Advanced Formula one Set up Guide


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Braking system (overview)

If Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sports, then the braking system is the peak of that pinnacle.

Time and time again upon receiving that elusive test session from a Formula 1 team, drivers from other

formulae climb from the car afterwards absolute stunned by the cars braking abilities.

The braking system of an F1 car is a conventional hydraulic pressurized piston, pad, and disc

system. The driver applies force to a pedal. This force is then converted into pressurized hydraulic fluid

via a pump attached to the dual master-cylinders (feeding the front and rear brakes independently). These

cylinders feed pressurized fluid to each of the cars four individual brake calipers (some designs have two

calipers per wheel making eight calipers total). The fluid, under pressure, moves pistons (usually 4 per

brake caliper), that press carbon fiber pads onto the rotating brake disc.

Brake pressure

Using add-on advance menus, it is possible to alter the brake system pressure (along with many

additional braking system features). The default is 80%. Thats 20% stopping power you cannot harness

from the stock menus. This alone is a great reason to install one of the many advanced menus out there. I

routinely set the brake pressure at 100%, only reducing it for extreme conditions, such as wet weather.

It should be noted though, increased brake system pressure also increases the brake wear rate. It is

best to increase pressure and regulate your braking technique to decrease brake wear. This way, you can

tap the full potential of the braking system at those moments when needed, such as a late braking pass.

RacerAlex Advanced Garage Menu


Formula cars do not use power assists within the braking system. The driver requires a very high

degree of feel fed back through the system in order for him to modulate the brakes; modulation being the

minute adjustment of pressure to prevent wheel lock-up. Wheel lock-up is undesirable, however since

optimum braking is the nth degree prior to lock-up, we do experience locked wheels from time to time.

Especially when driving in anger!

Modulating this pressure is the trait of a top-flight racing driver. One modulation technique

especially effective is trail-braking. Trail-braking is the modulation of the brakes as so they lighten

progressively during corner turn-in. Since the weight transfer is shifted forward, the rear end is prone to

step out during this phase of cornering. This lightening of the pressure helps to prevent this and

effectively allows the driver to continue his braking further into the corner, sometimes even right up until

the moment that throttle is re-applied at the apex. This in turn allows more speed to be carried into the


Another technique is the application of light throttle during turn-in while the brakes are still being

applied (this requires split axis pedal setups). This aggressive driving style in effect allows torque to the

rear wheels to semi-control the weight transfer forward during this critical time. And in extreme instances,

the application includes short bursts of throttle to induce oversteer to tuck the nose in towards the apex.

Both of these techniques are very difficult to master and the latter somewhat controversial. As the

philosophy of this guide is based more on setup and less on technique, I recommend that you search you

favorite forum to learn more on mastering these techniques, particularly trail-braking, as it is commonly


Brake Bias

Since the performance of a Formula 1 car is based on its ability to exploit weight transfer , it is

necessary to alter the braking balance of the car. When we alter the braking balance, were merely shifting

the force of the brakes so as half the car experiences more stopping power to the wheels than the other.

The half we always shift towards is the front for the simply reason that weight transfers to the front under

braking. We compensate because without this shift in bias, the transfer tends to makes the rear tires less


The means of the setting braking bias is via a pivot connection behind the brake pedal. This pivot

connects the pedal to the twin master cylinder pistons. By altering the angle of this pivot, the driver

effectively adjusts how much of the pedal movement is transferred into which piston, which in turn adjusts


the brake pressure independently. The adjustment of the brake bias is so critical, it must be set by the

driver while driving the car. A lever or knob in the cockpit sets the pivot angle adjustment. Typically, the

brakes bias is adjusted several times during a race to compensate for varying fuel load, tire wear, and track


With 50/50 braking bias, the rear wheels will lock prematurely as the weight shifts away from

them under braking causing the car to oversteer during corner entry. The rule of thumb is to set the greatest

amount of front bias without locking the front wheels under nominal braking conditions. Shifting this

forward however will increase the cars tendency to understeer on corner entry.

