Formula 1 cars, explained for rookies (with Max Verstappen)

Formula 1 cars, explained for rookies (with Max Verstappen)

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"Speeding and..." [CLAP] "All lined up..." "Brand new season!" "Brand new tour for Formula 1..." I'm looking at the brand new car for the number one team for the world's most popular car racing sport, Formula 1, with the current world champion driver, Max Verstappen! MAX: "Would you like to come and see the car? ME: "YES" And we're gonna show you what it takes to build and drive some of the fastest and most expensive cars in the world. Because the thing is  these aren't just cars. Think of them instead as

epic group science projects where 10 teams all  fight to be first and on every team there are hundreds of people spending millions of dollars  all working together to push technology to its limit. In this video, I'm going to give you rare  access into a factory in England where they build these cars and into a garage in Bahrain where they race them... This is Formula 1 cars, explained. I am on my way to the Red Bull  Factory. We're going to get into some of the nitty-gritty engineering details but  we're also going to talk about the basics of a Formula 1 car. This is Jack. Jack's going to  get us into all of the secret rooms.

"I will do my very best!" He's doing a finger scan to get us in... "So Cleo, welcome to Red Bull." Holy....

I don't even know what to say. This is  badass. What should I look at? Everything! That's the purpose of it. The reason why we have this here is that when people arrive for work they know what they're here to do which is to win trophies, yeah." Oh my god... These are all race driven cars from our history in the sport. Starting the left hand side with our first

car and then finishing on the right hand side with the RB16B, the 2021 Championship winning car. The RB7 actually isn't here and the reason  for that is we do crazy things with the car, so you may have seen it do a donut on the top of the  skyscraper. We've done a pit stop in zero gravity... Can I touch it? "You can touch the car, it's fine." It's so beautiful... "The driver actually has to spend

about 3 or 4 hours sat down in the car getting  their seat fitted, so we sit them in some clay essentially and they sort of get the seat formed  around them..." A Formula 1 car looks kind of similar to other race cars that you might have seen like  these in IndyCar - single seat, open cockpit - but there's something that makes a Formula 1 car  special. In IndyCar, all of the cars have to use the same frame or chassis so winning really  depends on how you race that car. But in Formula 1 each team has to design and manufacture their  own cars so winning starts here at the factory with how you build your car. But you can't just  build whatever you want. "We design a car based on the regulations that the FIA and F1 provide us and  so that really stipulates how the cars look, what shapes they are." That's the formula in Formula 1.  Teams fight to find the best design within these

rules. "The incredible thing with Formula 1 for me  is that you have 10 teams that come together to race. They've all designed and built their own  individual car but you arrive at the track and everybody's within you know a second of each  other over a lap which is quite incredible in itself. But the only way that you gain an advantage  in Formula 1 when the margins are so slim is to look at every area that you can possibly can to  eek performance." The rules say that each team can

spend $135 million per year minus driver salaries.  I know that sounds like a lot but in the race to win it means that every decision needs to get the  best bang for the buck. "The amount of engineering that goes into building these cars is next  level. We're using many of the same techniques many of the same technologies that you know NASA  or SpaceX would use to design their rockets, we apply them to designing our own rocket that goes  around the racetrack." So this is the public display room. Now we're going into the secret... what do  we call this room? "The warehouse." The warehouse...

WOAHHHH. Yeah this feels cooler. Who are these cars? "So these are a variety of different cars from throughout history" "There's some show cars but also there some race cars." Oh my god this is so cool. Can I walk here? I have a question, you're gonna say no. Can I sit right there?

"Yes!" He didn't say no! "Just be really careful not to nail your head on the banister above as you get up..." Welcome to my crib... Every Formula  1 team's goal is to create the two fastest cars possible within the rules so their two drivers can  beat the other team teams around different shaped tracks all around the world racking up points to  win the Constructors' Championship. And for the last 2 years the team that has done that is Red  Bull by a lot. Here are the winners of every race last year. And here's Red Bull. Yeah. So how do they  do it? What makes a winning Formula 1 car? This is the car that won all of those races and this is  one of the aerodynamicists who helped design it...

