the-south-asian Life & Times                       Oct - Dec 2011




Editor's Note


 Cover Story
Formula 1 in India

  F1 Overview

 Force India F1 Team

 Men Inside VJM04

 SALT interviews
 Force India Drivers 
 Adrian & Paul

 F1 Trivia 


  'Tiger' Pataudi

 Real Issues

  Siachen - A Hymn
 to Peace

 From Battlefield to
 Peace Park?


 New Mexico 

 Space Exploration

 Mars 2011 













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Formula One car – a jet fighter on asphalt

Action at Pit Stop

Teams spend tens of millions of dollars on research and development of Formula One car in the field each year. Most of the technological progress in Formula One is centred on one area: aerodynamics. The fundamental principle of Formula One aerodynamics is to create the maximum amount of downforce for the minimal amount of drag.

The most interesting innovation has been the introduction of ‘moveable aerodynamics’. The driver is now able to make limited adjustments to the front wing from the cockpit during a race. The driver has the ability to fine tune many elements of the race car from within the machine using the steering wheel, which can be used to change gears, apply rev limiter, adjust fuel/air mix, change brake pressure, and call the radio.

Driver fitness   

Formula One drivers are perhaps the most hardened athletes in terms of stamina and endurance. Their bodies have to adapt to the exacting requirements of speeds reaching 370kmph and withstand the vast loadings that Formula One cars are capable of creating, anything up to a sustained 3.5 g of cornering force, for full race distances. Many drivers use specially designed 'rigs' that enable them to specifically develop the muscles in the neck and chest, to withstand cornering forces.


The fuel used in F1 cars is fairly similar to ordinary petrol, but with tight controls over the blends. Power-boosting additives cannot be used. There are 50 different blends, tuned for the demands of different circuits and different weather conditions. The FIA fuel regulations are extremely stringent. Each fuel blend must be submitted to the FIA prior to the race, for approval of its composition and physical properties. A 'fingerprint' of the approved fuel is then compared to the actual fuel being used at the event by the FIA's mobile testing laboratory.


Pit stops – A Perfect Choreography 

A Pit stop is breath-taking in its speed and efficiency. It is a carefully executed and orchestrated choreography. A precisely timed pit stop is vital to a team’s success.  Tyre change, parts replacement, and wing adjustment happens in seconds. Routine tyre stops can be over in well under five seconds. One mechanic removes and refits the nut with a high-speed airgun, one removes the old wheel, and one fits the new one! Other mechanics may make other adjustments during the stop. The mechanics step back and raise their hands as soon as their work is done.

Logistics – A War-Like Troop Movement     

To get all team equipment to the circuit – is a mammoth logistics exercise – nothing short of troop movement in a military campaign. Each team competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship moves every couple of weeks to a new destination for races, and travels, on the average, around 100,000 miles a year. Apart from transportation, hotel accommodation (a team can require anything up to 100 rooms), secure data links, and team’s facilities at the circuit need to be organised. For the European races, most teams have their own transport vehicles that carry the team equipment, which includes spare engines, spare chassis and many other spares, apart from the usual load of cars and tools. But for transcontinental races, equipment is flown out in cargo planes in specially designed cargo crates.


Read the entire article in the print edition of The South Asian Life & Times


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