Brake wear

The two most common braking system problems are brake fade brought on by excessive heat and

system total failure brought on by excessive wear

Brakes require a certain temperature to operate at maximum efficiency. Cold brakes do not have

the stopping force of a heated disc. Optimum brake temperature is 550 C and at this temperature the brake

will produce the most amount of stopping force. However, since the stopping friction creates heat, heat

then turns into a detriment, causing increased pad wear and brake fade, or reduced stopping force.

Above 550 C brake fade begins progressively and by 1650 C, the stopping force is half of that

experienced at the optimum temperature. Running the brakes at close to their optimum temperature is

crucial. Altering the brake cooling duct sizes controls this. Add-on advance menus offer various brake

temperature readings for all four discs to aid in the adjustment of this setting.

In addition, add-on advanced menus monitor brake pad wear levels, by establishing the thickness

of the pads at the beginning of a run. After the run, the reduced pad thickness indicates the wear rate.

From here you can calculate exactly how long the pads will last. Combined with the temperature readings,

you can precisely set the duct size for the required temperature to control brake wear for the calculated race


Disc size

Two sizes of brake discs are available using add-on advanced menus. The lighter brake discs are

used for qualifying as they reduce unsprung weight. They are approximately 1/3rd the thickness of the

standard brake discs. Temperature is more difficult to control in these thin discs.


Transmission (overview)

Modern Formula 1 cars employ a longitudinal inboard semi/fully automatic transmission. Paddle

shifters behind the steering wheel are connected to servo-valves, which allow electrical connections to run

to the rear of the car to four actuators. The actuators then use hydraulics to move gearbox selector rods

which engage/disengage the selected gears. A CPU control system operates the clutch, matches engine

revs and prohibits the system from shifting under potentially damaging conditions. This system also allows

pre-programmed shift patterns for controlled downshifts, as well as fully automatic up and down shifting

options. These systems are capable of shifting gears between 20 to 40 milliseconds.

Minardis high tech die cast titanium gearbox casing

A crucial aspect to the gearbox is the casing itself. This in part is because the gearbox is a

structural part of the chassis, with rear suspension mounting points integrated. Titanium was the material

of choice for construction, but these have since been evolved towards titanium alloys and even carbon

fiber, as in the case of the current Arrows A23.

The gearbox bolts to the back of the engine. A few years back, gears could be altered very rapidly

with older outboard gearboxes (this placed the gears aft of the differential where they could be accessed

from the rear of the car), however todays gearboxes require about 30 minutes to change out all 7 gears.

Ferrari recently have successfully incorporated the gearbox into the main engine block casting process for a

unified engine block/gearbox design, further improving the rigidity of the car.


The transmissions main function is to maximize the engine peak horsepower and torque bands

over the range of speeds and road conditions the car will encounter. It does this by altering the

specifications of the forward speed gear cogs (FIA regulations allows from 4 to 7 speed gearboxes).

Today, most F1 cars elect to use either 6 or 7 forward gear selections. Each of these gears when coupled

between the crankshaft and the differential alters the ratio at which the drive wheels spin. These cogs are

somewhat fragile and used for only one race and sometimes replaced several times during a race weekend.

In addition to the forward gears, the FIA mandates that an F1 car must have at least a single reverse gear.

In truth, this gear is of little consequence to performance, and therefore very lightweight and fragile.


Each gear is made up of two gear cogs that together make up a ratio. One gear, the pinion gear,

is on the main shaft coming off the clutch. The other gear is on the output shaft, which is the shaft that

delivers the rotation to the differential. These gears (the ones on the main shaft and the ones on the output

shaft) are mated at all times, but only one gear ratio set is coupled to the output shaft at any time. This is

the gear youve selected from the cockpit.

You basically have 69 different available gear ratios to

choose from, thats not including the 3 final drive gears for the

differential. Each gear is designated by two values. First theres

the XX/XX tag which is the numeric value representing that

specific gears. The two numbers represent the number of teeth

on both gears that make up the ratio. Then there is the

(XX.XXX) value, which is the final ratio of the selected gear

once coupled to the final drive gear ratio. This value tells you

how many revolutions the crankshaft spins relative to the

driveshafts at the rear wheels. Youll note that as you change

the final drive gear, these values will change where as the first

values remain constant.