"So this is RB19. This is last year's car that obviously  was incredible successful and we're all very proud of" A winning Formula 1 car needs to do two things: make super quick turns and go extremely fast in a straight line. The challenge is that the things  that make a car very good at one make it harder to be great at the other. The team that can design the  car that does both the best takes home the trophy.

let me explain: First, to make a quick turn, you need  a strong grip on the ground. "Going back to pure fundamentals, what we want to do is generate what's  called downforce." More downforce means stronger grip which means quicker turns. So how do you  create more force down? Think of a Formula 1 car like an airplane upside down. On a plane, the air  moving across the wings lifts it up. But here the air across the car forces it down. "So that is where  the air literally sucks the car into the ground." To

get it to suck, you need higher pressure above the  car and lower pressure below and one way to get lower pressure air is to get it moving really fast.  "Low pressure is effectively high velocity air so you want to be able to speed up the air as much as  you possibly can under the floor and effectively slow it down as much as you can on on top of the  floor." Here's the part I think is really cool: A good way to get fast lower pressure air isn't for  it to just shoot under the car in a straight line.

It's to create tiny tornadoes under the car. They  don't say tiny tornado though, they say vortex. "A highly powerful vortex, that in itself generates a  lot of low pressure because it's a structure that rotates." High velocity air! "Those structures  then run down the the length of the floor and they generate low pressure for a very long region."  So they have all these tiny tornadoes that

help suck the card toward the ground to give it  better grip to make faster turns. At top speed a Formula 1 card generates a downforce three or four  times the weight of the car meaning this car could theoretically drive on the ceiling. But all of this  downforce comes at a cost. To go super fast in a straight line you need to knife through the air  with as little drag as possible but as you create more downforce... "it normally comes with added drag  which is preventing the car moving through the air, so it's a resistive force." For example, look at  this back wing. It generates downforce on the turns, but it feels like a big parachute slowing the car  down in a straight line which is why Formula 1 teams are allowed to build in a control that the  driver can press to flip part of that wing down allowing the car to zoom down the straights  even faster. This is called the drag reduction system or DRS. Designing a winning Formula 1 car  means balancing all of these different effects

pushing the rules and the limits of physics to  get a little more grip and a little more speed. This is a question that I'm sure you're going to  say no to. Is there any chance in hell that I can sit in this car? "I don't think it's up to me. but..." Jack?? .... [MOMENT OF TRUTH]

"You can sit in the car." YESSSSSSSSSSSSS. Thank you! Ah! "I've got something rather special that you can wear while you're in the car. Pop that on, we'll get you in the car, see how you look being a Formula One driver!" "So how you feeling in there, Cleo?" This is SO COOL. Let me just describe what this feels like. My legs  are above my butt so I'm sitting like that. My legs are like that, and my back is here like that. So I  feel sort of vulnerable. My entire field of view

is what's happening in here. I'm getting more and  more claustrophobic as I talked to you which is interesting. The idea of going 200 mph in this  car is terrifying and I can't believe people do it. I have a totally new appreciation for what  this feels like. The butt I have to admit is quite comfortable. This is clearly crafted  for someone's butt. Max Verstappen's butt apparently. That is actually going to come up in  my conversation with Max Verstappen. But more on

that in a minute. Eventually, I had to get out of  my dream car because now that we've learned the design goals of a Formula 1 car, it's time to see  how they actually make it. As every team works on designing their cars they're constantly  testing those designs in computer simulations, in physical rigs that mimic a moving car and in big  wind tunnels. One of my favorite details is because Formula 1 limits how much teams are allowed to  test full size cars in a wind tunnel, they build these little 60% scale versions of their cars  and test those. One reason that Formula 1 cars

are so light and fast and strong is that basically  every part of the car that you can see is made of a material 10 times stronger than steel but half  the weight: carbon fiber. "Would it be good if I had a piece?" Yeah do you have a piece of carbon fiber? Woah cool. "This is quite a substantial block Can I hold it? How heavy is this? Oh it's heavier  than I thought! "You can see the structure if you look on the side so that's when it's layed up..."  Why is this material used so often throughout the car? "With its strength to weight ratio being  so good it means that you can make it extremely light whilst it retaining a lot of structure  and a lot of strength. So if you hold it up you can actually see light through it there  so it does have a sort of fabric quality to it."

