Great Britain 2012 Qualifying

POST SESSION COMMENTARY

During the red flag conditions of qualifying, Lotus took advantage of the time to make repairs to Kimi’s KERS system. The integral KERS control unit and battery pack is located under the fuel cell. As such, access to it requires removal of the skid planks, floor, and T-tray. With the floor and T-tray removed, we are able to see that the KERS coolant radiator is located on the right-hand lower side of the monocoque, next to the fuel cell location where the KERS electronics are located. The lowest two rows of the cooling fins actually appear quite deformed and damaged. It is common for radiator cooling fins to be deformed from impact with tire marbles, pebbles, and other on-track road debris.

Lotus KERS Coolant Radiator

Lotus KERS Coolant Radiator

Great Britain 2012 Free Practice 2

POST SESSION COMMENTARY

00:06:15          Button reports a “false neutral” on entry into turn 1. Engineer acknowledges issue and informs him Glock is the next car behind in traffic and that there is a “large gap” behind Glock if he needs space.

00:02:01          Button debrief, says he “didn’t get any clear space” in traffic due to his previous “false neutral into turn 1” in addition to the other cars running intermediate tires causing traffic, “who are really struggling out there”.

** Time of session is the session time at which the message was heard on the television broadcast, as radio communications are delayed from when they actually occur

What is a “false neutral?” In general, a false neutral is a situation when the gear indicator on the steering wheel dash indicates gear engagement of a particular gear, but mechanically, there is no output of the drivetrain. The word “false” is derived from the data system indicating an engaged gear, but that indicated gear is not mechanically engaged. The word “neutral” is derived from the gearbox mechanically functioning as if it were in neutral, without gear driven capabilities, such as forward drive or engine braking.

In Button’s situation, he reports the issue occurring on entry into turn 1. Thus, it is obvious he was downshifting when the issue arose and utilizing engine braking. In a basic sense, engine braking is a significant contributor to the energy used to slow the car down through providing force against the drivetrain from engine drag. As a driver loses a gear on downshift, not only will they be massively distracted, but now they must use the brakes, quickly sort their thoughts,  and try to grab other gears, all in an instant before having to still turn in and make it through the corner.

Jenson was obviously able to successfully engage a gear and continue on because he did not come back to the garage for repairs. A false neutral is primarily caused by software or sensor issues. If it were a mechanical failure, Jenson would have definitely felt and heard it, in addition to being unable to select any other gears. There are sensors monitoring the position of the gear selector barrel working together with other sensors as inputs into the gearshift strategy maps controlling the hydraulic valves that actuate gear engagement. In basic terms, the mechanical tolerances of those sensors or the exact timing of calculations performed in a map output may induce an error, failing to actuate a gearshift, but at the same time falsely indicate to the driver that the shift has been mechanically completed. Requesting alternate shifts, via the paddles from the driver after experiencing a false neutral, essentially forces the software to refresh map calculations and start over from selecting another gear.

Valencia 2012 Free Practice 1

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Time of Session:

ToS (h:m:s)**

01:27:55 Bianchi warned of the “strong” tailwind on the back straight

01:26:40 Rosberg to do aero testing on the back straight after T11 in cruise mode “3” in 5th gear

01:25:40 Kimi reminded to “put some rubber down” as he drives out of the pitbox to increase surface grip for pit stop traction on Sunday

01:25:08 Schumacher to set aero mode to “0”, and do a clutch bite-point check in “RS” race start settings

01:23:25 Schumacher to do aero test on back straight in cruise mode “2” in 5thgear, to begin as soon as he crosses the DRS activation line towards T11. After travelling in a straight line for 3 seconds or more, he will cancel cruise mode into T12. Reminded that Alonso is currently 5 seconds behind. Then back into cruise mode “2” and 5th gear out of T16 for more straightline aero testing towards T17.