When selecting gear ratios, two factors control the first decision: what are the circuits expected top

speed and what is the slowest corner on the racecourse. The latter most of the time is a second gear corner

so well initially focus on second gear and then the 6 th or 7th gear. After establishing those ratios, we will

even space the remaining 3rd through 5th gears (or 6th in 7-speed gearboxes) for maximum and even

acceleration up to the top speed.

If the circuit has a hairpin (like Magny-Cours in France) then sometimes 1st gear will be chosen

for dependable navigation of that corner. If the slowest corner is a 2nd gear corner, then first gear is

selected solely for the start of the race. Even then, certain factors play a role in making the ratio selection.

The initial selection should be made for maximum acceleration up to 2nd gear from a flat starting grid

position. If the qualified grid position is on a decline, one might want to shorten the ratio by 1 increment.

If the qualified grid position is on a slight incline, the opposite would be true. With the advent of launch

control systems, it is less crucial to set this, but none the less it makes good sense to better the cars

performance in any way possible.

Differential (final drive gear)

The differential is the mechanical coupler between the transmission output and the driveshafts of

the rear wheels and in an F1 car is integrated into the gearbox itself. This is where the engines crankshaft

rotation, after being applied through the clutch and specific selected gear, is transferred by the associated

final drive gearing ratio to the drive wheels.

Connection between the differential input shaft and the gearbox output shaft is via the final drive

gear. The selection of one of three different ratios impacts all forward and reverse speeds. The lower ratio

improves acceleration at the cost of top speed. The higher ratio has the opposite effect. Its a good idea to

start with the middle ratio: 13/52 (bevel 30.42) and adjust up of down should you need to shift all you

gearing at once (say you add quite a bit more wing). Another trick would be to adjust it up for converting a

setup to wet weather running. This in turn reduces torque to the rear wheels.


Differential Lock

F1 differentials are of a limited slip-type. This means the level of coupling between the

differential input shaft and the rear wheel driveshafts is variable. The differentials level of coupling (or

lock, as EA F1 2002 defines it) determines how the torque is applied to both the drive wheels in relation to

one another. At 100% lock, both drive shafts are effectively LOCKED together, and torque is always

applied from the differential to both wheels equally. At 0% lock, if one wheel should lose traction unequal

to the opposite wheel (as if half the car goes onto the grass shoulder), then the differential shifts (or slips)

torque away from the wheel with the least amount of traction.

Understand, as this is a mechanical process the differential CANNOT operate giving great shifts

of torque from one wheel or the other. In other words, regardless of the differential-lock setting, both drive

wheels will ALWAYS be getting a great amount of torque in an F1 car. Using a 0% differential-lock

setting, the shift of torque from the offending wheel is still a minor percentage.

People tend to use the words "understeer" and "oversteer" when describing the effect of the

differential lock. In reality, oversteer is truly the only thing you are actually adjusting. It's only because a

lack of oversteer naturally moves the car closer to an understeer condition that understeer is used as a

descriptor at all. Below are the test results of the differential lock extremes applied to a constant radius


Differential Lock @ 0%

Throttle-off oversteer -HIGH

Throttle-on oversteer - NIL

Differential Lock @ 100%

Throttle-off oversteer - NIL

Throttle-on oversteer - HIGH

These can be confirmed using RSDGs "Test track" skidpad (if you do not have this track - GET

IT). Throttle-ON meaning applying FULL throttle from a steady-state throttle condition (2nd gear, outside

80m ring, maintain 85-90mph - then step on it). Throttle-OFF oversteer being the opposite, a complete lift

off the throttle from the aforementioned steady state throttle condition.


Think about that last part: throttle-off is exactly what we do when setting up a corner on the racing

circuit: throttle-off, heavy on the brakes, turn-in. Set your differential-lock to 0% on a baseline setup and

watch your corner entry spinouts increase. This is because the differential is helping to dissipate the torque

at maximum efficiency in extreme braking/turn-in. As a result, your weight transfer moves forward more

quickly than with a higher differential lock setting. Even under braking and cornering, the engine torque to

the rear wheels is a factor in the cars transfer of weight.

If you make it through the corner though, you can apply much greater throttle, and apply it earlier

in the corner exit. That's because the low percentage of differential lock is helping balance traction during

the re-transfer of weight on exit, and as the rear fights the low-traction condition known as maximum

possible acceleration.

