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The Plank, time to go?


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#1 Longtimefan

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 19:19

Hi,

No doubt I'll be attacked by the usual ones here but what the heck, The Plank on F1 cars is my topic.

I am probably wrong but if I remember correctly it was introduced in 95 or maybe mid 94 as a safety measure and to stop cars riding too low?

Well almost 20 years later and still F1 cars run a plank along the underside, it seems a little silly when compared to the rest of the car?

Perhaps its time to find another less silly measure or maybe I'm the only one who thinks a plank looks stupid on the bottom of an F1 car?



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#2 Topsu

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:26

Is it really wood?

#3 Seanspeed

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:37

Isn't it still around to prevent the teams from creating radical ground effect solutions?

#4 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:37

How often have you seen it.

#5 jimjimjeroo

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:38

Simple cheap solution, it fits the "cost cutting" theme, it's going nowhere

It does the job

#6 kartinhero

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:39

Is it really wood?


Of course it is

#7 TC3000

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:41

Is it really wood?


technically it's called JABROC, a form of laminated high density wood veneers

#8 maverick69

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:52

I'm not sure that Legard is commentating this year.

#9 pingu666

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:54

theres also a step in the tub/chassis too, which is higher than the plank

#10 scheivlak

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 20:59

I am probably wrong but if I remember correctly it was introduced in 95 or maybe mid 94 as a safety measure and to stop cars riding too low?

Mid 1994 after Senna's death - remember Michael Schumacher's DQ at Spa that year!

Edit: did a search - it was introduced between the British and German GPs:

''The nature of the Hockenheim circuit has always been one of horsepower and in 1994 the importance of horsepower is even greater. This is for one clear reason, the latest round of technical changes. A 10mm thick, 300mm wide plank of "Jabwok" has to be fitted to the entire length of the car's underbody. The effect is to further disturb the airflow under the car therefore reducing its downforce potential.''

http://www.teamdan.c...994/july94.html

Edited by scheivlak, 06 April 2013 - 17:25.


#11 Longtimefan

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:15

Mid 1994 after Senna's death - remember Michael Schumacher's DQ at Spa that year!


ahh yes, another 'rigged race result' by the FIA that year ;)


#12 BullHead

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:15

Don't they put skid plates / protectors on the plank or near it anyway? Kind of defeats the purpose somewhat. Kimi in Australia was sparking all over the place all through the race. Guess he passed scrutineering though afterwards. I was surprised that nobody on Sky /bbc mentioned it.

Edited by BullHead, 05 April 2013 - 21:15.


#13 John Player

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:26

How about switch them from wood to titanium

sparks

#14 Afterburner

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:29

I'm not sure that Legard is commentating this year.

Epic. :rotfl:

#15 Disgrace

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:30

The cars and circuits are safer than ever, yet we don't run in the wet anymore. Removing (or replacing) the plank would be the next best thing to removing parc ferme.

#16 PayasYouRace

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:31

I think it does its job quite well and its presence doesn't bother me.

#17 redreni

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 21:53

Don't they put skid plates / protectors on the plank or near it anyway? Kind of defeats the purpose somewhat. Kimi in Australia was sparking all over the place all through the race. Guess he passed scrutineering though afterwards. I was surprised that nobody on Sky /bbc mentioned it.


Arguably, yes. I seem to remeber Michael Schumacher's immediate post-race comments at Imola 1994 being to the effect that he felt Senna's car was bottoming on the bumps in Tamburello, that Senna nearly lost it on the first lap after the SC pitted because his tyre pressures would have been relatively low making his ride height even lower than normal, and that he did lose it on the lap after. I think the FIA at least gave some credence to the notion that encouraging teams to run the cars so low that they would bottom out was potentially dangerous, and so the plank was brought in so the amount of bottoming would be limited by the need to avoid wearing the plank out, thus forcing the teams to run the cars higher, thus reducing downforce and cornering speed. How much of the concern was about the dangers of bottoming itself and how much was about reducing downforce is an open question, of course. But if it's about stopping the cars from bottoming, titanium skid plates that protect the plank definitely subvert that aim, although because you have to place the skid plates lower than the plank if they're going to protect the plank, the objective of raising the ride height is maintained. But you could always just specify a minimum ride height in the regulations to acheive that.

The plank does, however, force the teams to have a flat surface over a defined area of the car's floor. If you took it away it would open up a big extra development area for creating low pressure zones under the car (in addition to the diffuser) which I'm not sure the teams or the FIA would necessarily want to do. The cars have enough corneing performance already, don't they?

