Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

All that has to do with the power train, gearbox, clutch, fuels and lubricants, etc. Generally the mechanical side of Formula One.
tenzilkeli3
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Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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As some of us have heard, Pat Symonds was famously quoted that the 2014-20 power units have such a wide power band that five forward gears would be enough. So why haven't the rules been changed in the three years to open up the number of gears for choice, instead mandating eight forward gears?

If it's to push efficiency, the three extra gears (which must be rather hefty even though it's F1; they are transmitting torque in the four-figure numbers) are just added weight, (thus burning more fuel) and the teams having to compromise (because the ratios are fixed) results in a ratio set that is always suboptimal for the circuit they're currently on.

Furthermore, less gears could likely make for a faster car, as those 75 ms gear changes add up. The advantage is probably miniscule, as we don't see teams gearing a five-speed car and carrying the remaining three gear pairs around without using them. It could also improve reliability, as the gear changes are when gearboxes snap.

Finally, a reduction in number of gears could open up a possible return to true manual gearboxes, improving the show, and putting more emphasis on the driver, all without reducing safety.

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rscsr
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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tenzilkeli3 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:40 pm
As some of us have heard, Pat Symonds was famously quoted that the 2014-20 power units have such a wide power band that five forward gears would be enough. So why haven't the rules been changed in the three years to open up the number of gears for choice, instead mandating eight forward gears?

If it's to push efficiency, the three extra gears (which must be rather hefty even though it's F1; they are transmitting torque in the four-figure numbers) are just added weight, (thus burning more fuel) and the teams having to compromise (because the ratios are fixed) results in a ratio set that is always suboptimal for the circuit they're currently on.

Furthermore, less gears could likely make for a faster car, as those 75 ms gear changes add up. The advantage is probably miniscule, as we don't see teams gearing a five-speed car and carrying the remaining three gear pairs around without using them. It could also improve reliability, as the gear changes are when gearboxes snap.

Finally, a reduction in number of gears could open up a possible return to true manual gearboxes, improving the show, and putting more emphasis on the driver, all without reducing safety.
I would guess that those 3 "extra" gears would weigh less than 10kg. And they need some kind of spacer to connect the engine to the rear wheels for these "long wheelbase" cars. And they are below minimum weight anyway. So it wouldn't even make the cars any lighter.
75ms is way out of date afaik. I remember when Honda was using a 2ms shifting mechanism back sometime in the 00's. They shift seemless nowadays. I.e. they don't really spend any time shifting, without driving power. That is also the reason why you hear RBR sometimes talking about learning the gears of the transmission.

If less gears would mean better laptimes, they would use dummy gears. They don't have to use all of them. Do they even use 8th in Hungary or Monaco?

NL_Fer
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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Before the 8-gear box was mandated, 7 gear was the norm.

But the teams could use custom gear ratio for every circuit. They would take a truckload of gearsets with every weekend.

Because the fia wanted fixed gear ratio’s, the mandated the extra gear.

Met seamless shift a gearchange is 2-10ms. Hardly any to gain by reducing the gearchanges.

Tommy Cookers
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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each maker's final drive (CWP) ratio is permanently fixed (except on eg one mandated occasion per new car ruleset)
necessary to enable the whole transmission to be a sealed unit
ie CWP ratio is not changed to suit the circuit as it was pre 2014

it may be that there's no event at which the cars (need to) use all 8 gears
ie seemingly they could manage rather well using whichever 6 gears were best suited to that event
but now they have more drag and more roadholding this may be the best 7 gears

btw these days the accumulated performance loss from shifting is less with closer ratios despite needing more shifts
as far less PU inertial energy per shift is dumped with closer ratios
Last edited by Tommy Cookers on Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jolle
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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You can race with just five gears but 6, 8, 24 or infinite (CTV) is simply faster because you can stay closer to the best torque on the rear wheel.

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Big Tea
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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Tommy Cookers wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 5:56 pm
each maker's final drive (CWP) ratio is permanently fixed (except on eg one mandated occasion per new car ruleset)
necessary to enable the whole transmission to be a sealed unit
ie CWP ratio is not changed to suit the circuit as it was pre 2014

it may be that there's no event at which the cars (need to) use all 8 gears
ie seemingly they could manage rather well using whichever 6 gears were best suited to that event
but now they have more drag and more roadholding this may be the best 7 gears

btw these days the accumulated performance loss from shifting is less with closer ratios despite needing more shifts
as far less PU inertial energy per shift is dumped with closer ratios
Do they use the whole range of each gear, or select a 'section' of usable width selected electronically and changed for each track?

