(from BMW Press
Release) BMW Sauber F1.07 – a cast of experts.
Time was of the essence in the development of the F1.06, the first
car developed by the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Indeed, BMW only took the
decision to purchase a majority stake in the Sauber team in June
The components already
in the midst of a lengthy development period (the chassis, engine
and transmission) were moulded into an overall package – and with
notable success, as the results over the course of the season just
gone can testify. However, the shortage of time available meant that
compromise was unavoidable in certain areas.
The BMW Sauber F1.07
started out from a very different basis. Work on the concept began
in April 2006 and took shape as part of a close cooperation between
the chassis experts in Hinwil and their colleagues in Munich
responsible for the powertrain, i.e. the engine and transmission,
and the electronics. Priorities were set out from day one and all
the aspects of the project brought together to create a harmonious
“We have channelled our
experience with the F1.06 into the new car, but at the same time
focused on the new challenges presented by the 2007 regulations”,
explained Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the BMW Sauber F1 Team.
To this end, the most
significant change is the switch to a single tyre supplier in
Bridgestone. In accordance with the stipulations of the FIA, the
Japanese company has produced tyres which offer less grip as a means
of lowering cornering speeds.
“It’s clear that the
cars are going to slide around more. It was therefore important for
us to build a car that is easy to drive and that our drivers can
trust sufficiently to go on the attack”, added Rampf, giving an
insight into the team’s development strategy. “We should also expect
the cars to run with rather greater downforce as a rule, in order to
make up for the loss of grip.”
The nose has it.
Aerodynamics has been a
key area in Formula One for a long time now, but the advent of the
single tyre supplier format in 2007 will raise its importance even
further. “If you look at all the components which affect the
performance of a Formula One car, aerodynamics represent – by a
distance – the single most important factor”, emphasises Rampf.
All of which explains
why the BMW Sauber F1 Team top brass gave the expansion of the
aerodynamics department top priority. The team’s use of the wind
tunnel in Hinwil was gradually increased, with a move initially from
one to two shifts, and from there to a round-the-clock three-shift
system in late October 2006. This has given the team parity in this
area with its rivals – who have long had comparable systems in place
– and fulfilled a central requirement in achieving its ambitious
As always, the key is to enhance aerodynamic efficiency. However,
almost as important this year is the need to develop a package that
functions as well as possible through corners.
Here, the front wing has
an influential role to play, largely dictating the flow of air
around the front tyres. It has been completely newly developed and
forms a harmonious unit with the likewise totally new nose section,
which is shorter and sits higher than its predecessor. This results
in a reduction in its weight, but also places extra demands on the
engineers when it comes to passing the FIA crash tests. The most
important aspect of this development, though, is that the wing
channels a large amount of air under the car, allowing the underbody
and diffusor to work to their full potential.
New cooling concept.
The cooling intakes are
somewhat larger than those on the 2006 car and represent part of a
new cooling concept which is more effectively integrated into the
overall package and designed to ensure greater air throughput.
The air is diverted
upwards to maximum effect, improving aerodynamic efficiency compared
to last year’s car, especially in high outside air temperatures. As
Rampf explains: “We took a lot of time in the conceptual phase to
find the best possible solution in this area. This is an important
point, as the air temperature at the first races of the season, in
particular, are traditionally very high. The cooling concept of the
F1.07 promises to deliver impressive efficiency in all conditions.”
The designers built on
the knowledge gained with the F1.06 in the development of the rear,
giving the tail an even slimmer and lower profile in order to
further optimise the air flow around the rear wing. The basis for
these modifications is provided by the compact quick shift gearbox
and cleverly positioned hydraulic elements. Also integrated into the
design are the exhaust pipes, whose form was defined to maximise
performance and fit harmoniously into the overall package. The
section underneath the rear wing is a totally new development.
regulations governing rear-end collisions have meant that the rear
crash element is now more voluminous overall and also has a modified
form. The lower positioning of this element has required a totally
revised design for the centre section of the diffusor.
