Analysis: 5.5G revelation prompts fresh concerns about 2017 F1 cars - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Analysis: 5.5G revelation prompts fresh concerns about 2017 F1 cars

Analysis: 5.5G revelation prompts fresh concerns about 2017 F1 cars see pics

By: Franco Nugnes, Direttore Responsabile
Formula 1 drivers could experience sustained forces of more than 5.5G during cornering next season, according to the latest simulation data produced on the 2017 cars.

Ahead of a revamp of F1's technical regulations – which includes wider tyres and bigger wings – teams have already begun computer-based worked on how the next generation grand prix cars will perform.

Early findings that have been obtained by show that the increase in downforce is going to deliver cars that will be nothing short of extreme in their cornering performance.

F1 speed leap
F1's current generation of cars already delivered a surprise in Melbourne when they proved to be a good step faster than their 2015 predecessors.

Lewis Hamilton's pole position time in Albert Park earlier this month was 2.5 seconds quicker than his fastest time in qualifying last year - and was only just slower than the 2011 benchmark set by Sebastian Vettel.

Almost one second of that step was down to the softer tyres that Pirelli had brought, but equally there have been gains on both the engine front and aerodynamics.

And if such relative evolutionary steps can deliver that gain, it is clear that F1's overhaul of car and tyres is going to change things significantly for next year – when another three seconds are due to be shaved off laptimes.

Slower in a straight line

F1 teams have already done some early analysis on how the current planned 2017 regulations will pan out, and it has thrown up some interesting data.

The chief designer of one team has revealed two particularly fascinating aspects that have some to light: that the 2017 cars will be slower in a straight line than now, and that the performance leap in corners will be much greater than some expect.

Having used a lap of Barcelona as a comparison between now and the 2017 prediction, the data suggests that cars will be at least 10km/h slower at the end of the main straight.

That is the result of the wider cars and tyres producing more drag as there is effectively more car that needs to be punched through the air.

There is also extra weight (of more than 20kg) – thanks to wider tyres and potentially the Halo – which further slows them down.

But the one second drop in laptimes due to weight and top speed decrease is reversed due to big gains in mechanical grip (larger more aggressive tyres) and downforce (larger cars and wings).

Looking at Turn 3 at Barcelona, the data reveals that the current generation of cars are taking the corner flat out in fifth gear at about 240 km/h, with a loading of around 3G throughout.

However, the 2017 cars are predicted to be taking that corner at 275 km/h, with a lateral force of 5.5G.

Such a step in loading is not only a big ask for the tyres, but it is also at the limit of what F1 drivers have ever experienced.

It has also opened up questions about whether or not current track safety risks may need reassessing because faster and heavier cars are likely to crash in a different way to the current ones.

F1 race director Charlie Whiting made it clear in Australia, however, that he was comfortable that current circuits would fall within FIA guidelines.

"The way we make sure that circuits are safe is that we take a typical speed profile of an F1 car, put it into the simulation and it tells us how big the run off areas have to be and what speed the car is likely to hit the barriers at," he said.

"As far as we can establish, the type of speed profile that we are likely to see means we will end up with lower top speeds but higher cornering speeds and we are entirely confident the current circuits won't be in any trouble."

Racing doubts

Whether or not, as teams begin to properly realise the 2017 cars, the car stays the right side of the FIA assessment remains to be seen.

But already there are growing concerns that the increase reliance of downforce is not going to be a positive step for the racing, and questions about whether the high costs of the F1 overhaul are actually justified.

Only this week, Lewis Hamilton again spoke out about the direction F1 was taking for 2017.

"I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake," he said. "Give us five seconds' worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change - we'll just be driving faster.

"I speak as somebody who loves this sport and loves racing. I don't have all the answers - but I know that the changes we're making won't deliver better racing."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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JA on F1 believes that a combination of high tyre pressures and softer compound choices from Pirelli could be the reason several Formula 1 teams have recently said they need to improve their tyre management strategies to avoid losing time in races.
F1’s tyre supplier has cited the increased performance of the 2016 cars as the reason for raising the minimum limit on tyre pressures for this season, a move Romain Grosjean branded “ridiculous” at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ferrari and McLaren have both said that they need to improve their tyre management strategies, with Eric Boullier, team principal of the British squad, suggesting some teams have found a way to lower their tyre pressures after they have been measured by FIA.

“I don’t know what the other teams are doing to be honest,” he said at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“We may have an opinion or some suspicions, but we have to focus on our own problems. I guess we are not the only team with this scenario or this issue, to get the best out of the tyres.
“We are working on it, trying to work around this very high starting pressure, which is hurting clearly the grip of the car, but also makes your tyres grain easier than necessary.”
Dominic Harlow, JAonF1’s technical advisor, suggested that in addition to the 2016 tyre pressure requirements, the greater availability of softer tyres, with three choices available, has meant teams that go with aggressive strategies need to be more carful with managing the life of the softer rubber.

He said: “This year the pressure requirements, or stipulations, from Pirelli have been more onerous than ever before because of the increased performances of the cars, that’s the reason Pirelli are giving.
“It could also be that the compound availability has changed slightly, [as] the softer compounds are available as well. In order to make more aggressive compound choices the teams have to be a bit more active in making sure they are preserving the tyres.”
Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene blamed tyre management issues for Sebastian Vettel going slower in Q3 than he did in Q2 in Monaco, which resulted the German qualifying lower than the team expected and forcing it to choose an aggressive strategy in the race in an attempt to make up places.

