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2014 Cars: Driver sight lines


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#1 tkulla

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 16:40

One design variation that I've noticed in the 2014 cars is the difference in height of the car at the point of the front wheels. I noticed it when on James Allen's site, which has profile views of two top cars as a banner visual. Ferrari, for instance, keeps the bulkhead as high as possible as far down the nose as they can before sloping down dramatically. McLaren, by contrast, has a gradual slope from the cockpit down to the nose. Imagining the view from the driver's perspective, it would seem that a McLaren driver would have much better visibility of what is directly in front of him than a Ferrari driver would. I'm thinking this may be a slight advantage in "close combat" situations such as the first corner. It's certainly not something that a designer would sacrifice aero performance for, but I wonder if the drivers appreciate a bit more visibility. They might even be able to see the front wing a bit now. 



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#2 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 17:13

You usually can't see the nose from inside the car, or even the front wings. Just the top of the tire, maybe the few inches of bodywork right in front of the cockpit. So how steep or even how long the nose is doesn't make a difference, you won't be able to tell.



#3 Andrew Hope

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 17:19

So much of it is done by feel I don't think it would matter that much.



#4 Clatter

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 18:09

Didn't Mac simulate the driver view for this year during certain FPs last year?



#5 Richard T

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 18:15

Didn't Mac simulate the driver view for this year during certain FPs last year?

 

No mate that was just Tooned.

 

355507569_640.jpg


Edited by Richard T, 17 February 2014 - 12:58.


#6 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 18:19

It'll be the difference between seeing the top of the diffuser or the exhaust of the car in front and even then only when it's directly lined up in front and closer than 10 metres away. Can't see it being a big problem. Now if Maldonado or Grosjean's noses had been higher than everyone else's for the last few years maybe there'd be something in it...



#7 tkulla

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 14:41

s1_1.jpg

 

s1_1.jpg

 

I know these guys are used to not being able to see much, but drawing an imaginary line from the eyes of each of these drivers to the road surface would seem to indicate that the McLaren driver would get a bit more information than the Ferrari one. Again, it's not a game changer but I still think it's helpful.



#8 BillBald

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 16:24

Didn't Mac simulate the driver view for this year during certain FPs last year?

 

No, that was in 2012, they simulated the high front for 2013.



#9 Clatter

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 16:48

No, that was in 2012, they simulated the high front for 2013.

Cheers.  :up:



#10 PayasYouRace

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 19:07

I don't think there's going to be any noticeable difference. They're barely able to see down the nose anyway.



#11 Nemo1965

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 19:57

I think the main problem with picturing the view drivers have is that you never watch straight in front of you. You go to the outside of the corner, watch to the side, steerin and perhaps on the straight...

 

The hard thing about sims I always find is that the cockpitview is very low but you can't move your 'head'...



#12 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 22:12

[quote name="tkulla"
I know these guys are used to not being able to see much, but drawing an imaginary line from the eyes of each of these drivers to the road surface would seem to indicate that the McLaren driver would get a bit more information than the Ferrari one. Again, it's not a game changer but I still think it's helpful.[/quote]

Agree, tk, and given the option most would pick the Macca but how is it going to affect them? Alonso can still clearly assess the position of the car straight infront (albeit seeing a tad less of the rear crash structure), he can still see the front wheels and turn in points and brake markers/metre boards as they are off centre. The only situation I can foresee a genuine issue for Alonso is in the rain/spray when he's going to struggle seeing the flashing rain light of a car directly in front in poor conditions.

#13 wepmob2000

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 23:47

Quite frankly this is one of the things that baffle me about modern F1, how do the drivers see enough ahead of them to race effectively? I tried the drivers eye-view in a modern sim, and it was damn near impossible for me. This wasn't a problem with sims of earlier cars, say prior to 1995.....



#14 pingu666

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 00:05

I think they look around there hands, maybe occulas rift will help you in games 

and me :-)



#15 EthanM

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 00:11

Well it's not like they had awesome forward facing view before and lost it now is it?

