As I have said before during this series of articles on deconstructing a Formula 1 car, mechanical packaging is the biggest hurdle to overcome when designing a grand prix car.
In order to improve the airflow movement around the outer surfaces of the car, every aerodynamicist wants the body surfaces of their car more or less shrink-wrapped around its mechanical components. In a theoretical world this would be fine, but controlling the underbody temperature to reduce the risk of a mechanical failure, such as burned wiring or pipework, is no mean feat.
The biggest user of space and the most complicated challenge to overcome in terms of internal space saving is the engine cooling system.
A modern day F1 engine is built to give maximum performance when it is mounted within the chassis. This means minimising the cooling requirements so that as much airflow as possible can be used to produce downforce. To achieve this, the engines are built with internal tolerances that mean they have to be heated up to 80 degrees C before they can even be started, or risk internal damage or possibly even a seizure. Moreover, because of this they have a very narrow circuit-running temperature band; if it slips outside the 75-85 degrees C band, it could be catastrophic.
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