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1978 Swedish GP


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#1 ali.unal

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:18

As I was reading Dodgins' last article on Autosport [subscriber], I stumbled upon the "fan" car that won 1978 Swedish GP with Lauda behind the wheel. Dodings labels this win "the most hilariously illegal but legal win of all time, Niki Lauda, Brabham, Sweden '78 tops Alonso, Renault, Singapore '08 anytime." It caught my attention and I have just found the YouTube footage of the whole race. I don't know if I am allowed to share it, but if you want it, I can PM you the link. The guy uploaded this race had also uploaded 1979 Dijon, 1980 Canada, 1972 Brands Hatch, 1973 Nürburgring, 1970 Austria, 1965 and 1976 Monaco GPs.

Cheers.

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#2 arttidesco

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:28

The BT 46 was legal because the fan was used for cooling, and illegal because it also had a beneficial effect on the handling thereby was acting as a moving aerodynamic aid.

The car was 'withdrawn' by Brabham after Lotus threatened to use a similar device on it's Lotus 79.

Brabham got even when they claimed the outer "chassis" of the Lotus 88 was a movable aerodynamic aid, which Lotus claimed was fully suspended as required in the regulations.


#3 Sisyphus

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:53

Brabham got even when they claimed the outer "chassis" of the Lotus 88 was a movable aerodynamic aid, which Lotus claimed was fully suspended as required in the regulations.

No disrespect to Gordon Murray but the Lotus was a far more clever design....

#4 Hank the Deuce

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:30

No disrespect to Gordon Murray but the Lotus was a far more clever design....

the Lotus was certainly more ornate, but it depends on how one defines clever ... Murray's Fan Car was a relatively simple thing compared with the 88, and it worked, demonstrably. Admittedly, the 88 never really got its chance to get into stride, or complete a development cycle, but if you were to say who had tipped the most money down the gurgler, I'd think that Lotus won that one ... who got a return on investment? Well at least Brabham got a GP win ...


#5 ensign14

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:06

Chaparral had shown how a fan car would work. Probably every designer in the F1 paddock could have designed a fan car but they were so demonstrably illegal nobody even tried. Murray's genius was to work a cooling element through it and claim it to be legal. Don't care what anyone says, though, under the regs it was illegal, because its primary purpose - which was the key thing - was aerodynamic. The proof of that is Brabham did not run it with the underside blanked off so there would be no aero effect. The aero was the only reason they stuck it on - there were far better cooling options.

OTOH I can't see how the 88 was illegal; then again it never seemed to be that quick.

#6 Nemo1965

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:11

The BT 46 was legal because the fan was used for cooling, and illegal because it also had a beneficial effect on the handling thereby was acting as a moving aerodynamic aid.

The car was 'withdrawn' by Brabham after Lotus threatened to use a similar device on it's Lotus 79.

Brabham got even when they claimed the outer "chassis" of the Lotus 88 was a movable aerodynamic aid, which Lotus claimed was fully suspended as required in the regulations.


This is not correct, I belief. Bernie Ecclestone was in the midst of all kinds of deliberations within FOCA. The other teambosses - most notably Colin Chapman of the untill then conquering Lotus team - made it clear that keeping the Brabham Fan Car on the tracks, would seriously undermine Bernie's position in further negotations. So Bernie, much to the chagrin of designer Gordon Murray, withdrew the car. Later, in believe even before the Canadian Grand Prix, the FI(S)a banned the fan-car. So the one-off of the Brabham fancar was not because of the fear of imitation...

Brabham was not the leading party that got the 88 banned. I believe all the FOCA-teams understood that the double chassis-idea of Chapman could ignite the political war between FOCA and FI(SA), in other words between the garagistes (Lotus, Brabham, Williams, Tyrrel, McLaren, etc) and the company-teams (Ferrari, Renault, Alfa) that had waged the winter before. That was another episode when there was a threat of two F1 championships. The teambosses - bar Chapman - did not want to start a new battle on that still smouldering warfield with yet another English groundeffect-invention...