This may seem to contradict what many have read on the forums. But trust me and take it to the

skidpad to run the above extreme tests... you'll see.

A high level of differential lock is a different beast altogether. The car is much more stable under

braking and corner turn-in, but very difficult putting the power down on exit. Again, that's because the rear

wheels now are "locked" together, both constantly applying maximum torque to the ground, regardless of

weight transfer.

First off, when establishing a baseline, start with 50% on your setups. This is the balance point.

Other than that, it depends on your preferred driving style just like every other setting. Think of it this way:

it's not whether or not you like oversteer; it's WHEN and how much. Move the slider in that direction.

Heres an example: ISI/EA Sports sets a low differential-lock (25% to 35%) in its stock settings.

This favors corner exiting stability and traction under acceleration, but makes the car edgy under late

braking and turn-in.

On the other hand, Frenchman Jean Alesi is a master of the throttle-on power-slide. He steers the

car with both ends regularly. I'd bet Jean has that differential lock setting pretty high. Imagine it: Alesi

setting up Parabolica at Monza, braking late with the more stable braking/turn-in characteristic. Then

powering up just before the initial apex of that high speed corner, using little jabs of throttle-induced

oversteer to keep the nose tighter towards the inside, until he can floor it through Parabolicas second half

and rocket onto the front straight.

Yeah right... easy for him to do!


To assist in the process of setting up the car for a circuit a driver has to use all his

powers of concentration. First of all, he has to tackle each corner in three stages. Then, once he

has to establish reference points and the correct racing line, he should try to stick to them as

closely as possible. Varying the line from one lap to the next alters the cars behavior and creates

extra problems. As soon as a driver has got to grips with a circuit, he should be able to complete

a lap in the same fashion time after time. If each lap follows the same pattern, the driver is better

able to analyze events objectively. Indeed, such consistency makes the driver a reference point

himself. This requires much attention to detail, but by maintaining the same procedure for lap

after lap you become a good test driver

From Competition Driving by Alain Prost and Pierre-Francois Rousselot

Setup testing (overview)

Testing is a very important part of fielding a Formula 1 team in international competition. On a

typical Grand Prix weekend, track time is limited to two 60 minute and two 45 minute practice sessions, 12

qualifying laps, and a brief 30 minute pre-race warm-up. This means teams must know their car and know

it well. A driver must know what setup changes bring about the desired effects in handling over the diverse

selection of circuits raced during the championship. Testing allows us to develop setups that permit us to

use our individual driving styles to exploit the cars capabilities to its fullest.

As quoted above, its also important to drive consistently so our setup changes are reflected

legitimately through our lap times. This can be translated into driving at 95% of ones potential, making

subtle changes, letting the cars speed account for increasing lap times. Then after meticulous setting

adjustments are made, take on a light fuel load, soft tires and go for a 100% flat out flyer.

When making the initial adjustments to set the car up for a specific circuit, its important to focus

on one thing at a time and make detailed mental notes regarding the cars handling characteristic at the

various parts of the circuits. This method to setting up the car follows a set routine to rough in all

adjustments. Heres the method I use for setting up the car:

1. Top speed: First laps out, I establish the cars top speed with rear wing angle adjustments and gear

selections. During this time, Ill adjust the front wing angle equal to the rear adjustments. Gear

selection will start with top gear and the lowest racing gear, followed by evenly spacing all gears in


2. Brake balance: Next I set the brake bias to allow hard stable braking into the slowest corner on the


3. Suspension (ride height): Next I begin to balance the car while setting ride height. This is where

telemetry will start to become useful. Spring selection at this phase is to rough in the handling while

setting ride height over the many track variations.


4. Handling (rough balance): Keeping the dampers at their static reference settings, Ill next focus on

using the spring rates and anti-roll bars to balance the handling, keeping ride height values in check.

Tire pressures and camber settings become quite important during this phase and all phases following.

Front wing adjustments help to balance front-end grip under specific adjustments. Differential lock

adjustments are made to aid in the throttle response to the circuits features.

