Saturday, 29 September 2012

Formula 1 Fridge.

Refrigerating plant, Canada Coldstore by Chris Allen
During the Malaysian Grand Prix where we're told many many times that the heat in the cockpit was such that it was the equivalent of being in a sauna just before you could not take it any more. That their core temperature could be 40C or more, which is well above normal. In the two hour race they can lose 3 litre of water, neither of which is good and are likely to impair judgement to a certain extent, presumable making mistakes and therefore accidents, more likely.
One of the main themes of F1 over the few years is modification to make it safer, which has usually meant slower, but at the same time increase the amount of overtaking. The 2 techniques to slow the cars down has been to make the engines and other parts have to last more than one race, this means you cannot stress them as much.
To get the increase overtaking they introduce KERS to recover energy during braking and allow it to be reused later. The other was the introduction of DRS allowing the cars to reduce drag at certain times.
It is not like there needs to be some great technological advance to reduce the temperature in the cockpit, air conditioning has been around for a while now and insulation for an even longer time. Wouldn't it be simpler to specify a maximum cockpit temperature of 20C as the added weight, power consumption and aerodynamic changes would slow the cars down. Doesn't have to reduce driving power as presumably the system can run of a KERS type energy recover system.
There is a balance needed between insulation, refrigeration and airflow, which makes it a difficult task to get right. Which would make it a bit more interesting.

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