#7 D-Type

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:32

A little more on the legal/ illegal question:
As originally conceived, the BT46 had World War 2 aircraft style 'surface' radiators where the heat was taken away by air flowing over them rather than through them producing less drag. But they did not work. I'm not sure quite why: it could have been because of the lower speeds or less stable air flow which was not lamellar. As a solution Gordon Murray then came up with the fan-assisted rear-mounted radiator. This cured the cooling problem. It also offered considerably extra grip as it sucked the car down to the road, which was no accidental discovery. The rules banned moveable aerodynamic devices, being intended to outlaw movable wings giving additional grip on the bends but being capable of being 'feathered' to reduce drag on the straights. The Brabham team claimed that the BT46B was legal as its primary purpose was cooling and the additional grip was a fortunate bonus. As Ensign 14 says, there were other viable solutions so this must be taken with a arge pinch of salt. The question was never put to the test as the Brabham team voluntarily agreed not to race the car again (apart from in a single non-Championship race). The argument has been put forward that the sliding skirts or flexible skirts of the Lotus cars (and others) were also illegal as they were moveable and affected the aerodynamics of the car.
There are stories that Colin Chapman sketched up a twin fan modification for the Lotus on the flight back from Sweden. So a Lotus fan-car was a serious possibility.
Al the teams were unhappy about the fan car for a variety of reasons: the cynics say it was because they hadn't thought of it first, the sportsmen say that it was because they felt it was not in the spirit of the rules, the bean counters questioned the development costs.
Bernie Ecclestone, who at the time was head of the Brabham team, was trying to establish the Formula 1 Constructors' Association (FOCA) as a powerful negotiating body. This required the co-operation and agreement of the teams. Some writers claim that he instructed the withdrawal of the 'fan-car' to ensure harmony.

#8 Henri Greuter

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 17:01

Chaparral had shown how a fan car would work. Probably every designer in the F1 paddock could have designed a fan car but they were so demonstrably illegal nobody even tried. Murray's genius was to work a cooling element through it and claim it to be legal. Don't care what anyone says, though, under the regs it was illegal, because its primary purpose - which was the key thing - was aerodynamic. The proof of that is Brabham did not run it with the underside blanked off so there would be no aero effect. The aero was the only reason they stuck it on - there were far better cooling options.

OTOH I can't see how the 88 was illegal; then again it never seemed to be that quick.



I believe it was fair to say that Murray needed an excuse to install a fan on the car to suck air from under the car and that the radiators were the best excuse he needed. And suckilng that air from under the car was also the main intention.
Because if sucking air through the radiator was the primary target, then why not suck the air from the upper part ot the car, right behind the cockpit? Then there was no controversy possible since there was no other gain because of the fan.
Interesting to think about what could ahve happened if the fan was allowed but air entry being mandated to be on the upper side of the car. Would Brabham have gone through with it?
I still find it unbelievable that the Brabham-Alfas were so horribly unreliable and the most complicted one of them all scored the single victory for the combo. I don't count Lauda's Monza victory because that was only because after Mario and Gilles being DQ'ed.

OTOH: Bodywork, including the rear wing on the 88 moved and that alone is enough to deem it illegal. Brilliant thought, but downright illegal. But we shall never agree on that as well as the legality[u] of turbocharged engines.... :)


Henri


#9 ensign14

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 21:32

OTOH: Bodywork, including the rear wing on the 88 moved and that alone is enough to deem it illegal. Brilliant thought, but downright illegal. But we shall never agree on that as well as the legality[u] of turbocharged engines.... :)

The argument was though the bodywork that was moving was part of a chassis. Just that the regs didn't say that a car could only have one chassis.

#10 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 21:50

Regulations very clearly define what a chassis is. Just because Chapman wanted to call the bodywork a secondary chassis doesn't make it one.

#11 kayemod

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 22:00

Regulations very clearly define what a chassis is. Just because Chapman wanted to call the bodywork a secondary chassis doesn't make it one.


That was a fairly widely-held opinion. It always surprised me that Chapman seemed so certain that his opinion was the right one, history seems to be firmly on the side of the doubters.


