A look at technology within F1 1

The F1 season is well underway. So far this year the competition has brought about plenty of excitement for all motor sport fans. With all that sadly comes the element of controversy and arguments.

McLaren have sadly been one of one of those to bring about major talking points so far this season. Their pit stop failures led to the team underperforming in the recent Bahrain race. Is it down to technology being far too complex?

An example of technology failing this season was when Lewis Hamilton’s wheel nut pegs where not responding to holes within the rim of the car during his first pit stop in Bahrain. At the second pit stop a nut was cross threaded. The same happened to Jenson Button earlier in the season with Jenson Button.

Underperformance at pit stops

Circumstances have changed for McLaren in less than one year. Last season they recorded the fastest ever pit stop at less than 2.5 seconds. They were so good and consistent throughout the whole season they were recorded the best average pit stop speeds. What has changed since? They have failed to capitalise on last season’s progress. This is an example of F1 technology not being capitalised on.

It is not only McLaren. It appears others have unfortunately sunk into poor performance at the pits. Refuelling is now banned at the pit stops in F1. Pit stops are largely determined by the speed of changing a tyre along with other minimal procedures that help enhance the efficiency and speed of the F1 vehicle. With so much pressure, there is bound to be human errors occurring in the pits. At the pit stop a designated member of staff will be responsible for a single tyre change. Complex F1 technology is utilised in order for each person to carry out their task with ultimate precision. If anything goes slightly wrong, this could be fatal for the team, the car and driver. Many practice sessions during pre-season are essential to keeping drivers fully aware and brushed up on exactly what’s ahead.

Countering out human errors

Could the errors be down to over complicated F1 technology? With human error being a likely source of failures, F1 teams have invested in a great deal of technology in order to prevent such errors from occurring.

Traffic signals dropped

For those fans who have been watching F1, they are used to seeing a member of the team holding a doubled sided sign on a pole which reads stop/go. This was replaced by automatic traffic signals. These proved to be a failure for some teams. Many had to drop the technology as it lost the team valuable seconds.

Efficient tyre changes

All teams adopt a unique method when using their guns to attach tyres. Red Bull uses a sophisticated laser system. Mercedes-Benz adopts a method whereby the nut is placed within the wheel from the start, meaning the nut cannot be dropped at any time.

Jack technology

Mercedes-Benz’s development of a helium powered jack was banned this year. Other teams adopted the same technology as it brought about a faster method of lifting the car up. F1 teams are now forced to discover another method in that respect. One alternative method which has been banned is that of integrated jacks within the cars.  Some teams adjust the wings of the cars with a pre-programmed gun, which has proven to be a wonderful method of enhancing a cars performance.

Trolleys jacks are now more advanced, with them able to move the engineer completely out of the way once the job has been completed. This avoids the risk of the engineer having to jump out of the way when the required. This is potentially extremely dangerous if the technology fails.

Is technology within F1 proving to be too costly? Can human error be tackled in another way?