Woven carbon! To create the carbon fiber parts  that they need, teams manufacture patterns in the right shapes and then lay down carbon fiber cloth  sometimes in 100 layers then they suck all the air out and shove them into basically a pressure  cooker to squeeze the layers together with resin. Then they cut and measure those carbon  fiber pieces and other metal parts with huge programmable machines. It looks like it's getting  a milk bath. "The whiteness is down to the additive that gets added to the water to make sure it  doesn't rust the machine." I don't know if you can fully appreciate how big this is but there are  dozens of these boxes just in this massive room in front of us all of the parts for the RB20, the  new Red Bull car, are being manufactured in this room right now in these white boxes. Pretty cool. Any chance I can look in? "I can imagine so, yes."

"I think it's more about not getting it on camera..."  For the metal parts of a car, which kind of metal they use depends on what they need it to do. Okay  so this is aluminum or aluminium as he's calling it. So this is a lot of what the car is made out  of. "We use aluminium throughout the the build of the car for certain parts and components which  is generally light, fairly strong." "Try that one..." "It is quite..." Holy cow! It's hard to show visually  how different these objects are except maybe how

how much I'm trying to hold... I could probably  do 20 reps like this until my arm fell off like this is very heavy! So that's densimet  which is an alloy which we use to add weight to the car. We sometimes add weight into the  car when the driver isn't up to weight. We have to have a minimum weight of the car so  we'll use tiny strips of this throughout the car to bring the car up to weight..." There are  thousands of pieces that make up a Formula 1 car and after they're designed and molded  and machined, some of them need to get painted... The paint job on a Formula 1 car is a big deal  to fans, especially the moment that it's released and they see the car for the first time. And teams  spend a lot of effort to design something that's

going to look beautiful. But the paint isn't just  to be pretty, it's got to go fast. For example a lot of the sponsor logos that you'll see on  these cars aren't stickers because even that tiny little edge would create unwanted drag they  paint the logos on. Watching these cars get built, it's just astonishing to me how much detail and design and effort goes into the finished car that we see on track.

Now we're headed to the most secret room yet, where this team is building their new engine. "This is one of the world's  most advanced engine development facilities." "This isn't just an engine, this is a a Formula 1 engine." Right now, Red Bull buys engines for their cars from Honda but that's about to change. In  2026 Red Bull's cars will use their own custom engines that they're working on right now and  we're about to be one of the first to go see it. "So this building here wasn't here to two  years ago in June was our first engine and when

you see the workshops you'll see what we've  been doing it's pretty impressive." Why does it matter to build a Formula 1 engine yourself? "Control and the tie-in between the chassis and the engine is paramount really. You have it better working together, your aerodynamics and everything all that side of it, is the  way to win." This team's big bet is if they invest a ton of money and time into a custom engine they  can eek a little bit more speed and control out of their car and ultimately win more races. Can you  hear me? Okay so what's happening right now is

I'm in the super secret engine room but we can't  actually show anything close to the new engine but I'm standing in front of the real Formula  1 engines! I just can't show them to you... "People going to love it." They're going to hate me! Okay so  this is the engine that I can show you, we can show you and the reason why little bits are covered  up is that those are the secret parts that you're not allowed to see. If I'm working on a Formula 1  team working on an engine, what is the goal? Is it

