Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Let me set some ground rules about this first. When I did this, I looked at the best technology used in F1's history and decided which, when used, would make the car unbelievably fast. I would be assuming that the technology in question would be updated with modern materials and modern versions of all the technology and revolutions mentioned. BUT, I won't abide by the FIA rule book because otherwise I would just end up with a 2020 Mercedes, and that is boring. So I will be thinking about taking the best bits of every F1 car in history and using them to create the ultimate F1 car. So what would I use for the ultimate F1 car?
Let's do this methodically, so I think we need to start with the most important part of the car, the Chassis.
What type of Chassis would I use?
What the teams use today: a moulded carbon-fibre monocoque with a honeycomb structure. Carbon-fibre is the only material to go for the chassis, as it has an incredibly high strength to weight ratio and incredible rigidity at the same time. A honeycomb structure is where the material in question is shaped like... well, a honeycomb. The reason I want to use a honeycomb structure is pretty simple actually: saving weight. A honeycomb is very structurally sound, despite being full of holes. The reason is because when pressure is applied to the top of a honeycomb will get evenly spread throughout the hexagons, and applying the pressure on the faces of the hexagons will be well absorbed by the abundance of material in that direction. This is why I think using a carbon fibre monocoque with a honeycomb structure is ideal, as it would provide the perfect balance of weight and rigidity.
Next, I think we need to go over suspension and the number of tyres. Before you ask, I'm mostly going to end up sticking with the 2020 Pirellis because, well, PIRELLI.
Wait, number of tyres?
Yeah, this may surprise you guys, but if you remember my second and third posts, I talked about the evolution of F1 technology. Well, in one of them, I mentioned the Tyrell P34, the 6-wheeled F1 car of the mid-70s. I also talked about the Williams FW08B, a car with 4 wheels at the back, vs the P34 having 4 wheels at the front. Both configurations significantly improved the car's performance, with the 4 front wheels greatly improving turn-in stability and the 4 rear wheels significantly improving traction out of corners. This is a very strong case to make the ultimate F1 car have 8 wheels, 4 at the front and back each, but I do have some issues with doing that. My biggest issue with adding 4 wheels to each end is the rolling resistance that would be created as a result. More wheels means more rolling resistance, so I get the feeling that any advantage I would gain in the corners I would lose in the straights, just because the car won't accelerate. In order to to keep the car decent in a straight line, I would have to use much smaller radius tyre than normal, and I doubt Pirelli are willing to make smaller than normal tyres just because some random dude asked. So I am going to stick with 4 tyres on my F1 car, thanks.
What about the suspension huh? What type of suspension will the Ultimate F1 car have?
Pretty easy actually: Active Suspension. Active Suspension is a type of suspension that is constantly changing all its parameters to ensure a car can meet a pre-destined target at all times. OK... but what does that actually mean? Well, a normal suspension has many components, like the shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars, push-rods and linkages, to name a few. What makes active suspension different is the fact that the ECU is an integral part of the suspension. The ECU will be altering the characteristics of all those suspension components all the time, just to ensure the car will be at peak performance permanently. the ECU can be programmed to increase or decrease the pressure in the shock absorbers or stiffen the anti-roll bars as necessary to maintain peak performance, while saving tyre life when needed. This already makes active suspension amazing, but there is something else that makes active suspension completely overpowered: the ability to permanently keep the car flat and level to the ground. That is what made the Williams FW15C so dominant, it's suspension could keep it level to the ground all the time while saving the tyres, giving the drivers more confidence to push harder for longer, and not worry too much about their tyres fading. So the Ultimate F1 car must have Active Suspension as a result, so lets throw that on the car.
Also, I want to add something called a Tuned Massed Damper, which was pioneered by Renault in 2005. The device was fairly simple: just a weight attached to a string in the nose of the car that was also connected to the suspension. What it did was dampen the tyre bounce, helping to keep the car level. It could be tuned based on the track, so I think it is mandatory for the Ultimate F1 car. It may seem like overkill with the active suspension on top of this, but it will mean that the car will be level almost permanently, so let's add a Tuned Mass Damper at both ends of the vehicle.