 



#16 wepmob2000

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:16

That is an awesome video, thanks for posting! I know the drivers will have peripheral vision, which must help, as compared to a sim where there is none, but I'm still baffled. The drivers do have a horrible view ahead now, whereas at one time with the more upright cars (think Brabham BT46 for example), this wouldn't have been a problem.



#17 Sardukar

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:36

I really wish people would stop posting that video, sorry but its not accurate its a few inches to low.



#18 tkulla

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:38

That is an awesome video, thanks for posting! I know the drivers will have peripheral vision, which must help, as compared to a sim where there is none, but I'm still baffled. The drivers do have a horrible view ahead now, whereas at one time with the more upright cars (think Brabham BT46 for example), this wouldn't have been a problem.

 

I agree that's a cool video, but surely they must be able to see better than that. It looks like he's using tree tops to determine braking points. 

 

And even a decade after that Brabham Senna must have been able to see quite a lot more than drivers can today:

 

mclaren-1988-senna-belgium-01-620x330.jp



#19 Jerem

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:51

I agree that's a cool video, but surely they must be able to see better than that. It looks like he's using tree tops to determine braking points. 

 

Maybe this one (which is also quite cool!) give a more accurate view of what the driver sees? The camera seems to be mounted on the helmet though, so probably a bit too high, but at least it doesn't look completely like blind driving.

 

 

There's also this one, quite different since it's from ChampCar in 2003, but the camera is inside the helmet:

 



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#20 krea

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:23

Well, it helps that we don't see the world in a 16:9 format.

#21 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 08:11

Well it's not like they had awesome forward facing view before and lost it now is it?

 

 

I don't think I've ever seen a camera mounted where one should be, which is on the bridge of the driver's nose, and there are obvious practical reasons why that can't be done. That looks like it's on the helmet just below the visor. Only a few mm too low but it makes a difference.

 

Obviously the ideal would be to have a 3D video with one camera in front of each of the driver's eyes, but he'd have a few problems seeing anything in that case.



#22 oetzi

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 08:55

Maybe Google Glass is the answer.



#23 RoutariEnjinu

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:04

When you're racing, you're always looking to the next corner, and never the one you're in. You learn a sense of car placement in the immediate vicinity and use peripheral vision for braking/turn in cues.

If you focus on the moment and corner you're in, you'll be slow. It's what people new to circuit driving do though.

It's the same when learning to drive a car; learners always look only a few feet in front of the bonnet and don't get the big picture. I remember a documentary on TV about driving, and they used some head gear to see where drivers were focusing while driving. Experienced drivers looked quite far ahead, learners, almost exclusively a few body lengths in front of the nose.

http://www.turnfast....ing_visualfield


A racing driver would have his focus pinned on the next corner always. It's impressive to us seeing how little they can see (although I've yet to see a helmet camera that's not mounted either on top or on the chin of the helmet), but the truth is that to an experienced racing driver, it's not really needed. For the same reason a kid will stare at the football they're dribbling and a professional player will be mostly looking up the field.
 

Using your peripheral vision while also focusing in the center of your vision takes some practice--especially at the speeds involved of race driving. If you have already been track driving for a while, at first, this technique may slow you down due to the uncertainty of using your peripheral vision. However, once you get used to it, you will notice that you'll hit your reference points more consistently, and you'll carry a couple more miles per hour through turns you thought you were already maxing out. Developing these skills can takes a few weekends on the track. However, stick to it. Develop the skill first, then bring up your speed. In the end you'll go much faster.


tl;dr to people used to driving around town at 30mph high up in some part-time "four-wheel-drive" road car, the fact F1 drivers see so little of their immediate surroundings seems really impressive and crazy. To people used to racing, it's not really a problem at all. It's psychological, and Alonso with his "accidentally too low" seating position is proof of that.

Edited by RoutariEnjinu, 17 February 2014 - 09:06.


#24 EthanM

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:07

I really wish people would stop posting that video, sorry but its not accurate its a few inches to low.

 

watch the end of the video you can see exactly where the camera is positioned mr "sorry it's a few inches too low"

 

28wl9xt.jpg



#25 RoutariEnjinu

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:27

watch the end of the video you can see exactly where the camera is positioned mr "sorry it's a few inches too low"
 
28wl9xt.jpg


It's a fisheye lens centred well above the horizon, which you can see in the shot after this one where it's shown side on. The barrel distortion will make things further from the centre appear smaller.

