While the monocoque is under production at Enstone, the engineers at Viry-Châtillon are concentrating on integration and reliability. A critical step in the engine production process is the mock-up. Jean- Pierre Menrath, head of the testing department, explains.
A mix of materials
“We produce at least two engine mock-ups,” explains the engineer. “Each requires around one week’s work, and they are comprised of different elements. Some parts are produced during machining tests we conduct to ensure they are correctly calibrated for the rest of the season. We only re-produce the external parts of the engine: the various accessories and the exhausts are then produced in resin via stereolithography.” The mock-up is ready around two weeks ahead of the real thing.
Useful at Viry
At Viry, the role of the mock-up is crucial, allowing the wiring and piping of the engine in the car and on the dyno to be optimised. “Usually, the workshop produces and assembles components designed in the drawing office,” continues Jean-Pierre Menrath. “For the wiring, however, the opposite is true: we produce the components in question, and then pass them to the design office to be modelled. It would be possible to design everything on the computer, but the time it would take means it is not practical.”
The second mock-up from Viry is dispatched to Oxfordshire. It allows the team to check the mounting points and also to work on the chassis wiring. Engine-chassis integration has become one of the key factors in Formula 1, and valuable experience has been acquired over the last few years. “The components, cables and sensors get smaller year by year, and mean you are constantly improving the packaging,” concludes Jean-Pierre. “In F1, these tiny improvements can make the difference.”