That is the suspension and tyres dealt with, so let's start to delve into the aerodynamics of the car. It is a very complex section of an F1 car, so think we need we need to break this down into some sections to make it easier. Those are: 1) the Front and Rear Wings 2) Bargeboards 3) The side pods and anything important to note on the side of the car 4) the diffuser and any important aerodynamic parts located at the rear of the car and 5) any other important aerodynamic devices. So, let's start with the first on that list: the wings.
What front and rear wings are you gonna use?
Honestly, I'm not 100% sure. I'm stuck between the 2018 and 2020 wings, for some very good reasons. The 2018 front wings have incredibly complex winglets on the outer edges and that helps direct airflow around the front tyres very effectively when compared to the rather featureless front wings of the 2020 cars, but that also means that the 2020 front wings produce far less drag than the 2018 front wings. This means that the car can achieve a much higher top speed with a 2020 spec wing when compared to that of a 2018 specification front wing and I honestly think I won't need the extra downforce of the 2018 front wings. It will become clear why I say that soon, so I will take the 2020 front wing specification thanks. Probably the Mercedes wing because let's be honest, it is the only one worth taking, but with only 3 or 2 elements. You'll understand soon. Oh, the term elements refers to the separate parts of the wing.
The rear wing won't be the 2020 specification, it will be the 2018 specification wing, for the simple reason of drag. I think that the aerodynamic concepts I will be using in other sections of the car will turn the lower drag into an advantage. ALSO, I don't think that the 2018 rear wings have a significantly lower amount of downforce when compared to the 2020 rear wings, so the car won't have a loose rear end. The reason I am going for a lower drag set up on the wings will be clear soon, just have patience.
But now, let's discuss the bargeboards, and they are partially the reason why I want lower downforce front and rear wings.
Wait, what are bargeboards, what do they do, and which ones will you use?
Bargeboards are the complex aerodynamic pieces that you find just behind the front wheels of all F1 cars these days. They are not there to produce downforce, they are there to direct air to a place where it will produce more downforce. They basically ensure that the airflow around the car is optimal and will produce maximum downforce in the desired area and region. They are complex and intricate and in modern F1, completely incomprehensible by anyone except the designers. And guess what, I won't use any. Instead, I will use Venturi tunnel inlets to contract and speed up the airflow under the car. And anyone who has done a little bit of research into Formula 1 knows what's coming. If you read about the side pods, then all will become clear. They are the main reason why I don't want high downforce front and rear wings. Trust me, you have no idea how much downforce I can get by carefully designing the side pods.
What makes the side pods so good for the car that you don't want a high downforce front and rear wing?
This will be the area of the car responsible for generating most of the downforce, as I intend to apply the concept of Ground Effects. I explained this in great detail in my post about F1 technology (the first one), but to put it simply, I will add a Venturi Tunnel to the floor of the car to create the downforce needed. The overall design of the floor will be similar to the 2022 F1 concept cars, but on a bigger scale, with bigger Venturi Tunnels and to create more powerful ground effect. To explain ground effect in a simple way, it accelerates the flow of air underneath a car to create a suction effect that drags the entire car down into the ground, generating downforce with no drag gained. This is so powerful, I think that we don't need too much downforce at the front and rear wings, so I went with the lowest drag ones I thought of to maximise straight line speed.
The top of the side pods will also have the air intakes, because I want to have a more ideal 50-50 weight distribution for the car. What does that mean? It means that 50% of the overall weight of the car will be over the front tyres, and 50% over the rear tyres. This setup allows for the best possible handling for a car, as the weight distribution can affect the handling, acceleration and breaking of the car, so having weight be evenly distributed will improve the car's behaviour overall, which will make it more predictable to drive and easier on the driver. In order to achieve this, I will add inlets at the top of the side pods, similar to today's side pods as these are heavy components, because they have to make an airtight seal and contain all the necessary cooling components for the car in that one area, so keeping it in the middle will keep the weight distribution closer to the ideal 50-50, making it a better car to drive. And the Ultimate F1 car must be good to drive because otherwise, the car's maximum potential won't be extracted. Now, let's move to the rear of the car, and talk about important aerodynamics there.
What aerodynamic components are located at the back end of the Ultimate F1 car?
