September 16, 2016

Le FRIC, C'est Chic

No comments:

Funny how the newest things in F1 really have roots that go back ages.   Take the latest Mercedes nomination "secret",  a trick front suspension that has roots back to the Citroen DS?


OK,  that's a bombastic statement but we are talking about a clever "analog" hydraulic suspension developed by Frenchmen.

You can read about the particulars of what the Brackley Silver Arrows  have done with their front suspension elsewhere,   I will try to distill it.

look at where the pushrod is attached
Mercedes have figured out a loophole in the regulations that allows them to fit a front suspension system that gives them the competitive advantage over Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of aero efficiency and tire management.

Red Bull has something similar but not quite
You remember FRIC (Front to rear interlinked Suspension) introduced by Mercedes in 2011 and banned in mid 2014.  Turns out the re-written rules forbid front to rear and diagonal linkage but there is nothing preventing left to right connections (think sway bar in normal car terms) so teams have been taking advantage of this and have continued to develop suspension that take advantage of this system.    The key has been packaging, most team use a version of a "hydraulic computer" suspension in the rear where space is not at a premium but only Mercedes has figured out how to fit the system on the front axle.

Ferrari is sticking by the letter of the rules... and suffering.
And this is where the clever exploitation of a rule loophole comes in.  Mercedes took advantage of an allowance which had been made for Manor where they were permitted to add a chassis "spacer" to adapt their 2014 car to fit 2015 regulation,  Taking advantage of this gray area allowed the German team to create the space needed  to fit the intricate components needed and to use the vanity panel, an esthetic part for most other teams, as a structural piece.

It's borderline legal and brilliant.

Why go through all this effort? Because the system gives you the ultimate in suspension, soft over fast bumps and stiff over sustained corners,  allowing the car to float over kerbs while maintaining the optimal ride height and aero efficiency in the fast bits while utilizing tires most efficiently.

It's not a new concept,  think Renault mass damper and of course the original FRIC.    Ferrari and Red Bulls chassis are not made in a way this can be easily retrofitted but more crucially, Mercedes have the expertise in tuning what is a very complicated system.

The brains behind this system is said to be French engineer Loic Serra, McLaren tried unsuccessfully to poach him away from Brackley.   Red Bull however was successful in tempting a Mercedes hydraulic engineer over to their side for next season.   At RBR, this yet unnamed tech will work with Pierre Wache another highly touted suspension specialist who,  like Serra, came through Sauber from Michelin, where they both were tire interaction engineers in the early 2000s.

You can read more tech details at Auto Motor und Sport and at Motorsport but score one for engineers and zero for the rule makers.

September 14, 2016

Alex Zanardi defends his gold medal onboard a Dallara

No comments:

In an age when athletes and personalities are so often controversial, Alex Zanardi stand above as one that is truly inspirational.

The 49 year old Italian successfully defended his 2012 London time trial gold medal today at the Rio Paralympics.  Zanardi came from behind with an exciting last lap push, the power of his "engine" transmitted to the ground via a super sleek and futuristic hand bike designed by Italian race car shop Dallara.

"Dallara produced the chassis of a handbike in its Varano headquarters. The design process was similar to that of a racecar. Bologna athlete Alessandro Zanardi raced with this bike, winning three medals for time and road trials (two gold and one silver) in the London 2012 Paralympics.

Once Zanardi’s body surface and that of his bike had been scanned, an in-depth study of the CFD aerodynamics (Computational Fluid Dynamics) took place in order to fine-tune the shape of the handbike. Once the shape was defined, Dallara completed the FEM structural analysis (Finite Element Methods) and then carried out laboratory tests.

During the design process, Dallara built a mannequin to assess the comfort and the driving position. Finally, the first prototype was designed and created. All of this was completed within the limits of technical regulations that imposed dimensional and functional constraints, similar to racecar regulations.

These efforts cumulated in an ad hoc prototype for Alex. Different configurations are available to disabled athletes who request them."

Zanardi,  1997 and 1998 Indycar champion before his 2001 career ending accident at the Lausitzring,  thanked Gianpaolo Dallara.

"Dallara does not get enough credit in Italy,  it took more work to develop my bike than Indy cars."