01:21:10 Massa goes out on his first outing of the day and is reminded, “No DRS, no DRS”. Then proceeds to do a radio check, constant transmission, talking while he drives from pit exit through T5 to identify which corners may have the worst radio reception. Smedley, “Loud and clear, loud and clear” and reminds Massa to do “maximum speed” on the back straight for aero testing

01:15:54 Vergne informed the engineers would like 4 burnouts for an optimal rolling bite-point check at the end of pit lane, but they don’t think “there is enough room” to do so. Thus, Vergne told to instead do 2 burnouts

01:13:20 Vergne to do 6 timed laps, the last two laps without DRS

01:08:01 For Ricciardo’s next outing, will use KERS release “3”, torque map “4”, clutch map “9”, engine mode “10” to practice a grid launch at the end of pit lane with a rolling clutch bite-point check, but first performing 3 burnouts to warm the tires in engine mode “3”, and finally reminded to ensure the pit limiter is off. Then will do 5 timed laps, and a 6th if he needs it. Reminded to do the last 2 laps without DRS and also that torque map “2” is available in case he finds rear brake locking issues. His main priority of the outing is to find the optimal brake balance percentage

01:06:14 Vergne to change KERS recovery setting to “4”

01:03:23 Heikki to proceed with his “baseline run” plan on next outing. KERS set to “1” for the outlap and 1st timed lap, then change to KERS “9”, because the batteries are currently “empty and drained”, then on the 2nd timed lap, will only be able to use 30% KERS discharge at the exit of the last corner. For the rest of his laps, will be able to use KERS “like normal”. Also, no DRS for the first 2 laps as well, engineer will let him know when he can use everything “like normal”. Will use fuel mixture “10” for whole outing. At the end of a 6 flying lap outing, will perform another “cruise control” aero test on the back straight

1:01:51 Heikki told to remain on current “rearward position” of brake balance when KERS harvesting is on, but if front tire temps and pressures have “come in” then told to change to the “middle” position of the brake balance adjuster

00:59:53 “For your info, Narain, the wind is quite strong from 10 to 12, OK, you have tailwind at the back”

00:59:06 Kimi reminded to perform an “aero cruise” on the exit of T11

00:58:21 Rosberg reminded not to use DRS on his first timed lap, but to start using it after the tires are warmed up and “if the grip is good”. Rosberg reponds will not use DRS yet because tires are still improving

00:57:17 Massa informed to continue to perform 4th gear engine ramp-ups, then to change the steering wheel multifunction switch to “D” and use 6th gear for a “constant speed” aero test

00:54:24 Schumacher reports vibration in front brakes, then continues to do a radio check around the track talking during his entire lap to identify corners that may have poor radio reception.

00:51:55 Vergne debrief of his outing, reports tires “come in quite quickly” and happy with the tire pressures. On the last 2 laps of the outing, without DRS, started to lose “quite a lot” of rear grip “especially under braking and the middle of the low speed corners”, but high speed corners were “fine”. If he tried to go quicker, he feels then he would’ve had “a little bit too much understeer on initial turn in of the high speed” corner entry. Sums up his main problem as understeer in the low speed corners. Engineer then repeats a summary of Vergne’s comments to ensure he understands all the issues.

00:49:15 Bottas back in the garage, his current set of tires will not be changed, but wrapped in the warmers. Fuel load refilled to what it was for the previous outing. Exhaust and bodywork will be changed together known as “setup option 1”. Will change sidepod cooling to “7.1” on both sides. Finally told to standby for “any mechanical setup changes”

00:48:10 Grosjean reminded not to use “KERS release” to maintain 6th gear out of T11 for straightline constant speed aero testing.

00:46:17 De La Rosa reports his “DRS is stuck open” and will immediately pit to repair

00:45:46 Schumacher told he can do one more lap and taking advantage of a good 10 second gap behind him to Heikki

00:45:03 Petrov told to change to KERS position “3”, to only discharge 50% of the energy, and not to use DRS

00:44:00 Jenson reports KERS is “not working properly” without any “benefit” under discharge. Engineer confirms they can see the problem in the data.

00:42:18 Heikki informed the front tire pressures increased “quite OK”, but the rears were “a bit slow” to increase. Engineer will then make a rear tire pressure change to increase on-track target tire pressure. Heikki says the track surface is “a little bit green” thus not having specific issues, but many rather little issues “all around the track”

00:39:14 On Heikki’s next outing, he will repeat the same procedure as before, starting in KERS “1”. Told to go back “one step” rearward on brake balance, but if he’s already in the most forward position on the adjuster, then he should move it to the “middle” position. When he is to “switch KERS on again” after the 2nd flying lap, he can use a total of 70% KERS discharge, with 50% used on the back straight and 20% used after the exit of T25.

