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Monday, 23 March 2009

BGP001 Analysis - Brawn GP

The first iteration of a Brawn car will always be thought of as a Honda car, however when you think about it most of the personnel that created the car are still with Brawn GP and it was merely the Honda money that should be associated with the car's evolution. Honda made a decision to start developing the 09 car mid way through the 08 season. A great decision as the design of the 08 car was so flawed it didn't matter how many aero updates come along Honda wouldn't be competitive.

The 09 season meant that the car could be built from the ground up as with all the new technical regulations cars this year will not resemble their 08 counterparts.

So lets have a look at the main components that make up the new rules/BGP001's design. I'll try to use the Ferrari and McLaren cars as reference points.

Front Wing/Nosecone



The first comparisons I must draw from the pictures is the dimensional differences of the nosecone/wing attachments. The McLaren and Ferrari seem to have much lower slung wings taking advantage of the top side aero this will create (pushing air up onto the top area of the car) Also the nosecone tips of the McLaren/Ferrari sit much higher whereas the Brawn's nosecone sits at the very lowest dimension allowed by the regs. This I feel for the Brawn car is all designed to assist more air under the car in direct contrevention of what the McLaren/Ferrari designs do.

See also this informative piece of information on F1.com

Front Wing – Endplates



Looking again in comparison to the Ferrari/McLaren the Brawn design is much more complex with an array of deflecting fins designed to push air around the wheels initially and then onto the the adjustable element on the inner section. The Ferrari/McLaren are much less complex seeming to just divert the air around the wheels.

Adjustable Wing Element

The Brawn design seems quite crude in comparison to the sculpted varients you see on the McLaren/Ferrari. However it appears that the Brawn's adjustable element would have more effect when used on reducing drag, whereas the McLaren/Ferrari counterparts are also designed while in their usual positions to provide the correct airflow for the rearward aero.

Sidepods



The obvious design decision of the BGP001 is to not run KERS, this means that smaller sidepods can be utilsed on the BGP001 than that of it's rivals. Teams have always adjusted the size of the sidepods throughout the season to cater for the particular location they are visiting with warmer climates seing larger sidepods. The battery style KERS system that most of the teams have adopted requires extra cooling due to the energy being stored/transferred with the batteries. As the BGP001 is void of KERS smaller sidepods have been adopted and the bodywork that surrounds them can be sculptured much more effectively to effect the aero than those running KERS/larger sidepods.

Airbox

The BGP001's airbox seems to be much larger than it's rivals and maintains the design of the engine cover rather than almost making them 2 seperate articles.

Engine Cover



The BGP001's engine cover has a much steeper line to it than its counterparts removing itself earlier from the disruption of airflow it could cause to the rear wing.

Rear Wing



The BGP001's rear wing sports a rear corner that has been radius'ed off and a front end profile that has also been shaped. The endplates themselves are shaped in thickness towards the high spoiler aiding airflow.

Rear Diffuser

The rear diffuser is being argued by some of the other teams to be illegal. However according to the technical rules the diffuser is dimensionally fine (See my Diffusing a Bomb post) it is the crash structure above the diffuser that is acting as a 'Downforce Funnel' that the teams should be classing as an issue. Although my understanding of the rules show this to be legal too.

Engine

In early negotiations Ross looked into the Ferrari option but the fit was just not right for the whole car setup. The Mercedes engine was dimensionally a much better fit and fitted the Honda gearbox which Ross was desperate to keep hold of. The Honda gearbox allowed dimensionally for the rear aero (which has caused much debate) to stay in place.

There are many other components on the car that define the BGP001's design against the competition but I feel this has summerised the main area's.

The BGP001's design is simply from front to back different to it's rivals. It uses downforce created from the underside of the car rather than the top end of the car and is perhaps one of the reasons the car is using it's tyres better too.

Certain aspects of F1 cars are defined by the regulations ie wheelbase dimensions, skid blocks and crash structures but with free reign to interpret the rules each team of designers will always come up with designs that differ from the other teams. Without this we would just have another spec series.......

I would like to point out that the original images I used to create the comparisons above can be found here:
http://www.thef1.com/
http://www.onnycar.com/
http://www.f1-live.com/
http://photos.dppi.net/
http://www.autosport.com/

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About Me

I have been an F1 fan from a very early age, however in my very early years I didn't really support a team just loved the racing. Since the BAR years I have been supporting this team through it's highs and lows. I'm confident under Ross Brawn's control the team will go from strength to strength and hopefully Jenson and Rubens can find themselves in a competitive car once more.

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