Formula One car development blog

Front end development for BMW Sauber

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The new BMW Sauber has just been released and appears to have undergone a serious diet over the winter. The upper part of the image shows the new F1.07 and compares it to the F1.06 of 2006. The team have visibly put great effort in the front end as the nose has become smaller and thinner than previously. While the tip of the nose isn't much higher, the monocoque is higher to better fit the suspension. Although this might well increase the centre of gravity of the car, Toyota have al... Read more

Extraordinary zero keel for F2007

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Contrary to the belief of most people, Ferrari designed a zero keel front suspension layout for their brand new F2007. The upper wishbones are very thick at their base, even more so than last year. Because of the dimensions of the upper wishbone, the lower one has been moved backwards and was made very thin. It attached directly to the monocoque as it fits the description of a zero-keel car. The picture shows that there are actually two thin fins extending to the ground which act so... Read more

2006: Arguable FIA interference

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The 2006 season has been above all a year to remember doubtful interference by the FIA, the governing body of the sport. After a pretty peaceful start of the year, the race directors woke up at Monaco after Schumi deliberately parked his car on the circuit during qualifying. The German was, surprisingly, punished for his actions. Later on, it looked like payback time after the mass dampers were disallowed at Renault after a possible Ferrari complaint. All the way through the season,... Read more

2006: V8 development

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2006 was the first of a string of F1 years with V8 engines after a rather long period of running with the 3 litre V10 engines. Although engine manufacturers claimed it would not reduce costs (and they were right) the FIA pushed the proposal through since the level of performance was increasing too quickly. The end of the V10 was closed with Honda topping 1000hp before dropping around 250hp when running at Bahrain in 2006. Most manufacturers proved not to be ready but all have gained... Read more

2006: Carbon rings (yet another saga)

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After the fuss with the flexible front wings and while there was still much going on about the mass dampers, Ferrari was in the midst of developing new carbon rings. At first, the rings in the rear wheels were actually ducts, but already at their second appearance the ducts had become simple circular panels that were glued into the rim. At Turkey (see image on the left) the wheels were almost completely covered and in Italy different rings were used during the race. Pat Symonds espe... Read more

2006: Invisible upturn at Honda

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In sharp contrast to the visible upturn of sister team Super Aguri, Honda Racing itself was able to find back performance without making big changes to visible aerodynamic parts. Honda was doing pretty well at the beginning of the season with Button being on pole position at Australia. However, due to tyre and internal team problems, performance fell down while other teams kept improving. As Barrichello got the grips to the Honda, Button and the team on itself lost it completely. It... Read more

2006: Renault mass damper

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At the time the F1 circus arrived at Hockenheim, Renault and Alonso were building up a comfortable lead in the championship. However, the FIA decided to interfere and decided to ban the innovative mass damper solution that was used and approved by the FIA since the Brazilian GP of 2005. Although Renault managed to win the title, Pat Symonds recently said that the fuss seriously hampered Renault's progress towards the end of the season.
The mass damper itself was in fact a movable ma... Read more

2006: A visible upturn

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One of the success stories of 2006 is without a doubt Super Aguri. The team had been set up in a few months time and refurbished an old Arrows A23 chassis to compete the season with the SA05. At Hockenheim, things improved considerably with the SA06 as the team reduced the weight of the monocoque and had many aerodynamic developments fitted in the following races. The narrower sidepods, new wings, smaller air inlets and differently fitted exhausts totalled for around 2 seconds a lap... Read more

2006: Sidepod vanes for everyone

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Similar to the adoption of the twin keel front suspension the sidepod vanes are not new but have only been used by few teams in 2005. At the beginning of 2006, Honda, Toyota and Midland each had a version of the elements. The sidepod vane is in all its version located just ahead of the sidepod and above the air inlet. At the end of the season the vanes were for all teams attached at the sidepods. The aim of the carbon element is to improve airflow from behind the front wheels over a... Read more

2006: Flexing down the rear wing

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Yet again it was Ferrari that unsurprisingly had also developed a flexing rear wing that would bend backwards slightly to reduce drag at higher speeds. Few races later the upper element moved downward under the air pressure and created a rear wing that was actually stalling since the slot gap closed. Although several other teams tried to copy the system in order to gain top speeds they never really match the stunning Ferrari. Among the copycats were BMW Sauber, Renault and Midland. ... Read more