A giant fan. I will explain. I am sure that makes no sense to most of you, but believe me, this will make the car stupid fast in the corners. The fan will be mounted on the diffuser exit and be big enough to cover the entire back end of the car. If needed, I will use 2 smaller fans to cover the diffusers because this is a major advantage, one so great that if I designed the entire car around this one idea, it would still be stupid quick. Why? Well, the fans are going to suck air out from underneath the car, further increasing the effect of, umm, ground effects. This means the car will have a ridiculous amount of downforce, and I will have created the fastest cornering car in history. Want proof of how effective it is to put a fan on the rear of the car? Just search up Brabham BT46B. I talked about it in my first F1 technology post, and I briefly mentioned how good it was. The car was unbeatable, with the drivers qualifying with full tanks of fuel and winning by 40-something seconds despite deliberately avoiding pole position! Just mind-blowing! My only issue is the way the fan was actually activated. The fan on the BT46B was connected directly to the engine, so the more throttle you applied, the faster the fan spun and more downforce was generated. This made it a very weird car to drive, so I can't have the fans connected to the engine. Instead, I will have 2 electric motors that spin the fans at a constant speed, making the downforce consistent and reliable. The fans' spin rate will be independent of engine revs, which ensures ensures downforce, but has the marginal benefit of saving the motor a little. I mean, there's less stress on the motor, so it'll last longer.
Now, to any of you who know a lot about F1, you may've heard of the blown diffuser, most effectively used by Red Bull in the early 2010s. I don't think I will need it though, the reasons for which will become clear in a minute. For now, let me go over some of the other aerodynamic components that don't fit into any of the previously mentioned categories.
Jesus, how much aero are you putting on this car? Shouldn't that be enough?!
No, it just isn't. This is the ULTIMATE F1 car with the ULTIMATE aerodynamics and that means no cutting corners, so any aero piece that may result in a performance gain must be added on to the car. So what other aerodynamic components will I ado the car? Well, firstly, and controversially, I will be covering the wheels. I know, its sacrilege, but there are some good reasons for this. First of all, this will significantly cut down on drag. I know, you may be thinking that this car is heavily oriented towards straight line speed, but you would be seriously underestimating how much downforce I am getting from the fan and ground effects. I am not joking when I say that the very nature of ground effects basically renders all other downforce generating devices essentially useless, they are just that powerful. Also, the rotating tyres can ruin the aerodynamics downstream, so yea, I want to avoid that wherever possible, and that means covering the wheels. Obviously, I will have brake ducts to help cool the brakes, but that is a given. The fact that the wheels are covered is also the reason why I didn't add a blown diffuser, because the reason it even existed in the early 2010s was to help deal with the turbulent airflow that comes from the tyres and prevent that from mixing with the diffuser air. By covering the tyres, we get rid of that problem, making blown diffusers unnecessary. Furthermore, any downforce gains from the blown diffuser will be washed away with the fans, so I don't see the need for blown diffusers at all.
Sticking to controversy, I will also be covering the cockpit with a aero screen that extends to just underneath the top engine air intake. Why? Safety and lowering drag. It is actually safer to cover the driver with a aero screen rather than using a halo. Plus, it makes the car much more aerodynamic and reduces the drag. This is very controversial because there has never been a closed top F1 car in history. But a closed top F1 car is gonna be very fast, just believe me on that. It is worth it, believe you me. I am willing to get people screaming their heads off at me in rage for controversy because, well, they will shut up when this car is projected to lap the Nurburgring in under 5 minutes easy mode.
Finally, I am DONE with aerodynamics. Yes, even I had a nightmare doing this, because honestly, this is the most complex section of the car. The simple fact is this, an F1 car is 100% dependent on it's aerodynamics for its performance. Without proper aerodynamics, an F1 car is no more impressive than a road car. That is why took my time with this section, because the entire car's performance is dependent on this section. But of course, there is one other thing that determines the car's performance. That's right it is time to talk about the engine. And I have a pretty good idea what all you F1 fans are gonna say about this component.
Is it gonna be a V10? (insert angry F1 fan noises about the current V6s)
Umm... maybe? I honestly cannot decide whether I want to use a 3.0L naturally aspirated V10 from the early 2000s or one of the current 1.6L V6 turbo-hybrid engines. Let me explain what I think about both of them.
