Posted on January 26, 2014


We have now seen 2014 F1 cars launched by six of the 11 F1 teams, with Toro Rosso due to reveal its challenger – now powered by the same Renault engine as the sister Red Bull team – due to launch on Monday. Already we have seen lots of different interpretations of the radically different technical regulations, particular in the nose section of the car. So here is the initial feedback of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams, Jaguar Racing and Toyota. McLaren MP4-29 McLaren are the first to release pictures of the More…

Posted on August 6, 2013


Following on from criticism from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo that Mercedes’ form over the five races since its controversial Pirelli test in May damages the credibility of the championship, we’ve done a couple of graphs analysing the car’s race tyre performance over the last three events, with the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan. In the first graph we compare Lewis Hamilton’s lap times with those of Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. The vertical axis is the lap time, (faster lap times towards the bottom, slower lap times higher More…

Posted on March 19, 2013


Innovation in F1 is not limited to new technology on the cars or in communications devices, it even extends to the clothing worn by mechanics in the pit lane. And this weekend in the heat of Malaysia it should come into its own. A new material developed from high-tech sportswear used by top tennis stars and other athletes is now helping to keep race mechanics cool and less tired when working in the pit lane in intense temperatures. Human Performance Engineering, a company set up by Nick Harris, the man who trained top drivers like Mark Webber, David Coulthard and More…

Posted on December 27, 2012


On a technical level there were some interesting innovations on the cars this year as the F1 teams and engineers worked hard to get around regulation changes. The most significant change was the governing body, the FIA, wanting to restrict the practice of exhausts blowing into the diffuser area of the floor. During 2011 teams had adopted increasingly extreme solutions and this had resulted in huge gains in down force. Red Bull was dominant in 2011 because it optimized this practice. For 2012, engines were not allowed to be mapped in such a way that they continued to pump out More…

Posted on December 3, 2012


Two innovators were honoured at the Autosport Awards last night as recipients of the Pioneering and Innovation Awards, sponsored by Tata Communications. Professor Sid Watkins, who passed away earlier this year, was celebrated for his contribution to safety in F1 and motorsport generally via the FIA Medical Team. 1996 world champion Damon Hill was there to sum up Watkins and the Team’s contribution, “F1 has made incredible progress, and to see where it came from, and where it has now got to, is a testament to Sid’s incredible determination and work.” “He was the last person you would want to More…

Posted on September 25, 2012


The constant push for Innovation in F1 always needs to be tempered with the requirement for the cars to be reliable. And it’s also vital in a fast evolving competition like F1 that any development steps the teams bring to the cars do actually provide the boost in performance they are intended to. In Singapore we saw both sides of this as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton suffered a gearbox failure and lost what looked like a certain race win, which would have allowed him to close the gap on championship leader Fernando Alonso. It was the fourth retirement on technical grounds More…

Posted on September 10, 2012


[Updated] Something very unusual happened during Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix – the telemetry failed in the Ferrari garage between laps 17 and 24, so the team had no information from the cars on temperatures, pressures or any of the vital information on tyre wear. As this was in the window for making the one and only tyre stop of the race, this was quite a critical issue. An electrical problem had knocked it out. Luckily they were still transmitting data back to the team’s factory in Maranello and so the engineers on the pit wall had to liaise with them More…

Posted on July 23, 2012


F1 technicians are always in search of detailed innovations, which will give a competitive edge over their rivals, especially where the rules are not clearly worded. At Hockenheim this weekend at the German Grand Prix, we saw an episode where an innovation from Red Bull and its engine partner Renault was allowed through because it was not covered by the rules, so even though the FIA’s own technical delegate Jo Bauer, felt he had found something in the engine mapping which was not allowed, when he referred it to the race stewards on Sunday they felt they had no choice More…

Posted on July 22, 2012


The qualifying in Hockenheim showed for a second race in succession that Ferrari and Red Bull has an advantage in wet conditions when it comes to finding grip. One of the leading engineers from a rival team suggested to me in Silverstone that both teams have “found something” to generate front tyre temperature and this has undoubtedly played a part in the outcome of the last two qualifying sessions. There is a limited amount of possibilities of what could be happening as the rules don’t allow many options here but clearly heat is being generated in the front tyres from More…

Posted on July 4, 2012


Formula 1 will move into a more environmentally-friendly era when the next generation engine formula is introduced in two years’ time and amid on-going attempts by teams to improve their own sustainability and efficiency Lotus has unveiled its new solar-powered simulator building. The construction of the new state-of-the-art race facility adjacent to the main building at its Enstone base, which has been fully operational for the past few months and was revealed to the media this week, has been used as a platform to further reduce the team’s dependency on traditional energy sources, which has been ongoing since the Genii More…

Posted on July 1, 2012


This month’s JA on F1 Podcast features a fascinating discussion on Innovation in Formula 1. We’re really excited about this one and hope you are too. If you like to think about all the amazing ideas that go into this sport and about where the sport might be headed in the future then this show is for you. In a packed half hour, which you can download and listen to at your leisure, we’ve got all kinds of insights from some innovative engineers and some great thinkers. Lotus F1 technical director James Allison reveals what happens behind the scenes when More…

Posted on May 30, 2012


Every now and then an F1 team puts out a video that really gets you thinking. Sauber has issued a video which gives a really good insight into how all the technology and components are packaged into an F1 car. They’ve done something very innovative: cutting a car in half, so you see exactly how the engine, the fuel cell and even the driver fit in. Everything is about getting the weight low to the ground. The driver’s backside is only 10mm off the track surface, for example! Sergio Perez lends a hand to show how unnatural the position of More…

Posted on May 28, 2012


[Updated]Formula 1 avoided a controversy on Sunday night when a threatened protest against the floor of the Red Bull car of race winner Mark Webber and fourth place Sebastian Vettel did not materialise. A possible protest was discussed by management figures from McLaren and Ferrari on a couple of occasions, with Martin Whitmarsh meeting Stefano Domenicali in the Ferrari motorhome and the two teams technical directors also discussing the matter in the window of opportunity in which protests can be lodged post race. There was a lot of talk, but no action, with suggestions from some quarters that it was More…

Posted on May 18, 2012


“Formula 1 is all about innovation,” (Ross Brawn, Team Principal Mercedes) There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in F1 at the moment, with the preparation of the new powertrains, which are set to come in under new rules for 2014. These feature small capacity 1.6 litre turbo engines with a high degree of hybrid energy regeneration, stored electrically. There are over 120 sensors on an F1 car and managing the data and control systems is the Electronic Control Unit, which is designed and manufactured for F1 by McLaren Electronic Systems. In Barcelona at the weekend MES and its More…



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