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raksha pai

on 20 August 2014

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Transcript of F1 TRACK DESIGN & SAFETY


Success is all about being in the right place at the right time ….. and the axiom is a guiding principle for designers of motorsport circuits. To avoid problems you need know where and when things are likely to go wrong before cars turn a wheel –and anticipating accidents is a science.

In this presentation , I would like to share my knowledge on track design and safety behind the this exciting world sport, FORMULA ONE

The tracks used in motor sport all are designed to meet certain standards. If a new circuit will ever be used for an international event, its design and layout must be approved by the FIA, before any construction commences. For a permanent circuit, a member of the FIA must inspect it no more than 90 days before a World Championship event, giving adequate time to implement changes.
The maximum length of any new permanent circuit should not exceed 7km to allow drivers to be able to familiarize themselves with all corners on the track. The minimum length of a Formula One circuit will not be less then 3.5km, with the race being no longer than 2h45min. Cross fall across the track for drainage purposes should not exceed 3%, or be less than 1.5%, either from edge to edge or from the centerline to each edge.

Track width on a permanent circuit should be at least 12 metres and should not exceed 15 meters.

The number of cars allowed to practice is 20% greater than the number actually allowed to start.

The criterion for barrier placement is stated in section 8 of the above code. If "the probable angle of impact is less than 30o then a continuous, smooth, vertical barrier is preferable, and where the probable angle is high, a system of deceleration (eg. gravel bed) and stopping (eg. tyre barrier) devices should be used." (FIA Appendix O, in appendix 2)

2.1 Emergency response
The emergency response during an Int’l motor sport event is one of the most important aspects of safety. The 'Recommendations for the supervision of the road and emergency services, Appendix H to the International Sporting code', states the FIA procedures in detail, of which , the main points are pointed out.


A race control Centre, supervising all procedures and remains in contact will all observation points.

In poor visibility, coloured lights may replace the flags.
. Each observation post must be able to communicate by sight with the posts on either side and must be no more than 500m from each other.
The observers must warn drivers of any adverse track condition, report any incident to race control and maintain a section of track and return it to race condition following an incident. The observers communicate with drivers by using flags.
A manned portable fire extinguisher should be placed every 150m along the track, with unmanned extinguishers every 50m in between.
In the event of an accident, two marshals must be on the spot almost immediately, each with a fire extinguisher, fire being the number one priority.
If it is necessary to temporarily stop racing, but not stop the race, a safety car is used.
The track ought to be furnished with Fast Medical Intervention Vehicles (FMIV) convey all essential medicinal supplie

A medicinal administration framework is essential
Predicting the trajectory and velocity of a racing car when it is driven at the limit within the confines of a racing track, is now the subject of a great deal of analytical work, but predicting it once the driver has lost control has not been something the teams have devoted a great deal of time to. This can now also be analyzed though in the same sort of detail, to assess the safety features of the circuits on which it is raced. The two tasks are very different, and the FIA had to start almost from scratch when it set out to develop software for its Circuit and Safety Analysis System (CSAS).
Their task is to be able to model and predict the effects of every nuance of characteristic on the speed of their car at every point on a given circuit. The detail in the model will only be limited by available dynamic characteristics and track data, and will require a driver model to complete the picture. However, they are only interested in the performance of the car while the tires are in contact with the tarmac, and the driver is operating them at or below their peaks.

Fig.1. Examples of straight trajectories.

Fig.2. Examples of all possible trajectories
Fig.3. Stopping distances in the run-off area, highlighting points where the run-off is inadequate to stop the car.

Fig.4. Residual velocity, perpendicular to the boundary of the run-off area.

Fig.5. Residual velocity, perpendicular to a 2-row tyre barrier, after impact with it.

One issue that CSAS addresses is whether the critical case for stopping a car is under wet or dry conditions. In the dry, initial speeds are higher but on-track deceleration is greater than in wet conditions. Wet or dry, the gravel beds perform pretty well the same. Based on the data available to date, the indication is that the critical case is under dry conditions. The worst case is when the car leaves the ground, it’s almost impossible to provide a means of decelerating it. It will decelerate due to aerodynamic drag and CSAS can assess this case provided the drag characteristics are known as the car tumbles through the air.

CSAS has facilitated the synthesis of the results from a number of safety R&D programs that are gradually putting motorsport safety on a sound scientific basis. It uses the actual speed of the cars at any point on a circuit, representative deceleration rates on- and off-track, and tested barrier performance to size and specify circuit safety features. Changes to the specification of the cars, and changes to the layout of tracks can be monitored for their effect on the size of run-off areas and barrier specifications. Any class of car can be evaluated by inputting its performance parameters to the lap simulation and obtaining a speed profile, such that the grading of circuits and their suitability for particular classes of racing can be studied.

Fig.3 - 3-row tire barrier with tube inserts and conveyor belting

The purpose of this seminar is to show how the advanced technology of the world’s fastest and largest spectator-sport can be used in the normal superhighways and expressways setting standards of safety for the general public who drive on the highways. Use of barriers similar to those used in formula one can reduce the amount of injury in case of accidents on these highways. Even the use of CSAS (Circuit and Safety Analysis System) can be used to build safer highways. As for F1 different circuits and different conditions present challenges for all connected with the engineering side of F1 and it is those who predict and cope best with these complications who eventually triumph.

Barriers are necessary on race circuits to enable spectators and TV cameras to get close enough to the action, without being exposed to the danger of being hit by an out of control car.
Road and racing car barrier systems must act like buffers(ex: in trains);both cars and barriers have energy absorbing devices, which engage and dissipate the kinetic energy of the car. However, while trains are perfectly aligned, buffer to buffer, by the rails, cars can hit a barrier pointing in any direction, at any height, and either spinning, rolling, tumbling end over end, or some complex combination of all of them. The energy must be dissipated without either subjecting the car to loads that cause the driver protection structure (safety cell) to fail and injure the driver by intrusion, or subject the driver to decelerations that cause internal injuries or result in him striking the safety cell, especially with his head

Loss of control of a racing car at the end of a straight is the equivalent of falling from an aircraft flying at a height of nearly one kilometer.

Tests were carried out on three rows of tires, to evaluate:
• Tire fixing methods - straps and bolts
• Separating the front 2 rows from the rear row
• Inserts in the tires - foam cylinders and plastic tubes
• Additional mass by fitting smaller tires inside the primary tires
• Fitting conveyor belting to the impact face

The resulting deceleration traces were analyzed to determine the energy absorbed by the barrier, the energy absorbed by the nose cone, stored (rebound) energy, and peak and average decelerations. Fitting plastic tubes inside the tires (the tubing used is similar to that used for underground gas mains) doubled the energy absorbed by the barrier. Conveyor belting contributed little in a frontal impact, in fact it slightly increases the rebound, but it does prevent the car snagging in an oblique impact.

The best configuration of barrier - bolted tires, tubes and conveyor (see Fig.3) - was tested at 80kph (77% more energy), at which speed it absorbed nearly 80% of the trolley's energy, the nose absorbing the rest, without exceeding 30g - See Fig. below
A number of other, proprietary barrier configurations have been tested, but the results are confidential to the companies involved. In many tests the effect of the sharp nose cone has surprised the designers! A design approach that is popular is embodied in the Airfence system, developed as a temporary barrier for roads works, used in critical areas at Monaco for instance, where the available space is limited.
With all the effort going into barrier research, the safety of competitors and spectators still comes down to ensuring that the correct and latest safety systems are installed and maintained at circuits around the world. The effort and negotiating skills needed to achieve this are enormous.
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