#18 ashley313

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 22:42

Its a cheap and easy, effective way to slow the cars down (for safety) and eliminate a major development area (for cost saving). Its not one of those things you hear designers moan about either, so I don't think its bothering any of them.

The plank isn't the whole floor - when you see sparks, it can be other parts of the floor/diffuser/T tray rubbing on the ground.

#19 saudoso

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 22:45

It's IMHO the guilty part on the rain fiascos we have been seeing lately. I think there are alternatives to it that can fix the water problem while curbing both bottoming and downforce.

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#20 scheivlak

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 22:57

It's IMHO the guilty part on the rain fiascos we have been seeing lately. I think there are alternatives to it that can fix the water problem while curbing both bottoming and downforce.

Like how or what?

#21 SpartanChas

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 23:00

How can a wooden plank spark?

It's really not a big deal, haven't seen one since 2010.

#22 skid solo

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 23:07

Is it really wood?


Said the actress to the bishop

#23 Fastcake

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 23:08

The cars and circuits are safer than ever, yet we don't run in the wet anymore. Removing (or replacing) the plank would be the next best thing to removing parc ferme.


Then the cars would be even lower and be even less able to run in the wet. If you want to run in the wet, the cars will need a higher ride height.

#24 MattPete

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 00:07

Like how or what?


Grooved planks.

#25 crbassassin

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 00:32

Bolts sticking out of the floor would work great.

#26 Deluxx

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 00:34

How can a wooden plank spark?

It's really not a big deal, haven't seen one since 2010.


It's most often the rotating front wing that knicks an edge of the tarmac occasionally

#27 saudoso

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:47

Like how or what?



4 titanium skids, two exactly under each axle, that need to be 40mm lower than the lowest plane defined by the bottom of the car. There you go, the car bottoms, you lose traction. You face standing water, you are not surfing. And the bottom willl be way furder from the floor than it is today. And no more crazy rakes.

Edited by saudoso, 06 April 2013 - 01:48.


#28 alfa1

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:21

How can a wooden plank spark?



It cant, of course, but the bolts that hold it in place can spark.


#29 BullHead

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:35

Arguably, yes. I seem to remeber Michael Schumacher's immediate post-race comments at Imola 1994 being to the effect that he felt Senna's car was bottoming on the bumps in Tamburello, that Senna nearly lost it on the first lap after the SC pitted because his tyre pressures would have been relatively low making his ride height even lower than normal, and that he did lose it on the lap after. I think the FIA at least gave some credence to the notion that encouraging teams to run the cars so low that they would bottom out was potentially dangerous, and so the plank was brought in so the amount of bottoming would be limited by the need to avoid wearing the plank out, thus forcing the teams to run the cars higher, thus reducing downforce and cornering speed. How much of the concern was about the dangers of bottoming itself and how much was about reducing downforce is an open question, of course. But if it's about stopping the cars from bottoming, titanium skid plates that protect the plank definitely subvert that aim, although because you have to place the skid plates lower than the plank if they're going to protect the plank, the objective of raising the ride height is maintained. But you could always just specify a minimum ride height in the regulations to acheive that.

The plank does, however, force the teams to have a flat surface over a defined area of the car's floor. If you took it away it would open up a big extra development area for creating low pressure zones under the car (in addition to the diffuser) which I'm not sure the teams or the FIA would necessarily want to do. The cars have enough corneing performance already, don't they?


Yeah, you're right. Protectors still keep the specified plank height, so maintains that ride height purpose, assuming of course there are regulations on how big the plates are and don't start acting as a plank substitute themselves.
I agree also that a clean area of the cars bottom is worth keeping.

#30 mtknot

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:48

It is silly, but it works. No part of the floor is supposed to be lower than the plank's face, and any wear is easy to detect. I don't see any reason why it should go. Unless you're suggesting that a sensor array that detects how much the floor kisses the ground/the true ride height of a car is far more cost effective and harder to exploit/find loopholes for more downforce in.

Removing the plank would allow the cars to run much lower, and they'd gain a huge amount of downforce; completely against the FIA's agenda... sure we'd see nice sparks but I'd rather another driver not fly into a wall because he's driving on the floor instead of his tyres.

Oh and, 'not running in the rain anymore these days' is something entirely unrelated.


This just reminds me of the anti-canopy sentiment. "Because it looks ugly" isn't a good reason...

4 titanium skids, two exactly under each axle, that need to be 40mm lower than the lowest plane defined by the bottom of the car. There you go, the car bottoms, you lose traction. You face standing water, you are not surfing. And the bottom willl be way furder from the floor than it is today. And no more crazy rakes.


