McLaren MP4/5

Although not as iconic as its predecessor, the McLaren MP4/4, the 1989 MP4/5 was also a very successful formula one race car winning the Constructor’s Championship for two more consecutive years. Along with the MP4/6, it would be four consecutive years of supremacy for the McLaren-Honda squad —with one driver’s championship for Alain Prost, and three for Ayrton Senna.

The MP4/5 was the first of a new era in Formula 1 as the 3.5-litre normally aspirated engines came into force, marking the end of the turbo-era. The new engine, a 72 degree Honda RA109E V10 designed by Osamu Goto, was delivering 685 bhp at 13,000 rpm, making it the most powerful of the grid. This engine, in combination with an all-new monocoque chassis mounting new double wishbone suspension with pullrods up front and pushrods at the rear designed under Neil Oatley’s guidance, made of McLaren once again the team to beat.

Honda RA109E V10 engine.

Read on, and see Goku sponsoring the #27 McLaren MP4/5B >

Lap times for the 2014 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Last race of the season. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on his second Driver’s Championship, first Mercedes Benz champion since Fangio.

A pitty Rosberg could not fight for the championship due to technical problems in his car. His team asked him to return the car to the pits a few laps before the end of the race, but decided to finish the race instead as a matter of pride. Congratulations on a fantastic season.

The now reigning world champion was escorted to the podium by Massa and Bottas. It is the third podium this year for Massa, and the sixth podium for Bottas, who secured a fourth place finish in the driver’s world championship. Also a fantastic last race this season for Daniel Ricciardo who —despite starting from the pit lane behind team mate Sebastian Vettel after disqualification— showed great pace and fighting abilities finishing just 8 seconds behind the Finn and once again several positions ahead of team-mate and four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Button had one of his best finishes this season in what might be his last race as a Formula One driver. He had a wheel to wheel battle with Fernando Alonso in the early stages of the race and had to hold off Nico Hulkenberg —who had been penalized earlier in the race— by the end. He was followed by team-mate Sergio Perez, who had its own share holding off Vettel. A very good season for Force India and Toro Rosso, despite the latter not accumulating any points this race. The same cannot be said, however, for Lotus and Sauber, with 10 and 0 points in the championship this season.

This race marks also the end of an era for Fernando Alonso. He leaves Ferrari after five years, 96 races, 11 victories, 1190 points, and thrice a world champion runner-up.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

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Lap times for the 2014 F1 Brazilian Grand Prix

Just one race left and any of the two Mercedes’s drivers can become World Champion. Rosberg shortened Hamilton’s lead on the Championship and everything will be decided at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. It’s the fifth victory this season for Nico while Hamilton, who felt he was the quicker of the two, spun when pushing to jump ahead during the second round of pit stops.

Felipe Massa took his first podium of the season ahead of Jenson Button despite being handed a five second time penalty and pulling into McLaren’s pit box by mistake. Button had enough in hand to hold off Vettel to the flag while, just over ten seconds behind, Fernando Alonso had to fight his way past Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen in the latter stages.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Data logger: test session at 1st Rally Eurocidade Tui-Valença

I already tested the data logger on a friend’s go-kart and after some minor improvements I was ready to go a step further and test it on a rally car. The chosen scenario was the 1st Rally Eurocidade Tui-Valença, counting towards the Galician Rally Championship, that took place over November 7-9.

Upgrades

With the Arduino Uno R3 it was not possible to record data for both GPS and accelerometers at the same time due to conflicting libraries. At least that was what I though at a beginning, but it was actually a lack of SRAM. Solution? Get a Leonardo or a Mega.

Although the Leonardo had more SRAM than the Uno —2.5 KB to 2 KB—, both had the same 32 KB of Flash Memory. And I was already using up all that memory, so a Leonardo would hamper future developments. Thus, the most sensible solution was to go for an Arduino Mega 2560 R3, or even an Arduino Due. The Arduino Mega comes with 256 KB of Flash Memory and 8 KB of SRAM and plenty of analog and digital I/O pins. This should allow for the implementation of all the additional modules I have in mind.

The new Arduino Mega 2560 alongside the previous Arduino Uno.
The new Arduino Mega 2560 —alongside the previous Arduino Uno— with Adafruit’s Ultimate GPS Logger Shield and Pololu’s MinIMU-9 v2.

Another benefit from using the Mega is that now everything fits inside the Arduino Enclosure as can be seen from the picture above.

Read more about the test session!

Lap times for the 2014 F1 United States Grand Prix

With only two races left to call an end to the season, Lewis Hamilton scored his 10th victory of the season —ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg— extending his lead in the world championship to 24 points. With this victory, Hamilton becomes tied on race wins with Fernando Alonso which is fighting helplessly this season to score as many points as he can for the team.

The final podium position was for Daniel Ricciardo, who has been outperforming his team mate Sebastian Vettel the whole season. Felipe Massa was fourth after, ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas, who was ahead at the grid. Behind them, Fernando Alonso managed to keep sixth place struggling against Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. A Sebastian Vettel who —despite a tyre change scarcely 10 laps towards the end of the race that was to leave him off the points— was closing on Alonso when the flag fell.

