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Brawn 'team' making progress with overtaking "force field"

NEWS STORY
31/03/2018

We're not sure what the punchline is, but as F1's technical boss, Ross Brawn, gives an update on his team's progress in overcoming the ongoing phenomenon that is preventing overtaking, we can't help but wonder; 'how many aerodynamicists does it take to change lightbulb?'.

Charged with coming up with a set of new rules that will improve the sport, the former Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes technical boss, not to mention world championship winning constructor with his own team, Brawn has assembled - at great expense (to the teams) - a veritable who's who of technical experts, many of whom he has previously worked with over the course of his career.

At present, the biggest challenge facing Brawn and his team is how to solve the sport's age-old problem with overtaking - or rather the lack of it.

While the majority of the great unwashed believe it is merely a case of removing all the wings or at least reducing the amount and size of them, and Mario Andretti calls on the sport to follow IndyCar's example and introduce a standard aero kit, Brawn insists that it is not that easy but that his boys are on the case.

"One of the things we've started, and we're now six to nine months into it, is a programme to understand how we can enable the cars to race each other more effectively," he said in an interview on Liberty Media's SiriusXM.

"We need to keep the aerodynamic performance at a high level," he continued, though the average fan would question that, claiming that the sport should favour mechanical grip over aero, "but we need to do it in a way that's more benign and more friendly to the cars around it.

"There's almost a force field that exists at the moment," he said, "a bubble around each car. And the car attacking it can't get near it, because as soon as it gets within 1.5 to 2.0s of the car in front, it loses so much performance. It can't get near.

"So we started the programme, and I'm really excited by what I'm seeing," he enthused.

"The front wing is for sure one area that is sensitive in both respects, in terms of the disturbance it creates, and then the sensitivity to the disturbance of the car in front. It's not the only area. There's all the furniture and bargeboards you see behind the front wheels that are equally as sensitive. And there are areas of the rear floor and rear aerodynamics which are sensitive," he admits.

While his masterplan won't be put in place until 2021, the Briton says some measures could be introduced before then.

"We're looking at the whole thing, and I don't think we should get into chopping one piece off without understanding all the implications of the impact we will have. So we're looking at a total solution, a holistic solution, of all the parts.

"We know the percentage drop in performance that comes as a car approaches another car, and already we've found ways of improving that in reducing the disturbed flow from the car in front, and reducing the sensitivity of the following car to that disturbed flow. We're trying to do it in a properly structured way, and that will be the solution we'll apply for 2021.

"Anything we can learn in the meantime, which we feel is safe and fair and correct to apply, will be done."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Canuck, 03/04/2018 21:34

"@Rock Doc - you have stated the obvious problem --"If the problem was so complicated that it takes all these AERO BRAINS to solve it". we need TRACTION BRAINS."

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2. Posted by Rock Doc, 02/04/2018 13:33

"It's the old car sales man trick again.

"Yes we are working on it and we know what to do ... you just have to sign up to the new Concorde Agreement first before we will tell you our answer. Trust us. We must know what we are doing be cause we get paid so much."

If the problem was so complicated that it takes all these aero brains to solve it, how come Indy seem to have come up with the answer (the one just about every fan has been screaming for) in a single roll of the dice. It may not be perfect but it is in the right direction.

"

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3. Posted by markscottuk, 02/04/2018 13:10

"What happened to the proposed split rear wing (CDG wing) that was meant to be used from 2008?"

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4. Posted by Spindoctor, 02/04/2018 7:35

"I'm rapidly losing my admiration for Brawn. It took his high-cost "super team" to discover what everyone else spotted 5 years ago. As Bill Clinton would say : "it's the aerodynamics stupid". Gis a job, I can do that.....

@NS Biker
There's no need to go "Full Indy". Simply provide a uniform front wing plan & aerofoil. No flaps twizzles etc. Completely ban end-plates, allow ground-effect, etc. Maybe none of those will work, but they're worth a try, surely, and before 2021 too.

"

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5. Posted by bfairey, 02/04/2018 3:18

"I have the answer just use Indy cars??"

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6. Posted by NS Biker, 01/04/2018 16:01

"Cutting costs won't work as teams will always spend however much they have (and more it seems). The team with the most $$$ will spend the most. The trick is to go faster with less, but you will still spend it all.
One of the challenges with the Indy car model is it gets rid of all of the manufacturers. Standard, chassis (that you buy) standard aero (that you buy) and standard engine (that you rent). No room for Ferrari, McLaren, Renault et. Also not so much money either.
But not to Worry, Ross B. and his team of experts are designing the new car for 2021. And it will look a lot like the Indy-Car model. Guess they also need to get rid of the notion that manufacturers design and build their own cars."

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7. Posted by Chris Roper, 01/04/2018 15:24

"''how many aerodynamicists does it take to change lightbulb?'. - None - aerodynamicists are redundant once you have achieved the speed of light."

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8. Posted by TestaRossa, 01/04/2018 8:49

"As mentioned already here in one of the posts a few days ago , the 2010 FIA study by Head and Byrne came with a solution for easier overtaking but the teams did not like to change the cars and nothing happened . Why should they want it now. "

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9. Posted by Canuck, 01/04/2018 1:33

"There you have it - engineering 101; you have to complicate the solution or else it isn't engineering. Engineers do not come with a magic wand, they come with a labyrinth of formulae with room full of computers to find out the variance on an electrical plug."

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10. Posted by Rhaycen, 31/03/2018 23:21

"Remove the wings, make the cars much smaller ... this isn't really rocket science.

They are driving cars the size of a Limo and create enormous wakes of disturbed air. "

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11. Posted by Ro, 31/03/2018 22:39

"Come on MR Brawn, You know what the problem is. Just fix it and give us all some real racing. Itsthe wings, nothing else. F1 RIP"

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12. Posted by Greg, 31/03/2018 19:18

"@nonickname. Fully agree. If indycar can do ut why mot F1. Are we so stuck on the job of the aero gurus that we forget the basics. 1.5 to 2.0s gap and untouchable. What rubbish. How can you ever overtake. Get rid of the aero and back to simpler front ends. Its makung me tbunk insy car street track circuits an the likes of laguna would be better to watch."

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13. Posted by nonickname, 31/03/2018 18:35

"Lesson 1, which applies to the final sentence...you are all morons. Take off the wings, get rid of the scientists and wind tunnels and in one move get the overtaking and racing back and cut the costs by around 40%"

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