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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

How Pirelli’s F1 “Doggy” helps drive tyre growth

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Resembling a cross between a garden mover and the issues soccer groundsmen use to color white strains, it’s really a grip tester, and its job is to log the extent of grip all the way in which across the lap.

Recognized inside the firm because the “Doggy” – as a result of it must be taken for a stroll every so often – it’s an innovation launched by Pirelli this yr with a view to enhance the corporate’s modelling because it develops its tyres and makes its race-by-race compound choices.

The brand new machine was first used previous to the British Grand Prix in July, and has been gathering information at circuits ever since.

Wahl, the Doggy’s grasp, had spells at Williams and the Jaguar Formulation E workforce earlier than becoming a member of Pirelli final yr.

“Martin got here with a proposal to introduce it additionally for Pirelli exercise and to gather extra information,” says Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola.

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“As you realize, we measure the observe roughness each circuit, on the Wednesday earlier than the race weekend.

“We now have a type of 3D image of the tarmac in numerous positions across the observe.

“The distinction right here is that it’s potential to measure the precise stage of grip throughout the circuit.

“So it isn’t simply in a number of factors of the circuit, it is a steady measurement. And it’s giving us an concept of the extent of grip of the circuit.

“And now, there’s an ongoing exercise in making an attempt to correlate these measurements with different stuff, like truck roughness, like the extent of grip that the automobiles are experiencing on observe, if there’s a correlation with the various kinds of compounds that we choose for every occasion.”

Isola says that the brand new stream of data has already proved to be helpful.

“We began utilizing a laser to measure observe roughness virtually the primary yr that we had been in F1, so we now have now a database on circuits from 10 -11 years interval.

“And it is also helpful for us to grasp the ageing of the observe, as a result of even when they don’t seem to be going to re-surface the observe from one yr to the next yr, you may see a change in these parameters, micro and macro roughness, there’s an ageing.

“And it relies on how a lot the observe is used through the yr, the climate situation in that space from summer season to winter, the kind of tarmac that’s used, and that is giving us a superb info. However it’s not full.

“For instance, one necessary aspect that’s coming from the grip tester is the distinction in grip from one nook to a different nook, from the braking level to the exit of the nook, from the straight line, as a result of clearly there’s an affect of the automobiles operating on observe.

“And someday we will see that in some corners the extent of grip is decrease, as a result of with the automobiles operating they make it extra flat, or much less abrasive, whereas on the straight line we now have a better stage of grip.

“However on the straight line you do not actually need the grip, as a result of you have no grip restricted level on the straight. And that is why we need to use this info sooner or later to make higher correlations.”

Pirelli Doggy, grip measurer at work

Picture by: Pirelli

Pirelli has already found some intriguing numbers as circuits develop over a race weekend.

“To provide you an instance Qatar was our first time that with F1,” says Isola.

“And so Martin was on observe on Wednesday to measure the grip.

“It was fairly low in comparison with different circuits. However then, through the free apply, we noticed loads of observe evolution through the day. And the sensation was that the precise grip on observe was larger than our measurement.

“And so Martin selected Friday evening to go on observe once more with the grip tester.

“And we discovered a rise in grip of 28%. That’s fairly an enormous distinction with solely two periods, and take into account we did not have any assist occasions – simply two hours operating of the F1 automobiles.

“So all this info is necessary for us to characterise the circuit. It isn’t simply the format severity, it isn’t simply the observe roughness, however another aspect is necessary additionally for our modelling, as a result of in our mannequin, we now have a stage of grip, and we need to correlate this stage of grip with one thing that we will measure on observe.”

So how does the Doggy work? It’s all in regards to the entrance tyre and the way it interacts with the observe floor,

“There is a slip ratio between the rear axle and the entrance axle of 15%,” Wahl explains.

“So from that it is aware of how a lot pressure must be there, from the longitudinal pressure gauge within the entrance axle. After which based mostly on how a lot resistive pressure it has, it then provides us a grip quantity from that.