But Vettel’s early switch to intermediate tyres actually ended up costing him time in the Monaco race, and a podium place to Force India’s Sergio Perez, as the Ferrari driver got stuck behind the slower Williams of Felipe Massa.
At the front of the race, Lewis Hamilton was able to make his ultrasoft tyres last 47 laps when the field switched to dry tyres, a move that surprised many paddock observers.
Harlow acknowledged that Hamilton’s Mercedes team may have found a way to cope with better tyre management, but he believes the uniquely low degradation surface at Monaco and the low temperatures of the wet-to-dry race was the reason the ultrasoft tyre did not wear out as predicted.
“Mercedes might have discovered a few things about looking after those tyres that the others don’t yet, that’s one possibility,” he said. “[But in] Monaco, the first three [finishers] had different compounds on so it was a bit of a unique situation in that race. Also the ultrasoft and supersoft are pretty close in character.”

So what is the key to setting the pace in F1 when coping with strict tyre management? It’s all about driving style. Harlow explained that drivers who are better at managing the amount of energy going through their tyres and avoid overly stressing the rubber are able to maintain a higher pace.
He said: “The main thing the drivers can do is to manage the energy that they’re putting through the tyres and the biggest influence that they can have on those is the amount of slip that they ask of it.
“The amount of latitudinal or longitudinal slip and it’s a very powerful influence on the amount of energy that the tyre has to absorb. In other words, it’s driving style that makes that work.”

Harlow also described how vital it was for teams to work on getting their cars the right balance in the practice sessions before each race to help their drivers keep up the pace while looking after their tyres at the same time.
He said: “[The] most important thing for the teams is to get right is the car balance [because] if the driver has a well-balanced car he is able to control more readily the way in which he is using the tyres.
“If the balance is a long way out, in terms of too much understeer or too much oversteer or anything they’re particularly weak in like high-speed corners or low speed corners, then you are not able to drive efficiently and manage the tyres appropriately whilst doing the laptimes.”
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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F1 Max Yamabiko: Wider tyres, slender timeframes

29 May 2016
Pirelli offered up a tantilising first glimpse of what F1 will look like in 2017, but as Max Yamabiko explains, time is running out to get it right

Max Yamabiko: Wider tyres, slender timeframes
Though discussions about the 2017 regulations have only gone as far as hints and teasers, it was down to Pirelli this weekend to give a first physical glimpse at what the future of the sport might well look like as it pulled the wraps some rather tasty rubber in Monaco.

Whilst tyres – particularly out of context on a dummy car – aren't normally immediately striking, the substantial growth in width, especially at the rear, certainly drew some admiring and misty-eyed glances.

Even so, whilst it has raised hopes that a more striking and aggressive-looking F1 is around the corner, it has now also become clear just how little time teams will have to design their cars around them.

The tyres shown off in Monaco were simply prototypes and quite some way off the final specification, and this means that the teams do not yet have adequate data, the final size, shape and even the weights are still uncertain.

"We are still developing the first prototypes, the front is currently 8.5kg and will increase by 1kg," said Mario Isola told "I am talking only about the tyres because then there is an additional weight because of the bigger rim. The rear tyre is now 10kg and it will be around 11.5kg, depending on the final version of the prototype.”

The shape of the tyre, especially the shoulder, and sidewall shape under load has a major impact on the airflow around the car and teams will want to get this confirmed as early as possible, but Pirelli is still quite some way from being able to supply that information.

“We are testing some different shapes, we will try some different shapes, we need to find a good compromise for high and low speed cornering. We start testing in August and will test until the end of November” he added.

Pirelli makes special wind tunnel tyres for all of the teams and these 60 per cent scale versions of the real thing not only replicate the overall shape of the full size version when sitting still, they also replicate the deformation and bulge seen on a real car running on a real track.

“The teams got the first wind tunnel tyres two months ago but these really were just a first prototype to make early calculation, as the testing goes on and on we will give them updated tyres.” Isola continues. Those updated wind tunnel tyres can only appear after testing has commenced this summer.”

Some of this will start to become clearer in August when testing of the new tyres will begin. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will all modify 2015 cars to approximate the 2017 package and to start to gather data for themselves and Pirelli. Williams and Force India may also take part.

F1 teams have already faced disruption to their aerodynamic development due to the ongoing uncertainty over the cockpit protection system (Aeroscreen or more likely the 'Halo') and now it is becoming clear that accurate tyre data will not be available any time soon either.

The lack of information about the tyre will have fairly major implications for the engineers designing the suspension layout for the new cars as well. On a Formula 1 car the sidewall of the tyre is an important part of the suspension, so understanding its characteristics is crucial, how stiff it is, how does it deform under load and how does its change with temperature and wear. One thing that is known is that the new tyres will create a lot more drag than the old ones as they have a larger frontal area.

The delay is largely the result of the very late publication of 2017 Technical regulations – which many expected to be confirmed before the Russian Grand Prix - , while wider tyres were long expected it took a significant time to get the exact sizes confirmed.

Now this has happened, Pirelli has been able to create the prototype tyres seen at Monaco, but the lack of a test car means Pirelli will have to wait many weeks to see how they work on track, and the teams will have to wait even longer to optimise their cars around them.

by Max Yamabiko
Additional reporting by Ollie Barstow
Max Yamabiko will bring you a closer look at the technical side of motorsport throughout 2016, from the latest developments and solutions employed to keep you ahead of the game

Read more at F1 Feature - Max Yamabiko: Wider tyres, slender timeframes
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