The engineers were also
instructed to reduce the car’s weight, while maintaining its
rigidity. The affects the monocoque, which is made up of up to 60
layers of carbon fibre in places, as well as individual components.
“It’s always good if you can use a lot of ballast, but in the
situation we have now it’s particularly important, as it ensures
outstanding flexibility in terms of weight distribution. And that
plays a critical role in the optimum use of tyre potential”,
New suspension elements.
The construction of the
suspension elements is totally new and, at the front axle, dictated
primarily by aerodynamics. The raised nose section mean that the
wishbones slant downwards at a striking angle. The kinematics have
been modified in response to the introduction of the standard
“We were also very keen to give the steering a high level of
feedback”, says Rampf. “This area has gained even further in
importance as a result of the cars’ reduced grip levels. The harder
tyres will, by definition, cause the cars to slide around more,
which means the drivers will have to do a lot more correcting as a
result. And that makes good steering feedback indispensable.” The
rear axle was also modified to further improve traction.
Comfort and Formula One
make uneasy bedfellows. And yet, one of the focal points in the
development of the F1.07 was an increase in comfort. This is
expressed specifically in the seating position of the drivers,
especially that of Robert Kubica. The Pole’s 184-cm frame was a far
from comfortable fit in the 2006 car, whose cockpit area was
particularly tight. As Rampf points out: “We only have restricted
room for manoeuvre in this area, but we’ve done what we can to give
Robert a pleasant seating position in the new car.”
There has also been
progress in the area of electronics, which combine the workings of
the chassis and powertrain in the interests of integration. The
electronics for the chassis, engine and transmission have now been
brought together into a single control unit, whose space-saving
design allows it to be accommodated in the cockpit without taking up
too much room.
“We created a solid
basis for this year’s car in our first season on the grid. The
cooperation between the team members in Munich and Hinwil is now
working well, and the additional resources give us extra potential.
Our aim is now to further reduce the gap between ourselves and the
said Rampf, looking forward optimistically to the new season.
BMW Sauber F1.07 – technical data.
and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs and
dampers, actuated by pushrods (Sachs Race Engineering)
callipers (Brembo), carbon pads and discs (Brembo, Carbone
7-speed quick shift gearbox, longitudinally mounted,
carbon-fibre clutch (AP)
Steering wheel: BMW
Sauber F1 Team
width 1,800 mm
height 1,000 mm
track width, front 1,470 mm
track width, rear 1,410 mm
wheelbase 3,110 mm
Weight: 605 kg
(incl. driver, ready to drive, tank empty)
Engine. V8 reloaded.
fundamental conceptual shift from V10 to V8 engines ahead of the
2006 season, the focus is now on the development of clever details
for the Formula One powerplants of the future. In 2006 the decision
was taken to freeze large areas of engine development until after
the 2010 season.
The homologation of the 2.4-litre V8 units requires technical
monitoring and has been conducted in several stages.
The Formula One teams’
engines started to appear at the FIA office in Chessington, England
towards the end of the 2006 season. All the manufacturers were
required to submit an engine which had come through two GP weekends.
To be on the safe side, BMW decided to put aside the first P86
engine as early as Monza, with further development work continuing
apace at the same time. Having met its obligations, the team had
earned itself extra room for manoeuvre when it came to making
improvements. The engines in Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica’s cars
completed the final races of the season in Japan and Brazil without
a problem, and Kubica’s unit was handed over to the FIA. The
deadline for engines was 22nd October, but that didn’t mean the
engineers could go into hibernation for the winter.
The teams were able to
submit a list to the FIA – by 15th December 2006 at the latest –
containing modifications to the engine (except the pre-specified
core) which they were intending to carry out by 1st March 2007 in
order to adapt it to the rev limit of 19,000 rpm. In simple terms,
while the block and crankshaft had to remain untouched, further
tweaks were allowed to the cylinder head and peripheral components.
