Photo credit – Henrik Sandsjö
Article published on the Institute of Mechanical Engineers website
Today’s Formula One drivers can spend up to 30 days in the simulator during a season. Although some of this time is spent re-familiarising themselves with the tracks, the main aim is to develop the performance of the car. Simulator technology has advanced to such an extent that the models can now replicate real world conditions with impressive accuracy. This allows simulators to be used as an engineering tool, which can test and develop the effect of suspension designs, aeromaps and setup changes, with the driver acting as a part of the toolchain.
One team which benefits from the use of a simulator is the Chalmers University of Technology. The Swedish team, which achieved an impressive 6th place in last year’s Class 1 UK competition, utilises the Cruden A646-D3 simulator to educate both their drivers and engineers on the effect of setup changes. “It is so easy to change the setup in the simulator, it allows us to get a first glimpse of how the cars’ mechanical grip changes with different setups,” explains Axel Niklasson, one of the drivers, who also developed the pedal box and brake design. “Usually we do ten minute stints with quick setup changes and as a driver it’s great to feel the immediate effect of a change, rather than having to wait for the mechanics.”
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