Ok, I know it isn’t as catchy at ‘Red Bull Gives You Wings’ but it is more accurate in this case as guest speaker Al Peasland, Head of Technical Partnerships at Infiniti Red Bull Racing gave a special one-off lecture to students, organised by Team Bath Racing. He gave an insider’s guide on how to run a Formula 1 team with topics ranging from how to make the perfect pit-stop and the logistics behind travelling to some of the world’s most exotic locations to the process of designing the car throughout the season. In fact, the audience even got to see the car first hand, as a RB6, the 2010 World Championship winning car, in both the constructor’s and driver’s championship (for Vettel), was wheeled into the Chancellor’s building to display the complexity of modern F1 design.
The facts associated with the car are mind-boggling. It can go from 0 to 100 and back to 0mph in less than 5 seconds and the wings generate the equivalent to the weight of an elephant in downforce at top speeds. In fact, the car can generate so much downforce it can drive in a tunnel upside down (and all without those famous Red Bull wings!) However it’s not just fast, but safe also. On video clips played during the presentation it was shown how strong the structure of the car was – just watch Mark Webber’s 2010 European Grand Prix Crash on YouTube.
Peasland explained the challenge of having to improve their car constantly, with Red Bull having to develop over 20,000 new parts per season (sometimes during a race weekend) to stay ahead of their rivals and keep the early season advantage which they have had during previous seasons. Sometimes, these parts are developed using a scale car in a wind-tunnel, but more often, they use CAD to develop new parts for their cars. It shows how F1 is not only high-speed on track; it’s a high-speed business off it too. Critical parts have to be tested in 20 minutes rather than the 6 hours an aeronautical company may take, and hence Red Bull has several technical partners such as Renault, AT&T and Total S.A. With other partners coming from across the world, there are so many ways to get involved in F1 in some form.
Al Peasland also shared his experiences working for the team. After consulting for the team’s previous incarnation, Jaguar F1, he joined the team which was then the fully-fledged Red Bull team. They were perhaps previously known as a party team in F1 due to their famous Red Bull energy station parties at the Monaco Grand Prix (the energy station has to be constructed in Italy and floated into Monaco’s famous harbour on giant pontoons!) However, they have gone from being near the back of the grid to where they are now, one of the top-teams in F1. They took their first victory in 2009, just 4 years after entering the sport and have won the driver’s and constructor’s championships in the past 4 seasons. The story of Red Bull is truly inspiring and certainly one Team Bath Racing will hope to emulate in their Formula Student campaign. As a fan of the sport, I can say that the insight given by this talk was truly fascinating and gave us an energy-fuelled view into the buzz of F1.
Photos credited to Sam Short