00:37:43 Jenson reports an “unbelievable amount” of front brake locking and he’s “unable to control it” with no avail moving brake bias rearward. Doesn’t know if it’s a “heat issue or something else”

00:36:42 Heikki asks engineers to analyze data of locking on entry into T10 to see if KERS harvesting is having an effect on dynamic brake bias, or if it’s “just a tail wind or whatever it is” because he really feels it is “quite easy to lock rear tires” into T10. Reiterates to analyze the data in the “middle to last part of braking” to ensure there isn’t anything “funny going on”. Engineer simply responds, “Yeah, we’ll have a look”

00:35:49 Petrov informed to set steering wheel multifunction switch to “6” and use 7th gear

00:33:09 Petrov has a rear wing change for the next outing. Told to go back to KERS position “1” and move the quick-shift brake balance adjuster “to the rear”. Petrov reports “easy” to lock front and rear brakes, front is “very lazy” with “quite a lot” of understeer on entry and under transitional direction changes, making the car “quite problem to drive”, but the car “is not too bad” over the kerbs and is able to use them over the apex. His main problem is the braking as it is “very unbalanced” with both front and rear locking combined with brake vibrations. “OK, copy that, Vitaly”

00:30:14 Kimi reminded to use “aero cruise” in position “2” and 6th gear on the exit of T11 for constant speed aero testing

00:29:23 Vergne told to pit, “mind” his tires, and release 50% KERS energy on the inlap

00:27:56 On a pit stop positioning box stop practice, Vergne needs to turn in to the box closer to the right-hand side, but he’s “scared to hit” the lollypop man, so Vergne recommends to place a cone at the position he needs to stop at so that he’s not worried to hit the cone.

00:24:49 Pic asked to an aero test in 4th gear after T16 and pit at the end of the lap

00:23:02 Ricciardo reports rear stability was “slightly better” at the beginning of his last outing, but not enough to correct the balance of the car. Also reports “a little bit” of plank bottoming at the front, so he feels they are “getting closer to the limit” of minimum ride height, “which is good”. Reiterates that the rear tires are the first to “go off” in an outing and is “quite hard to manage once they start to go”. Tried to correct rear tire issue with torque map setting “1” but did not work, but “felt little bit better” on return to throttle from low speed corners. Also says a tire vibration “is getting quite bad” from a large front right brake lockup. Admits, “took some time to understand the braking” in medium speed corners and the “best way” to approach them. Sometimes, he finds himself “stopping the car really well”, but then towards the end of the braking phase, finds himself locking the fronts. “Generally happy” with torque map “1”, but thinks it still has room to be modified for improvement.

00:20:33 To Alonso, “OK, we go with the brake balance in the mid position, brake balance in the mid position”

00:19:45 Alonso asks, “so maybe we do another lap with DRS, then we do the two with no DRS?” Engineer responds, “that is fine for me, fine for me” and asks to set KERS at 50%

00:19:05 Heikki asking to “box this lap” because the rear tires have gone off and he “can’t hang on to it”. “OK, Heikki, we still need to do one more lap for the cruise control, so finish this lap, and then cruise control the next one”

00:17:10 Alonso told if he is clear in traffic, to do his last 2 laps with no DRS

00:16:26 Jenson reports traffic in sector 2. Engineer confirms and informs him of a “large gap” behind him and says they can do more laps, unless he is “more comfortable with the car”, then they can pit to “change fuel load.” Jenson replies he only wants to pit to change fuel load if “we think it’s worthwhile” to do “some laps” but if there’s only enough time for 1 or 2 laps, then he feels it’s not worth it to change fuel load

00:15:21 Pic informed front caliper covers have been removed just to “see if they can help the temperatures slighty.” Will do 7 timed laps, with a practice start at the end of pitlane in torque map “5”, clutch map “6”, with no DRS usage on the outlap or the first timed lap like on his previous outing. Also reminded that they need to complete a lap with fuel mixture setting “1” with DRS, for an “engine comparison” and a “throttle ramp” test on his inlap in fuel mixture “1” with as low of engine revs as possible down below 10,000 rpm, achieved by short shifting into 6th gear, followed by full throttle. Pic asks, “so the last revs were high, no?” Engineer confirms and repeats previous instructuctions. Pic simply, “OK”

00:13:30 “If possible” Vergne will do a front wing flap adjustment and tire change at the end of the session

00:13:59 Perez reports a lack of rear grip and “traction.” “Copy Checo, you can do the cruise and box, box, but watch traffic behind”

00:05:08 Vitaly told KERS needs to be recharged, so to set KERS to position “3” on the outlap and not to discharge it at any time while on the outlap.

