Topics: Monaco Grand Prix, BMW-Sauber
May 24, 2007
BMW Sauber technical director Willy Rampf revealed just how different the cars will be this weekend as he explained how the team gears up for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix. He added that the Hinwil operation has been hard at work at producing additions that will be seen on the F1.07 maybe just at this event.
Downforce is the best word to describe the Monaco challenge. Enthusiasts said that the challenge is the most famous on the Formula One schedule. This is partly because it resembles a unique test for both the engineers and the drivers. The track is bombarded with close confines and tight turns to present serious challenge to the teams.
“Monaco produces the lowest average speeds of any race over the course of the year," he explained, "There is no start-finish straight as such, which means top speed plays a very subordinate role. It’s more or less a case of one corner following the next, and this highlights clear priorities.”
Equipped with its supercomputer, Albert2, BMW Sauber has been working on its Monaco enhancements at the same time generating updates for other circuits on the schedule. "Albert2 generally plays an important role in aerodynamics development; while a large number of parts are developed using computer-aided airflow simulation prior to testing in the wind tunnel," Rampf explained. "The work of the supercomputer is particularly prominent in the development of brake ducts. These are highly complex components which can only be optimized to a very limited degree in the wind tunnel, as the temperature of the brake discs cannot be simulated there.”
“This circuit places heavy loads on the brakes, since the lack of long straights barely gives the brake discs any time to cool. As a result, the cars need large brake ducts. The modest average speeds mean that airflow through the radiator is also reduced and, to make things worse, running maximum downforce makes cooling less efficient. With the front wing set at such a steep angle, some of the air is diverted to the point where it does not flow into the radiator.” He added, “Monaco demands the heaviest steering maneuvers of any track on the calendar, which is why we are also using completely new front suspension components, including new wishbones, push-rods and track rods.”
It is not only new parts like the enhanced BMW cold air intake that have a pivotal role in the specialized surroundings. The team’s engineers and drivers need to know how best to set-up the car to struggle the 'urban furniture' that comes as part of the much-anticipated event.
“The drivers often tend to skirt over the kerbstones, so we raise the ground clearance of the cars slightly and use softer settings for the springs and dampers," Rampf continued, "That also benefits traction under acceleration out of the many low-speed corners. The circuit is also open to normal road traffic, of course, which means it is pretty dirty and offers low levels of grip as a result.”
Separately, the BMW Sauber is set to launch brand new power steering system at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. The device was set to make its debut in Spain but, for unidentified reasons, the introduction was derailed. The launch of the new steering system is to perk up the feel of the car from the driver's perspective. Additionally, it was cleared for use after a successful test at Paul Ricard last week.
The power steering system is only the first of a number of new innovations scheduled to be introduced in the F1.07 in Monte Carlo. "We have developed a new front wing generating maximum downforce, which we used for the first time - successfully - in Barcelona. We will modify this wing again for Monaco," said technical director Willy Rampf.
"Plus, we will be introducing totally new front brake ducts and modifications to the rear bodywork, he added. "In addition, we will also use for the first time a new power steering that provides more feedback to the drivers."