Trying to learn the intricacies of what goes into a 200mph F1 car can be a mindboggling task. Nevertheless, you can always ask the top teams competing in F1 to get the inside scoop.
When people think of F1 technology, they often think of V8 engines, sticky tires and the KERS, or kinetic energy retention system. However, though still widely used, these are old technologies.
There are newer technologies that F1 teams are incorporating into their race cars. Here are some of these technologies:
The first is the helmet. When racing, it’s good to be able to hear what other racers are saying. This is the reason why F1 teams are using helmets with customized earplugs. The helmets are also equipped with a microphone that can cancel noise. The microphone can be found in the crash hat. This microphone serves a dual purpose by suppressing the noises made by the driver and by the car itself.
The second is the cockpit. The cockpit is equipped with an electronic device which manages the radio frequencies. Such a device weighs barely 200g. During a race, F1 teams are provided with distinct frequencies. There could be around 40 frequencies for each team, including the mechanics.
Different telemetry frequencies also add up to this number. The device is important since frequencies could be at least a thousand, including those of the broadcasters. As such, the team must decide on a strategic frequency that FIA broadcast is be able to pick up.
The third is the air box. Prior to the big race, 5 cameras will be installed on the car, though only 1 of them is mandatory. The required camera weighs less than an iPod Touch. Such a camera can be found on the upper side of the car’s air box and at behind the driver’s head. The cameras will have single lens shooting at 240fps, representing the limitation of our visual perception. These cameras are very handy when the race car is running at a speed of about 190mph. Captured images are transported to the interface unit which will convert these images into ‘world feeds’. F1 fans all over the world are then able to see the same images in real-time.
The fourth is the gearbox. When a driver shifts gear, the change must be fed into the ECU or the electronic control unit. All F1 cars are using the system called the drive by wire. The gearbox would to register these changes happening at 1 per 10,000th per second. The information will be sent back to the car’s ECU. With this, the gear selection of the driver would be caught on camera.
The fifth is the wheels. Each F1 car has four sensors placed on each corner. These sensors pick up information from its wheels. When details are picked up, they will be sent over to the ECU. There will be two wires in the network that will transmit the information towards the FIA’s network.
The sixth is the steering wheel. There is a button that boosts KERS on the steering wheel. This is important when the driver has to brake where extra 80bhp is sent over to the wheels at the back. The batteries also have sensors detecting the charge levels and storing information on the car’s ECU.