But beyond technology and sport, Zanardi remains an inspiration.

"It's not about strength, anyone can find strength.  Ambition will make you  push but sooner or later you will tire.  Passion, not ambition, is the key to success, being a good person is the goal.

I would like to thank my sponsors for allowing an old man like me to compete and I would like to point out that we too are tempted by doping but the vast majority stay clean.  
If you dope you are the first to lose"

Life lessons.

(H/t Marco Belloro)

September 10, 2016

Private Equity invests in the Classics

No comments:

How hot are classic cars? Surely, you read about the $2.4 million Porsche 993 GT2 .   The classic car market shows no signs of slowing,  despite bubble busting predictions of doom it is now estimated to be a $5.3 billion business worldwide and growing.

This seemingly insatiable thirst for classics is best expressed every September over on Lord March's back yard,  where literally billions of dollars worth of technically obsolete but endlessly fascinating machines are flogged within an inch of their life... and sometimes beyond.

All these wonderful lunatics have to be catered to and classic car preparation has become a huge business.   The leading player in the field is J.D. Classics, based in Maldon ( Essex),  twenty five years in the business offering everything from full restoration to custom builds to race prep and support.  In 2015 it reported sales for over $130M with ebitda of $24.5M for a profit of $18M.

Numbers that attract the interest of Private Equity and this past week it was announced that controlling interest in J.D. Classics was acquired by Charme Capital Partners.  Charme is an Italian based fund led by Matteo di Montezemolo.

Sound familiar? Yes, he's Luca di Montezemolo's son.

Investing along with Charme is a NY based, art and collectibles fund deCar Partners and FiveW Capital.  J.D.'s founder Derek Hood will maintain a significant minority share and the company will have funds needed for expansion and to acquire the inventory of cars needed to keep the whole thing going.

Of course, there is a finite supply of special cars so perhaps that's where the Revival comes in:  if they bend them, or blow them up,  companies like J.D. Classics will be there with the knowledge and expertise to rebuild anything.

Don't lift!

September 9, 2016

Temple of Oversteer: 2016 Goodwood Revival Live Stream:

No comments:

Simply the best historic racing and possibly some of the best racing you will see all year.

Schedule, all times GMT:

Friday 9th September 08.30 - 18.00
Saturday 10th September 08.30 – 18.00
Sunday 11th September 08.30 – 18.00.

Forza Italia! 11/10th in an Alfa Romeo Giulia.

No comments:

What's remarkable about this insane 11/10th lap is how many times the Alfa test drive is able to catch the car from what seems like certain doom.  

A testament to the fundamental "rightness" of the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio despite what looks to be less than perfect tuning for the bumpy 'Ring.

Imagine what this car will do on a more normal track...

Most desirable four door on the planet.

September 3, 2016

Verstappen needs to learn from Hamilton

No comments:

Max Verstappen took a page from the old Lewis Hamilton, the one who never seemed to miss the opportunity to keep his mouth shut and just drive.

Lewis has learned, Max has yet to figure it out.  Not sure he should take advice on how to react in public from the ill tempered elder Verstappen.

What happened?

Jacques Villeneuve,   1997 World Champion, now amateur musician and TV commentator,  suggested what almost everyone in the media has since Spa: that Verstappen moderate some of his borderline racing moves before he causes a big accident.

Villeneuve said "before someone gets killed" which is a turn of a phrase. Bombastic perhaps but not unheard of in media talk certainly.

When asked about it, Verstappen replied with what no amount of backpedalling and blaming Google translator can excuse amounts to "he should talk because he did kill somebody".

What he was referring to is the accident at the 2001 Australian GP in Melbourne which resulted in the death of a marshal Graham Beveridge who was struck by debris when Villeneuve's BAR collided with Ralf Schumacher's Williams.

Two things about this "counterpunch" by the Verstappen:   in 2001 he was three years old so it's not like he remembers it.  Someone from his management team told him to use that comeback for Villeneuve.

The second point is that that accident was a result of a driver, sitting in the middle of the track and driving erratically.

Sometimes it's better to let go and have your driving do the talking.

nRelate Posts Only