Wednesday 25 May 2011
The 2011 Formula One World Championship continues at a relentless pace with the Monaco Grand Prix, arguably the jewel in the Formula One crown, taking place this weekend.
Monaco: An Engine's Eye View
• Monaco has the lowest power sensitivity of the season, in terms of lap-time reduction per unit horsepower. As such, teams would not fit a new engine for Monaco by choice, instead preferring to fit a higher mileage race unit.
• Although not too taxing on the engine, the race is very tough on gearboxes. The units will have to perform over 3500 gearshifts throughout the race.
• Whilst the emphasis on outright power is lower than usual, the focus shifts onto engine calibration. The on-track engine speed at Turn 6 (Grand Hotel Hairpin) is the lowest of the season. The engine map is already configured to ensure engine response is strong at all engine speeds, but Monaco always provides a tough test.
• Engine ‘push’ can be an issue into Turn 6, as the driver negotiates the slowest corner of the season. Specific settings are used to ensure that ‘push’ is minimised at these low engine speeds, without introducing the risk of an engine stall.
• Engine ‘push’ can also be used to assist with a car’s handling under braking. Higher levels of push can be configured to help stabilise the rear end during braking, by acting to prevent rear-locking. This can be of particular benefit over the bumps. To a certain extent, the driver can adjust the level of support if required. The downside of increased push is a slight increase in fuel consumption.
From the Race Track
• The Circuit de Monaco is very bumpy, a typical feature of a street circuit. One of the most pronounced bumps, visible even on TV, is at the exit of Turn 4 (Casino). This can momentarily trigger the engine limiter, even when the driver is nowhere near the regular upshift point. From a telemetry perspective, it is immediately obvious that Monaco is unique, and not one of the regular circuits.
• The cars will start the race with the lowest fuel load of the season, but this is due to the fact the race distance is only 260km, some 50km shorter than normal. The continual short bursts of acceleration between the many corners results in a high fuel consumption per kilometre. In fact, Monaco has the highest normalised fuel consumption of the season, whereas Monza is actually the lowest.
• With a low average car speed, coupled with high fuel consumption per kilometre, cooling can be critical.
Information provided by David Lamb, Cosworth Senior Engineer Source: Cosworth