I recall Schumacher tilting his head to one side on the long straights; whether this was to give the air a clearer passage into the airbox, or whether it was to 'bounce' some air off the side of his lid into the airbox I can't say, but in either case it was clear what he was doing - and why!

I think the concept of injecting something performance enhancing into the airbox is simply too risky for the teams. There is no way that any such move could be considered as interpretation of the rulebook and it would certainly result in disqualification and a hefty fine. Practically possible, perhaps - likelihood of it happening, vanishingly small (IMO).
Mike
Mikey_s
 
Joined: 21 Dec 2005

Post Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:40 pm

Mikey_s wrote:It's a nice thought, but on a practical basis I do not think it would work, here are my reasons;

1) drivers need a drink during hot races - as such a secod tube going into the helmet would definitely attract attention.

2) Perhaps Scarbs could help here, but I think the drivers drinks supply comes not from the bottle you see them walking aroung the garage with, but is mounted into the car. I am quite sure the scrutineers would pick up on any unusual design for such a drinks bottle (such as it being a pressure vessel!).

3) The drivers helmet is already used as a performance improvement gadget by guiding more air into the box.;
http://www.f1technical.net/articles/17

I'm hopeless at remembering dates/races, but I recall Schumacher tilting his head to one side on the long straights; whether this was to give the air a clearer passage into the airbox, or whether it was to 'bounce' some air off the side of his lid into the airbox I can't say, but in either case it was clear what he was doing - and why!

I think the concept of injecting something performance enhancing into the airbox is simply too risky for the teams. There is no way that any such move could be considered as interpretation of the rulebook and it would certainly result in disqualification and a hefty fine. Practically possible, perhaps - likelihood of it happening, vanishingly small (IMO).



More good points. However...

1) Quite a few drivers have had problems with the bottles/ drink system over the last few years (including this year. Can't rem who though. Hamilton?) and have ended up with either small amounts of drink or no drink at all. The 'second' tube could be contained inside the helmet (attached by the driver when seated in the car), or even better, in the hans device. Flexible tubing could be cleverly hidden in the straps.

2) The drink bottles used in the race are definitely not the ones they walk around the paddock with, but you might be surprised to see the amount of pressure that regular plastic bottle can hold. I wouldn't be surprised to see the current F1 drink bottles capable of holding 50psi. Of course this is speculation but it wouldn't be very hard to create a bottle capable of respectable pressures. Depending on whether the scrutineers check the bottles pre or post race, they may or may not catch the 'odd bottle'. Hypothetically, one could design a bottle with a secondary compartment to put pressure on the driver's drink for easier drinking and [try to] have it approved for racing. Once approved, the function of the pressure compartment could be switched...

Of course this is all sticking to the thread topic - the additive being injected into the intake air stream from the helmet. Although I still think it's possible from the helmet, it seems like it would be alot easier to do it from the chassis or bodywork.

To reiterate: The risk factor is the same reason I said I don't think it's in use. I'm just defending the possibility that it could exist if a team had the testicular fortitude (and the performance justification) to try it.

Regards

H. Kurt Betton
bettonracing
 
Joined: 12 Oct 2007

Post Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:59 pm

I seem to remember Trullis helmets a few years back having some large guiding flares on them. Didn't Schuey's last race helmet have something stupid like 100 hours wind tunnel work on it?
"Whether you think you can or can't, either way you are right."
-Henry Ford-
Scuderia_Russ
 
Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Location: Motorsport Valley, England.

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