But even if it was angled perfectly level with the horizon, scrunching 170degrees(?) field of view, into a YouTube video you're sitting a foot and a half away from, will make the visible part of the track, the bit the driver is focussing on, look almost imperceptible. 1080p over a 170degrees field of view puts very little detail at where your fovea would be. The camera also has terrible contrast compared to the eye, and often sees the glare of the road clipped out as pure white.

Edited by RoutariEnjinu, 17 February 2014 - 09:29.


#26 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:28

watch the end of the video you can see exactly where the camera is positioned mr "sorry it's a few inches too low"

 

28wl9xt.jpg

 

Oh wow! Didn't expect that.



#27 EthanM

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:35

It's a fisheye lens centred well above the horizon,.

 

no it's not, it's a garden variety GoPro Hero (the original one not v2/v3 etc) mounted upside down what looks like a fisheye lens is the waterproof camera housing

 

0903_atvp_01_z%2BgoPro_motorsports%2Bher

 

 

Edit: the point of the thread was sightline over the tub/wheels etc, this to my knowledge is the most accurate view of that. Of course a camera will not replicate what the human eye sees, but it's the best approximation of the driver's perspective


Edited by EthanM, 17 February 2014 - 09:39.


#28 alfa1

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:14

As somebody who has driven a Formula 1 car around Paul Ricard, the view is somewhat between the two "onboard" videos being discussed.

 

Its a little higher than the video in post # 15. In real life, you do see the road in front of you (although not immediately the first several meters in front), and more of the tyres. In the 2001 Prost AP04 I was in, I could even see the very tip of the top of the front wing endplates.

The video in post # 19 is better, but maybe a tiny tiny bit too high. It probably has more to do with the camera being a few inches more "forward" than the human eye is, and so enables it to see a bit more over the crest of the cockpit bulkhead than a human would do.

 

But to answer the question in the opening post, none of the drivers could see the nose of the car last year, and so the lowering of it in any form will make no difference this year.

If anything, narrowing the front wing this year would probably make it less likely for an accidental touch.

 

Edit - for clarification, I was also sitting just a little higher than a real F1 driver would with a customised seat, but I've taken that into account in my posting as far as possible.


Edited by alfa1, 17 February 2014 - 10:29.


#29 RoutariEnjinu

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:31

no it's not, it's a garden variety GoPro Hero (the original one not v2/v3 etc) mounted upside down what looks like a fisheye lens is the waterproof camera housing


I know, I had one. Still, it will either have been recorded at 170degrees or 127degrees.

GoPro themselves even have a help article on the original "garden variety" GoPro Hero, explicitly mentioning the "fish-eye" effect, and ways to reduce it:

http://gopro.com/sup...pictures-videos


Either way, despite the efforts gone to, to mount the camera in a representative place, it's angled too far skyward, and the field of view only serves to make the place you'd be focusing look further insignificant.

That video is misleading. Simple as that. You'd need it angled down and with a tighter FOV, or you'd need to see it on a wrap around projector recorded with an 8K sensor or something to retain the detail of the road ahead that you can see.

Also on a cloudy day to help with contrast and bring it on par with the eye.

It will still seem shocking to those of us used to driving road cars at slow speeds, but when you're a racing driver and all of this is subsconscious, you're not struggling to see. If you were, it would have been banned. They don't need to see the surface a few meters in front of them. As part of training you have to break out of that habit and learn to look further ahead. Some instructors will put a taped line on the windshield so you can make sure you're focussing far ahead.

The speed an F1 car goes, I don't think you'd even need that tape. I can imagine no other way to drive one quickly that to be looking well ahead, where the view is not occluded.

Edited by RoutariEnjinu, 17 February 2014 - 10:32.


#30 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:39

It will still seem shocking to those of us used to driving road cars at slow speeds, but when you're a racing driver and all of this is subsconscious, you're not struggling to see. If you were, it would have been banned. They don't need to see the surface a few meters in front of them. As part of training you have to break out of that habit and learn to look further ahead. Some instructors will put a taped line on the windshield so you can make sure you're focussing far ahead.

