January 17, 2008

Keyword: EBS

The media have been talking a lot about the disappearance of traction control in 2008, and have tried to evaluate its impact on next season’s performances. They very often forget to mention the loss of another electronic driver aid that is at least as important: the EBS (engine braking system).
When a car comes into a corner the biggest risk of a spin under heavy braking comes from locking up the rear wheels. In this case, there is no miracle remedy to regain control of the car. For several seasons the engineers worked on a way to increase performance with a system that optimised deceleration, while reducing the risk of locking up at the rear.
The first fruitful attempt was an entirely mechanical one. A spring placed on the master cylinder delayed the action of the callipers when the driver hit the brakes. It was an efficient solution but not flexible enough. The design offices went back to work and came up with a fully electronic system called EBS. Thanks to the sensors on the rear wheels the ECU was able to detect the first signs of locking up. When this happened the engine was immediately ordered to accelerate a little to avoid an off-track excursion. This philosophy became generalised to the extent that seeing smoke coming from the tyres under heavy braking became very rare.

This reliable and efficient device can no longer be managed by the 2008 common ECU whose functions have been reduced. The EBS was discretely shelved after the Brazilian Grand Prix. It could make a comeback but this time as an entirely mechanical system, which would obviously be less efficient.

The absence of traction control, a crucial help under reacceleration, combined with the loss of the EBS, which is very important in the deceleration phase, is going to make the drivers’ lives even more difficult in 2008.

from ing-renaultf1.com


  1. They are compensated well-enough to have "difficult lives."

    -So Sayeth the Freep

  2. gladiatorial considerations aside, it's an interesting aspect of what the ECU was doing which as not been talked about much. But, now...how does that fit into the whole "spy scandal" bit about the Ferrari mechanical proportioning/delay valve (for lack of correct term) vs the Mclaren hydraulic one? If they were doing the trick with the ECU, why did they have that system on the cars as well?


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