Formula 1 & Motorsports

New rules for 2011 Formula 1

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

With the delayed 2011 Formula 1 season now under way, the talking can finally stop and the drivers can show their worth on the track. It wouldn’t be a new F1 season without a number of new and amended rules & regulations. This article will hopefully summarise the regulation changes that will have a significant impact on all of the 2011 field.

Adjustable rear wings
Drivers are able to adjust the angle of their rear wing, through a set range, with a button on the steering wheel. However, this system is not available to drivers at all times… It can be used at any time in practice and qualifying, but during the race can only be activated when a driver is less than one second behind another car at pre-determined points on the track. The system is deactivated as soon as the driver touches the brake pedal and is also un-available for any period that the driver is on wet weather tyres.  Any other driver induced method of altering aerodynamics is banned – this includes previously used systems like the adjustable front wing, F-ducts and double diffusers.

KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) have been reintroduced in 2011 after their temporary suspension in 2010. KERS work by taking the waste energy generated, storing it and turning it into additional power for acceleration, which is made available to the driver in fixed quantities per lap via a steering wheel-mounted ‘boost button’.

There are principally two types of system – electrical and mechanical. Electrical systems use a motor-generator incorporated in the car’s transmission which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. Mechanical systems capture braking energy and use it to turn a small flywheel which can spin at up to 80,000 rpm. When extra power is required, the flywheel is connected to the car’s rear wheels. In contrast to an electrical KERS, the mechanical energy doesn’t change state and is therefore more efficient. There is one other option available – hydraulic KERS, where braking energy is used to accumulate hydraulic pressure which is then sent to the wheels when required. In combination with the adjustable rear wings, KERS is designed to boost overtaking, thus making for a better spectacle.

Wheel tethers
In the past here have been several instances of wheels coming loose, which poses an obvious  safety risk. The FIA has now ruled that two wheel tethers must be used and contained in separate suspension members.

Italian company Pirelli take over as the sport’s sole tyre supplier. Each driver is only allowed 11 sets of dry-weather tyres per race. Drivers will receive three sets of tyres to use in the practice sessions and must return one set after each of the two sessions, the remaining 8 sets will be available for the rest of the race weekend, with two set being returned after qualifying. As before drivers are required to use two differing tyre compounds in each race.

Gearboxes now need to last for five race weekends, instead of the previous four.

107% qualifying rule
During the first phase of qualifying, any driver who fails to set a lap within 107 percent of the fastest time will not be allowed to start the race. This rule may be overlooked, if the driver has been able to set an adequate time in one of the practice sessions.

Team orders
The clause in the sporting regulations banning team orders has been removed.

Time will only tell if these rule alterations will make for a more entertaining viewing experience. But, don’t be surprised if you see more rule changes at the start of the 2012 season.

Article by James Jones

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ScooterGirls Inc., introduces fashionable protective wear – its about time someone did it!!!!

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

ScooterGirls military jacket1

ScooterGirls, Inc., a Los Angeles-based apparel company is scooting into Atlanta to preview its innovative and exciting “GoGo Gear”, the first fashion forward, highly styled, protective gear for female scooter and motorcycle riders. Designed to appeal to today’s image conscious, contemporary scooter and motorcycle enthusiasts, GoGo Gear solves the age old problem of finding attractive and affordable protective wear.

According to ScooterGirls founder/CEO Arlene Battishill, “One of the main reasons women do not wear protective clothing when riding is they don’t like the way traditional gear looks or fits. GoGo Gear addresses these issues by providing gear that looks and fits like fashionable overcoats of the type that can be worn for business, social and recreational activities.

ScooterGirls has created a fashionable, fully armored, abrasion resistant and highly reflective coat for today’s woman on the go, to be introduced in two lines. The initial preview will showcase GoGo Gear which emphasizes cutting-edge, feminine outerwear with robust interior engineering that includes abrasion resistant fabric, body armor in the back, shoulder and elbow areas, and reflective details for being seen in low visibility conditions. ScooterGirls will follow the GoGo Gear launch with its “360 retroreflective” line designed to provide enhanced visibility in low-light and night-time riding conditions. The “360 line” is the quintessential commuter line: wear it during the day and then reverse it at night for maximum visibility.

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Formula 1 to phase in hybrid engines

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

F1 hybrid image

Formula 1 officials have announced plans to phse in new hybrid transmission system starting in 2009. Unlike hybrid systems found in regular cars, however, the so-called Kinetic Energy Recovery System (or KERS) doesn’t store up energy in a battery, but instead captures kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration using a flywheel mechanism. That apparently not only makes it particularly well-suited to Formula One cars due to their repeated deceleration, but also has the added benefit of being significantly lighter than a battery-based hybrid system, with it adding just 55 pounds to the weight of the car.

Information and images from gizmodo.

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Laser scanning in Formula 1 – who knew?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

With the introduction of two new tracks this Formula 1 season (Valencia; August 24, and Singapore; September 28), comes new advanced research to ensure design teams have the best and most up-to-date information to hand prior to the race. In an article published in The Times (15th March), Tom Clarkson explains the detailed surface characteristion process to be completed before teams hit the two new tracks this Summer. As teams have yet to experience the tracks, their technicians will shortly be laser scanning the road’s surface detailing its width and profile to help select tyres and fine-tune car set-up. A laser scanning and GPS system will be mounted on a truck that collects a data “cloud” of around 80 million points; used to create a drive simulation programme and virtual map. In one of the most expensive sports, it is not surprising that teams are turning to even more sophisticated technologies to gain that competitive edge. With the World Cycling Championships in April, will National Cycling teams turn to laser scanning in the future?

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Hamilton may be crowned champion because rival cars’ fuel was cooler!

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

On Sunday, after the final grand prix of the season, McLaren notified the FIA of their intention to appeal against the steward’s decision not to punish Williams and BMW Sauber for their low fuel temperature, recorded at each of their respective pit stops. It has been suggested that a low fuel temperature can improve performance, so what are the mechanics behind this claim?

The FIA stipulate a maximum variation in fuel temperature of -10C from the prevailing temperature on the track. Heidfeld’s, Kubica’s and Rosberg’s fuel temperature varied between 12C and 14C lower than ambient recorded during their respective pitstops. Does that mean they gained an added advantage on the track?

A cooler temperature means a denser gasoline fuel. This allows more molecules to transfer from the fuel storage to the fuel tank in a same time period. It also means that the potential energy is higher for a given amount of fuel of the same volume. Fluids are known to expand upon heating creating a less dense material due to an increase in the distance between molecules. Therefore we can expect the cars to have a slight power advantage before temperature would return to ambient conditions. What this equates to in terms of lap speed has not been published in the public domain but must certainly be known in Formula 1. It is expected that the power advantage would last for three laps decreasing overall race lap time by around a second.

Would this have made a difference in the Championship race? Only the stewards can decide. It is certain that any advantage in Formula 1 must be considered significant due to the small differences between podium places. If only the same were true for fluids ingested by a human, then cool drinks would not only be refreshing but actually benefit performance.

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