A Formula One race car isn't simply an update of last year's racer. Instead, it takes about a year and a half to develop a car and hone the entire package.
Mercedes-AMG has given us an inside look at how involved it is to develop an F1 car. In a YouTube video published earlier this month, the team detailed the development of its latest F1 challenger, the W10, and even though it will take to the starting grid in a few weeks, work started in late 2017.
Technical Director James Allison walks us through the process. In the beginning, chief designers for the power unit and chassis got together to set goals for the W10. They had to figure out how to squeeze out more performance and improve upon the previous car, the W09, while adhering to new FIA regulations. For 2019, new aerodynamic rules take effect, which add weight to every F1 car. It was the jobs of engineers and designers to comb over the car and take weight from elsewhere to reinvest in aero components.
After groups weighed out different options, the team had a wishlist. The development process took place over the whole 2018 season, and the drivers played a part. Their feedback about how the W09 reacted in virtually every part of every track allowed the team to use that information to make the W10 better.
Work really pickup up during the quiet season over the winter while F1 takes months off. Testing of individual components occurred, then the sub-assemblies and major sub-assemblies went under the microscope for tests. Finally, a full car was ready for testing.
During testing, but before any components made their way to the final car, engineers, designers, and many other departments worked hard to finalize components and designs. In the process, the team also worked with suppliers to ensure the the components would be ready for the car's build date.
The completed car was subjected to shakedown testing then tested over eight days in winter testing. This was vital to get the car ready for the season.
Quite an overwhelming process leads to the final car, to say the least.
Check out the full conversation with Allison in the video above.