Kovalainen Problems in China

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Project Four
Project Four
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:28 pm

Kovalainen Problems in China

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It seems that Kovalainen did not have brake problems at the start of the China GP (other than the smoking brakes on the grid but this was the surrounding carbon fibre getting hot which was then cooled once he got going) but massive understeer. This contributed to him losing the place to Alonso on the first lap when he had to lift going through turn 13.

The understeer was caused by a team mistake. The front tires had been mismatched and the front right was on the left and vice versa. It would appear that the front tires are identical, but the problem was caused by the construction of the tire. The Bridgestone tires are a crossply / radial hybrid and there is a difference in the stiffness across the tire to give an artifical toe-in effect for better turn in and mounting them on the wrongside has the stiffness working in the opposite direction, thus inducing understeer.

McLaren compound the problem by not noticing this problem at the first pit stop and dialing in extra front wing for a problem that was no longer there and gave him a dose of oversteer for his second stint.

alexbarwell
alexbarwell
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Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:19 pm
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Re: Kovalainen Problems in China

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Not sure how retrospective this analysis is, but without having a full handle on the cause, the attempted cure was legitimate enough. Ultimately an avoidable mistake that was just missed. Plenty of teams have said 'we would have won the race but for (insert daft detail here)'. If the Mclaren team, drivers included, can keep it all on the black stuff next race then it will help set straight some of the agro from last season.
I am an engineer, not a conceptualist :)

DaveKillens
DaveKillens
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 3:02 am

Re: Kovalainen Problems in China

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It's almost reassuring to know that more than just Ferrari are capable of screwing the pooch.
But mistakes happen, and usually teams like McLaren do a good job of having and error-free race weekend. But F1 is so darn complex, it's almost impossible to cover all the bases. But this time, the tire mismatch effectively ruled McLaren out of competition for the constructor's title.
Racing should be decided on the track, not the court room.

Conceptual
Conceptual
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:33 am

Re: Kovalainen Problems in China

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I love the technology in F1!

I find that it should be TOUGH to put the tyres on the wrong side. I mean, they are well marked, right? And it isn't like these guys haven't changed tyres a million times before.

I find the cross-ply/radial hybrid construction to the the best part of this post. If the tyre is built to deform in a controlled manner that creates a better handling car, then I would say that even with a control tyre, there is still innovation (although, BS has probably done this since 2000).

Anyways, tough break for Heikki. I think that he made a great career move from Renault to McLaren, where he will probably stay as LH's partner for the next several seasons.

I'm sure that this problem will be addressed for Interlagos!

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Keir
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:16 pm

Re: Kovalainen Problems in China

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The error was only discovered after the first stops, and as such the correctatatatataive extra front wing was for a problem that was no longer there ...


See, I can copy from Mark Hughes in Autosport and spell it wrong too ;)

RH1300S
RH1300S
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:29 pm

Re: Kovalainen Problems in China

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OK - so why do you want an artificial toe-in effect?

Is it aero related? I.e. you want the tyres pointing dead ahead for aero reasons and at the same time need toe-in for geometric reasons?