CHRIS HAMMOND Head of Vehicle Science, Jaguar Racing Chris Hammond joined Jaguar Racing in March 2003 from Cambridge Consultants Ltd, where he was an associate director and business unit manager. There he led six groups of engineers, scientists...
Head of Vehicle Science, Jaguar Racing
Chris Hammond joined Jaguar Racing in March 2003 from Cambridge Consultants Ltd, where he was an associate director and business unit manager. There he led six groups of engineers, scientists and technicians totalling 40 staff, providing world-class research and development to blue-chip clients worldwide.
Hammond has over 20 years' experience in the development and management of technology covering the transport, aerospace, healthcare, defence and consumer products industries. He is named as inventor in many patents in fields as diverse as medical devices, sensors and building components. He now heads the vehicle science department which oversees virtual simulation and test rigs.
Q: You're the Head of Vehicle Science. What exactly does that mean?
Chris Hammond: "Our intention is to focus more and more on engineering processes and the vehicle science department will spearhead an analytical approach to development and running of the car. We cover pretty much every area except aerodynamics; that department by necessity already has a very methodical approach to what it does."
"Our department includes the rig test group (which can simulate car testing at the factory), the electronic controls department and also vehicle dynamics. We are also going to set up a development group going forward. By bringing all those areas under one department we can bring the same approach to development as the aerodynamics department already has."
"We are pushing forward the concept of project engineering. In my experience of Formula One, this is something new. When I first came here in 2003, I asked who had responsibility for projects and often no one knew. By improving project definition and project management in areas that previously were run in a much more fluid fashion, we can hopefully help build a faster, more reliable car."
Q: That's quite a complex job. How does it work on a day-to-day basis?
CH: "Our mission is to advance our understanding of the car in a virtual world. We are looking closely at computer modelling and simulation for systems that previously have never had these tools. Things like fuel systems and suspension can be designed and tested virtually before we move to the production stage."
Q: How do you actually simulate something like a fuel system?
CH: "Through mathematical modelling we can better understand the issues of a fuel system - fuel flow, pressures, temperature and so on. You always want to keep your fuel as cool as possible and the virtual world allows us to do some science that isn't typically done."
Q: Do you have a motorsport background?
CH: "I hadn't worked in motorsport before I came to Jaguar Racing. I specialised in stress analysis and then moved into product development. That was applicable to this team because when you are contracted to develop engineering products it usually needs to be done in next to no time. That means the process - how you define the project, staff it, progress it - is absolutely vital, and Formula One needs those skills."
Q: How different is working for an F1 team to other disciplines?
CH: "It is certainly fast-moving. If you came here from mainstream industry the speed would be dazzling! One of the reasons that things happen as quickly as they do is because corners get cut. The trick is to identify which corners it is okay to cut and which you have to pay attention to. For non-car related areas, take test rigs for example, people are inclined to leave out things like specifications. That is a false economy because you can end up not having what you wanted at the beginning."
Q: So F1 teams can still learn from other areas of engineering?
CH: "I believe so, but you can't just tell intelligent people to do things differently. You have to let them try new methods and see the benefits."
Q: Can what you do translate itself into a faster race car?
CH: "There are some areas definitely. Fuel temperature management can be worth a tenth of a second, for example. They way we look at things is not how can vehicle science make the car faster, but how can we make sure it isn't slower. Understanding how your suspension works won't allow you to cut tenths of a second from your lap time every time you go out, but get it wrong and you will be slower."