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Day 1 Done…Or Is It?

February 28, 2013

So day one of the final test’s done…or is it?

It’s all too easy to forget that because the cars have stopped running around the track and the tv cameras have switched off, there’s still a whole nights worth of work to be done inside each team’s garage.
Whilst the circuit was still alive with action, the half of each race team not involved in running the car today, was back at the hotel trying to sleep in preparation for a long night turning things around ready for tomorrow. I say trying to sleep, because many of them are staying in some of the very local hotels nearby and of course, once eleven Formula One cars fire up and start tearing around this circuit from 9am, they do tend to make a little bit of a racket.
The ‘night shifts’ began appearing here earlier this afternoon at around 4pm onwards and have a significant crossover period in which ‘days’ hand over the car after an initial ‘set down’ (where the car’s setup is measured in controlled static conditions to determine if any parameters have changed or moved and to confirm that any deliberate mechanical changes made during the day, had the desired effect), a debrief and a full checkover. The day running crew then create a joblist based on mechanical changes required for the next day, repairs that may be needed, driver changes if necessary and the extensive list of service items which need to be carried out depending on the amount of mileage achieved during the day’s running.
That list will keep the guys busy until perhaps six or seven o’ clock the next morning, by which time the car will be put back together, re-prepped, engine fired up, set up and left with the engine pre-heaters connected to the on board water system ready to get things up to temperature before its first fire up of the new test day.
Formula One engines, unlike the engine in a road car, cannot be started up cold. The manufacturing tolerances are so finite and precisely engineered so that the engine operates at a carefully determined level of expansion of all of the metals and alloys whilst at running temperature. To ensure these levels of thermal expansion, the heaters both heat and circulate the water inside the car’s cooling system to the required temperature before it can be started up each morning. Here at Barcelona this week, the ambient temps are so low, particularly early on, that even with the heaters it can be difficult sometimes to achieve the necessary water temperature.

Right, I’m off back to the hotel, but as you all reflect on the first day’s running from this, most crucial of all tests, spare a thought for the many guys and girls still working away until the sun comes up (let’s hope it does come up) tomorrow morning.

Oh, and if you’re in the UK and are lucky enough to have Sky Sports F1 HD or Sky 3D, tune in tomorrow for more live coverage of the test, with me, Crofty, Herbert, Ted, Brundle and co. Some of the 3D shots look great!

Marc Priestley
Twitter: @f1elvis


From → Formula One

One Comment
  1. Great to have you there covering the test, keep up the good work Elvis!

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