maximum power, smallest size? Is it light? "Power. You  want as much power as possible because the driver will ask for more power. Even if he's got the most  powerful engine, he will want more." To understand why this engine is so cool let me explain how the  engine in your car works and how it compares. Okay so your car probably has a four stroke internal  combustion engine and a Formula 1 car does too which means there's a cylinder and inside  there's a piston that goes down-up-down-up in four strokes. In the first one, air and fuel rush into  the chamber, then they get compressed and heat up then a spark ignites the mix and it explodes  shoving the piston down and turning a set of gears generating mechanical movement that turns  the wheels of the car. Then the piston lifts back

up and pushes the remaining gas out. That whole  process happens inside one cylinder and there are six of them in a V shape which is why it's  called a "V6" engine. Your car might have anywhere from 4 to 8 depending on what you drive. But one  big difference between your car and a Formula 1 car is the maximum number of cycles - that down-up  down-up - each engine can complete per minute your car about 6,000 a Formula 1 car over 15,000 that  that contributes to more power to go faster plus these cars combine a bunch of other technologies  to get a little bit more oomph, like a turbocharger which compresses air before it enters the cylinder  so it packs more punch when it's then lit on fire 1 car. It's a great example of why Formula 1 cars  actually matter for people like you and me. It's not that this tech is brand new. It's that it's  combined and tweaked and perfected by hundreds of smart people with millions of dollars to make  it better and those changes help inspire better car tech for all of us. The engines that they're  building here are based on rules for 2026 which

will use less fuel and more electricity and  therefore make a slightly different sound and we got a sneak peak.... Can you hear that? So that's  the new engine running? "Correct, yeah." "Are we allowed to be hearing it?" "You're allowed to HEAR it, you're not allowed to SEE it." Just running by - Ooo! What did that noise change mean? "So it it really just revved up the speed basically and it's now going into this automated power curve. You can hear it's coming  down in speed, so with every single speed we take

a measurement. Next speed, measurement. Next speed,  measurement." So they're testing it at different speeds, at different, they're running power curves  to see how it performs. "And at that time always wide open throttle which means everything we have."  Now that we've seen how they build these cars it's time to see where they race them. And that means that we need to go to Bahrain.

We're here! Here we go... Hi! No I'm not allowed to video any of this... "Turn 1 awaits you a couple of kilometers away!" Does this ever get old 20 years in? "No! Every day is a learning day. Every day is different." I can't believe I'm here. This is the new car, the RB20.

And uh you might recognize these guys. Their job is to take the incredible cars that hundreds of people just built and speed them up over 200  mph, facing forces sometimes greater than five times normal gravity, fighting off competitors  to bring their team over the finish line first. These drivers are legends. Max Verstappen has  been dominating Formula 1 recently... DUH DUH DUH DUH MAX VERSTAPPEN Remember those Red Bull win records? Here's just Max's wins.Yeah. What does it feel like to drive a Formula 1 car? "Imagine sitting in a roller coaster and it basically just shoots off but then like 5 to 10 times worse, while having a steering wheel in  your hands with all the buttons. Back in the day

when my dad was in F1, when I was a little baby  basically, I sat in it and you know is very cute the pictures, but the very first time that I sat  in the car and I was going to drive it myself I was a little bit nervous. Even I to this day  sometimes when I do that, I get this like it shoots off, you have this like [WOAH] kind  of feeling? I still have that in an F1 car sometimes." And for these cars, since no two drivers are the same, no two Formula 1 cars are quite the same either, even for the same team.  "They have a whole book of measurements for

myself, from Max, so they know exactly my seat  position, my pedal position, my sitting position..." "The seat is very important, it's a carbon seat.  You're naturally in a very unnatural position..." I actually got to sit in what I think was your  seat in the RB19 in the factory. "Probably a bit wide!" Actually it was kind of a good fit! .... [RECORD SCRATCH] Did I just tell world champion Max Verstappen that

our butts are the same size? Anyway, here's what  their steering wheel looks like and here's one of the engineers who helped design it. Would a  steering wheel for each of the different teams look totally different? "Yeah. So they all look very  different." On every team's custom wheel, there are dozens of buttons and knobs and switches all  meant to optimize the engine and the tires and the brakes and much more in every possible  scenario all while the driver is driving. "The drivers memorize all the buttons so they can  do it without actually looking at the wheel...

