Sunday, 29 April 2012

Lotus in the Sixties - Triumph and Tragedy

Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean scored a double podium for Lotus at this year's Bahrain Grand Prix. It was the first podium for a car under that moniker since Nelson Piquet in Australia, 1988. In view of the resurgent form of Team Lotus, Jem Ruggera takes a look back at the early years of one of the greatest outfits ever to compete in F1.

Of all the evocative sights and sounds that constituted Formula 1 racing in the 1960's, there are few that spring more quickly to mind than the sight of a young Scottish driver named Jim Clark silkily threading an elegant green Lotus 25 along the wet, foggy straights and bends of the epic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, or racing from a lap down at flat-out Monza in 1967 to come within a corner of the greatest comeback drive in history, or winning the German Grand Prix at the deadly Nordschleife from pole, while setting the fastest lap of the race, and leading every lap – to win the championship by early August, a record that wouldn't be broken for another 37 years.

Friday, 27 April 2012

5 Reasons Why I Love Formula One (Part 2)

David Galton-Fenzi finishes explaining what makes F1 so damn good.

#2. Innovation

I’ve already banged on about the earth shattering performance that these prototype racing machines are capable of, but where do you think that all comes from? I’ll tell you where!

Big, fat, ultra intelligent, uber geeky, rainman-esque, nerd organs! aka - Brains.

Formula One teams employ some of the brightest engineers currently walking the Earth and these ingenious poindexters are employed for one reason and one reason only - make the car faster.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

DownUnderSteer F1: Episode 11 - Bahrain Race Review.
Franky and Jem take you on an unforgettable journey through the Bahrain Grand Prix and melt your soul with flawless technical observations and race analysis. Is there anything they cant do??
Don't forget to guess the corner, Join us on Facebook or Subscribe to our channel. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

5 Reasons Why I Love Formula One (Part 1)

He's been following Formula One since 1997 (that's Jacques Villeneuve winning the championship up there), when on the advice of a good friend he tuned into the last couple races of the year. It was the finale at Jerez that properly sucked him in though. After the astonishing qualifying session and everything that played out during the race, the deal was sealed and he's been hooked ever since. But why does he love this sport so much? 

David Galton-Fenzi explains

#5. Performance

Lets get this one out of the way early. They’re called cars, but they’re not cars as we know them.  A modern family saloon will have somewhere between 150 to 200 bhp. (thats Brake Horsepower, though if you’re lost already perhaps you should stop reading now) A current 2.4 litre V8 F1 engine puts out up to 750bhp! Now I hear what you’re saying. Its a 2.4L V8, it’s bound to have that much power..... but you would be wrong! Just plain wrong. 

Caterham build a high performance engine called the RST-V8. Coincidentally enough, it also happens to be a 2.4L V8 and you know how powerful that is?.....550bhp. Oh, did i mention it's also supercharged? An F1 engine is only normally aspirated and STILL demolishes that output. At 18000rpm an F1 engine revs so fast that the pistons are subjected to over 8000g with every ignition (Thats 8000 times the force of gravity for those still struggling to keep up), and for those of you not keeping count that happens 150 times per second per cylinder! Just look what that does to the exhaust! Thats 1500 degrees celsius, more than hot enough to melt solid chunks of aluminium! 
Pictured - Surface temperature of a freaking star 

Formula One gearboxes blatantly ignore the laws of physics. They can change gear in 50 milliseconds. Like everything on these cars, that’s quick. For reference, a fast blink of your eyes takes 300 milliseconds, so these Newton-defying marvels of engineering could change up from first gear to their top gear, seventh, in the time it takes you to moisten your corneas! Oh, and they also have seamless shift, which means as one gear is being used, the next is spooled up ready to go so when the driver selects it they suffer no power loss in the transition. Boom! 

Which would come in handy if you were trying to drive upside down, as an F1 car can. Everyone has heard it before but it's actually true. All those wings and that sexy sculpted bodywork grab the air passing over it by the scruff of its neck.....or whatever air has, and they have their wicked way with it. They cane that air. They torture that air, and when its not being sucked into the screaming banshee engine at a rate of 450 litres a second, it's prodded and poked exactly where the car wants it to go to provide, literally, tons of downforce. 

The end result is a car that can generate 3.5 times it own weight in downforce out of thin air! So, build a track with a corkscrew and see what happens. Basic physics (which I admit these cars only adhere to when it suits them) states that when the downforce generated equals the weight of the car, bingo! You can invert it. 

You’re doing it wrong!