Got a chance to get close to an F1 car on display. It belongs to the Renault F1 Team and this car no.9 is supposed to be driven by Nick Heidfeld (temporary replacement driver for Robert Kubica who has just discharged from the hospital and recovering fast).
*Descriptions are extracts from the official Formula 1 website* Find me in Facebook! [facebook.com]
Tyres The racing tyre is constructed from very soft rubber compounds which offer the best possible grip against the texture of the racetrack, but wear very quickly in the process. The development of the racing tyre came of age with the appearance of ‘slick’ tyres, by omitting a tread pattern on dry weather tyres, the surface area of rubber in contact with the road could be maximised.
Steering wheel Formula One drivers have no spare concentration for operating fiddly controls, or trying to look at small, hidden gauges. Hence the controls and instrumentation for modern Formula One cars have almost entirely migrated to the steering wheel itself - the critical interface between the driver and the car. The steering wheel is also used to house instrumentation, normally via a multi-function LCD display screen and - more visibly - the ultra-bright ‘change up’ lights that tell the driver the perfect time for the optimum gearshift. Race control can also communicate with the driver via a compulsory, steering-wheel mounted GPS marshalling system. This displays warning lights, with colours corresponding to the marshals’ flags, to alert drivers to approaching hazards, such as an accident, on the track ahead.
Aerodynamics A modern Formula One car has almost as much in common with a jet fighter as it does with an ordinary road car. Aerodynamics have become key to success in the sport and teams spend tens of millions of dollars on research and development in the field each year. The aerodynamic designer has two primary concerns: the creation of downforce, to help push the car's tyres onto the track and improve cornering forces; and minimising the drag that gets caused by turbulence and acts to slow the car down.
Cockpit At the heart of the modern Formula One car is the ‘monocoque’ (French for ‘single shell’), or ‘tub’. It incorporates the driver's survival cell and cockpit, and also forms the principal component of the car's chassis, with engine and front suspension mounted directly to it. Its roles as structural component and safety device both require it to be as strong as possible. Like the rest of the car, most of the monocoque is constructed from carbon fibre - up to 60 layers of it in places - with high-density woven laminate panels covering a strong, light honeycomb structure inside.
Brakes Formula One cars have disc brakes (like most road-cars) with rotating discs (attached to the wheels) being squeezed between two brake pads by the action of a hydraulic calliper. This turns a car's momentum into large amounts of heat and light - note the way Formula One brake discs glow yellow hot. Formula One brakes are remarkably efficient. In combination with the modern advanced tyre compounds they have dramatically reduced braking distances. It takes a Formula One car considerably less distance to stop from 160 km/h than a road car uses to stop from 100 km/h.