Thursday, January 21, 2010

Renault F1 R29

Following the ING Renault F1 Team’s improving performance in 2008, the new R29 is a development in design philosophy aimed at extracting maximum performance from the new aero regulations, slick Bridgestone tires, and KERS system, whilst further developing the strong features of the R28.




With such radical rules coming into force, particularly with respect to aerodynamics, the team placed great emphasis on maximizing the R29’s time in the wind tunnel, with aero development already underway by February 2008. CFD has also played a considerable role in the design of the car and has been particularly valuable in understanding the interaction of the aerodynamic package as a whole. There has been a concerted effort to save as much weight as possible on the R29 to allow for the introduction of the KERS system. As a result, the design team has moved towards using alternative materials and construction methods, such as the carbon-titanium gearbox casing, increased use of MMC aluminum and magnesium.

Renault started the design work of the KERS system in 2007 in conjunction with Magnetti-Marelli. The system consists of a motor-generator, which is connected to the front of the engine (this charges the battery on braking and releases the energy under acceleration), a battery pack located in the chassis and a KERS control unit.

The front end of the car is dominated by the 2009 aero specification wide front wing which has a driver controlled adjustable incidence flap. This looks very different to previous years being much closer to the ground and has much greater influence on the air flow over the tires due to its increased span. Great attention has therefore been paid to the end plates which have become much more critical devices than they have been in previous years. The front end also has a more radical front suspension layout with new geometry including inclined wishbones and higher monocoque in order to maximize the new slick tires and improve aerodynamic efficiency.

The rear of the monocoque under the bodywork has changed considerably with the integration of the KERS system, which has taken a lot of effort to package neatly for the minimum weight. The introduction of this new technology has also influenced the car’s aero package with carefulconsideration paid to ensure sufficient cooling.
The bodywork appendages, such as winglets, flicks and chimneys have now largely disappeared with the 2009 aero regulations. The surfaces are therefore much simpler and more streamlined, although the R29 still incorporates the R28-type dorsal fin and flush exhaust exits seen on previous Renault F1 cars. The 2009 rear wing is narrower and higher and reverts back to the centrally-supported single pylon design first introduced on the R26.

The four-race gearbox has a brand new carbon-titanium main case to save weight, and an improved gearshift system developed on the R28, which has also reduced weight and improves performance. The R29 therefore shares little in common with its predecessor with much of the car designed from a clean sheet of paper. This is particularly true of the aerodynamic package where efforts in the past have concentrated on evolutionary design. The technical team has risen to the challenges of this shake-up in the rules and looks forward to seeing the results of their efforts on the racetrack when the R29 makes its debut this January.


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