Additional enhancements were permitted to details of the intake and
exhaust piping, lubricant and fuel supply, pistons, valves and
mounts. Alterations required to install the engines in the new cars
were also given the green light.
A new central control
unit for the engine, transmission and chassis replaces the previous
engine electronics. The new development has been christened RCC,
standing for Race Car Controller. The designation of the BMW power
unit reflects the fact that the engine concept must remain
unchanged: it will be known as the BMW P86/7, rather than the P87.
Fixed parameters for all.
The introduction of the
V8 engines in time for the 2006 season was underpinned by a series
of central parameters governing their construction. Displacement of
2,400 cc and a bank angle of 90 degrees were stipulated for the V8
engines. The powerplants had to tip the scales at no less than 95
kilo¬grams. This included the intake system up to and including the
air filter, fuel rail and injectors, ignition coils, sensors and
wiring, alternator, coolant pumps and oil pumps. It did not include
liquids, exhaust manifolds, heat protection shields, oil tanks,
accumulators, heat exchangers and the hydraulic pump.
The new regulations
stipulate that the engine’s centre of gravity must be at least 165
millimetres above the lower edge of the oil sump. The longitudinal
and lateral position of the V8’s centre of gravity has to be in the
geometric centre of the engine (+/– 50 millimetres). The cylinder
bore is limited to a maximum 98 millimetres. The gap between the
cylinders is also set out in the rulebook – at 106.5 millimetres
(+/– 0.2 mm). The central axis of the crankshaft must not lie any
58 millimetres above the reference plane.
Variable intake systems
designed to optimise torque have also been banned since 2006. The
power supply to the engine electrics and electronics is limited to a
maximum 17 volts and the fuel pump has to be mechanically operated.
Only an actuator may be used to activate the throttle valve system.
With the exception of the electric auxiliary pumps in the petrol
tank, all subcomponents must now be driven mechanically and directly
via the engine.
In addition, a long list
of exotic materials have been excluded and the team limits itself to
working with the conventional titanium and aluminium alloys
stipulated in the regulations.
which will come into force for 2007 and the following years is a cap
placed on engine speed at 19,000 rpm.
V8 development from November 2004
to February 2007.
Development work on the
BMW V8 engine began in late November 2004. The champagne was flowing
at BMW’s Formula One engine factory at Anton-Ditt-Bogen in Munich in
May 2005 after the first-specification V8 successfully completed its
opening examination on the test rig. An updated specification made
its track debut in Jerez on 13th July 2005. A further developed
version was then introduced in time for winter testing, which began
in Barcelona on 28th November 2005. The next stage of development
was ready for the first rollout of the new car on 17th January 2006,
and this was followed by another update for the first race of the
season and a series of new specifications as the year went on. The
later versions were developed with one eye on the homologation
process to come.
As Theissen explains: “A
Formula One engine is never the finished article. It’s like a
painting that may already look finished to the onlooker but which
the artist, knowing precisely where he can improve his work, will
still touch up here and there. A single stroke of the brush can
change the whole effect. Far from reducing development work to a
standstill, the increased number of regulations has merely shifted
the emphasis. It’s important that Formula One remains at the cutting
edge of technology, and that’s what it will do.”
Power for longer.
The mileage a Formula
One engine is required to cover has changed dramatically in the
recent past. 2002 was the last season where a new engine could be
fitted ahead of every race. Back then, qualifying saw the use of
highly tuned engines which the teams would never have dared risk
over a full race distance.
In 2003 the rules
changed to force the teams to use the same engine for qualifying and
the race itself, and that was followed by the introduction of the
whole-weekend stipulation in 2004, doubling the mileage the engine
had to cover. Since 2005 the engines – then still 3-litre V10 units
– have had to hold it together for two full GP weekends. An unwanted
side effect of this rule saw the GP drivers preserving their engines
during Friday practice and staying in the garage as much as
possible. In order to offer the fans more in the way of action, the
Friday sessions have now been granted exemption from the engine
regulations for the 2007 season. This will encourage the drivers to
spend more time out on the track during what are now two 90-minute
Only from Saturday will
the teams be obliged to fit the engines in their cars which must
then last two GPs – under the watchful eye of the FIA.
