Testing in Formula One is how teams and manufacturers aerodynamically test newly created or updated parts of the car. It comes in three main forms; track testing, straight line/constant radius testing and wind tunnel testing. It is also related to Computational Fluid Dynamics.
Currently, testing in Formula One is very much restricted for cost-saving reasons, but changes are currently being implemented to increase this.
- Main article: FIA Sporting Regulations (2013)
The specific rules regarding testing are:
|22. TRACK AND WIND TUNNEL TESTING|
The specific rules regarding tyre testing are:
|25. SUPPLY OF TYRES IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND TYRE LIMITATION DURING THE EVENT|
Types of testingEdit
Track testing is the process of collecting data while driving on a race circuit. This is the simplest form of testing, since all it involves is the driver driving around a circuit at a pace determined by the team, who collect the telemetry data. This data, compared to previously collected data, allow a team to work out if a new part of the car improves the car. The driver can also give feedback that the telemetry cannot pinpoint, such as how difficult the car is to handle.
Pre-season testing are the set of FIA-approved tests that take place prior to the first race of the season. Tests were not allowed in January until 2014, so these tests typically take place in February and early March. These tests are no more than four days in duration.
Young driver testEdit
The "young driver training test" is a three or four day test that takes place during the season to help accustom young, inexperienced drivers. This test will be discontinued from 2014.
Substitution driver testsEdit
Teams are allowed to test a driver for one day who has not driven in a Formula One event in the past two years if they intend to enter him into a future event. These come with very specific guidelines (see regulations above, § 22.4(h)(iii))
Straight line/constant radius testingEdit
Straight line and constant radius testing fall under the same restrictions in the Sporting Regulations, being classed as "one-day aerodynamic tests". Teams are allowed to perform four of these a season, although they are allowed to trade them off for four hours of wind tunnel testing.
Straight line testingEdit
Constant radius testingEdit
Wind tunnel testingEdit
Some restrictions are applied to the use of wind tunnels. There are a maximum of four 24-hour periods in which teams can perform four hours of wind-on testing on full-scale models, which is a trade off with straight line/constant radius testing. However, teams are allowed unlimited wind tunnel usage for models which are up to 60% scale and air speed of 50 metres per second (112 mph, 180 km/h).
Wind tunnels can measure drag, downforce, balance, air flow, pressures, and how additional forces and moments act around the car. While the measurements for drag, downforce, balance, pressures and other forces can be measured by using instruments on the car; air flow requires the use of a technique known as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). For PIV, the airflow is "seeded" with tiny bubbles of polystyrene latex, which behave in a very similar way to air. By shining a laser on the polystyrene latex and filming the motion, the direction of air travel can be seen.
From 2014, the amount of wind tunnel usage will be reduced.
Tyre testing is testing that is undertaken by a tyre supplier. Since tyre suppliers typically do not work for a sole team, they must offer to test their tyres to multiple teams. This has to be agreed to by both the FIA and the rest of the teams and cannot be used for testing purposes by the team whose cars are driving in the test. The car itself must also be at least two seasons old (i.e. the car used cannot be the car used in either the current or previous season). Violation of these rules, in cases such as Testgate, can result in serious repercussions for both team and tyre supplier.
In special circumstances, such as for the 2013 Pirelli Tyre Test, the cars may not need to be two years old if granted special permission by the FIA.
The results of the tyre tests are normally held private by Pirelli.
History of testingEdit
Circuits associated with testingEdit
- Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, used in the winter
- Bahrain International Circuit, used in the winter
- Autódromo do Estoril
- Fiorano Circuit, owned by Ferrari
- Fuji Speedway, owned by Toyota
- Circuito de Jerez, used in the winter
- Autodromo Nazionale Monza
- Mugello Circuit, owned by Ferrari
- Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, used by Ligier and Prost
- Circuit Paul Ricard, now a high-technology test track
- Circuit Ricardo Tormo (Valencia), used in the winter
- Silverstone Circuit, used by British teams
- Suzuka Circuit, owned by Honda
- Yas Marina Circuit
- Testing regulations on Formula1.com
- Tyre regulations on Formula1.com (specifically § 22.5)
- Symonds, Pat (November 2012). "The Science Behind... Research and development". F1 Racing (201): 28–29. ISBN 9-771361-448152.
- Symonds, Pat (December 2012). "The Science Behind... Windtunnels". F1 Racing (202): 28–29. ISBN 9-771361-448152.
- Symonds, Pat (April 2013). "The Science Behind... On-track testing". F1 Racing (206): 26–27. ISBN 9-771361-448169.