How To MODERNIZE A Formula 1 Car? | Williams 650HP NA V10 FW19 [TECH TALK]

How To MODERNIZE A Formula 1 Car? | Williams 650HP NA V10 FW19 [TECH TALK]


– There’s no doubt that Formula 1 is the
pinnacle of technology, both in terms of engine, chassis and
electronics. However when we’re dealing with the older
F1 cars now, sometimes getting access to the software and the systems to maintain
the engine management can be a little bit tricky, particularly with some of these
heritage cars we are seeing the need for the electronics package to be updated. Now behind me we’ve got an FW19 Williams
F1 car. This was raced by Jacques Villeneuve in the
1997 race series. And we’re here with Milan from PerSysTec,
who has been charged with an electronics upgrade on this particular car. We’re going to find out what actually goes
into modernising a 1997 F1 car. So I guess first of all Milan, 1997,
it’s a while back but still in terms of electronics, I’m guessing that the systems
in this car were still pretty advanced. What was the impetus for upgrading them? – So I think the main reason to upgrade
the system was to be able to maintain it these days. Because you know the laptops and the
computers from 1997 are no longer supported by Microsoft or any of the PC
companies. So that was one of the main goals
as well as being able to have people knowing the system and being able
to support it. – Can we go back and talk about what was
the ECU or engine control unit fitted to the car back in 1997? – So back in 1997 it was Magneti Marelli
system. I believe it was the compulsory system for
every team in the championship. So the thing we did is that we replaced it
with a modern Cosworth electronic system. That is sustainably running in the highest
motorsport events in the world, LMP1, LMP2. – Now when you’re looking at doing an
upgrade for the electronics on a car that is so valuable with so much heritage
behind it, what sort of considerations do you need to keep in mind? Is is possible to revert to the original
Magneti Marelli if you wanted to for any reason or is this a whole new
wiring harness to suit the Cosworth? – It is actually the whole new wiring,
it’s not possible easily to revert back to Magneti Marelli as well as the parts
aren’t available anymore. So from the perspective of the spare parts,
it’s really easy to go and buy new Cosworth electronics but it’s not possible to buy an
old Magneti Marelli. – Now in terms of integrating that engine
control unit with the rest of the chassis electronics, I understand there is still
a Williams control unit there that’s in charge of some of the other parts on
the car, can you talk to us about that and what it does? So the entire chassis system is controlled
by a VCM which is a vehicle control management system, designed and built
by Williams. So Williams is still able to supply and
maintain the functionality of that box. They’re getting short on the parts for
such an old box but they still have the people working at the factory being
able to calibrate and set up all the hydraulic things because that’s the most
advanced parts on the car. The gearbox is hydraulic, the clutch is
hydraulic, differential’s hydraulic. So that’s the most difficult bit of it. – OK so just to clarify that, that VCM unit
there is controlling aspects such as the clutch engagement. Unlike a normal road car, that’s controlled
by a paddle on the back of the steering wheel and you’ve also got, in this case,
the gearbox is mainly a conventional dog engagement sequential gearbox but
hydraulically actuated. Now I’m guessing though there’s going to
be some interaction between the brand new Cosworth electronics and that older
Williams VCM. So how does that work, can you talk
us through that? – Yeah this is actually, that was surprising
to me on this 1997 car. But the first one we plug and played
with Cosworth electronic system was 1992, the FW14B. And the communication is established by
CAN 2.0 B which is still used in the modern cars so that was surprising
for me to be honest. That’s fairly early on I would think for
CAN to be used in the motorsport industry but again I guess that’s where
F1 really is different, it is the pinnacle of motorsport. So these days for both factory engine
management systems as well as our aftermarket ECUs, CAN is a fairly common
protocol two way communication bus where messages can be sent between
different electronic modules. So how exactly, once you’ve integrated
with that CAN bus, how exactly are you utilising those messages between the
VCM and the Cosworth ECU? – So starting at 1992 it was more of a
basic communication, just throttle RPM and then just information about shifting
being triggered. Going to more modern cars to 1997 as this
FW19 is, there is more informtion sent over for the logger mainly because the VCM is
also a complete chassis logger for the team. So there are multiple messages and
messages sent on one kilohertz with all the information from the engine to the chassis system,
as well as the chassis system tells more about the rev limiter for the gear shift,
about the clutch position, about the torque being delivered. – Just let’s talk about one aspect of that
that you’ve just mentioned there, that shift strategy. So integrating the Cosworth ECU with that
VCM. So let’s say for example in this case the
driver uses the upshift paddle on the back of the steering wheel, can you talk
us through the process that the shift goes through? – So as soon as the driver hits the pedal,
the VCM processes the information, calculates the target RPM after the shift,
knowing the gear ratio and basically sends that information to the ECU to
reduce the RPM, that’s all then handled in the ECU, how the RPM is reduced. But it’s not a conventional car as you
could see on other aftermarket ECUs. It’s all controlled by torque and rev limits
kind of thing. – So a little bit more advanced than just
requesting an ignition cut for example? – For example yes. – And drive by wire throttle body on this
particular car as well? – Yes there is drive by wire. It was originally hydraulic with all the
system, it’s not so easy these days to find hydraulic controllers, so we replaced
the hydraulic actuator with an electric motor that’s fast enough to control the
throttle on this car. – Can we just talk about that a little bit. So this car obviously already has a
hydraulic system on board. So you’ve got the reservoir there with
high pressure hydraulic fluid, so you’re using that already for the gear
shift and for the clutch. Interesting in the motorsport world,
we deal with drive by wire, almost always we’re going to be dealing with
electric, so can you talk to us about the advantages why drive by wire was
done with hydraulic back in those days? – So I think one of the reasons as you
just said is that the hydraulic system was already on board for all the rest of
the chassis system. But the main advantage on an F1 car
is that it’s really fast. If you compare the speed of the movement
of the drive by wire electric motor to the electric style, the size of the drive by
wire would need to be so big to achieve the same sort of speed. So that’s I think the main thing. – Alright let’s get into the engine itself. So there was a lot of different
specifications of engine as we saw the years go by with Formula 1 and
rules change. What specific engine is fitted to this
1997 chassis? – So this FW19 is a Renault 10 cylinder
V10 engine which has air spring valves. So that’s pretty normal since 1992 with
all the V10 engine which started with 3.5 litre, then in ’94 I believe the FIA
reduced it to three litre engines. So it’s a really high revving engine. – What sort of RPM are you seeing at the
peak? – So the peak is 16000 RPM on this one
which is pretty impressive considering the technology these days. – Talking about the pneumatic valve spring
technology there, is there anything tricky that you have to do with the Cosworth ECU
in order to manage that side of things or is that just separate to the ECU? – So that’s mechanically separate to the ECU. The only thing that we control is the safety. So if we lose the pressure in the springs,
we stop the engine because there would be severe damage to it. – Just talking about the calibration of the
engine, can you tell us for a start, what sort of power is it producing? – So the power is about 650 horsepower. It’s been calibrated on a dyno as a
normal engine would be. The tricky bit is the inertia is so low
so to brake the engine or to catch the engine on a dyno, there is a special
procedure to do this. That’s the main different to normal road
engines for example. – Now when you’re starting with tuning
a very expensive bespoke F1 engine revving to 16000 RPM producing in excess
of 600 horsepower naturally aspirated, that’s got to be a fairly daunting task. Are you able to start with a base
calibration essentially sucked out of the original Magneti Marelli ECU or
are you literally starting from a blank sheet of paper on the Cosworth? – Yeah actually thanks to the Cosworth
electronics, we were able to reverse engineer the whole ECU from the Magneti
Marelli system and that was our base calibration for the new start on the dyno. – Now these days in terms of the way the
car’s being used, obviously it’s not being raced in anger and for exhibition and
historic racing, probably I’m guessing you don’t want to be pushing that engine to
the limit, so is there anything you do to detune it or basically just make it a
little bit more reliable so it lasts a little longer? – So from the experience the main thing
is to reduce the rev limiter. It’s just enough to reduce it by 1000,
1500 RPM. And the ignition advance is reduced a
little bit. You can’t reduce it too much otherwise
you would get a lot of heat in the exhaust. So that’s the main things we do and then
you need to get a professional driver to be able to handle this. – Look Milan it’s been great to get some
insight, we don’t get to get any of the inside details on older F1 cars too often
so really appreciate the time for the chat today, thanks. – Yeah thank you very much. – If you liked that video,
make sure you give it a thumbs up and if you’re not already a subscriber,
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30 thoughts on “How To MODERNIZE A Formula 1 Car? | Williams 650HP NA V10 FW19 [TECH TALK]