5. Handling (fine tune): After the cars balance is roughed in, Ill begin damper adjustments to fine-tune

the handling through specific parts of the track. First Ill focus on damper slow adjustments and the

cars transitions into and out of corners. Then Ill focus on damper fast settings and controlling the car

over bumps and kerbs. Weight distribution can also aid in fine-tuning the handling characteristics

around the track.

There may be many times when you find yourself being required to backtrack and make changes to

things that worked well earlier, but as a result of recent changes, are no longer effective. This is common.

The good part is that as you make progress towards fine-tuning your setup, this happens less and less, as

well as the adjustments becoming smaller.

Again, its important to make one change at a time and evaluate that change with a consistent lap and

lap times. I tend to make extreme changes at first to establish the degree the change will effect the car. If

the direction of the change is desirable (but maybe the effect is too great), I then reduce the change by half,

and so forth until that adjustments is fine-tuned. It is vital to make changes to one component at a time (or

a set of components as in both front springs) until one becomes comfortable with the effects of that change.

While this seems costly in terms of time, it is well rewarded. During a cars initial shake down, you would

be lucky to complete roughing in the handling by the end of day two. But by the end of the test, everyone

will have a much greater understanding of both the cars capabilities and what the driver wants out of it.

As one becomes more comfortable with the car and the effects of setup changes, then you can

make multiple changes to smaller degrees. This level of comprehension is vital to produce results during

the limited running time of a Grand Prix weekend.


Static reference setup

Because well be dealing with many variables across several components, it becomes a useful tool

to establish a static reference setup. What I mean by this is, well define the full spectrum of adjustments to

all of our components and establish a mid-level mark. This way, we know at all times how far weve

deviated from center and how far until we reach an extreme. This is useful in preventing us from creating a

setup dead-end where we find ourselves at the end of a particular adjustment, which then requires us to

backtrack. By understanding how soft is softer or how stiff is stiffer by defining the parameters, we

can make critical changes at the most logical end of the car.

The following chart shows the static reference midpoint setup for EA Sports F1 2002 as well as

the full range of adjustments to each set of components (this chart is available as a separate .pdf doc).

Mechanical and Aero

Weight Distribution n/a range: varies from team to team

Front wing: 25 degrees range: 0 degrees to 50 degrees in 1 degree increments

Rear wing: 25 degrees range: 0 degrees to 50 degrees in 1 degree increments

Anti-roll bar (front): 150 k/mm range: 100 k/mm to 200 k/mm in 5 k/mm increments

Anti-roll bar (rear): 90 k/mm range: 50 k/mm to 130 k/mm in 5 k/mm increments

Steering Lock: 14 degrees range: 5 degrees to 23 degrees in 1 degree increments

Differential Lock: 50% range: 0% to 100% in 5% increments

Brake duct size: 4 range 1 to 7

Radiator size: 3 range 1 to 5

Tire Pressure and Camber

Tire pressure* (all): n/a range: 90 kPa to 195 kPa

Camber (all): 0.0 degrees range: -6.0 degrees to +2.0 degrees in .1 degree increments

Toe-in (front): 0.0 degrees range: -2.0 degrees to +2.0 degrees in .1 degree increments

Toe-in (rear): 0.0 degrees range: -2.0 degrees to +2.0 degrees in .1 degree increments

Springs, Packers and Ride Height

Ride height (front): 3.5 cm range: 1.5 cm to 5.5 cm in .1 cm increments

Ride height (rear): 5.0 cm range: 2.0 cm to 8.0 cm in .1 cm increments

Packers (front): 0.0 cm range: 0.0 cm to 4.0 cm in .1 cm increments

Packers (rear): 0.0 cm range: 0.0 cm to 8.0 cm in .1 cm increments

Spring rate (front): 175 k/mm range: 100k/mm to 250 k/mm in 5 k/mm increments

Spring rate (rear): 175 k/mm range: 100k/mm to 250 k/mm in 5 k/mm increments

Damper bump adjustments

Fast Bump (front): 1500 N/m/s range: 1000 N/m/s to 2000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments

Slow bump (front): 2300 N/m/s range: 1500 N/m/s to 3000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments

Fast Bump (rear): 1500 N/m/s range: 1000 N/m/s to 2000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments

Slow bump (rear): 2300 N/m/s range: 1500 N/m/s to 3000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments


Damper rebound adjustments

Fast rebound (front): 2000 N/m/s range: 1000 N/m/s to 3000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments

Slow rebound (front): 3500 N/m/s range: 2000 N/m/s to 5000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments

Fast rebound (rear): 2000 N/m/s range: 1000 N/m/s to 3000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments

Slow rebound (rear): 3500 N/m/s range: 2000 N/m/s to 5000 N/m/s in 100 N/m/s increments


Brake bias: 50.0%F/50.0%R range: 80.0%F/20.0%R to 20.0%F/80.0%R in .5% increments

Brake pressure: 75% range: 100% to 50% in 5% increments

Brake Disc (all): 2.8 cm range: 2.1 cm or 2.8 cm

Brake duct size: 4 range: 1 to 7

Fuel tank specifications:

Fuel capacity: 125 Liters

Optimum tire temperatures:

Hard: 114 C

Soft: 112 C

Intermediate: 109 C

Wet: 107 C

Monsoon: 105 C

Engine temperature range (coolant):

Nominal: 105 C to 110.6 C

Optimum: 107.3 C (maximum power vs. engine wear)

Overheating: > 110.6 C

Brake system temperature range:

Nominal: 300 C to 800 C

Optimum: 550 C (maximum stopping force)

Braking force halved at: 1650 C (brake fade)

Telemetry fundamentals

telemetry - n.

The science and technology of automatic measurement and transmission of data by wire, radio, or other

means from remote sources, as from space vehicles, to receiving stations for recording and analysis.

Modern F1 cars host an amazing array of potentiometers and sensors that are capable of

monitoring almost every vital function of the car. These readings are stored in an onboard CPU and many

functions can be monitored in real time by the team of engineers in the garage. Telemetry gives the driver

and his engineer common ground to begin to dial-in the cars setup. It is also common place for teammates

to share telemetry for the purposes of overlaying laps and helping define the cars handling characteristics

from two separate reference points.

When starting a session, its always a good idea to run some warm-up laps with no adjustments

(20 to 30 laps) and save the fastest lap as your base reference lap. As you make adjustments to the car and

increase you lap time, select the new fastest lap as you new base reference lap. Even though you may

overlay many laps into the telemetry display, youll find it easier to analyze you performance using just a

base reference and your best lap from the latest stint. Again, when you better you base reference lap, the

new best lap should become your new base reference lap. If youre just learning, you can use the telemetry

default reference to help guide initial setup changes until you achieve a competitive lap time.


During a race weekend the 45 to 60-minute free practice sessions make on-track time highly

valued, so teams will run a practice session and gather telemetry from the various changes they make. In

the post-session debrief, the telemetry is analyzed and discussed between the driver, his engineer and head

mechanic. Then setup changes based on this debrief are loaded onto the car as a base for the next session.

Heres what we can monitor, and what it means:

Velocity Distance: This trace shows us our speed relative to the distance traveled. Overlaying two

separate lap traces can enable one to see the effects of setup changes as they relate to the laptime.

Overlaying a faster teammates trace can enable one to see where hes losing time, and therefore point to the

area of the car in which adjustments are required.

Engine RPM Distance: This shows the engines revolutions per minute relative to the distance traveled.

This allows us to monitor where a driver is applying the engine power and if we are keeping the engine in

its peak power and torque bands at crucial points. This is also great for seeing where short-shifting out

of the power/torque curve early might aid in cornering stability.

Longitude Acceleration Lateral acceleration: The Friction Circle. Once heavily debated, this graph

is standard operating procedure today. The friction circle shows just how much the driver is pushing the

car to its maximum limits. The ideal drivers exploitation of the car will display a very defined and

repeatable pattern of G-loading reference points as he consistently pushes the car to its extreme limits.

Incremental Time Difference: This shows the gain and/or loss of time that the trace laps contains relative

to the reference lap. Spikes indicate large gains/losses and should be analyzed. This is one of the first

traces to examine when overlaying laptimes.

Here is an incremental time difference trace from the 2nd free practice installation laps at the German

Grand Prix. This is a comparison of a qualifying setup reference lap from the 1st free practice session and a

fully fueled race setup overlaid. These are the two base setups we started with for the weekend.


