WP2122 Formula 1
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|E. Günther, S. Küchler, B. Malpricht, F. Schönfeld|
If you look at a Formula 1 race for the first time, it is easy to believe that the cars, which fly at over 300km / h, 70 laps for 1.5h over a distance of about 5km do most of the work. The task of the drivers, it seems, is only to accelerate, steer and brake as late as possible, but the physical effort is almost intangible. Driving through curves at such a high speed, the G-forces increase by a factor of 5, and in some cases by a factor of 50 in the event of an accident. In addition, the races take place all over the world – from 50 degrees in the desert to stormy rain in Europe. Depending on the weather conditions, the drivers lose up to 5 liters of fluid and have to keep their reaction and attention at the maximum. All these aspects and facts raise the question of who is the bigger machine: the car or the driver. And how does a person have to train his psyche and, above all, his body to withstand such stresses for hours on end?
Steering a Formula 1 car to top speed is not for everyone. From the interview with an untrained test person attached below (in the context of a campaign and under simplified presettings of the F1 car), it is clear that especially during braking and in the corners, mainly the head and neck muscles and also the arms cause great difficulties to withstand the G-forces. This means that due to the physical centrifugal forces in long curves, the driver is sometimes exposed to 5 to 6 times his own body weight. In order to be able to counteract these G forces, the human being therefore requires certain physical conditions, which are associated with a lengthy and high continuous frequency of intensive training.
Among other things, in terms of physical requirements in this high-performance sport, nutrition is not to be neglected. The driver’s body weight must be strictly regulated, because every additional kilogram changes the interaction between the driver and the car, which would automatically worsen lap times by up to three hundredths. Four years ago, regulations required drivers to be as light as possible in order to put more speed on the track. However, this can be very dangerous because a rider (especially when racing in the heat) normally loses 4 kilograms per race, and that’s just through fluid loss. Therefore, the regulations have been adjusted to also relieve a bit of psychological pressure on the athletes.
In addition to muscular strength, proper cardiovascular fitness is equally important. After all, a very efficiently working heart becomes an immense advantage on the track, when the average can be around 170 beats per minute and a race usually lasts 90 minutes. In addition, there is a healthy vital capacity, which is also quite important under the helmet.
But the aforementioned muscle strength is also part of the physical requirements for riders. The body center is a main component of strength training, so that one can operate the car under high speed and one is capable of counteracting the G-forces. In addition, a strong core can help transfer power to the legs for braking. Meanwhile, leg strength must be trained to use the brake pedal at all, as a normal person might only manage about 40% brake pressure on the pedal. Furthermore, you should of course have very strong neck muscles to prevent your head from permanently swinging around in the cockpit. In addition, physical fitness plays a very important role when it comes to surviving an accident unscathed, as it allows you to better cope with the impact forces.
As we already know, the driver is subject to great stress during the race, so it is even more important to be fit. Desto trained a driver is, the more he can concentrate on the actual driving of the car during the race and is not disturbed by outside forces. The very first thing you need for this is a very pronounced basic endurance. Drivers increase this primarily by going running, swimming and cycling. Various interval methods are usually used here. After the rider has completed his cardio training in the morning, the path usually leads him to strength training, where specific bottleneck factors are trained in addition to general strength training. The primary bottleneck factor here is the neck musculature, which must hold the head in the face of sustained centrifugal forces. For this purpose, for example, latex bands are attached to the head and pulled to simulate G-forces or a helmet with additional weight is worn during neck extensions.
In order not to lose steering ability in strong curves, shoulders and arms must also be specifically trained. This is done by using a special steering wheel connected to a weight puller. Another exercise to improve grip strength is weight catching. Here, a weight disc is repeatedly thrown up and caught with one hand. Since not only the head, but also the entire body must be supported, and since there is a risk of malpositioning due to sitting so much, the trunk must not be neglected. Basic strength training exercises are used for this purpose. Above all, deadlifts, back extensions, various abdominal exercises, bench presses or rowing variations are used here. Once the strength training is complete, the reaction speed is worked on. The most important thing here is hand-eye coordination, since the rider often has only tenths of a second to make decisions. This is trained through varying exercises, which usually involve tennis balls. E.G.: The driver faces his trainer- the driver’s hands are above those of the trainer, who randomly drops tennis balls that the driver must catch with one hand. In order to be able to remember racing tactics, instructions or special track changes during the stress of the race, memory is also trained after reaction. A popular exercise here is playing memory while the rider is in the plank position. The athlete must also work on his coordination, which involves riding a unicycle, juggling or balancing on a gym ball.
Once the physical and mental training is complete, the rider goes into a simulator to memorize the course of the next race, ie: Corner distances, braking points, shift points, etc., must come from muscle memory, as the laps must be driven perfectly to have a chance in the race.
In Formula 1, aerodynamics plays a decisive role and directly influences the design of the car. The task facing the race car engineers every year is to design a car that has as little air resistance as possible and also experiences as much downforce as possible. In doing so, however, they must not be outside the regulations, which change year after year.
Anti-compression pressure The contact pressure is responsible for pushing the car onto the road and thus prevents or enables curves to be driven through at a very high speed without centrifugal force pushing the car out of the curve. The contact pressure is generated by the numerous provisions on the car – so-called contact points. The main factors here are the front and rear wings and the entire underbody of the car, including the rear diffuser. In addition, there are several small auxiliary parameters in the form of small wings and attachments on the car that increase the contact pressure. However, these also serve to make the air move around the car in a more controlled and aerodynamic manner.
The individual contact pressure points have been designed asymmetrically. It is particularly noticeable that the contact points have different lengths on the top and bottom. This unusual design plays an important role in aerodynamics: as soon as the air arrives at a contact point, it has to divide, and thus glides along the top and bottom. It is noticeable that the air is significantly faster on the curved underside than on the top.
According to Bernoulli’s law, faster air means lower pressure on the surface of the wing. Thus, not only is there a difference in the velocity of the air on the upper and lower surfaces of the contact point, but there is also a difference in pressure. This pressure difference ensures that the air creates a negative pressure that causes the car to adhere to the road.
Air resistance The air resistance that acts on the Formula 1 car is made up of three components: The pressure drag, the flow drag and the frictional drag. The pressure drag makes up the largest part of the air resistance. It is significantly influenced by how large the car is or how much surface area is opposed to the air. The origin of the pressure resistance, is the air that exerts a pressure on the car as it goes around it. The second largest component is the flow resistance. This is the air that flows through the interior and engine compartment or under the car. The smallest drag component, is frictional drag. This is created by the air creating friction on the surface of the car.
Formula air resistance
FL= 0.5 * QL * CW * A * v^2
FL = air resistance in force (N) QL = density of air (kg/m^3) A = cross-sectional area of car (m^2) v = speed of car ((m/s)^2) CW = The CW value is the drag coefficient, a dimensionless measure of the flow resistance of a body around which a fluid flows.
Example calculation A 1.6m high and 1.9m wide car is driving along a country road at 20 m/s with the convertible open on a twilight sunny evening at a relaxed 20 degrees. The CW value is 0.4. How high is the force with which the car must fight against the air resistance ?