The next generation

Having written about the business and technology in and around the fast developing world of F1 for quite a while, I realise how important it is to make sure you’re on top of the talent you must have in your ranks just to stand still. This is why I’ve been a keen supporter of the ‘trades’ as well as the current and emerging generations of engineers working their way (perhaps unwittingly) into the sport – these days to F1 and Formula E.

This has been particularly noticeable not just from my time writing for a wide range of specialist and national publications, including the odd book, but also editing AV Magazine (mainly F1) and Electronics Weekly especially with Formula E, as its BrightSparks programme (with the support of RS Components) encourages interest in electronics/engineering from schools and universities.

The diversity of some of the brightest people I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with has filled me with huge optimism for the future occurring, as it does, alongside (but not dominated by) the doom and gloom surrounding all the chat about Brexit from a very Westminster-centric angle.

Don’t be fooled. The future for F1, from an engineering perspective at least, looks very promising indeed.

F1 tech for fast jets

 

Following on from Williams’ last technology transfer initiative, the Baby Pod, comes another interesting project which caught my attention a few days ago – a twin-seat, cockpit simulator.

Working in collaboration with BAE Systems, Williams Advanced Engineering says it will be used to develop the next generation of cockpit designs for future fast jets.

The state-of-the-art simulator  is revealed in a timelapse video of the build which took place at the Williams facility in Oxfordshire ahead of delivery to BAE Systems’ training and simulation facility at Warton, Lancashire. The simulator has modular features and interactive screens which can be reconfigured as required along with the sleek and ergonomic lines of a Formula 1 car.

Says Craig Wilson, Williams Advanced Engineering’s MD: “We are applying our capabilities across training and simulation, aerodynamics, electrification, manufacturing and lightweight and composite materials to ever more sectors, and defence is a natural fit for our team to apply their expertise.”

BAE’s also been working on Reaction Engines on a hypersonic rocket engine and developing a solar powered air vehicle with aerospace SME Prismatic Ltd.

The new environment can simulate a range of aircraft including the Hawk, Typhoon and other future aircraft concepts and forms part of a suite of simulation devices at BAE Systems’ Air site in Lancashire.

A timelapse video of the construction of the simulator by Williams Advanced Engineering is available to view and download at https://vimeo.com/288002352/9de9433790 

What an incredible win…

Back online, just… And what a time to be back.

As if Lewis Hamilton’s earlier fastest lap in Monza – his 40th fastest in Formula One, hadn’t wound up the tifosi already, what turned out to be his 68th career victory today – his sixth of the 2018 Formula One season and fifth at the Italian Grand Prix – really rubbed salt in the wound when we all thought the Ferraris had Monza stitched up.

Valtteri Bottas finished the race in P3 – his sixth podium of the season and 77th points finish.

Lewis Hamilton: “That was one tough race, but a really enjoyable one – I’m very, very happy. This afternoon has shaken off to be one of the best. It’s so close between Ferrari and us, this race was really down to who makes the least mistakes and who looks after their tyres the best. Valtteri did a great job extending his stint which enabled me to close up to Kimi. It was really great team work today, a great pit stop, great communication with the team.

“It was an intense first lap, we all got off to similar starts. When we went into Turn 4, I was a bit surprised that Sebastian chose the inside and did not go for the outside. That was my opportunity and I had to make sure that I was far enough alongside him. We touched for a brief moment and my car was slightly damaged afterwards, but fortunately I was able to continue and keep up with Kimi. Once I had closed the gap to Kimi on my second stint, I could see that his tyres were blistering, so I started to take care of my tyres and made sure that I didn’t blister mine.

“When Valtteri then came in for his pit stop it was a bit harder to keep up with Kimi, but I knew that my tyres were in better shape. I had to push as hard as I could to close the gap, particularly through the Lesmos and Ascari. But this track is really just incredible, it’s such a phenomenal circuit to drive with all its high-speed corners – and the fact that you can follow through the corners and the chicanes make it one of the best tracks in the world. It’s always a real privilege to win in Italy. But we need to keep our heads down, work hard and make sure that we put up a good fight in Singapore.”