00:00:00 “OK, Heikki, any feedback from the changes?” Rear tires were already “struggling on the car”, so Heikki is unable to identify a difference from the setup changes, but the car “is just oversteering. He was also caught in traffic with Vettel in front of him and with yellow flags, he would have to slow down, thus losing target tire pressures and temps as the tires cooled

00:00:00 Ricciardo asked about the comparison between torque map “1” versus map “5”. Says map “1” was a “disaster” at the start of the outing with a “lot more” oversteer with lower brake application pressure, so was locking the fronts and “overshooting” the corner “more or less all the time”. In comparison, map 5 was “better” with more “consistency and a bit more feeling throughout the braking” phase of entry, but still tends to lock rear brakes “a little bit” at the end of the braking phase. Also reports “some really big flat spots” on the front tires, and feels “the tires were pretty fucked at the end”. Summarizes that torque map “1” was “definitely not as good” because it “lacked a lot of feeling particularly as the tires get worse”. When he was evaluating map “5”, says he had the “speed”, but not the “KERS energy” as he was just guessing at “how much KERS to use”

** Time of session is the session time at which the message was heard on the television broadcast, as radio communications are delayed from when they actually occur.

POST SESSION COMMENTARY

Many teams have brought significant aero package updates this weekend. As in Canada, where Ferrari and Caterham were using the long relatively smooth back straight for aero testing, the teams with new aero updates are doing the same here in Valencia. This circuit affords the teams two separate straights in which to perform tests, between Turns 11 & 12, and between Turns 16 and 17.

Many instructions heard throughout radio communications to drivers involve common terms such as “cruise”, specific drive gears, and constant speeds. There are many metrics to straightline aero testing, but one of the major ones is known as Aero Balance or Center of Pressure (CoP). Aero Balance is the ratio of aero dynamic force applied to the front compared to the rear. It is a primary contributor to corner entry stability and is a primary factor of consideration when a driver is asked, “how is the balance of the car?”

The load cell sensors fitted to each pushrod/pullrod measure the forces acting between the chassis and the wheels. These sensors are the key factor in measuring the aerodynamic loads applied to the chassis. In basic terms, as the car speeds up, aero load will increase in a downwards direction. The chassis then applies that downwards force against the load cells in the pushrod/pullrods. Again in basic terms, if you add up the increase in force from all four load cells as the car increased in speed, you will know the total aero load from that speed you just reached. Then you can change your aerodynamic parts, or move them around on the car to see if it adds or decreases total aero load at that same speed. Since all four corners of the car are instrumented, a little math can also tell you what percentage of your total aero load is acting on the front axle versus the rear axle. Again, please remember that this is an extremely basic generic explanation of the idea.

To maintain comparable results between test runs, the teams use a “cruise” mode setting to maintain a specific and constant engine RPM for 2 main reasons. First, so that dynamic engine oscillations don’t upset the pitch platform and balance of the chassis and second, regulate a constant vehicle speed when the driver stays in whatever specific gear he was told to stay in. Constant vehicle speed is constant air speed as well in ideal conditions.

As you analyze the straight line data between different laps and changes of parts, you want the data to represent the car in the same track position and same speed to eliminate as many variables as possible to leave your test parts as the only variables.

As in Canada, Ferrari were once again performing A-B-A series of test iterations of outings with 2 laps of DRS, 2 laps of no DRS, then 2 laps of DRS. Please review previous Canada session posts discussing that in a bit more detail.

