Gary Anderson: How to build an F1 car floor out of two - The Race

Gary Anderson: How to build an F1 car floor out of two – The Race

It’s good to see that with costs capping, Formula 1’s biggest teams are now having to learn to deal with a shortage of spare parts, which means running repairs have become the norm. But for small teams, it has always been a reality.

After both Mercedes cars suffered extensive damage following the crash of Lewis Hamilton and then George Russell during Q3 in Austria, the team had to carry out cut and close work on the floor of the one of his cars.

As technical director Mike Elliott put it, Mercedes had to “build every other floor” because it simply didn’t have enough shiny new spares to bolt new ones onto every car. This meant that the traveling composite team had to do fairly extensive repair work.

Carbon composite repairs are never easy, especially on the track. But most teams will carry carbon, a vacuum pump and an electric blanket to apply the heat needed to trigger the resin system.

With something like a floor, it will have two carbon skins – one on either side of a central honeycomb or foam infill. If you’re going to put two together, you’ll stagger the joint line where you cut the skins, place the two parts in place, and overlap those joints with a new strip of woven carbon that’s already impregnated with the resin system you’re using.

After that, you cover the repaired area with a breathable cloth. Then a plastic sheet is glued all around the perimeter of the repair. This will have a connector for the vacuum pump inlet.

You then start the pump and make sure you can vacuum that area and then wrap it in the blanket to generate the heat needed to turn the system from resin to liquid and rest for a few hours.

When everything is done, you remove the plastic sheet and the breather cloth and put everything away. Yes, you increased the weight slightly but now you have a piece you can use.

Looking at the photographs of the floor, you can see that reinforcement pieces have been added. These will likely have been added to increase the stiffness of the floor to reduce floor flexing, which can very quickly lead to porpoising.

These are not part of the cut and close repair, and we could also see them the previous race at Silverstone, but it shows that changes can be made without spending a fortune.

Adding strips to the floor like this to reinforce it is a very similar process to the one mentioned above. But that would probably have been done in the workshops rather than on the track.

Basically, you’re just adding more material to increase stiffness. With that will come a small increase in weight, so again that’s the trade-off we often talk about – weight versus aerodynamic gain. These changes could add 1 kg to the floor, which is really too much of an increase.

I have to say the finish detail along the outer edge of the floor where it changes from carbon (black) to a different material (silver), which I marked with a red line, looks more like what I got would expect to see a historic F1 event at Silverstone rather than a 2022 F1 grand prix.

Comparison lines of floors W13

I know Mercedes has been very busy trying to find solutions to its porpoising and rebound issues, but that sharp outside floorboard that it created right in front of the rear tire could very easily be a major part of Their problems.

Back at Jordan in 1993 when I was Technical Director we had rear tire degradation issues with the Jordan 193. It was the first year of narrower track regulations and we went to a longer wheelbase short to match that. It turned out to be the wrong decision and we had to dig deep to try and recover.

Over the course of a weekend, just before leaving for the last test of the season at Estoril just before the last races of the season, I decided that we needed to move the rear wheels back. This would increase the wheelbase, but more importantly allow us to execute a more forward weight distribution.

Xpb 1033516 Hires 2

The big question was how much? This was decided very quickly and easily by finding out what length of clutch shaft our manufacturer could make during that weekend. We went for 15 cm.

Our machine shop set about cutting a spacer out of a fairly large piece of aluminum and making longer studs between the engine and the gearbox. Meanwhile, the composites department cut and closed two floors, as Mercedes did in Austria. Who knows, it might even be the same guy who left Jordan for Mercedes many years ago!

Meanwhile, a few of us did the same thing with the engine cover. It may not have looked pretty, but Monday night it was on the truck heading to Estoril.

It took a bit of running to get the most out of the set-up, but the positive was that both drivers were happy and the car now made more sense to them, and we reduced the rear tire degradation significantly.

I guess all that says is: where there is a will, there is a way. And maybe the cost cap will force the big teams in particular to get a little more ingenious in the near future rather than endlessly relying on making new parts and throwing them at the car?

#Gary #Anderson #build #car #floor #Race

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