The speed an F1 car goes, I don't think you'd even need that tape. I can imagine no other way to drive one quickly that to be looking well ahead, where the view is not occluded.

 

I remember a TV program years back where they put a camera on a driver's helmet and another pointing at his eyes and used it to project a spot to show where he was looking on the view from the forward facing camera. It showed that at speed you focus as far ahead on the track as you can.

 

I think it's hard to imagine with these wide angle cameras because the distance is reduced to a tiny area and makes it seem much harder to see.


Edited by PayasYouRace, 17 February 2014 - 10:50.


#31 GlenP

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:45

s1_1.jpg

 

s1_1.jpg

 

I know these guys are used to not being able to see much, but drawing an imaginary line from the eyes of each of these drivers to the road surface would seem to indicate that the McLaren driver would get a bit more information than the Ferrari one. Again, it's not a game changer but I still think it's helpful.

Why would any driver of any car want to see the road in front of the car? Even in a road car you watch the vanishing point of the road, not the surface in front of your car.



#32 Nemo1965

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:11

The interesting thing is: it could well be that the onrushing surroundings of what a F1 driver sees, is partly stroboscopic, meaning: that he onlys sees it part of the time, not all of the time.

 

Huh?

 

I will explain: imagine a tennisplayer watching a tennisball coming his way, say a serve at 120 mph per hour. Not uncommon at the pro-tour. It's amazing that someone can see fast enough to return such a ball right?

 

The thing is: nobody can actually 'see' a tennisball coming his way, going fast or slow. It has been shown in a lot of experiments that the human eye is not able to fix on a on-rushing moving object. He see flashes, like a stroboscope: the ball is there, not there. there, not there, there, not there, and then he has to hit it.

 

So if Federer hits a forehand, you could switch off the lights before contact: he has already 'guessed' where the ball is.

 

I think it's the same with F1 drivers. They don't see the apex, the guess the apex. And other things...


Edited by Nemo1965, 17 February 2014 - 12:11.


#33 RoutariEnjinu

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:38

I think it's the same with F1 drivers. They don't see the apex, the guess the apex. And other things...


A tennis player will look at visual cues as the ball is struck as to where to position the tennis bat for a return. This is why even when a ball is going for the net or was struck wrong, the opposing play will already have started to move into position from where he anticipated it should have gone.

An F1 driver would have been looking at the apex relative to his car way in advance, when he could see it clearly, and used his burned in and subconsciously learned memory to simulate in his head where that apex is as when they're nearing it, they're already visually looking for corner exit and the following straight.

If you've not had the thousands of hours of motor memory built in to you, it will seem like superhuman blur, because you're trying to think through the process consciously and going in blind. Sportsmen and women don't think consciously, nor are they going in not knowing what to expect or how things will react. A fast tennis serve seems unfathomable to me, the view from an F1 cockpit seems unfathomable to someone who doesn't race but drives road cars.

It's also why certain people miss penalty kicks. What was an automatic and trained subconscious response, that they only consciously think about in an abstract way—due to the pressure of the moment—then becomes a conscious effort, where they try and think through every muscle movement and positioning, and end up putting it over the bar.

In other words, these superhuman feats some sportsmen and women do, are superhuman even to themselves when they really think about it.

It's the same way when I first started learning to drive, I'd concentrate that much on the clutch and gears that I'd almost black out to what was in front of me. Now it's an automatic and subconscious action, I only need to think consciously about accelerating in an abstract way.

Sports is all about programming your inner zombie. Some studies have suggested that 10,000 hours of practice (programming) of something is what's required to turn pro. Obviously, consciously making sure you practice in the right manner comes into it, but in the heat of the moment, you're not thinking through the process of your sport consciously, it's already too late for that. That's what your training should have been for.

It's also why these drivers don't seem to be so phased by adjusting settings on the wheel. They're driving subconsciously while they think about Yellow G 12.

As long as they can see the track far enough ahead (more important than up close), they can drive perfectly well. And they do have an excellent view of the road ahead. The story of Alonso and his accidental seating position might even have forced him to develop his simulation of car placement better than others.