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Car Guide
Aerodynamics | Mechanical | Electronics | CockpitFlash version >>


The mechanical parts of the car are those that make it stop and go. Like all aspects of an F1 car, they are designed and built with the most advanced materials possible to ensure they perform to the absolute optimum.
Mechanical audio Mike Gascoyne, Toyota technical director


A Formula One engine is a miracle of modern engineering.

The best of these three-litre, normally aspirated V10s rev to nearly 19,000rpm and produce just under 900bhp. And they weigh around 100kg.

That is twice the engine capacity of a typical family saloon, but more than three times as many revs and eight times more power - and less than half the weight.

The gearboxes have six or seven gears which change in milliseconds.

The clutch paddle, which is usually on the steering wheel, is used by the drivers only at the start as part of the automatic starting procedure.

It can also be activated to prevent the car stalling if the driver spins.

Once the car is in motion, the clutch is operated electronically by the complicated gearbox software.
Engine/Gearbox audio Mike Gascoyne, Toyota technical director


Close control of the suspension is vital. Wheel travel is less than 5cm and a dipping of the car by 1mm more than ideal under braking or acceleration can disrupt airflow and make the car difficult to handle.

The suspension parts are aerodynamically sculpted to reduce drag.

Braking is extremely powerful. High-tech carbon-fibre discs glow red hot at operating temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees Celsius. They can slow a car from 180mph to 50mph in less than two seconds.
Suspension/brakes audio Mike Gascoyne, Toyota technical director


Tyres can have a bigger impact on an F1 car's speed than any other single element.

They have four grooves to keep cornering speeds under control and are mounted on lightweight aluminium wheel rims. These are attached to the car by a single nut, for speed of changing at pit stops.
Wheels/tyres audio Mike Gascoyne, Toyota technical director


An F1 fuel tank is a crushable yet bullet-proof structure, housed inside the chassis behind the driver. It is made of Kevlar to prevent it being punctured in an accident.

Size is not governed by rules, and designers have to decide whether to go for a small tank, which may improve ultimate performance, or have a larger one which provides greater tactical freedom in races.

The oil tank used to be housed between the engine and gearbox, but is now recessed into the back of the chassis in front of the engine.

This provides better performance, in terms of both the car's weight distribution, and oil pick-up.
Oil/fuel tank audio Mike Gascoyne, Toyota technical director

F1 2003

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