#12 arttidesco

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 22:00

Brabham was not the leading party that got the 88 banned. The teambosses - bar Chapman - did not want to start a new battle on that still smouldering warfield with yet another English groundeffect-invention...


And who was leader of the team bosses - bar Chapman - I wonder ? :smoking:



#13 uechtel

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 00:19

But we shall never agree on that as well as the legality[u] of turbocharged engines.... :)

How can there be doubt in the legality of turbo/supercharged engines when the rules explicitely set the capacity limit of 1.5 litres for blown engines?


#14 ensign14

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:27

Because the argument is a turbo engine is not a supercharged engine. The turbo is effectively a second engine as it does not take energy from the original engine to work.

#15 Tim Murray

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:47

So if it doesn't derive its energy from the original engine, where does it get it from?

#16 uechtel

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:50

So where does the energy come from if not from the engine? What kind of fuel does the supercharger burn?

No matter whether super- or turbocharged, the energy comes always from the same source, the fuel burnt in the cylinders of the "primary" engine. Only the means of transmission to the charger are different.

#17 uechtel

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:51

You beat me to that, Tim :wave:

#18 arttidesco

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:02

Because the argument is a turbo engine is not a supercharged engine. The turbo is effectively a second engine as it does not take energy from the original engine to work.


IIRC only Ferrari experimented with a spark plug some where in the exhaust system of there 126C in 1981 and that was soon declared illegal.

#19 Tim Murray

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:13

You beat me to that, Tim :wave:

Great minds think alike. :up:

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#20 ensign14

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:48

So where does the energy come from if not from the engine? What kind of fuel does the supercharger burn?

No matter whether super- or turbocharged, the energy comes always from the same source, the fuel burnt in the cylinders of the "primary" engine. Only the means of transmission to the charger are different.

It does not absorb any of the power from the engine's moving parts to turn the turbine, unlike supercharging. Sucks in air from somewhere. Question is whether that means it falls into the definition of "engine" in the regs, but I don't have a copy of them. I think the rules excluded turbine engines, and isn't the turbo a turbine of a sort? Shares 4 letters at least.

#21 Tim Murray

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:23

Look at it this way. If you set fire to gasoline in a tray in the open air, all of the energy in the fuel goes to heat, and no useful work is done. If you now harness the combustion process in a cylinder with a piston, part of the energy in the fuel is used to do useful work on the piston. The rest of the energy goes out through the exhaust pipe and is wasted as heat.

If you now insert a turbine into the exhaust to extract further energy from the fuel, all you are doing is making more efficient use of the fuel that originally entered the engine, ie ensuring that less of the original energy in the fuel goes to waste as heat.

If, as has been suggested, you put a combustion chamber between the turbine and compressor in the turbocharger, then obviously you are making use of a secondary energy source, which could indeed be potentially illegal.

#22 uechtel

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 13:59

It does not absorb any of the power from the engine's moving parts to turn the turbine, unlike supercharging.


It would be interesting to read the original text here. You would be right if the rules would specify a "mechanical compressor". To my understanding the word "supercharge" does just specify that you operate the engine with higher pressure, but it does not specify the mean you achieve it. At least that would be the case in German language when you talk about an "aufgeladene Motoren". Don´t know whether the English word "supercharger" is really restricted to machincal driven compressors?

Sucks in air from somewhere.


Not quite somehere, but exactly from the exhaust of the engine. So the energy it uses comes directly out of the engine and does in fact decrease the engine´s power output (because of higher resistance of the exhaust gas stream). The trick is that you gain more energy by the higher air pressure in the engine than you lose for driving the compressor. But that is something that supercharger and turbocharger have in common, only that obviously the turbocharger is more effective within the operative rev range of a F1 engine.

Question is whether that means it falls into the definition of "engine" in the regs, but I don't have a copy of them. I think the rules excluded turbine engines, and isn't the turbo a turbine of a sort? Shares 4 letters at least.