Button eventually faded leaving only Magnussen to claim points for McLaren. Behind him, Jean-Eric Vergne made some risky manoeuvres which were offset by a place in the points. Pastor Maldonado took advantage in the frenetic battle by overtaking Vergne on the final lap —both drivers were handed a five-second penalty for pit-lane speeding and —. The other Frenchman, Romain Grosjean, was caught by surprise and finished in a frustrating 11th position.

Another driver who missed the points was Adrian Sutil. After a fantastic qualifying, he was harpooned by Sergio Pérez’s Force India on the first lap bringing out the safety car. The Mexican was handed a seven place grid penalty for Brazil due to the incident.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Analysis of a lap around Brands Hatch Indy (Pt. II)

This entry owes very much to a challenge from the Spanish motorsport blog DeltaGap. There, Daniel provides us with a set of real data in order to determine in which sectors the delta time is greater. I took up the challenge and worked out a solution which will help to understand where in a circuit a driver can improve. Is it in the slow corners or in the fast straights?

The dataset

Brands Hatch Indy.
Brands Hatch Indy [1].
To obtain the delta time, here I will use the same laps I did compare in Analysis of a lap around Brands Hatch Indy (Pt. I). But instead of having time in the abscissa, I will have distance.

The fastest lap of the session was lap #39 (0:42.799), while lap #14 (0:42.864) was the second-fastest one.

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Ferrari 126 C

Ferrari 126 CK

The name comes from its longitudinal 120° V6 rear-mounted engine, while the C stands for Competizione. It is the first Formula 1 car by Ferrari to mount a turbo engine, after Renault introduced the concept back in 1977.

A normally aspirated engine is an expression of the the total engineering efforts of all those who are responsible for the engine design, whereas with turbos you are in the hands of the turbo suppliers —Enzo Ferrari [2].

The supplier for the turbos was KK&K, in a 1.5 litre twin turbo layout producing about 540 hp in the first variant of the car. Ferrari also tried out another type of compressor, the Comprex, but turned out to be difficult to perfect for racing engine purposes.

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BMW E30 318i: engine management optimization

I’ve already talked about our race car, affectionately known as the “penco” —Spanish for nag—, in previous posts. The term “penco” is not fortuitous, as with only 113 hp the car was at the bottom of the entry list for the 24 hours of Braga in terms of horsepower. Nonetheless, we’ve seen that, in endurance racing, horsepower is not everything as was demonstrated by the 115 hp VW Golf III that took the victory against teams with up to 200 hp cars.

BMW E30 318i

Our race car, like most vehicles from the early 1980s onwards, incorporates an engine control unit that control several actuators to ensure optimal engine performance. Therefore, by tuning the so called engine maps it is possible to achieve superior performance.

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Lap times for the 2014 F1 Russian Grand Prix

The first time in the history of Formula One than a race is held in Russia —check this map—, and also the first Constructors’ Championship for Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. A well deserved championship given the merciless dominance of their cars. Such is that, that Rosberg was able to finish in P2 running on medium tyres the whole race after a first lap lock-up ruined the performance of his tyres, thus pitting for a new set of medium tyres.

A similar strategy was followed by Felipe Massa —started in P18— switching to a soft set of tyres after the first lap hoping for a Safety Car to be released. The Brazilian was closely following the pace of Nico Rosberg but got stuck behind Sergio Perez for several laps. This forced Massa to pit once again ultimately finishing in P11. Similar initial strategy, very different outcome. On the other hand, Vatteri Bottas claimed another podium finish this season after a fantastic race.

Button and Magnussen finished in P4 and P5, making this one of the best race finishes for the team this season. Fernando Alonso could have finished in between the two drivers, and even fight for P4 where it not for a sloppy pit stop in lap 25.

Ricciardo and Vettel also finished one after the other further strengthening Red Bull’s 2nd position in the Constructors’ Championship. Raikkonen managed to grab two points, crucial in keeping alive Ferrari’s duel against Williams for P3 in the Championship.

Also, worth to mention Sergio Perez’s fifth consecutive finish in the points, tied on points with Kimi.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Lap times for the 2014 F1 Japanese Grand Prix

Typhoon Phanfone made a threat to ruin this 26th edition of the F1 Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit. Fortunately, there was enough time for a very difficult race to take place, although cars had to start after the Safety Car.

Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg recorded the eight one-two finish of the season —McLaren set a record of 10 in 1988—. It is also the eight race win of 2014 for Lewis Hamilton, who gap with Rosberg to ten points.

Third podium for Vettel after having confirmed this weekend his move to Ferrari next season. On the other hand, team mate Dani Ricciardo finished fourth after overtaking Button with a pair of decisive moves.

Fourteen points were distributed among Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who finished sixth and seventh respectively, consolidating Williams in third place. Nico Hulkenberg took home four points, while Vergne, who finished between two Sahara Force India’s, grabbed two points, leaving the remaining one to Sergio Perez.

But this was a wet difficult race, and Adrian Sutil lost control of his car hitting the barrier in lap 43. Nothing serious happened. Sutil was able to leave the Sauber on its own. But while the crane was lifting his car, Jules Bianchi spun hitting the rescue vehicle from the back; an unfortunate incident which required immediate medical attention.

Following, I provide the plots so you may draw your own conclusions.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading