Connect with us

Uncategorized

McLaren driver Gary Paffett explains Anatomy of a Formula 1 Test

Published

on

For 60 days a year Gary Paffett pulls on his racing gloves and sinks down into the darkness. Paffett is a Formula 1 test driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and a champion in the German DMT racing series– but most of his work isn’t done behind the wheel of a car.

“It’s all about preparation. Engineers can spend three months planning for one track test, and they have to prioritise every new aerodynamic part, every suspension part – and load the test car with far more logging sensors than we can put on a race car. So most of our work happens off the circuit.”

Paffett rides the multi-million pound Formula 1 simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre near Woking in Surrey for eight hours at a time. When he first used the simulator in 1998 it was a “steering wheel in front of a big screen”. Now Paffett sits in a mock-up cockpit, steering the car into the tight bends of every Grand Prix circuit. 70 laps flash by on the wrap-around-screens, while the test bed replicates each bump in the track.

Today he’s out in the open air, giving race tips at a Vodafone VIP day, and timing laps at a go-kart track near Milton Keynes. Like many race drivers, karting is where he started, and its low to the ground thrills couldn’t be more different from a day spent at the McLaren Technology Centre simulator.

The McLaren Technology Centre simulator is McLaren’s virtual test environment On Grand Prix weekends a team of aerodynamicists and engineers work through the night after Friday practice to read every piece of data fed from the car’s live telemetry system of hundreds of miniature sensors. By Saturday morning the car has to be recalibrated, and is ready for the final practice session..

Together with the team at the track, the McLaren Technology Centre engineers are looking at brake temperatures, pressure on the brakes, tyre degradation, speed, fuel consumption and spring settings. During race weekend they monitor a mapping system that allows strategists to see the whole circuit, where each driver is – and where they’re pitting.

“Between the Friday P1 we adjust the grip level so that we’re doing the same lap times as the drivers. We listen to their feedback and then we start trying to improve the car. The biggest changes happen between Friday’s P2 session and P3 – engineers at the track send a list of five things they want to try on the car; we try all of them and give feedback on them. The track team takes two or three of those things and fit them straight to the car.”

In extreme conditions every tiny tweak matters: This year drivers hit top speeds of 324km/hour on the Canadian Grand Prix circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, with brakes reaching 800c at peak pressure. But the most valuable feedback the MTC team need doesn’t come from a piece of technology, it’s from Gary:

“I’ve given feedback before to the team about things that they can’t see in the data – so they have to have a lot of trust in the test driver,” he says. “When you change something on the car, the difficulty is to tell what is different when you are driving it at high speed. That’s where test drivers really earn their money.”

There are moments of drama: At Silverstone a couple of years ago, Paffett says the team introduced a new floor that didn’t work, and he was helicoptered back to the McLaren Technology Centre to work through the night until they had found the solution… Read Full


All material and photos are copyrighted material and owned by their respective owners. Use or depiction of images or trademarks throughout this website is for illustrative and editorial purposes only.Images come courtesy of; ferrari.com, mclaren.com, Sahara forceindiaf1.com, redbull.com, mercedesgp.com, Caterham F1, toyota, Sauber, williamsf1, lotus, Marussia, HRT, getty Images,LAT, Reuters Pictures and AP Photos.


http://www.formula1onlive.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Comments

Latest Results




Latest F1 News

2018 F11 day ago

I can still become world champion with my own power – Vettel

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the highly influential Italian sports daily, Sebastian Vettel said “Ciao Mondiali” to his hopes...

2018 F12 days ago

Vettel misses Schumacher amid 2018 F1 struggle

Sebastian Vettel thinks he would benefit from the advice of his old friend and mentor Michael Schumacher. One analysis of...

2018 F13 days ago

Verstappen says Red Bull never considered deal with Alonso

Max Verstappen says Red Bull never considered signing up Fernando Alonso for 2019. That is despite the fact that, recently,...

2018 F13 days ago

Honda poised to overtake Renault for power

Honda could be poised to overtake Renault and cease having the least powerful engine in F1. Auto Motor und Sport...

2018 F15 days ago

Pascal Wehrlein on pole for 2019 Toro Rosso race seat

Pascal Wehrlein has emerged as a top candidate to return to F1 next year. Just days ago, Mercedes admitted that...

2018 F15 days ago

I’ll be with Force India until the end of 2018 – Ocon

Esteban Ocon says he should keep his Force India cockpit for the rest of the 2018 season. Earlier, there was...

2018 F15 days ago

FIA clears legality of Ferrari’s camera-blocking ‘fan’

F1’s governing body has cleared Ferrari to keep using a controversial airbox fan. In the Singapore pits, the Italian team...

2018 F16 days ago

Ricciardo is worth top dollar – Alain Prost

Paying the big bucks for Daniel Ricciardo is an expense that Renault can fully justify. That is the view of...

2018 F16 days ago

Vettel feeling pressure of 2018 F1 title battle – Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel often struggles with pressure. That is the view of Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s famous technical boss who penned...

2018 F16 days ago

Red Bull excluding Ricciardo from meetings

Daniel Ricciardo is set to be given the cold shoulder by Red Bull. The Australian is moving from the energy...




Most Popular

ThisisF1.com is not affiliated with Formula 1, Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One World Championship Ltd or any other organization or entity associated with the official Formula One governing organizations or their shareholders. Copyrighted material used under Fair Use/Fair Comment.

References
We could use the following leading F1 news sources for stories: SkyF1, BBC F1, Autosport, ESPN F1, FIA Media Center, MotorSport, JamesAllen and others leading authors blog.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Prime Sport Media