Gear Distance: This charts the gear selections made over the course of the lap.

Rear Wheel Speed Difference Distance: This trace shows the effect of the differential lock setting, by

charting the relative difference in rear wheel rotation.

Track View: Track map showing a drivers racing line plotted by compiling the various other parameters in

the gathered telemetry. Useful for comparing the subtleties of various racing lines when attacking corners.

Throttle Distance: This charts the percentage of throttle pedal position during a lap. This trace is good

for referencing how the throttle is applied coming off various turns in a percentage value. This is great for

seeing how effective setup changes are when the goal is trying to apply power sooner on corner exits.

Brake Distance: This charts the brake pedal position during a lap. This trace is good for referencing how

the brake is applied in a percentage value. Effective trail braking shows up as a rounded backside of a

brake spike. Trace overlays can show where braking is gaining/losing time.

Steering Distance: This charts the percentage movement of the steering wheel over the course of a lap.

Useful for comparing turn-in points between lap traces and referencing how much the drivers input has

effected oversteer conditions.

Clutch Distance: Shows clutch travel during a lap. Keep in mind that an F1 semi/fully automatic

transmission does activate the clutch automatically. This is not adjustable.

Damper Velocity Distance: This trace charts the four dampers speed of movement vs. piston travel

distance over the course of a lap. Bump is displayed as an upward spike (sharpness of spiking equating

speed and vertical size is distance). Rebound is displayed as a downward spike. The higher the spikes, the

lower the damper settings it represents (indicating less resistance/more movement). This graph is more

representative of the damper fast velocity adjustment, or how the dampers react to bumps and kerbs. When

adjusting damper fast settings, cross-reference this graph with Suspension Travel.

Damper Velocity (Smoothed): This chart smoothes the trace of the four dampers speed of movement vs.

piston travel distance, thus being more indicative of slow damper settings, or how the dampers affect

weight transfer during cornering. Bump is displayed as an upward spike. Rebound is displayed as a

downward spike. Good for fine-tuning of damper slow adjustments and should be cross-referenced with

Ride Height (Smoothed) and Suspension Travel graphs.

Longitude Acceleration Distance: This shows the G-forces that the chassis is experiencing under

acceleration and braking. Acceleration produces a downward spike. Braking produces an upward spike.

Lateral Acceleration Distance: This shows the G-forces that the chassis is experiencing under

cornering. Right turn G-loading produces a downward spike. Left turn G-loading produces an upward


Vertical Acceleration Distance: This shows the G-forces that the chassis is experiencing in the vertical

plane induced by bumps and track elevation changes. Up is up and down is down.

Front and Rear Ride Height: This charts the space between the track (bottom of graph) and the bottom of

the plank (line trace) measured in mm. It represents all ride height variation due to all factors including

bumps and road undulations. This is useful for general spring rates and setting damper fast setting finetune


Front and Rear Ride Height Smoothed: This charts the space between the track (bottom of graph) and

the bottom of the plank (line trace) measures in mm. By smoothing the trace line, we gain a more accurate

indicator of ride height variations during weight transfer only. This is good for fine-tuning of spring rates

as well as general damper slow adjustments and packer sizes.

Chassis Slip Angle: This shows the lateral slip of the car on the road. Ideally, these traces should be small

and as gradual as possible under nominal driving.


Suspension travel: This measures individual wheel vertical movement at the damper rocker arm in mm.

The reference plan (0) marks the damper piston fully extended (full rebound) as if the car is suspended

from a lift crane. Vertical spiking up denotes suspension compression. This monitors how effective the

springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars are a controlling the individual wheels under weight transfer and over

kerbs and road undulations. By examining either both fronts together, or both rears together in steady state

cornering conditions (along with Chassis Slip Angle cross-referencing), this can help define anti-roll bar

adjustments. When using soft springs and damper settings, this graph can aid in packer thickness. Packers

can affect the response of the spikes.

Tire Temperatures (Inside/Middle/Outside): This charts tire temperature in degree Celsius over the

course of a lap. It groups the inside/outside temperatures together as Camber Temperature and shows the

center temperature as Crown Temperature. The center reference point on the graph denotes the tires

optimum operating temperature. This data is very reliable for reaching the optimum tire temperatures over

the course of a lap. When making adjustments though, it is more helpful in analyzing tire pressure settings

rather than wheel camber.

