Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

Tyres in Formula 1

September 10, 2011 2 comments

Tyres have been a pivotal part of Formula 1 races this year. This years races have all been about pit strategy,  when will the tyres “fall off the cliff” and what tyre to change to.

Ever since Slick tyres were re-introduced back in 2009, lap times have decreased dramatically.

After the longevity of the Bridgestone era tyres, Pirelli were given a simple brief; Soft, quick Short lived Tyre, and Hard Slow Long Living Tyre. And Boy did they deliver.

SO, what have they done. Above are the 6 compounds Pirelli presented this year. The wet weather tyres; Orange Marked Full-Wet and the Blue Marked Inter Mediate, and the Dry Weather Tyres; Silver marked hard compund, White marked Medium compound, Yellow marked Soft compound and the Fastest tyre, The Super Soft Red marked Tyre.

Taken from the Official Formula 1 website: “A Formula One tyre is designed to last for, at most, 200 kilometres and – like everything else on a the car – is constructed to be as light and strong as possible. That means an underlying nylon and polyester structure in a complicated weave pattern designed to withstand far larger forces than road car tyres. In Formula One racing that means anything up to a tonne of downforce, 4g lateral loadings and 5g longitudinal loadings.”

The life of the tyre has been a huge tipping point of races. They have been won and lost on tyre choice and race strategy.And with the drop off in grip when the tyre runs out of compound being so massive, its even more crucial to not over run the tyre. A by product of this are what the driver call marbles.

These marbles are the compound of the tyre literally ripping themselves from the tyre it self. This led to a very interesting development in the famous T8 in Turkey, where on the inside of Apex 4 there was hundreds of marbles. On these parts of the track, it is really hard to find any grip.


With the tyres bing the only contact of the car to the track, Camber and Toe play a pivitol role in the cars handling. This was most controversial 2 weeks ago at Spa, where the top teams went over the camber reccomendation given by Pirelli. This led to the tyres blistering on the inside of the tyre, just above the shoulder on the front tyres. Most concerned was Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Director at Red Bull Racing.

There have been quite alot of Wet sessions this year, which has led to alot of data about the Wets and Inters being discovered.

But, have you ever wondered what would happen if you ran a wet tyre on a bone dry track? Well the BBC did, and they sent Lead Commentator and former Racer Martin Brundle to Pirelli, and had a go in the Test car, the Toyota TF109

Tyres have been one of the massive changes of this years Formula 1, and it dosen’t seem to be ending yet, with Pirelli developing next years tyres, its sure to be another corker of a season.

But till then, we’ve still got 7 more races to go.

Bring on Monza and Bring on 2012!

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KERS in Formula 1

June 20, 2011 1 comment

This is part 2 of my F1 blog series ( too short for a series?)

Brought back after its debut in 2009, KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is one of this years main bits of technology in F1.

Put simply, a percentage of the energy generated, and wasted, in braking, is converted into electrical energy and stored in a power pack. This is then used to power a motor, giving the car an extra 80bhp for around 6-7s per lap.

The drivers can control KERS using a button or paddle on their steering wheel.

Now, Mercedes near perfected the system in 2009, the Brawn era, and this year is no different, match that to their highly effficent DRS system, and th MGP-W02 has massive straight line pace.But this is with conventional KERS. Red Bull, who used the system in 2009, have taken a different route with their 2011 KERS. What RBR have done, is compromised power output, with running a smaller battery pack and motor, but gained in packaging and weight, making the car just as competitive out of the turns.

But RBR havent had it all their own way. Since the start of the season, KERS has been a constant source of problems, which has lead to the dropping KERS for FP1 on Friday.

Back on track, one of KERS greatest moments was in China this year. Hamilton had a great run out of T15, had the run on Button because he used a “double push”; KERS becomes fully available as you go over the start finish line, and took Button into T1.

The electric charge in KERS is quite high, so safety and safety checks are paramount.

KERS will have a great impact on the rest of the season, as the smaller teams will develop their systems for 2010, and will pilot them at the end of the season.

Hopefully this blog series (?) was useful to some of ye, it certainly has been for me 🙂

Till the next time……

Links available on the DRS blog

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DRS in Formula 1

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the first of a two part blog series of F1 Tech, the next being about KERS, but today’s is DRS.

DRS, or Drag Reduction System, is a new system in Formula 1. Its where the flap in the rear wing tilts upwards, decreasing drag giving a higher top speed on straight sections of track, defined by the FIA in the race, but anywhere on track in practice and qualifying.

DRS was introduced by the FIA to increase overtaking, and its done its job, but some would say a bit too well.

What DRS has done, in more than a few races, is given the car behind, which was within the 1 second gap of the car in front at the detection line on track, a massive speed advantage, so the car easily passes with no chance of a comeback from the passed car. This problem was most evident at Turkey, where the DRS activaion line was too early on track.

Last weekend in Canada, however, we saw the debut of two DRS zones, one on the long straight between T12 and T13, and the second straight after from the Start line to T1. The result was the car behind at the activation zone (exit of T12) was ahead by the last chicane, and then had DRS at the pit straight, leaving no chance for the passed car to attack into T1. This was the system behind Mark Webbers third place finish, pusing Schumacher to fourth after zone 1, and extending the gap in zone 2.

So the question is this, is a two DRS zone race too much, or is it down to the position of the detection and activation lines of the zones?

My opinion is that its the position of the detection and activation lines is the issue. There should be the detection line for zone 1, and another detection line for zone 2, or combine the activation line for zone two, with the detection line for the same zone, giving the passed car the chance to attack into the next corner, making for heart stopping racing. This may lead to the spreading out of the zones ( with option one ) or the continuation of back-to-back DRS zones ( option two ).

EDIT: Point raised by @charlie_whiting on twitter, with the two detection lines, there will be a separate computer system for each line, and when the car that passed in zone one reaches zone two, the two have DRS.

But again, do we really NEED two DRS zones? This year, overtaking numbers have been huge, and with the ongoing development of the Pirelli tyres, and the refinement of the various KERS systems, do we have enough overtaking oppourtunities?

Thats up to the FIA,but that was my view on this years F1 tech.

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