Not sure I have made my question clear though. If 2nd can drive from (say) 20 mph to 100 mph do they move the change points to between 50 and 90 for some and 40 and 95 for others?

I know the max revs in top gear do not change but is maximum rpm in a gear always the best change point or like 'holding' a gear through a bend in a manual? Say for a set of s bends 5th is selected lower and held longer then not for the following flat corner?
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piast9
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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I remember the statement from the times when current regulations were introduced that the governing body wanted to keep the signature F1 "rapid fire" of gear changes in new cars despite the fact that turbo engines did not requred that many gears. I can't remember whose statement it was.

Tzk
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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I‘d say the drivers do that depending on the corner. Sometimes you want to shortshift before entering a corner so avoid shifting while cornering and sometimes you avoid an early shift because its faster.

I also guess it depends on the engine map, i‘d expect them to rev higher in qualy.

Baulz
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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Having 8 gears makes sense with the fixed ratios. Monaco might only use 6 of them, but Monza and Spa would need 7th and 8th.

Jolle
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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Also, the current engine rules were written somewhere in 2011-12, eve ln before any hybrid turbo engine did turn over. A lot of guess work and a lot of development since then.

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subcritical71
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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Big Tea wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:50 pm
Tommy Cookers wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 5:56 pm
each maker's final drive (CWP) ratio is permanently fixed (except on eg one mandated occasion per new car ruleset)
necessary to enable the whole transmission to be a sealed unit
ie CWP ratio is not changed to suit the circuit as it was pre 2014

it may be that there's no event at which the cars (need to) use all 8 gears
ie seemingly they could manage rather well using whichever 6 gears were best suited to that event
but now they have more drag and more roadholding this may be the best 7 gears

btw these days the accumulated performance loss from shifting is less with closer ratios despite needing more shifts
as far less PU inertial energy per shift is dumped with closer ratios
Do they use the whole range of each gear, or select a 'section' of usable width selected electronically and changed for each track?

Not sure I have made my question clear though. If 2nd can drive from (say) 20 mph to 100 mph do they move the change points to between 50 and 90 for some and 40 and 95 for others?

I know the max revs in top gear do not change but is maximum rpm in a gear always the best change point or like 'holding' a gear through a bend in a manual? Say for a set of s bends 5th is selected lower and held longer then not for the following flat corner?
Big Tea, I get your point and I took a quick look at the regs. It doesn't seem to indicate that gears must be selected in 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 order. Only that the "Each individual gear change must be separately initiated by the driver and"..."the requested gear must be engaged immediately"...

I don't see what would limit skip shifting except the internal mechanisms which are designed to make the shift as seamless as possible (optimized for 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, etc.) shifting. But these are incredibly ingenious people we are talking about. Maybe it is worth sacrificing a particular sequential shift at select tracks.

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hollus
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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Never seen that. And the effective control system is still two paddles, gear up and gear down, so that almost forces sequential. The car cannot engage or skip a gear of its own initiative, it has to be under driver control (per rules, I think). So barring a skip gear lever, they are stuck with sequential. and the car does not decide when to shift, the driver has to press the lever. All the car can do is suggest a shift via a beep of lights, but the driver requests the actual shift and the car has to oblige.

BTW: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18953&hilit=gear
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Jolle
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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hollus wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:18 pm
Never seen that. And the effective control system is still two paddles, gear up and gear down, so that almost forces sequential. The car cannot engage or skip a gear of its own initiative, it has to be under driver control (per rules, I think). So barring a skip gear lever, they are stuck with sequential. and the car does not decide when to shift, the driver has to press the lever. All the car can do is suggest a shift via a beep of lights, but the driver requests the actual shift and the car has to oblige.

BTW: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18953&hilit=gear
In the past there were not for upshift but for downshift "special" buttons. Where you could go directly to third for instance. It was during the times of automatic upshifts (and Williams testing with a CTV). To have no more discussion, they set that you had to shift yourself and could only shift up or down one gear at a time and banned pre-programmed gears.

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strad
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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They click thru the gears from say fifth to second but the car won't engage second until it will not over rev the engine, but they still click thru each gear
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Rodak
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Re: Why do the rules mandate 8-speed gearboxes?

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With the barrel shift mechanism there is no option to skip a gear; the barrel has to rotate and initiate the next gear in the sequence. That's not to say you have to stay in that gear for long though......