Longer at full throttle.
The lower output of the
V8 compared to the V10 engines means the cars spend longer under
full throttle. BMW’s figures show that the average proportion of the
race spent at full throttle in 2005 was 56.67 percent, with that
figure rising to 63.53 percent in 2006.
Practice behind closed doors.
Before a new
specification reaches race readiness, it has to successfully
complete an extended session on the dynamic test rigs. BMW first
introduced the new-generation testing facilities, which stretch out
over several floors and fill entire halls, in autumn 2005. The
exacting challenge for the powerplant remains unchanged: 1,500
kilometres on a pre-programmed circuit profile based on Monza. No
other GP venue can match the full-throttle percentage of the Italian
track. Engines earmarked for transportation to the race venue
complete a rather more gentle functioning check on the test rigs.
This is followed by quality checks, with the oil undergoing
spectrometer analysis to identify any metallic residue. Then it’s
time for action on the track.
One section of the new
testing facility at Anton-Ditt-Bogen is used by the transmission
development and testing department now based in Munich.
A Formula One race
transmission needs to display maximum rigidity, yet at the same time
be lightweight, have a low centre of gravity, be compact and boast
extremely short shift times. The BMW Sauber F1.07 is fitted with a
7-speed gearbox. The main and auxiliary drive shafts are arranged
longitudinally to the direction of travel. The driver can shift up a
gear without breaking off tractive power to the rear axle. In a
conventional Formula One transmission, engaging the clutch results
in the flow of tractive power being interrupted for approximately 50
milliseconds during the shift process. In other words, during this
time the car is deprived of propulsion and just rolls – in
particular at high speeds against high wind resistance. In practical
terms, the car is braked by around 1g during this suspension of
tractive power. In a road car, this would come across as powerful
This interruption of
tractive power every time the driver shifts up a gear – which he
will do some 2,000 times over the race distance of the Monaco Grand
Prix – adds up to a significant loss of time or a deficit of several
hundred metres by the end of the race. The new quick shift gearbox (QSG)
the BMW Sauber F1.07, however, totally eliminates this break in
tractive power. The ingenious interplay of electronic and mechanical
components is the key.
Both the development and
production of the QSG takes place in Munich.
extremely durable toothed gears – partly manufactured at BMW’s
Dingolfing plant – are made of high-strength steel, while the
transmission housing consists of cast titanium. Converting torque
and engine revs is just one of the transmission’s jobs. It also has
to pass on the forces generated in the suspension to the chassis via
Made for the track, benefits for
One of the aims stated
by BMW for its return to GP racing in 2000 was the creation of
synergies between F1 and series production. The development of the
Formula One powertrain and electronics has been integrated with
impressive effectiveness at the Munich plant. The BMW Research and
Innovation Centre (FIZ), a type of automotive think tank, plays a
key role in this process. The F1 factory was built less than a
kilometre away from the centre and the two facilities are
“The FIZ represents the future of BMW, with elite engineers working
in state-of-the-art research and development facilities”, says
Theissen. “The FIZ is given vast resources, from which we benefit
directly. At the same time, due to the extreme technical challenges
and pace of development demanded
by grand prix racing, the company’s involvement in F1 represents a
unique proving ground for our engineers.”
BMW has made the vision
of a seamless process chain a reality, following the development
from concept to construction, casting, component production,
assembly and testing all the way to race action on the track – and
all under its own roof. Transportation of parts – and the quality
problems this can cause – is no longer an issue, and the expertise
acquired remains within the company, where it benefits the
development of production cars.
Casting technology for Formula One
and series production.
