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F1 Tech Tricks 2018: The Secret of the McLaren Rear Axle

Formula 1 technology tricks 2018
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D he Formula 1 is not reinventing itself this year . Instead of a technical revolution, only evolution was offered. The most interesting new developments were in detail. The big teams also stayed true to their concepts. In the second year of the wide cars, nobody dared to go on black ice. If you take a close look at the ten cars, the bottom line, Sauber, of all places, offers the most new solutions. 'Those who are further back can risk more than we do,' explains Mercedes Technical Director James Allison.

We saw a flood of photos of the new cars and recognized many new details. We want to take a closer look at the ten most interesting solutions here. We asked the engineers of various teams, who of course also took a close look at the competition.

Rear axle from McLaren

The upper wishbone splits into two arms far inside the chassis.

With the upper wishbone of the rear axle, McLaren did what Mercedes did with the lower wishbone of the front axle two years ago. Just the other way around. On the McLaren two short stub axles grow out of the transmission. They are brought together under the fairing, so that outside only a powerful, artfully curved wishbone can be seen up to the wheel carrier.

The pull rod does not steer to the wheel carrier, but to the wishbone. It runs almost parallel to the fairing and leaves a lot of free space up to the bike. And that is exactly the coup. “This means that the air can flow to the diffuser undisturbed. In addition, the rear brake ventilation with its many wings is isolated and can work much better. OutFrom an aerodynamic point of view, that's definitely interesting, ”says aerodynamics guru Adrian Newey.

But is it also the best mechanical solution? At Mercedes this is doubted. But in any case it is a masterpiece of the carbon department. 'To make things stiff and light like this requires a lot of experience, a lot of calculation and a good job from the 'Finite Elements' department,' applauds Force India Technical Director Andy Green.

Sidepod wing from Red Bull

The idea comes from Ferrari. It was excavated in 2017. A front end in front of the cooling inlets shortens the side pods and allows a stronger undercut because the crash structure can be integrated into the front end and the underbody. HaasF1, Sauber, Red Bull and Williams copied the Ferrari principle and developed it further.

Red Bull made a wing out of the upper crash bar, which is mounted in front of the cooling inlet. One floor higher, another wing with a similar profile grows out of the side boxes. Red Bull achieved two things with it. The shortening of the side pods and the even stronger indentation at the bottom force the air to flow even better along the cladding towards the diffuser. The upper wing directs the flow downwards. It should prevent the lower current from drifting too much upwards.

Blown rear wing from Renault

With Renault, the exhaust is aimed at the underside of the Rear wing. That brings additional downforce.

Renault has found a completely new trick to generate more downforce. The engineers mount the exhaust as high as the regulations allow (550 mm above the reference plane). To do this, the tailpipe is angled upwards as much as is permitted (5 degrees). The exhaust gases are aimed at the main blade of the rear wing from below. It is specially coated on the underside so that the carbon structure does not begin to melt in the heat beam. The new trick is supposed to bring up to two points of downforce when accelerating. And the idea is not easy to copy.

The mirror from Ferrari

Ferrari even turns the rear-view mirrors into a flow aid. They are divided into two shafts. What exactlythe engineers aim with it is not yet entirely clear. Some experts are of the opinion that the trick is only for slightly less drag. Others believe that Ferrari deflects the flow in a targeted manner in order to direct the air to the desired places.

The rear of the Mercedes

A photo of the open Ferrari from the previous year provided the template. Mercedes recognized that Ferrari had packed its innards in the rear even better than they did themselves. Now the world champion followed suit. The rear of the F1 W09 is a good deal more compact than that of its predecessor.

However, Mercedes relies on a completely different side box layout than the World Cup opponents. A short belly in front, an incredibly long and slim part in the back. Red Bull and Ferrari, on the other hand, slope the flanks of their side pods. It looks like a made-to-measure suit.

Cooling layout by Renault

The opening to the airbox on the R.S. 18 was a little more powerful than last year. As with many, it is divided into three parts. The split is done by a roll bar that tapers at the top. This geometry is the easiest to pass the stress test. Renault changed the entire cooling layout of the car. An oil cooler that was normally housed in the side pod is now placed above the engine. The fresh air for this is sucked in via the airbox.

Nine cooling shafts at Sauber

The clean just seems to consist of air inlets.

No car has as many separate cooling ducts as the new Sauber C37. Four on the sides, five in the engine cover. There are two more triangular openings on the cockpit above the usual cooling inlets in the side pods.

With the roll bar, Sauber stayed true to its previous year's solution. A walkway has to withstand the load once the car is on the roof. To the right and left of it and behind the bracket there are a total of three openings for the cooling air. And further back on the back of the airbox there are two more.

Cooling inlets from Red Bull

The cooling inlets of the new Red Bull RB14 have mutated into mailbox slots. At Mercedes and Ferrari too. One wonders how the teams can use it to provide efficient cooling.On the one hand, the airbox takes over part of the fresh air supply to various coolers. On the other hand, the secret is not in the inlet, but in how to get the hot air out of the side pods. The better that works, the smaller the cooling inlets can be. That in turn improves the air resistance.

The front axle from Red Bull

The front upper wishbone of the Red Bull grows directly out of the nose and is flush with the top of the chassis. This means that fewer vortices are created at the articulation points than with a normal arrangement. The wishbones themselves are angled slightly downward and are in line with the rear base of the wishbone. Of course, all suspension elements are misused as wings.

The Halo by HaasF1

The halo bothers aerodynamicists. Therefore they try to make a virtue out of necessity and use the titanium temples as an aerodynamic aid. Cladding is permitted within a radius of two centimeters. Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso have mounted wings on the halo. HaasF1 equipped its cockpit protection with a series of spikes - both on the top and the bottom. They are intended to generate vortices in a targeted manner so that the air further to the rear of the car does less damage.

In the gallery we show the elements described again in detail.


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