Canada 2012 Qualifying

During the break between Q1 and Q2, Kimi was told: “Now we got a bit of an issue with the diff where it’s not reacting to what you do, so it’s sitting at 50 bar, which might be affecting your feeling in general, particularly on power, so you won’t be getting as much diff locking as normal”

The clutches in the differential are hydraulically regulated. Simply put, higher hydraulic pressures against the clutches bring the differential closer to locking characteristics, while lower hydraulic pressures induce characteristics closer to a limited-slip differential, thus allowing the wheels to differentiate in rotational speed as the car turns.

Electric servo-valves control these pressures and are able to do so very quickly with reaction times as little as 1 millisecond. The nature and speed of these valves allow the required hydraulic pressures to be dynamically adjusted for the three cornering phases of ‘Entry’, ‘Mid’, and ‘Exit’. For mid corner, the diff would need to be more open to allow the car to rotate, and as such would require lower hydraulic forces. In contrast, for corner exit, more differential locking would be desired, requiring higher hydraulic pressures. As you can see from the Lotus steering wheel below, the driver has a selector switch to easily change amounts of hydraulic pressure applied to the differential, as a function of the three cornering phases, Entry, Mid, and Exit.

When Kimi is told the differential is “not reacting to what you do”, it means that no matter what setting he changes those switches to, the hydraulic clutch pressure in the differential will not change, nor will there be any change in cornering performance.

When he is informed, “…it’s sitting at 50 bar”, it is reasonable to believe that a servo-valve is physically seized in a position, unable to adjust hydraulic pressure to the clutches.

Being told that the issue primarily affects him when “on power, so you won’t be getting as much diff locking as normal”, allows us to understand that “50 bar” must be intermediate of the total pressure range available, insufficient to provide higher amounts of differential locking. Unfortunately, we are not given any further insight into how far from optimal locking pressures 50 bar truly is.

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Canada 2012 Free Practice 2

Time of Session:

ToS (h:m:s)**

01:23:58          De La Rosa informed that everyone else who went out in FP1 on option tires, are now using those same used options, but Hamilton is on a new prime set. “Ricciardo, Grosjean, Kimi, Vettel  are out on used options”

01:23:04          Narain to do 6 timed laps

01:22:07          Meteo France states: “No rain within the next 30 minutes” and “According to the radar picture, no rain for the beginning of P2”

01:21:34          After Glock spun in Turn 1, Perez’s engineer says, “Yellow in this sector, Checo, OK.” Continues to inform the gap to Narain is 5 seconds in front, and 5 seconds of gap behind. Also, “Can extend to one more lap, Checo.”

01:19:55          Senna, “I’m getting traffic really really bad.” Engineer, “Copy, so we have plans to box this lap, but if you want to do another lap after this one, then let me know.” Senna, “Yeah, one more lap.” “Copy, one more lap”

01:16:46          Vettel asked not to use KERS on exit of Turn 7, but use more “out of Turn 10”

01:16:21          “Box, Vitaly, box, box, box” Asked move multi-function steering wheel switch to “position 1” , and fuel mixture switch to ‘10’

01:14:44          Lewis told he is “fastest of anyone, last sector” with “maybe half a tenth to find first sector, two tenths middle sector, overall you are the fastest car on the circuit”

01:09:59          Vergne told to “push on the outlap”

01:08:42          Glock to run 5 timed laps, if he needs more, he “can try one more”

01:07:46          “Good job Sebastian, good job, try to stay out if you can”

01:05:43          Perez informed that Vettel, behind him, is on “high fuel” and to “stay there, Checo, stay there”

01:04:23          “So, Heikki, at the moment, it looks like the rain is going to hit us around 3 o’clock”, still possible to do a short run on prime tires of “about 4 laps”, but only if Heikki “thinks it will be useful”or do a “short run options” before stopping for fuel. After taking fuel, then to do “at least 3 or 4 laps or maybe more on high fuel load” to collect tire temperature data. Asked, “are you OK with this, or do you think we should go straight onto the options?”