"Sorry... all right... no, we're good." He might have to go do a pit stop at any moment... That was a pit stop. At least once every race,  every car needs to exit the track and enter their pit box where roughly 22 members of the pit crew  swarm the car to quickly change the tires and other parts. A good pit stop is less than 2 seconds.  They give out a trophy for fastest pit stop and when we were at the Red Bull Factory we got to see  theirs. These tires just came off the car and they are hot hot! Like hold on.... now it hurts. That's how  hot. I got to try stacking these tires and listen

they've got a really hard job. "Couple more tries..." It  didn't fall! The tire options are the same for each team. For each race, they all get a hard, medium,  and soft option or if it's raining two different types of wet tires. Your soft tires have the most  grip but they wear out the fastest and your hard ones are on the opposite end of that spectrum and  medium is medium. When they say "my tires are done", what do they mean? "The drivers will feel when when  the grip is is going off..." Choosing the right tires

at the right time is a big part of a team's race strategy... During a race, you'll hear drivers talking to only one person, their race engineer, but that race engineer is also talking to a massive team of strategists, all trying to figure out the  best way to win. Some of those strategists are at the track but most of them are actually back  at the factory in a big room like this. Tt looks

like NASA! And the people in this room aren't just  thinking up plans, they're using supercomputers to run simulations about tons of possible outcomes.  "It's millions, even over the course of a race, and we run them on the Oracle cloud." Millions?? "Millions yeah." Those simulations are taking into account weather and heat of the brakes and tire  performance and everything every other driver is doing and then feeding those simulations back  to the track. "The aim is always to try and win a race so that's kind of thinking about what's  the best thing for you to do but also what might your competitors to and so how might you need to  therefore react to that." This is all real time? "Yes exactly, so we're constantly talking, the intercom  on the pit is constantly lighting up, there's always somebody in one of your ears. So actually the  headphones are dual, so you can hear one car in

one ear, and the other car in the other ear, so  you're always hearing multiple conversations trying to take them all in. It's basically like  playing a board game, that's how I always think of it." The most complicated board game in the world! A  winning Formula 1 car isn't just about the tech inside that car, it's also about the tech behind  every move that the car makes every lap of the race but the thing I think is so cool is that even  with all of those strategists and supercomputers and simulations at the end of the day it still  comes down to human skill. "It's hard sometimes to focus you know because you have always someone  on your ear asking you questions and you are just trying to focus as much as possible but you have  to have that capacity you know..." Everything that we've talked about from design to build to paint  to simulation to test... it's not just happening once. A Formula 1 car is never done. A team is constantly  learning and changing and rebuilding between every single race over and over and over again. In the  end, one of the things that strikes me most about

Formula 1 and Formula 1 cars is that they're  so much like a Lego set. It really has to be all of the individual perfectly formed pieces coming  together to make a whole thing. This is a theme I've noticed with a lot of my episodes of Huge If True. Technology has always been a story of human

Ingenuity but more and more it's also the story  of human collaboration. I think that's really the story of a Formula 1 car and the story of so  much of the technology that we all enjoy. I think there's something really magical about a team  of engineers and designers and strategists and athletes and all of these people coming together  to build something that gets better and better and better every single time. I find a lot of hope  in that. If we can build cars like these...

What else can we do? I can't believe this is real life. One of the things that I've been keeping mind is that most of the people that work on these  cars won't actually get to go see a race at least not with their team because there's a limited  number of people that Formula 1 allows each team to bring to each race and I know that the only  reason that I get to do this is because you watch and subscribe to this show and I just, I'm feeling  really grateful. I hope that these kinds of stories make you a little bit more optimistic about what  we can build while we work together. So if you're

enjoying this video and you want to help us go to  more incredible places subscribe and tell me in the comments where we should go. And we have some  wild episodes coming up, I can't wait to show you.

2024-03-31 00:43

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