“Mainly the entrance tyre rotates 15% slower than the rear tyres via a sequence. So you may’t simply rotate one of many tyres, they’re all interconnected via that chain.

“You have to hit a goal pace when pushing it. We goal for metre a second only for ease – it’s higher to do the entire yr at one pace then do completely different tracks at completely different speeds.

“You’ve acquired a gauge and also you simply hit that one metre per second, you’ve got acquired a slight leeway. And if you’re both facet of that, then it beeps at you and tells you to hurry up or decelerate.”

So what precisely is that essential entrance tyre?

“It is the inventory tyre that it got here with from the provider for the time being,” says Wahl. “These had been designed to be used on heli pads within the North Sea so they do not get any chilly cracking within the winter.

“So it is acquired fairly a low working vary, as a result of it isn’t very temperature delicate, which is kind of good while you go to Interlagos and it is raining and it is chilly, in comparison with Qatar the place it was 35 levels observe temperature.”

The hope is to finally change to inventory entrance tyre with a bespoke merchandise based mostly on a correct racing compound that Pirelli has good data of. Nevertheless for the second the usual one does the job.

“We had this dialogue earlier than taking the software,” says Isola.

“We imagine that for this part of the investigation, we favor to make use of the rubber that’s designed by the provider. The software is calibrated with that compound, which is comparable in numerous circuits.

“We had mainly two selections, one was to take this one, and the opposite one desires to make a small tyre with our C3 compound, for instance, that’s a median compound, and use that.

“However then we had been dropping the reference from the provider. And so for the second we need to use the reference compound, and we get the information, after which attempt to correlate it with our compounds. However this can be a submit processing exercise.”

A Pirelli technician with a grip tester

A Pirelli technician with a grip tester

Picture by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

One apparent situation is that racing compounds function at excessive temperatures: “That is precisely the purpose,” says Isola.

“Our compounds work at a temperature larger than 80 levels. And if you happen to push the machine at one metre per second, you can not hold 80 levels!

“And so it is significantly better to make use of one thing that’s already examined. After which submit course of the information with a view to make a correlation with our compounds.”

As Wahl walks across the tracks it’s necessary that he follows the racing line as finest he can.

“What we do is we take the skin tyre,” he says.

“As a result of if there’s going to be any degradation of the time, that is in all probability the place it will likely be. I exploit pole laps on YouTube to do line evaluation. I will have a look at that the evening earlier than and memorise it after which work out the place to go.

“Qatar was a little bit bit tough as a result of we had been utilizing F4 movies, so you need to sort of take a little bit of expectation of how an F4 automotive will differ to an F1 automotive.

“They had been taking numerous kerb, whereas the F1 automobiles not taking as a lot on the apex. So it is simply issues like that the place you need to be a bit pre-emptive at instances.

“Kerbs, we won’t cope with. You simply go as shut as you may to the kerb at that time as a result of with the bumps you’ll simply get full ineffective information. We simply get as near the reference as potential.”

The grip information is logged on a reminiscence card, however Wahl also can observe it in actual time as he completes a lap.

“On the display, you may see a graph. So while you see a change in tarmac you may see both a drop or enhance in grip. There was an event in Spa the place, due to the injury to the ability with these huge floods, they’d needed to convey on vehicles on to completely different elements of the circuit.

“So one nook was a bit extra soiled. You may see a drop of grip there as nicely. A bit like Qatar with the sand, something that is on the circuit that is not meant to be there, you may see it change the grip.”

Wahl and the Doggy have had a number of adventures on their walks this yr.

“We did a run in Budapest on Sunday night,” he says.

“And clearly Budapest is pre-shutdown, and everybody needed to get out. And I had lorries overtaking and it was about to chuck it down with rain. In order that was fascinating!

“After which on the Wednesday in Spa, I used to be midway midway up Eau Rouge and there was an {old} F1 automotive that was doing filming from La Supply as much as Les Combes, so I needed to cease and get somebody to return and decide me up.

“The subsequent time I attempted it ran out of battery, as a result of it hadn’t been charged totally after Budapest.