The casting quality of
the engine block, cylinder head and gearbox plays a crucial role in
determining their performance and durability. Advanced casting
techniques, coupled with high-precision process management, enable
lightweight components with impressive rigidity. To ensure that
production models benefit from these developments, BMW has its own
in Landshut. In 2001, this was joined by a dedicated F1 casting
The two departments are jointly managed and that ensures a constant
exchange of information and expertise. The same sand-casting
procedure as is used for the production of the Formula One V8 engine
is also applied to oil sumps for the M models, the intake manifold
for the eight-cylinder diesel engine and prototypes for future
generations of engines.
Virtually at the same
time as the F1 foundry went on stream, an F1 parts manufacturing
facility based on the same template joined the series production
facility. This is where the team make components such as the
camshafts and crankshafts for the F1 engine.
Electronics for race day and every
With the backing of the
electronics experts at the FIZ, BMW also had the confidence to
develop its own F1 engine management system for its GP comeback.
Turning to established motor sport specialists might have been the
easier option, but such a move would have done little to augment the
knowledge base in Munich. Engineers normally devoted to developing
the electronics for the M models also created the engine management
system for the F1 engines. The expertise they gained in the process
filters back into series production. Top-of-the-range BMW cars, such
as the 7 Series and
M models, have long featured two types of microprocessor which BMW
has used and tested in Formula One. Added to which, data storage
technology which had first proved itself in F1 was used to hone
internet access and the navigation system for the BMW 7 Series. F1
technology is also used in monitoring systems for a variety of
vehicle functions – another area which is gaining in importance in
road car development. Early warning systems and automated electronic
intervention technology can play an important role in enhancing
safety and guarding against damage in production cars as well as
The demands on the
engine management system of a high-revving Formula One engine, which
also has to run smoothly at low engine speeds, are immense. The
ignition timing and fuel supply have to be perfectly coordinated
millisecond by millisecond in order to achieve optimum efficiency –
maximum output combined with low fuel consumption. Optimising fuel
economy can enable both better lap times and greater flexibility in
One of the electronics and transmission innovations from Formula One
to have proved its mettle in the BMW M3, M5 and M6 is the
“Sequential M Gearbox – SMG with DRIVELOGIC”. The SMG drive concept
delivers F1 transmission technology for everyday use. The driver
changes gear electrically via paddles behind the steering wheel. As
in Formula One, an electrohydraulic system replaces the mechanical
clutch and shift process, and SMG users can similarly keep their
foot on the accelerator while changing gear.
Material research for the future.
Despite the introduction
of even more stringent regulations into GP racing, the materials
used in today’s F1 cars still have to be “as lightweight as possible
and as durable as necessary”. The materials research section at the
FIZ provides crucial input for the development of BMW’s F1 engines
and transmissions, with aviation and aerospace technology frequently
serving as a basis. Some highly promising developments, which as yet
remain too expensive for use in production models, have already
found their way into BMW’s F1 project. This opportunity to introduce
fresh technological blood helps the engineers to continue developing
innovations for series production
Rapid prototyping – models in
From the new idea and
the conception phase to the construction process, production of the
necessary tools, manufacture of new parts and testing, new
components are expensive and time-consuming to make. In Formula One,
moving forward and addressing problems demands fast reaction times,
while the number of design modifications made during a single season
has been as high as for the entire BMW range of series-produced
engines. The team is therefore constantly on the lookout for ways of
shortening its processes. Here the BMW Formula One engineers can
turn to the Rapid Prototyping/Tooling Technology department of the
FIZ. Once the necessary parts have been designed – using a CAD
system – computer-controlled machines use laser beams or
three-dimensional pressure technology to create scale models made
out of resin, plastic powder, acrylic, wax or metal. That enables
installation and interactions to be simulated without delay,
allowing any necessary modifications to be carried out before the
final manufacturing process gets underway.
BMW P86/7 – technical data.
Bank angle: 90
Valves: four per
Oil system: dry sump
Spark plugs: NGK
width: 555 mm
height: 595 mm (overall)
Weight: 95 kg