Sociedad Española de Integridad Estructural
Grupo Español de Fractura

Sociedad Española de Integridad Estructural
Grupo Español de Fractura

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DEALING WITH CRISIS - SOLVING ENGINEERING FAILURES IN FORMULA 1 MOTOR RACING.

Gary Savage        

Anales de la Mecánica de la Fractura, nº 26 . 2009 . Pág. 617 -626
Ver (.pdf): 100

Resumen: Since the early 1990s the design and operation of Formula 1 racing cars has moved from the traditional empirical approach to one which is far more numerical, particularly with the introduction of finite element stress analysis codes, computer simulation, control and monitoring systems. The difference between the quickest and slowest cars on an F1 circuit is around 1.5 seconds in an average lap time of 80-90seconds, only 1.2%. In the level below (GP2) the difference is 4-6% yet they all have essentially the same car! The sport has therefore developed into a 'technology war' as the teams search for the 'unfair advantage' with which to defeat their opponents. Much of the chassis technology is derived from or similar to that in the aerospace industry due to their similarity of purpose, their designs being both weight and stiffness critical. Approximately 80% of the testing of a modern Formula 1 car takes place in the laboratory either on test rigs or virtually via computer simulation. The pace of development within the sport is breathtaking, if a car were to win the first race and not be upgraded, by the end of the season it would not only be last, it would be lapped! The car which is last on the grid at the first race of a new season would be of adequate performance to have been on pole position and won the last race of the previous season. Although the performance difference between the whole grid is only 1.2%, we must add on average 1% of performance per race just to stand still. This is best summed up in a single statement, 'If I would have had this year’s car last year I would have won every race!' Successful teams must therefore embrace the very latest technology and use it in highly stressed situations. Driven by the intense pressure of competition, our ability to build and operate systems sometimes runs in advance of our ability to fully understand them. We operate a 'zero defects' total quality management (TQM) process throughout the team, enabling full traceability from raw materials through to obsolescence using our ERP. Parts are required to be managed and conformance guaranteed throughout their life wherever they are in the world and under whatever service conditions. Processes and procedures are put in place which to the best of our skill and ability, prevent failure. Sometimes however things do go wrong. Under such circumstances there must be a robust process which is quickly implemented to solve the problem and affect a solution. This process will be illustrated with worked examples.

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Honda Racing F1 Team






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