September 06, 2016

Business Evening: Formula 1 - what's the story behind the design?



The Professional MBA Automotive Industry Program (http://automotive.tuwien.ac.at) is designed to educate the managers in the automotive and supply industry. In the framework of this in Europe unique program business evenings were organized to know the current and future trends of the automotive industry.

For the first time a Formula 1 expert gives a lecture about the technology development and behind stories of the Formula 1 business. As the guest speaker, Mr. Willem Toet, who is a motorsport professional with 30 years experience in Formula 1 (F1). He has mainly led vehicle development and aerodynamic groups but has also had in-depth involvement in the business of motorsport. He worked for Benetton, winning the F1 World Championship with them before moving to Ferrari where he brought aerodynamic development back into Italy with the build of a state-of-the-art wind tunnel which was used for all of their world championships since 2000. Following Ferrari he worked for BAR/Honda and Sauber.

The talk started with some technical aspects relating to the performance of a Formula 1 car and what engineering factors make the key difference. Lap time simulation software and driver in the loop simulators are used to understand and assess different potential contributions to performance.   The contribution that aerodynamics makes to the lap times of a Formula 1 car was then explained, including the significant contribution made even in the slowest corners. Mr. Toet then disclosed some of the complexities of aerodynamics and the tools used to investigate this, to most of us, “black” art.

At the discussion round it was discussed the ways that different individual technical and managerial characters have shaped the performance of the cars their teams produced.  A good example was the impact that new rules can have on the rate of lap time improvement with a given input of a resource and how this shaped in particular the 2009 and 2014 results.

The lecture was followed by an intensive question and answer session and a relaxed reception where Mr. Toet continued to answer questions. This was a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of Formula 1 by a very entertaining speaker.

The Professional MBA Automotive  Industry Program (http://automotive.tuwien.ac.at) starts on October 6, 2016 for 8th time. Application is possible.


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