First, let’s split it down into its component words: ‘Vehicle,’ which is self-explanatory, and ‘Dynamic,’ which is an adjective signifying anything that is always changing. As a result, vehicle dynamics refers to a vehicle’s typical response to a change in its external environment. Vehicle dynamics can take the shape of longitudinal or lateral acceleration, roll owing to a steering input, or wheel deflection due to a road input — anything that causes a change in the car’s equilibrium can be characterised as vehicle dynamics.

When it comes to optimising a vehicle’s performance, a vehicle dynamicist’s primary goal is to maximise the longitudinal and lateral accelerations the vehicle is capable of generating through maximising tyre forces.

Because the tyre is the only portion of the racecar in touch with the track’s surface, it’s critical to understand how the other components, including as wheels, suspension, chassis, and even aerodynamic equipment, all work together to offer the best possible conditions for the tyre. To maximise the cornering forces generated by each tyre, it’s critical to first understand how and why a tyre develops grip, as well as why it doesn’t – this is the first topic in this series of articles.

Construction

The chassis and the engine are the two fundamental components of any Formula One vehicle.

The chassis of today’s Formula One vehicles is comprised of carbon fibre and ultra-lightweight components. The total weight, including the driver and tyres, but without the fuel, shall not be less than 702 kg (1548 lbs).

A Formula One vehicle must have a maximum width of 180 cm and a maximum height of 95 cm; the maximum length is not stated, but all cars have about the same length.

Engines: Starting in 2014, all F1 vehicles must have 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engines, according to new regulations.

Gearbox

F1 vehicles now employ semi-automatic sequential carbon titanium gearboxes with 8 forward gears and 1 reverse gear with rear-wheel drive.

Steering Column

Many functions are available on the steering wheel of an F1 car, including changing gears, adjusting brake pressure, calling the radio, and adjusting fuel.

Fuel

Formula One vehicles run on a closely regulated combination of regular gasoline that can only include commercial gasoline components, not alcohol compounds.

Tires

Since 2009, Formula One vehicles have used smooth thread, slick tyres. An F1 car’s tyre measurements are as follows:

  • 245mm front tyre (width)
  • 355mm and 380mm rear tyres (width)
  • Disc brakes with a rotor and calliper at each tyre are used in Formula One vehicles.

Performance and Speed

All F1 vehicles can accelerate from 0 to 100 mph (160 kmph) in less than 5 seconds and decelerate to 0 in less than 5 seconds. F1 vehicles have clocked high speeds of around 300 kilometres per hour, or 185 miles per hour on average.

Some vehicles, however, have reached speeds of 400 kmph or higher without completely conforming with F1 criteria. These figures are largely the same for all F1 vehicles, however tiny differences may exist owing to gearing and aerodynamics design.

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