BMW unveils their 2008 title contender
The BMW Sauber F1.08 has been built on high-class foundations, its predecessor – the F1.07 – having comfortably lived up to everything expected of it. The designers, therefore, enjoyed a sound basis on which to build, and were under no pressure to take any major risks. “That’s why we decided to go for evolution rather than revolution,” says Technical Director Willy Rampf. Added to which, the engineers benefited from the achievement of the BMW Sauber F1 Team in establishing itself as the third-strongest team on the grid early on in 2007. “That gave us the chance to divert more resources to the development of the new car,” explains Rampf. “We put our faith in some logically consistent approaches, which led to interesting solutions.” The result is a car which Rampf describes as a “radical evolution”.
The concept phase got underway in May. “The scheduling looked after itself really, as we wanted to evaluate the data from the first few races of the season before getting down to work on the design of the new car,” says Rampf. Among the areas of the car decided on at this point were the position of the engine, the length of the gearbox, the wheelbase, weight distribution, tank size and suspension concept. Here, the experience collected by the technicians with the standard Bridgestone tire played an important role.
Striking front wingLook the F1.08 in the eye and its front wing cuts an imposing figure. A totally new development, it now consists of three elements. The BMW Sauber F1 Team’s aerodynamics experts invested a considerable amount of time in its design; after all, the front wing affects the aerodynamics of the whole car. Only if this component possesses extremely high downforce potential will the car be able to show perfect balance.
The nose section of the car, which is significantly slimmer than that of its predecessor, has to work harmoniously with the front wing, as Rampf confirms: “You can’t treat the individual components in isolation. At the end of the day, it is critical that they work together to optimum effect.”
When it came to developing the concept for the side turning vanes, the aerodynamics experts returned to their experience with the F1.07. On the new car these are once again made up of two elements – the forward turning vane and the main turning vane. Although appearing identical to the turning vanes on the 2007 car, when you take a closer look they are actually totally different. The endeavors of the aerodynamics team have ensured improved airflow around the sidepods and enabled the underbody to work with great efficiency.
The sidepods have undergone minor modifications in both form and size in order to further enhance cooling. With the engineers having enjoyed a successful result with the cooling concept of the F1.07, the same principle was retained, and complemented by further optimization measures, in the development of the F1.08. This paved the way for heavier tapering at the rear of the sidepods, enabling extremely efficient airflow to the rear wing and diffuser. The radiator remains in a similar position as on the F1.07.
Ultra-slim rearThe engine cover has been downsized substantially in terms of bulk, improving the efficiency of the rear end. The cooling air outlets and “chimneys” have been optimized to almost eliminate any tail-off in performance during a GP run in extreme heat. Positioning the exhaust system at particularly close quarters to the engine was a factor in achieving the extremely slim-cut construction of the rear. The new layout was developed in cooperation with engine development colleagues in Munich, who refined the construction during a series of trials on the test rig.
The extra wing elements on the engine cover – which link up harmoniously with the winglets in front of the rear wheels – are another all-new feature of the 2008 car. These not only generate downforce but also enhance airflow to the rear wing, which is itself a further development of last year’s version.
The car’s aerodynamics are rounded off by the wheel rim covers, fixed stationary on the front axle but designed to turn with the wheels at the rear. Their task is the same at both the front and rear: to optimize brake cooling and improve the flow of air around the tires. A critical factor in all of these developments was the interplay between the testing program in the wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluid dynamics). It was late 2006 when the team’s experts put the supercomputer Albert2 into operation. Based on Intel technology, its huge performance potential has allowed the engineers to carry out not only more, but also extremely complex calculations.
The development process for the suspension was still young when the engineers began to address the implications of traction control’s fall from grace. Added to which, they also set about channeling the knowledge gained with the standard Bridgestone tire in 2007 into the new car. Their aim was to make optimum use of the tires both on a hot lap in qualifying and over the full race distance. And that meant ensuring a combination of good traction and high braking stability. Achieving this goal would help to preserve the tires and make life easier for the drivers by providing stable handling. The front suspension is a consistent further development of the system familiar from the F1.07. Modified kinematics and another step forward in the power steering system ensure increased feedback for the driver. The rear-axle kinematics were designed to give the car predictable handling and imbue the driver with plenty of confidence.
Changes to the appearance of the cockpit area can be traced back to new safety stipulations set out in the F1 regulations. The cockpit’s head protection sidewalls had to be raised further to enhance safety for the drivers should their car be hit by another car which is off the ground.
“In the development of the BMW Sauber F1.08 we concentrated our efforts on the two areas which offered most potential in terms of performance: aerodynamics and the chassis, with its knock-on effect on tires,” says Rampf, and adds: “Our success with the F1.07 gave the whole team a lot of confidence, and that has now been reflected in a number of innovative solutions. The data we are getting from the BMW Sauber F1.08 is very encouraging.”
Pre-season development work still had a long way to run after the presentation of the F1.08 on 14th January 2008 – as Rampf explains: “We will come up with a new aerodynamics package before the first race of the season in Melbourne.” A notable side-effect of this will be a moderately striking change in the outward appearance of the F1.08.
BMW Sauber F1.08 – technical data.