 

Singapore

After competing in the quickest race in terms of duration, we’re now heading to the series’ longest race – the Singapore Grand Prix on 17 September at the 5.065-kilometre (3.147-mile) Marina Bay Street Circuit.

When Singapore came upon the Formula One scene, it was more than just a new venue in a stunning location. It was Formula One’s first night race and the first street circuit in Asia. The Singapore Grand Prix has grown in stature since, with drivers eagerly anticipating the 23-turn layout despite its challenging nature.

Powerful lighting illuminates the track in such luster that drivers say it’s clearer than in daytime, as there is no glare. And with those lights shimmering off the cars’ sinewy shapes as they shoot down the straights at 320 kph (200 mph) while sparks flare from their underbodies, fans are treated to a sensory assault that can only be found at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

The circuit’s walls are unforgiving, but in order for a driver to wring every ounce of speed from his racecar, he must dance with those walls while navigating the numerous bumps of the track’s surface.

If that’s not enough, Singapore in September is hot. Really hot. And for added measure, really humid. As much as the Singapore Grand Prix is run at night for aesthetic purposes, night time is the coolest time for drivers and spectators alike. Nonetheless, temperatures inside the racecar can reach 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Despite the tough track and equally tough environs, the Singapore Grand Prix is embraced by drivers. The electric atmosphere of the city and the beauty of Formula One at night, where exhaust flames and glowing brake discs provide a technicolour display that goes unnoticed in daylight hours, are appreciated by the drivers. It’s a modern-day Monaco.

By jove, he’s back in the lead

 

Well, there we are then. The tifosi were fuming, hence the booing but Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton turned his record-braking pole position into his fourth win at Monza to take the lead in the Drivers’ Championship in Ferrari’s back yard. Team mate Valterri Bottas finished today’s Italian Grand Prix in P2 – his first F1 podium in Monza, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third.

Hamilton delivered a perfect weekend – from the impressive pole position to a faultless race drive. Bottas bounced back from the disappointment of Spa in a great way; racing hard against Kimi Raikkonen, then picking off Williams’ Lance Stroll and Force India’s Esteban Ocon, before pulling away from the field for a very strong second-place finish.

“We have made the most of our opportunity this weekend and it was important to do so because we know Singapore will be more like a case of damage limitation for us (where Ferrari is expected to dominate). We will approach the next race with healthy scepticism, leave no stone unturned and aim to deliver every bit of performance that we can. If the Team delivers another perfect performance like this weekend, that will be a very good starting point,” said Toto Wolff.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo put in a cracking performance. Qualifying third but starting 16th after being given a grid penalty for using too many engine parts this season, he put in a brilliant recovery to 4th.

 

What a cracker

 

Lewis Hamilton claims the all-time record – beating Michael Schumacher – with the 69th pole of his career at Monza. Williams’ Lance Stroll starts in second, with Force India’s Esteban in third.

Conditions were terrible – the first session was stopped after just one lap for seven drivers and didn’t start again for more than two hours because of rain.

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s very hard to find the words to explain how I feel, I’m trying to figure it all out. It probably won’t sink in for a long time.

“It was an epic day, I feel truly blessed. The Red Bulls really made me work hard for the pole today, which I’m grateful for. The weather has obviously been incredibly tricky for us all. What a day to come here in this beautiful country with the English weather and to be massively challenged.

“It was very difficult to see out there, and very easy to make mistakes – as always in the rain. The second to last lap was OK at the beginning, but then I backed out of it, hoping that I’d get one more lap. There was a lot of pressure for that last lap – there could have been a red flag, there could have been a yellow flag. There was a lot of risk, but I gave it everything.”

 

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