I'm not sure its wise to punish the driver for setup problems. The plywood is used because it wears easily when the car bottoms out, and does not force the car to lose traction. We could of course use your idea, but with wood. S 4 wooden strips attatched to titanium skids would sort of work. However the main concern is the floor, and having skids under the wheels is something entirely independent to body height is it not...? and then you have to consider the suspension geometry they're using.

Edited by mtknot, 06 April 2013 - 08:51.


#31 maverick69

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:59

As for the wood aspect - it is, by accident, one of the few items on the car that is generally in tune with the green agenda. There is a rather large push in organic composite technology at the moment. A guy in my office just completed a Phd on the use of jute fibres. That has serious, sustainable potential.

Maybe they could weave a few titanium fibres into to plank :p

Edited by maverick69, 06 April 2013 - 09:00.


#32 FPV GTHO

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:41

I think if the main concern is aqua planing on the plank, make the wet weather tyres 680mm tall instead of the current 670 and keep the dry tyres 660mm. Or at least make the wets 680mm and keep the inters 670.

Bridgestone not too long before they left were considering just using one wet tyre, which in effect would've just been a deep treaded inter so the tyre companies can probably just make them taller with deeper tread if they're worried about their tyre moulds being unable to make larger tyres.

#33 DrProzac

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:44

Remove the plank, reintroduce (though carefully) proper ground effects and bring back the sparks!

#34 muramasa

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:55


mentioned already but plank is not to reduce downforce & cornering speed but to prevent sudden comprehensive loss of it by bottoming out.

Still, current aero rule need to be changed imo. Moderate ground effect under the floor, reduced upper body aero contribution to downforce, while maintaining appropriate amount of drag for more and better slip streaming. If good balance b/w those 3 elements can be achieved, no gimmicky such as fragile tyres and DRS are needed anymore.


#35 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:16

Still, current aero rule need to be changed imo. Moderate ground effect under the floor, reduced upper body aero contribution to downforce, while maintaining appropriate amount of drag for more and better slip streaming.

FOTA decided against that though. I guess they do want to upset the status quo (heaven forbid that Bianchi might win by 30 seconds in a highly superior Marussia) or waste the millions they have spent on development by starting afresh. The F1 bunch are terribly conservative. :|


#36 Grundle

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:21

mentioned already but plank is not to reduce downforce & cornering speed but to prevent sudden comprehensive loss of it by bottoming out.

Still, current aero rule need to be changed imo. Moderate ground effect under the floor, reduced upper body aero contribution to downforce, while maintaining appropriate amount of drag for more and better slip streaming. If good balance b/w those 3 elements can be achieved, no gimmicky such as fragile tyres and DRS are needed anymore.

Then you would need bigger engines, which ain't gonna happen. Cars would be very slow with your ideas.

#37 muramasa

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:42

Then you would need bigger engines, which ain't gonna happen. Cars would be very slow with your ideas.

again, right balance.
if it's done in a way total amount of downforce remains just about the same but shift more % to the under-car downforce so that the car gets less aero sensitive. and new powertrain will still have combined horse power of more than 700 iirc, so that it's not like the car will have significantly less power.

GP2 cars of mid 00s had extremely moderate ground effect and the race at that time was fantastic. Current F-Nippon (renamed Super Formula from 13) has ground effect and it's working just fine.

FOTA decided against that though. I guess they do want to upset the status quo (heaven forbid that Bianchi might win by 30 seconds in a highly superior Marussia) or waste the millions they have spent on development by starting afresh. The F1 bunch are terribly conservative. :|

yea extremely disappointed.
As long as basics of F1 car remains the same, it will continue this empty back and force they've been doing for the last decade or two.



#38 saudoso

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:22

Then you would need bigger engines, which ain't gonna happen. Cars would be very slow with your ideas.



No they wouldn't. Ground effects is superior to wings in L/D, when it was allowed we even got some cars without front wings and almost flat rear ones.

#39 saudoso

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:26

I'm not sure its wise to punish the driver for setup problems. The plywood is used because it wears easily when the car bottoms out, and does not force the car to lose traction. We could of course use your idea, but with wood. S 4 wooden strips attatched to titanium skids would sort of work. However the main concern is the floor, and having skids under the wheels is something entirely independent to body height is it not...? and then you have to consider the suspension geometry they're using.


Replace those with four nylon skids then, they'll wear out just like the wood.

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#40 olliek88

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:58

I honestly don't see the issue with the plank or any valid reason to get rid of it to be honest.

Oh, and the person who suggested they should replace it with bolts, think that through for a second...

#41 ashley313

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 16:37

again, right balance.
if it's done in a way total amount of downforce remains just about the same but shift more % to the under-car downforce so that the car gets less aero sensitive. and new powertrain will still have combined horse power of more than 700 iirc, so that it's not like the car will have significantly less power.