“So I acquired round to the tip of Sector 2 and began Sector 3 and it stopped. I believe I did Spa about 5 instances, together with as soon as within the rain!”

Measuring tracks within the moist has been a very fascinating train: “Spa was good as a result of it was spitting and it was so cool within the mist that it wasn’t drying very a lot.

“So we had a relentless learn all the way in which across the circuit, which was fascinating.

“After which we then went for the dry run as nicely. So we now have acquired that comparability which we fed again to our modelling division of how a lot the grip differed across the lap with that quantity of water.”

The place the Doggy will be significantly helpful if when F1 heads to new tracks – however provided that they’re prepared. Building work in Jeddah was too late for an early go to, however Miami appears to be like set to be accomplished nicely upfront of Might’s inaugural race.

“That’s precisely the aim,” says Isola. “For Saudi it was too late. And in addition it was tough this yr due to the COVID restrictions.

“However Miami is an effective instance. We’re involved with native organisers, and after they affirm that it is performed, we’re planning to ship the blokes with the laser and the grip tester to have an image of what we will anticipate, and possibly alter the choice.”

Pirelli Doggy, grip measurer at work

Pirelli Doggy, grip measurer at work

Picture by: Pirelli

Isola says that Wahl’s work is already paying dividends because the numbers are crunched again at base.

“We give all of the measurement to the modelling division and they’re working round that,” says Isola.

“I imagine that there’s a good correlation between the measurement and the extent of grip that’s anticipated from calculations.

“And what’s helpful is to grasp completely different circumstances. We had been speaking in regards to the racing line, for instance, that’s the most consultant.

“However in some {cases}, you’ve got the racing line with a stage of grip, and outdoors the racing line, you’ve got an entire completely different stage of grip, as a result of it is dusty, as a result of it is much less used, due to many parts.

“Nevertheless it’s nonetheless helpful to grasp for different functions, what’s the distinction between completely different elements of the circuit, or completely different circumstances within the warmth of the day, within the evening, when it is damp, when it is moist.

“And this distinction is affecting the efficiency. The efficiency means additionally the extent of power that you just put into the tyres, or if the tyres are sliding or not. And while you slide, you overheat the floor.

“So after we discuss overheating, there is part of that’s because of the stage of grip of the observe, and realizing the extent of grip and making an attempt to make correlation with the telemetry information with a measurement from the grip tester, with the circumstances on observe that we all know from expertise, we will construct an image that’s much more full than simply with much less information.

“Ideally, it might be nice to make this measurement earlier than the race and after the race. As a result of clearly, we will additionally perceive the observe evolution.

“It is not at all times potential, as a result of in a triple header, we rush to pack every little thing and clearly transfer to the subsequent occasion. However sooner or later, if there’s the chance on some tracks to gather the information earlier than and after, that may be additionally good info.”

Isola says there’s additionally a much bigger image for Pirelli: “I am completely happy that we began this evaluation as a result of we use motorsport as an open laboratory after which use that data for different functions.

“We now have a simulator now in Milan that we use for highway tyre growth. And one aspect that’s necessary within the mannequin that we use is the extent of grip, that’s clearly because of the compound, the working vary, many parameters, but additionally on the extent of grip from the asphalt on the highway is completely different in comparison with the observe.

“We begin getting information from the observe, when we now have a greater concept, we will have an concept of which is the extent of grip on various kinds of roads.

“On the freeway, you’ve got this particular asphalt to keep away from aquaplaning, for instance, that may be a lot rougher in comparison with what we now have in different functions.

“It might be fascinating to grasp the extent of grip of this tarmac in comparison with an asphalt that you’ve in a metropolis centre or one other place. It’s not nearly what we do on observe.”

That’s all for the long run. In the intervening time on Wednesday Wahl will likely be taking the Doggy for its common train across the Jeddah Corniche observe, and little doubt as normal he’ll get a number of humorous appears to be like from drivers and workforce engineers.

“I usually get requested what it’s,” he says. “And we coyly reply to say we’re measuring the space of the observe, as a result of it does do this as nicely!”

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