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Mercedes plays down ‘traction control’ system

Mercedes plays down 'traction control' system

Mercedes plays down ‘traction control’ system

Paddy Lowe has played down reports about a legal ‘traction control’-style system aboard Mercedes’ dominant 2016 car.

The reports indicated the FIA and rival teams cannot move to ban the system – a version of which has reportedly also been developed by Red Bull – until 2018.

Mercedes’ technical chief Lowe told Germany’s Auto Bild: “There is no single part that makes our car so successful.

“Rather, it is the optimal interaction of all the components and the product of the greatest engineering work that I have ever experienced,” he added.

Red Bull’s traction secret

After the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix, utterly dominated by the Red Bull RB9 of Sebastian Vettel, questions have been raised about whether the car is using traction control.

Racecar Engineering raises legal and highly innovative solution for the RB9’s mid corner performance, which could also explain many of Red Bull’s reliability issues.

It is theoretically easy to modulate the output torque and charging input torque to an electric motor/generator using capacitors, batteries, inductors and a feedback signal. Torque changes are instant and control is easy and legal.

If torque were to be modulated in response to the normal force of the tires against the track (in response to shock pressure for example) significant unused traction potential could be recovered during high pressure phases (upside of bumps) and initiation of full wheel spin during low pressure phases (downside of bumps) could be delayed. Yielding better turn exit acceleration, higher cornering speeds and stability. Especially on bumpy tracks like Singapore.

This idea largely backs up the comments made by one well known F1 figure which have been widely reported online. At Singapore former team boss Gian Carlo Minardi was sat trackside and wrote on his official website the following:

DOUBT 1: from my suite, I chose some mainstays as a reference point in order to monitor and compare the drivers’ way of driving. My mainstays were the kerbstones located on the corner which leads to Republic Boulevard.

Their function is to avoid passing on the kerb. I was impressed by Vettel’s neat way of driving on that stretch of the track. He was able to drive all that stretch without making any corrections, unlike all his rivals (also his teammate).

His laptime was also remarkable in T3, which is the track’s sector with the highest concentration of corners.

DOUBT 2: on the same stretch, Sebastian was able to speed up 50 m before any other driver, Webber included. Whilst all the other drivers speeded up on the same stretch, Vettel was able to speed up before them. The thing that surprised me the most was the RB1 engine’s output sound. Besides speeding up 50 m before any other driver, the Renault engine of the German’s car grinded like no other French engines on track, neither like Mark’s. That sound was similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system got into action in the past seasons.

Furthermore, that sound was only heard when Vettel chalked up his excellent performances. For example, after the safety car went off, he took a great re-start and chalked up many excellent laps, gaining a 32 sec. gap over Alonso, then he leveled off, taking precautions in the case he would have had to pit one more time.

In those moments the Renault engine was more powerful than any other engines (Renault and other brands). There are some aspects (1- Vettel’s very neat way of driving; 2-Vettel’s speedup 50 m before the other drivers; 3- the abnormal sound of the RB1’s Renault engine; 4- Vetter’s more than 2 sec. advantage over the rivals ) that make me think and I would like to have some answers. All those doubts are even more serious if we consider that Webber wasn’t able to do that, since he’s a common human being….I don’t want to blame anyone , I just would like to get into the deep of the matter.

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2 Comments
  • MetalQuintessence

    The TC advantage has been blown out of proportion through the years, not saying TC doesn’t give you an advantage, it certainly can. But a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) would be preferred over TC if possible as first line of action. All F1 cars currently have that, which I think is good to have. To minimize random slips, which would not be the fault of the driver, but still wouldn’t be making things too easy.

    With TC you have a minor trade off as in most cases you sacrifice some power, probably not significant enough, but still most systems work through either misfiring a cylinder, applying brake and something like that, that would prevent a wheel spin.

    Even with TC you could still slip and slide on track, but overall, if tuned right, you could gain an advantage if other cars didn’t have it in slower corners particularly. On fast tracks you probably wouldn’t see a big difference.

    Funny thing, Max had some trouble spinning his tyres last year in the TR pits, tho it’s not a RB, they probably have most of what their Big Bro has. And the TR’s have pretty good performance despite their underpowered engine this year. But that’s a side topic.

    The biggest secret to Merc’s success is probably the combination of the better all round package, the car is as much, if not more responsible than the engine system alone. If RB also have a duplicate system of their own and they are still lagging behind, even in slower tracks where they should have the edge, probably goes to show ow far ahead are Merc still and that this ain’t due to a single or a few components alone.

    I would say that’s the Schumacher-Brawn legacy. 😉

  • Salvu Borg

    this is something that belongs to the past, the PU mapping control the FIA has nowadays eliminates the possibilities of past things.

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