GP2 cars of mid 00s had extremely moderate ground effect and the race at that time was fantastic. Current F-Nippon (renamed Super Formula from 13) has ground effect and it's working just fine.


yea extremely disappointed.
As long as basics of F1 car remains the same, it will continue this empty back and force they've been doing for the last decade or two.

GP2 cars and FNippon cars are SPEC cars though. The teams can't develop their ground effects. If you open that up as an area for development for F1 you blow up budgets again and push the smaller teams further back. Goes against everything the FIA has been working on for an era.

#42 saudoso

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:02

But you can just throw in an undertunnel teplate for evetyone to follow, flat floor all around it. Killing the aero race would be very good to the sport IMHO.

#43 SenorSjon

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:13

It's IMHO the guilty part on the rain fiascos we have been seeing lately. I think there are alternatives to it that can fix the water problem while curbing both bottoming and downforce.


We have seen excellent rain races since 1994. It is parc ferme that hinders the teams. And Pirelli isn't building a great rain tire either. On a soaked weekend, they only have a few sets available for the whole weekend, so little running.

#44 pingu666

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:44

i like the idea of scrapping the plank, but having however many smaller blocks instead, plus bigger wets....

#45 olliek88

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:45

I think the wet races (or lack of) has more to do with a Mr. Whiting than the tyres or the plank, it should also be noted that the wets and inter's having a slightly larger diameter compared to the slicks (which is why the drivers have a wet/inter/dry dial on their steering wheel, as the larger diameter affects the diff/mapping calcs) this also lifts the car slightly higher thus reducing the chances of the plank bottoming out on the water.

#46 redreni

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:47

We have seen excellent rain races since 1994. It is parc ferme that hinders the teams. And Pirelli isn't building a great rain tire either. On a soaked weekend, they only have a few sets available for the whole weekend, so little running.


Ground-effect cars are still aero-sensitive. Maybe less so than the current cars, but at the end of the day the air pressure underneath a ground effect car when it's parked in the garage is exactly the same as the air pressure outside; it's only at speed that the air pressure difference is created. They rely on clean airflow to create the low pressure zones.

Agree with others that further work to raise ride-heights, or at least to allow or force teams to adjust them upwards on the grid prior to a very wet race, would be the most effecive way to prevent aquaplaning. I'm not convinced that it's so much the flatness of the car's floor as its proximity to the ground that creates the problem. Any car will aquaplane at speed if the water is deep enough compared to its ride height. Also, I think some races are stopped or don't start these days even when it isn't wet enough for aquaplaning to be an issue, because race directors and drivers are simply more nervous than they used to be about people having to drive at 150mph into a wall of spray when they can't see what's in front of them. So even if the aquaplaning issue were sorted out, the days of racing in crazy conditions like Suzuka 1994 or Fuji 1976 may be behind us.

Edited by redreni, 06 April 2013 - 17:48.


#47 saudoso

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:55

We have seen excellent rain races since 1994. It is parc ferme that hinders the teams. And Pirelli isn't building a great rain tire either. On a soaked weekend, they only have a few sets available for the whole weekend, so little running.


That too.

But then again, a lot changed since the introduction of yhe plank, and the current trend with that splitter shaving the ground will never work on standing water. And the teams, aware that races will be stopped with the first puddles, will design their cars that way.

Just removing parc ferme today wouldn't fix it.

Edited by saudoso, 06 April 2013 - 17:56.


#48 saudoso

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 17:58

I think the wet races (or lack of) has more to do with a Mr. Whiting than the tyres or the plank, it should also be noted that the wets and inter's having a slightly larger diameter compared to the slicks (which is why the drivers have a wet/inter/dry dial on their steering wheel, as the larger diameter affects the diff/mapping calcs) this also lifts the car slightly higher thus reducing the chances of the plank bottoming out on the water.



Mr Whiting yes, tyres not. It's the bottom the acts as a hull, not the tyres that fail to drain water. And the bottom is there because everyone knows there will be no racing with standing water.

#49 pingu666

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 19:01

i think the depth/area of the plank means its suspetiable to floating, having less area should help the car not get stuck on a layer of water

#50 Kalmake

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 21:06

i think the depth/area of the plank means its suspetiable to floating, having less area should help the car not get stuck on a layer of water


They could make the plank area smaller, but then diffuser downforce is reduced and it becomes harder to follow another car closely. :(

It all went wrong in 1968(?) with no wings on unsuspended parts rule and 1983 with the flat bottom rule. Lotus 88 type car would be great. Stable ground effect and no need to compromise suspension for aero.