01:00:22          Vergne asked for comments back in garage, “The same comments as before, first of all, I think the front-end comes in quick with a lot of understeer, first two laps, then was better, but yeah, a lot of understeer for the first two laps. But the balance is similar as before, I can’t push the entry as before, too much understeer. I’m very very not trying to push too much the entry” and also too much mid-corner “understeer in the change of direction.” Feels the car has “really really low grip.” Does not want to adjust the front wing because he feels “the front flap is at the maximum” and “the rear’s a little bit on the edge of braking”. Engineer then asks about rear degradation after running 3 laps. Vergne replies, “I can feel a little degradation, but not massive, I was still improving on last drying lap, I feel they may be one or two tenths quicker” but felt “some rear push through the last chicane.” “Yeah, otherwise I have a bit degradation”, and reports both front and rear tire temperatures “come in at the same time”

00:56:21          “OK, Kimi, suggest boxing this lap” to be able to correct tire pressures

00:54:42          Petrov in garage, asked to do next outing,  “long run on the same set of tires, keeping the option tires on” after making a brake balance adjustment, then asked, “is there anything you would like to do from a balance point of view?” Petrov replies that he does not want to do “a high fuel run” because the car “is still not balanced well and the braking is a disaster and understeer.” Engineer says they need to do a long run because the rain “might arrive, we need to get some information on the long run”

00:52:27          Ricciardo, reviewing a printed sheet of data, comparing his lap data to a 17.1 lap, asks, “the compare I’m looking at, is it a prime or an option?” Told, “17.1 with options”

00:51:54          Meteo France states, “According to the radar picture, rain is very probable only after P2”

00:51:38          Massa told, “OK, two more laps after this one, traffic is fine for the minute”

00:49:50          Senna informed that Alonso is currently on a low fuel run

00:48:38          Heikki informed, “rain is delayed at the moment, so you can do two more flying laps, this one and another flying lap”

00:46:33          Vettel given the choice of “coming in” or “having another go” at an extra lap

00:45:33          Lewis asks, “Where can I improve?” “OK, Lewis, at the moment, you are purple in every sector. The place where the other cars are closest to us, probably sector…every sector is about one tenth quicker than other cars. Just a little bit everywhere, no one sector standing out at the moment”

00:44:34          Massa asked to pit with a “hard inlap” because they plan to use the tires again for the next long-run outing and need the tire “temperatures up”

00:44:14          Heikki asked to set fuel “mix 1 on the flying lap” and change “multi-function map” switch to position ‘2’, which is 60 kilowatt discharge for KERS

00:37:54          Petrov informed the data indicates they are too far rearward on brake balance because it shows “we have almost no front locking, we see quite a lot of rear locking.” To correct, recommends Vitaly to “go one step forward with the quick-shift” brake balance adjuster lever, rather than with fine tuning knob

00:35:45          Glock complaining his brake pedal is “much softer than normal on the brake bleeds, compared to Monaco”

00:34:08          Heikki to do 4 flying laps on the next outing after the red flag. Engineer does not want to go back out right when the track goes green because “most people will be on long runs at the moment, so we’ll try to get you a gap”

00:33:29          Vergne will do a practice launch at the end of pit lane when the track goes green again and then “will push for the long run” with engine mode ‘10’, torque map setting ‘4’, and clutch map ‘8’, with a “complete procedure” of a rolling bite-point find with “tire warming”

00:30:13          Glock asking “did someone lose oil on track?” because he too had a “massive moment” in Turn 14 where Senna went off. Engineer, ”Quite probable”

00:28:00          Schumacher will perform a bite-point find check using “race mode start” settings on steering wheel

00:27:23          Hulkenberg informed, “So there’s a slippy track” message from race control, “turns 13, 14”

00:26:41          Perez on a long run outing, with “no DRS” and reminded to “be careful in the last corner”

00:25:48          Kimi reminded about potentially poor grip at the exit of the chicane from Senna’s accident cleanup and to “watch the exit of the chicane”

00:20:00          Webber’s data system appears to have experienced a fault in which it is unable to display a laptime delta for him to reference his performance against. Informed by engineer to correct issue by entering “Fault 60” on the steering wheel

00:20:00          Alonso told to increase KERS “charge” by “plus three” because the team saw an issue in the telemetry occur at the last corner, but told he “can keep going”

00:15:00          Massa instructed to decrease KERS setting down “three clicks” and come in “hard” on his inlap to keep tire temps up, so that they can quickly refuel, and go “right back out”

00:14:00          Ricciardo says, “If we could get a bit more front grip, I think that would help”

00:09:00          Lewis informed he is faster than all the other cars on “long runs”, such as Vettel and Webber

00:07:00          Button told to drive through pit lane to fall back into a gap in the traffic

00:04:00          Hulkenberg informed, “all cars on circuit are likely to be full fuel, so uh, when you need to find a gap”

00:03:00          Di Resta asked to practice “fuel saving” on next lap to gather data

00:00:00          Vettel instructed to stay behind Webber on track, maintaining a 5 second gap before coming in to practice “double stops”

** Time of session is the session time at which the message was heard on the television broadcast, as radio communications are delayed from when they actually occur.