The 3.0L V10
Ah, yes the beautiful V10s. Engines that could rev up to a banshee-like 20 thousand rpm. These engines, to most fans these days, represent the absolute pinnacle of modern F1. They were the only engines that could provide the thrill that was expected of a F1 race, and the only ones that could satisfy the fans. As to the technical aspects of these engines? Well, I already mentioned that they revved at 20,000rpm when pushed to the limit, which resulted in 1000bhp. That is a massive number, and this engine is relatively light, especially when I compare it to the V6s. I'll get back to that, but the main advantage of the V10 to me is the lightweight nature of the engine, because it gives the car better acceleration at higher speeds.
The 1.6L V6 turbo-hybrids
From a technical standpoint, these are the more impressive engines to me. It takes some serious engineering to make a hybrid powertrain both powerful and reliable enough for a F1 car. The 1.6L V6 turbocharged(V6t) engines have a rev limit of around 15,000 rpm, meaning they are relatively quiet. This is the main problem fans have with the V6s, they are just way too quiet, especially for a F1 car. But I'm not interested in the fans' complaints. I care about performance and I want the best of the best for my car.
Now, as for actual performance figures, the V6t on its own creates a somewhat modest 750bhp. Honestly, the motor shouldn't be producing that much power(600bhp at most with a 15,000 rev limit), but the turbocharger spins at an astounding 100,000 rev/min, and that allows the small 1.6L V6t to make that rather decent (for its size anyway) 750bhp. But remember, this engine is a Hybrid. That means that there are electric motors that add to the power of the engine. What makes this unique is that there are 2 different types of electric motors in the engine. The first one is known as the MGU-H, which stands for Motor Generator Unit-Heat. It utilises hot exhaust gases to prevent turbo lag and harvest electrical energy. The MGU-H doesn't actually increase the power of the engine, it is just there to ensure energy efficiency. The pair of MGU-Ks (Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic) are what boost the overall power to 1000bhp. They use electrical energy to power the rear wheels directly, increasing the horsepower and torque of the engine. Even more amazingly, the MGU-Ks can harvest energy under braking, which not only improves the braking power of the car, it means that the hybrid system can almost never run out of electricity. That means the additional 250 or so horsepower from the MGU-K is always there, and there is something else I like about this powertrain. The MGU-K has a programmed "overtake" mode, which allows it to deliver an additional 80 or so horsepower to the rear wheels. This means that the maximum power output of the engine is actually slightly higher than the V10, so let's compare them properly.
Comparing them objectively
Well, I never mentioned any of the problems of the engines so hold your horses. I mean, nothing can be perfect, so what are the advantages and disadvantages of the engines?
Well, first off, the V10's overall acceleration is better than the V6t's acceleration. This is because the V6t needs a massive 4MJ battery pack to operate all the hybrid components simultaneously, so overall, the V6t powertrain weighs more than the V10 powertrain, worsening the acceleration of the V6t, especially at higher speeds. But, crucially, the top speed of the V6t might slightly higher than that of the V10. In Monza, the modern cars can hit a speed of 215+ mph with slipstream, whereas the V10 cars could barely hit 210 with slipstream. I think the reason why the V6s have a higher top speed is because of that turbo, which can spin up to 100,000rpm, a massive number. This allows the tyres to rotate a little bit quicker, which gives the car a greater top speed. So really, I can't decide this based on acceleration or top speed, because the values for these respective parameters are way too similar. But there is another parameter that can help me decide which one I want in the Ultimate F1 Car.
WHAT IS IT?!?!!?!? CHOOSE ALREADY!!!!
Reliability. This is the swing factor in favour of... the 1.6L V6 Turbo-Hybrid power unit. I can already hear you screaming at me, but I am chasing performance here, not noise. And even though there is a lot to be desired noise-wise from the V6t, the simple fact is that they are reliable enough to last at least 5-7 races, whereas the V10s were not expected to last that long at all. In fact, the rules in 2004 allowed the teams to use a fresh engine every race. There were 18 races in 2004, so teams had 18 V10s they could use over the course of the entire season, and not all of them worked properly. Compare that to this year's V6t, which are expected to work perfectly for at least 5 races before needing replacement, and I think you can see where I am going with this. The similarity of the performance of the 2 power units, plus the reliability of the V6t means that I am going to use the modern V6t for my F1 car. As to exactly which one, I would probably use the 2019 Ferrari unit. The Ferrari 2019 unit was so overpowered, that at some circuits, the engine alone gave Ferrari a 0.8 second advantage. 0.8 seconds. That is a lot, and that is the reason I will use it for my car.
