Monday, 13 February 2012

Car of the month - Ferrari F2002

Every month we will be featuring a brief breakdown of the cars that changed F1 and why. So lets start with the fastest car there ever was...ENJOY!

A piece of engineering genious in the hands of Michael Schumacher is devastating.

So devastating in fact the F2002 caused the FIA to 'ammend' their points system...

The F2002 is a complete work of art from the Ferrari stable. Designed by Rory Byrne, Ross Brawn and Paulo Martinelli, the car was a continued evolution of the highly successful and proven F2001 concept. This was a recipe for dominance and there is little wonder why the car completely dominated the 2002 season. Ferrari had so much confidence that the car was also used for the first 4 races of 2003.

The old F2001 was a car well built around the new regulations governing front wing placement and legalisation of electronic driving aids. It featured a drooped nose which worked well with its new front wing and revised rear suspension. The suspension geometry was tailored around the use of traction control. For the new F2002, Ferrari developed a brand new titanium gearbox which lowered the centre of gravity and decreased the gearbox weight by 15%. The gearbox also introduced clutchless direct shift technology. Amongst other things, they had successfully removed the bell housing in the gearbox. This cut down parts and made the gearbox stiffer, and therefore able to be built to a shorter length. Now Ferrari could sculpture their rear coke bottle shape to the extreme, meaning a very low drag rear end. The rear sidepods were very low, allowing more air to the rear wing.

In 1998, the car of the time the F300 debuted a new concept of mounting the exit of the exhausts on the engine cover, rather than exiting on the underside of the car by the diffuser. The advantage of this was that the hot exhaust gasses didn’t interfere with the diffuser and thus increased aerodynamic efficiency. Every team quickly copied this design. However, in 2000 during the Monaco grand prix it became apparent that this layout had potential reliability issues. Michael Schumacher fell victim to retirement after a broken exhaust became so hot that it melted through the rear suspension. Ferrari considered other areas where the exhausts could exit and came up with the idea of exiting the exhausts towards the outside of the car, on the sidepods with ‘chimneys’. This concept meant the shortened exhaust was now clear of the rear suspension. To aid aerodynamics, the exhaust gasses could also be channelled to avoid disturbing air flow to the rear wing. On top of this, the ‘chimneys’ allowed a low pressure area around the exhaust exit. This meant the exhausts actually ‘sucked’ the products of combustion out of the engine. This meant increased engine performance, an area which was already benefiting from increased revs due to the shorter exhausts.

 The car featured a higher nose than the F2001 with straighter proportions, thanks to a more compact front suspension. The front wing remained similar to the F2001, though it was a two part wing rather than three. Continuing the aerodynamic masterpiece, the cockpit was modified to sit the driver deep inside the cockpit. The cockpit surrounds where thinner and tuned in the wind tunnel to work better in conjunction with the driver’s helmet. The deeper seat also allowed a cleaner flow of air to the air box, marginally increasing horsepower. A new fluid traction control system was developed to further take advantage of the new legalisation governing driving aids. This increased the car’s acceleration out of slow corners and off the start line, as well as increasing all round driveability.
What you have is the ingredients for the ultimate F1 car. An evolution not a revolution based upon a championship winning chassis. Intricacies and details all added up to put together a highly potent package. And the F2002 demonstrated all these principles on the track. At first there were concerns with the reliability of the new gearbox during problems in testing. Ferrari wanted to continue their reputation of entering bullet-proof cars so delayed the use of their new weapon until the 3rd race of the season at Brazil. There it won in the hands of Schumacher and went on to win 16 out of 20 races. The car accumulated 221 constructor’s points in 2002 – more than every other team’s put together!


No comments:

Post a Comment