Wheel Spin: This trace shows the percentage of individual tire wheel spin relative to distance traveled over

the course of a lap. Down is spin initiated under braking while up is wheel spin initiated under


Tire wear: This charts tire wear over the course of a lap. Its good to compare this trace with , suspension

travel, Chassis Slip Angle, Wheel Spin and Tire Temperatures to help identify possible causes of premature

tire wear.

Other useful stored information includes weather at the time of the recorded lap.

Air Temperature Distance: Tracks the ambient air temperature of the course of the lap.

Track Temperature Distance: Tracks the track surface temperature of the course of the lap.

Rain Distance: tracks the amount of rainfall over the course of the lap.

Track Dampness Distance: Tracks the moisture content on the track surface over the course of the lap.

The telemetry program sorts these various readings under a collection of headings. In other

words, we can monitor the track map, velocity to distance, and incremental time to distance under the

heading Incremental Time. By clicking on the help icon in the telemetry program, an MS Word .doc

file will be opened. It goes into detail about some of the features of the telemetry program and has some

useful tips for navigating through its windows and manipulating the data efficiently. Below is the very

useful controls summary included in that file:

Window Controls

Left Mouse Button (hold and drag): Select a specific portion of the telemetry data.

Right Mouse Button: Zoom out in 1-step increments.

Middle Mouse Button (Button 3): Maximize/minimize a specific trace window.

Keyboard Shortcuts

RETURN: Zoom in to currently selected portion of telemetry.

SPACE: Restore default view windows and zoom levels.

BACKSPACE: Unselect telemetry data.


Corner phases and types

The racing tracks on which F1 cars do

battle are by definition a series of bends

interrupted by straights of varying

length. Given that the idea is to lap in

the least amount of time, the way you

take corners becomes fundamental, not

least because the first thing to

understand is that an error on a bend is

always paid for in lost hundredths of a


Ayrton Senna from his book Principles of

Race Driving

Every corner has three distinct phases: corner entry, corner apex, and corner exit. Its vital to

recognize each phase per corner when describing the cars handling characteristics through that corner.

Corner Entry is the point at which the car begins turn-in. Braking usually, but not always,

precedes this phase. Sometimes, braking is actually continued into this phase and in specific cases, carried

through to the following phase. During this phase, weight begins being transferred from the inside tires to

the outside tires. If braking happens during this phase, the weight transfer is actually more concentrated

across a diagonal from the inside rear tire to the outside front tire.

During the Corner Apex phase, the car has reached the mid-point that separates corner entry and

corner exit. This phase can be very brief, in the case of a quick kink or chicane (see Corner types) or

rather extended as is the case in long constant radius corners such as Curve 2 at Brazils Interlagos circuit

or Turn 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During this phase, weight transfer stays relatively steady

from front to rear, and is concentrated to the outside tires. Corner apex is the slowest part of a corner.

Corner Exit begins at the point that steering input is begins to be decreased as the driver unwinds

the wheel. Acceleration usually, but no always is involved in this phase. During this phase, weight transfer

begins its restoration back towards the cars center of gravity be unloading off from the outside tires. The

more acceleration is involved, the more this transfer shifts towards the rear and again a diagonal may be

drawn from outside front to inside rear. This occurs until the cars forward travel straightens and the weight

equals out to both rears.

One should always examine the track layout to decide which corners and combinations are the key

features to focus on. It is simple not possible to set the car up to handle all the variations at the highest

level of efficiency. This is where compromise begins. Another thing to consider is the successive

combination of corners and straights. Sometimes its important to compromise the exit of one corner to

maximize the speed through the next. This is especially important when exiting onto, or entering from a

long, fast straight. But as always, the tale is in the timing and a fast laptime is the ultimate deciding factor.

To better understand the various racing lines, and how to maximize efficiency over the course of a

lap, I highly recommend the books Principles of Race Driving by Ayrton Senna and Competition

Driving by Alain Prost. These two books are written by arguably the two finest racing drivers of the

twentieth century. But for now, lets examine some different corner types and comment on how on there

own, they influence car setup.

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