ChassisChassis: carbon-fiber monocoque
Suspension: upper and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs and dampers, actuated by pushrods (Sachs Race Engineering)
Brakes: six-piston brake calipers (Brembo), carbon pads and discs (Brembo, Carbone Industrie)
Transmission: 7-speed quick shift gearbox, longitudinally mounted, carbon-fiber clutch (AP)
Chassis electronics: MES
Steering wheel: BMW Sauber F1 Team
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza
Dimensions: length 4,600 mm
width 1,800 mm
height 1,000 mm
track width, front 1,470 mm
track width, rear 1,410 mm
wheelbase 3,130 mm
Weight: 605 kg (incl. driver, tank empty)
BMW P86/8 – technical dataType: normally aspirated V8
Bank angle: 90 degrees
Displacement: 2,400 cc
Valves: four per cylinder
Valve train: pneumatic
Engine block: aluminum
Cylinder head: aluminum
Oil system: dry sump lubrication
Engine management: standard ECU (MES)
Spark plugs: NGK
Connecting rods: titanium
Dimensions: length 518 mm
width 555 mm
height 595 mm (overall)
Weight: 95 kg
Maximum engine speed: 19,000 rpm
The BMW Sauber F1 Team took delivery of the fastest car in the BMW range at BMW Welt in Munich today (Monday). The team was presented with the BMW Sauber F1.08 against the futuristic backdrop of the brand's new vehicle delivery centre. The presentation, which took place before an audience of several hundred media representatives from around the world, included a spectacular cameo from Nick Heidfeld. As the longest-serving F1 driver in the BMW ranks, the German took the new car for a spin inside the vast building. The serious testing, however, will begin tomorrow (Tuesday) with the roll-out of the car at the Valencia race circuit in Spain. The BMW Sauber F1.08 is eye-catching with its imposing front wing and extremely slim rear, and boasts a wealth of innovative technology.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team has completed its development phase, motivation is strong and its plans are ambitious: in what will be its third season on the Formula One grid the team is aiming to close the gap to the leading teams and has targeted a first race win. "We're setting our sights high," admits BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, "and we'll have to make further improvements in all areas to achieve what we want to. However, the past two years have instilled confidence within the team. We met our goals in both 2006 and 2007, we are heading in the right direction, and everybody in Munich and Hinwil is focused on the job in hand. If we continue our progress along this path we will also fulfill our aims for 2008."
The team will take on the challenge with the same race drivers as in 2007 - Germany's Nick Heidfeld (30) and his Polish team-mate Robert Kubica (23) will be at the wheel of the BMW Sauber F1.08 for the 18 grands prix which make up the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. The team will not name a test driver until the end of January.
"It is generally very difficult to define expectations and make prognoses. But I hope that our plan works out and we are able to win our first race in 2008," said Heidfeld, who once again accounted for the largest share of the points earned by the team in 2007 and finished on the podium twice. "I expect us to move forward in all areas - particularly as far as reliability is concerned - and to learn from our mistakes. This development process is essential in what we're trying to achieve."
And Kubica adds: "I will also be looking to achieve greater consistency in my results during my second full season in Formula One. Retirements and that crash in Canada - which also prevented me from starting in the USA - cost me points in 2007. We all need to take further steps forward in 2008 and make maximum use of every opportunity that presents itself."
Theissen holds his two drivers in high regard: "In Nick and Robert we have a strong and evenly matched duo. For our young team, which in 2006 and 2007 had to drive forward its development in terms of structure and personnel alongside its World Championship campaign, consistency is also a great asset. We know that these two drivers will get the maximum out of the machinery we give them. The F1.07 was a good car, so on this basis the F1.08 should be even better."
The new BMW Sauber F1.08.
For Technical Director Willy Rampf the philosophy behind the race car for the 2008 season boils down to what he calls "evolutionary new development". In other words, last year's car already provided the engineers with a sound basis for the BMW Sauber F1.08, and they did not have to spend time correcting faults. Instead they were able to use knowledge gained over the course of the 2007 season and channel their energies into the development of innovations which build on this basis.
The engineers' development work focused on achieving a high level of aerodynamic efficiency coupled with a stable aero balance: the lower the loss of downforce through corners, the faster the car can travel and the greater the confidence it gives the driver. Other development aims included improving mechanical grip in order to make the best possible use of the standard tires and reducing the weight of various components to allow maximum use of ballast in optimizing weight distribution.
A particularly eye-catching feature of the F1.08 is the mighty front wing. Having said that, the car's nose has actually slimmed down - in equal measure to the rear end. The narrower engine cover has been designed with all-new extra wing elements. Another new and immediately noticeable feature are the hub caps, or "rim shields".
Two changes to the regulations have had a major effect on the construction of the cars for the 2008 season: the introduction of standardized electronics (SECU) and the new running time stipulation for the gearboxes (developed in Munich), which must now endure over four grands prix. Since the SECU does not allow for traction control, among other functions, mechanical grip and sensitive accelerator control will gain in importance.
"The data which the F1.08 has delivered ahead of its roll-out is extremely promising," says Rampf. "The development work will continue at full speed up to the start of the new season. Indeed, another aero package will be added to the F1.08 at the forthcoming test, and this will also alter the external appearance of the car once again."
Development phase reaches its conclusion.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team was consistently the third-strongest team in 2007 and finished the season in second place in the standings following the exclusion of McLaren Mercedes from the Constructors' World Championship. The team completed its debut season of 2006 in fifth place in the World Championship. Its drivers recorded two podium finishes in each of its first two years - three third places and one second place.
Alongside the unrelenting schedule of the race and testing calendar, the BMW Sauber F1 Team also had to focus on the development of the team in terms of personnel and logistics during its first two years on the grid. Rigorous expansion work has been carried out at its Hinwil base near Zurich since BMW took over the team on 1st January 2006. With its workforce having grown by some 150 people, the team moved into the new extension to the Swiss plant in late 2007. The development and construction of the entire powertrain still takes place in Munich - under the watchful eye of Markus Duesmann - next door to the BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ).
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