The ING Renault F1 Team’s Chief Designer, Tim Densham, talks about the introduction of extended-life gearboxes for the 2008 season. After having developed gearboxes that are as accurate as Swiss watches the engineers are taking on a new challenge in 2008: to make them last four grands prix!
For several years now one of the FIA main aims has been cost cutting in F1. Among the results of this campaign is the obligation to use the same V8 for two grand prix plus a technical specifications freeze for the engines. For next season, the lawmaker has gone even further and imposed the use of the same gearbox for four races. Heavy penalties will be inflicted on those who breach this rule. In the case of a change the driver whose car’s gearbox has been repaired will lose five places on the grid. Only the gears can be changed and they must be replaced by identical parts. In addition, the team has to prove that these have been damaged to be allowed to install new ones.
“These may appear to be significant changes but they don’t represent an insurmountable problem for us,” says Tim Densham, the ING Renault chief designer. “To begin with the technical regulations already impose a large number of parameters that we have no choice but to comply with. And this year our gearbox’s reliability has been nothing short of excellent.”
So the design of the transmission will not be given any in-depth modifications, although the way it works will have to be optimised to avoid any problems. “On this subject our priority will be to achieve complete mastery of the new programme that accompanies the common ECU,” Tim continues.
Whether or not the transmission will be used in more circumspect mode and at a lower speed in order to ensure reliability over four races remains a moot point. “That’s not at all part of our intention,” Tim sums up. “The 2008 gearbox should be as quick as the one used this season.”
'A new factor for the 2008 season: ECU' -> http://www.f1technical.net/news/7601
'Bob Bell talks about the standard ECU' -> http://www.f1technical.net/news/7628
'Denis Chevrier talks about the common ECU' -> http://www.f1technical.net/news/7680
'Tim Densham talks about the TC ban' -> http://www.f1technical.net/news/7693
'Nelsinho believes TC ban is good news' -> http://www.f1technical.net/news/7698
'New gearbox challenge in 2008' -> http://www.f1technical.net/news/7708Source Renault