I can not see how a " turbo" can be more "engine-like" than a mechanical supercharger (which itself is also no piston engine and hence would be also illegal if compressors were regarded as "engines" in the sense of the motorsport regulations). Both, the exhaust driven as well as the mechanically driven compressor, do not deliver energy directly to the drive of the car (other than a real "turbine engine") and also both receive all their energy from the car´s engine. Only the means of transmission are different.

Edited by uechtel, 23 December 2012 - 14:02.


#23 GrzegorzChyla

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 15:23

IIRC only Ferrari experimented with a spark plug some where in the exhaust system of there 126C in 1981 and that was soon declared illegal.

was it to achieve the same effect as later realized as Anti Lag System in rally cars? The one that used BOV to bypass some fuel into exhaust?

#24 arttidesco

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 16:37

was it to achieve the same effect as later realized as Anti Lag System in rally cars? The one that used BOV to bypass some fuel into exhaust?


I believe it was to keep the turbo boost up when decelerating and thinking about it further Ferrari may have been injecting a spot of fuel into the exhaust and relying on the heat of the turbine for combustion to keep the speed of the turbo's up rather than igniting unburnt fuel in the exhaust with a spark plug.

#25 Henri Greuter

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 18:53

To me, and I wonder how many others (beside ensign14) will disagree with that:

When a piece of equipment on a car delivers its power onto the wheels and thus increases the power supply to the driven wheels, be it by the gearbox or whatever manner, then you can talk about an engine. To me KERS is indeed an engine.

A turbo on the other hand did not generate any power at all directly to the wheels and therefore it isn't an engine. Even if fuel is injected into it to keep it revving for whatever reasons.
A turbo enhances the power output of an engine, but is isn't a power source to be listed as an engine. I can't find any reason to declare a turbo illegal because of being a separate engine.


As for the Lotus 88 I remember having read that Chapman tried to make clear that the rules read chassis, a word that con be interpretated as one single chassis but the plural version of it also reads `chassis` and the rules not stating clear enough that in this case the word chassis stood for the non-plural interpretation of the word.
Just as clever as the idea he tried to defend. But again. With the rear wing integrated within a moving piece on the car: Illegal.


Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 23 December 2012 - 18:59.


#26 Duc-Man

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 19:40

Here is my question: since the Lotus 88 and the Brabham BT46B were illigal at the time, would they be allowed to enter the historic F1 championship?

#27 kayemod

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 20:23

As for the Lotus 88 I remember having read that Chapman tried to make clear that the rules read chassis, a word that con be interpretated as one single chassis but the plural version of it also reads `chassis` and the rules not stating clear enough that in this case the word chassis stood for the non-plural interpretation of the word.
Just as clever as the idea he tried to defend. But again. With the rear wing integrated within a moving piece on the car: Illegal.


Henri


Surely the 88 was illegal full stop, an attempt to get around the sliding skirts ban, irrespective of the rear wing that Henri mentioned, Chapman was never going to get away with it. I'm as big a Chapman fan as anyone on TNF, but I can't see that Lotus ever had even the remotest chance of being allowed to race that car, it was even more blatant than the Brabham fan car. Clever undoubtedly, but doomed from the word go.

#28 D-Type

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 20:29

Here is my question: since the Lotus 88 and the Brabham BT46B were illigal at the time, would they be allowed to enter the historic F1 championship?

As has been explained above, the BT46B was never declared illegal, so if one exists it would be eligible to run. On the other hand, the Lotus 88 was declared illegal so it would not be eligible to run unless a concession was made.

#29 Duc-Man

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 21:19

That might be true, the legality of the car is still very borderline and never really solved due to Brahams decision not to run it again. I assume it would have been outlawed for sure if they had stuck to it.
There is also something in the rules along the lines that everything that isn't declared legal by the rules is illegal.

#30 kayemod

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 23:27

That might be true, the legality of the car is still very borderline and never really solved due to Brahams decision not to run it again. I assume it would have been outlawed for sure if they had stuck to it.


I think that both cars would be banned under a "Nice try, but surely you never expected to get away with this, what were you thinking of?" rule.