Wait, you added so much to this car. So just what does it contain, and what would it look like?
Well, let's see. It is a carbon-fibre monocoque that is structured like a honeycomb, with active suspension, 4 wheels, a 2020-spec front wing with 2-3 elements, a 2018-spec rear wing, 2020-spec bargeboards, extreme ground effects, a diffuser-mounted fan(or fans, based on necessity), covered wheel arches, covered cockpit and a 2019 Ferrari 1.6L V6 turbo-hybrid powertrain. Put them together and what do you get?
A Red Bull x2010 looking thing with a Ferrari engine. Ok, I wasn't deliberately copying the x2010 I swear! But as I added aerodynamic concepts to the car, I noticed a striking similarity to the x2010, and the more I thought about it, the more sense it made actually. I mean, the x2010 is Adrian Newey's attempt at designing the Ultimate F1 car when all rules are disregarded. My car won't be 100% identical, the Venturi tunnels are probably going to be a bit bigger and the front wing will have more elements ad the rear wing may be a tad smaller, but the two cars are going to be very similar to each other.
Ok, we have a rough idea of what it looks about like, but what about the performance?
Well, I am going to assume that we are all aware of what the Nurburgring Nordschleife is. No? Damn it. Well, the Nurburgring Nordschleife is a very famous and long track in Germany that is used as a proving ground for modern sports cars. The reason why it is used is because, well, it is a great track. Fine, it is 25.4km long (15.7 miles for all you Americans), and that is, frankly ridiculous, but it means that the track has a stunning variety of corners. There are those that are fast, slow, with elevation changes and on and on and on. The fact is it's a stellar track that pushes automobiles to their limits. The length of the track means that F1 cars (even modern ones) cannot lap the track in under 5 minutes. Even the Porsche 919 Evo, another rule breaker for endurance racing, cannot lap the Nordschleife in under 5 minutes. So any car that laps that track in under 5 minutes is unbelievably fast, and almost defying physics.
In real life, no car has lapped the Nordschleife(im calling it Nords from now on, typing that long word is tiring) in under 5 minutes, it's just that difficult and long. The fastest time around the Nords for real cars is the Porsche 919 Evo, and it (only) lapped the Nords in 5 minutes, 19 seconds. But that is real life. Remember, the Red Bull x2010 is not a real car. Yes, there is a life size model of the x2010 in Hangar-7 in Austria, but that is not a working car, its just what the x2010 would look like if it was real. There is no functioning x2010 in the real world, but in the virtual world, the x2010 certainly works, and people have have taken it around the Nords, because why wouldn't they. I have seen novice sim racers take the x2010 around the Nords in under 5 minutes, with some even doing a sub 4 minute lap!
Now, im sure I have confused most of you. Why have I brought it up? Well, my car is going to be very similar to the x2010, so i fully expect it to be just as fast as the x2010 around the Nords, so a sub 5-minute lap around that track should be very doable. I genuinely believe this car can do that sort of unbelievable performance, because I designed to break all preconceived notions of what a car can actually do, and I want it to be hailed as the ultimate performance machine, not just the Ultimate F1 car. I am aiming for the stars here, but even if my car doesn't reach or beat the performance of the x2010, I will still have succeeded in creating MY Ultimate F1 car, so even if I miss the star I am aiming for, I will still end up at A star.
Yes. I have finally finished.
That was very long.
I know. Honestly, I didn't want to make it that long, but I found that as I got to a certain component, I would need to explain certain aerodynamic concepts or some reasons that was necessary to understand the speed of the car. Honestly, I hated myself coming to the end of the aero section, mostly because the section ended to be very complex to get the most performance out of the car because that is how important aerodynamics are for F1 cars today. The F1 cars are 100% dependent on their aerodynamics working properly for any and all performance, so I had to be true to that. I hope you liked this, and now that I have uploaded the drawing of the car and made minor adjustments elsewhere, so let me know who you would want to drive it and whether or not you think it is faster that the x2010. For now, thanks for reading, and I will see you all later.