  • Who's in the 'sub club'? While we can't promise you sandwiches, we can promise that you will not miss any more of these awesome Goodwood videos that are lined up. Just make sure you're not just subscribed, but also that you have hit that bell button below the video window to never miss out – Taz 👨🏻

  • Theres a YTer thats building his car with aerospace and F1 spec hardware. Holy crap is it not cheap, and boy is it bad ass.

  • For the purposes of historical, heritage and originality…
    Would be desirable to keep all the components as though they still function, even if they don’t.

  • That Rothmans livery is excellent! Williams in the 90's were like Mercedes are now, sad they've fallen so far. Future proofing obviously wasn't on their minds when they built the cars, no need for it with continual development, regulation changes etc.
    An overview of the evolution of the electronics in F1 would make an interesting video, any idea of the details of the McLaren ECU they run now?

  • I don't understand the need to modernize? Surely you are not trying to make it go faster?

    Or are you meaning that the old systems are no longer available so you have to install modern electronics?

  • Great interview.
    So the upgrade is primarily because of the lack of support by Microsoft of the original (windows 97?) Computer's. Why do these computer's need support from Microsoft? Do they not just work? Is there not independently developed support for this era of computer by now?
    Btw I see that to install a modern ECU is better and much easier deal with for sure.. just interested as to why the original has become almost impossibly redundant by now?

  • As much as I love hearing about silly sized turbos and billet 4g63 engines the F1 stuff really is a glimpse into another world, even if the tech is 20yrs old! More on this HPA please!

  • I thought I saw you guys at goodwood! Me and a mate were drooling over montoya's car tried to get him in it since its his favorite 😂😂

  • I think that modern f1 should go a little bit back towards the simplistic aero, the low weight en size of this car.

  • thank you so much for this, to get a real detailed technical insight into the F1 cars is just incredible. never seen anything like this before. thank you.

  • Interesting to hear this from the perspective of an ec&I engineer. Predictably, it is heavily sparky focussed, even on such a mechanical beast. I wonder how the same discussion would go with a clanky!

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