POST SESSION COMMENTARY

Approximately 30 minutes into the session, FOM cameras focused on an MGP crewman scraping up fractured concrete with a putty knife in pitlane. After loosening and breaking up the fractured concrete, quite a large gouge remained in the surface, located at the rear of the pitbox, exactly where the rear jack operates. Given that the hole was approximately the same width as the rear jack, it is reasonable to believe the rear jack is what caused the concrete to fracture. When the rear jack was placed in action during pit stop practice, I believe the weight of the car, in combination with the small focused load bearing points of ground contact of the jack wheels, overcame the yield strength of the concrete below. Canadian winters are notoriously harsh on public road surfaces in inducing similar “pot holes”, while the concrete pit lane surface is exposed to the same exact weather conditions. If the gouge in the ground is left to remain unrepaired, it can greatly affect pit stop performance because the rear jack wheels may easily become impeded or trapped in the hole. Such an issue can easily be corrected with a fast curing concrete mixture, but unfortunately, we have not seen evidence of such repair yet. It will be interesting during the race to keep an eye out for the concrete patch below the rear jack during MGP pit stops. Here is a screenshot of the crewman scraping the fractured layer free.

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When Webber experienced an issue with his data system in displaying laptime segment delta references, he was instructed to correct the issue by entering “Fault 60.” With the numerous and diverse interconnected electronics and sensors present on a modern F1 car, failures are not uncommon. Fortunately, there are many redundancies and contingency strategies designed into the system to compensate for failures that may occur. Those programmed software strategies can simply be activated all while the car is operating on-track. Technical regulations prohibit software controls to be sent from the garages to the car through telemetry. Therefore, the engineers in the garage are unable to remotely activate correction strategies for any faults, and responsibility falls to the driver to do so. When a team identifies an issue via telemetry data, they can reference their database of appropriate failure strategies to identify a proper solution. Each solution will be identified by a numerical code such as “16” or “33”. After identifying the proper solution and its code, engineers can then radio to the driver to enter the code into the data system to bypass or correct the issue. The driver will then enter the numerical code via a sequence of specific button presses on the steering wheel.

Let’s use a hypothetical failure as an example, while referencing the steering wheel photo below. If an exhaust gas oxygen sensor fails during a race, it may be sending incorrect data to the ECU, thus effecting engine mapping. The team will see the failure via telemetry data and identify a proper correction strategy to set the ECU to ignore the failed sensor and let’s pretend that correction strategy is known as Fail “34.” After receiving the radio message of what fail code to enter, the driver will then use the two “x10” and “x1” buttons to enter the code. For this hypothetical example of fail “34” the driver will press the “x10” three times followed by the “x1” four times to enter the code. It is noted, however that the driver must first inform the data system to accept a fail code by pressing a “Fail” button or by turning to “Fail” on the multi-function switch. With the code properly entered, the system now knows to either shut off supply voltage to the failed oxygen sensor and/or ignore its incorrect signal.

So, in reference to Webber’s “Fault 60”, he had to press the “x10” button switch six times to get his proper delta reference lap to work correctly for his dash display.

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Towards the end of the session, we heard Force India request Di Resta to practice “fuel saving” to collect data. We know from listening to radio transmissions during the Monaco race, both Force India cars were saving fuel heavily to stretch their second tire stint as long as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t know if they plan to do the same thing for this race or if collecting “fuel saving” data is standard operating procedure for them at every race event. Fuel consumption can be managed by the fuel mixture control setting switch on the steering wheel, but also by driver characteristics such as short shifting or by coasting on corner entry and carrying more mid-corner speed through to the exit to require less throttle and acceleration on exit.