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Understanding the Lotus 77/78/79/80


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#101 PayasYouRace

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 17:23

I took Artti's question to mean "all engineering is still engineering and of a similar mindset if not workflow."

To parallel, in my field(s) of art, whether using a camera, a brush, a computer, a technical pen, or a keyboard, to me it's all the same -- regardless of specific discipline.

I also know if I'd limited my thinking to just one discipline, that's all I'd have ever been able to do.

 

When you're dealing with as high a level as F1, you're unlikely to move outside of your specialisation much as the knowledge level is particularly high.

 

Even when you specialize in an engineering discipline, you will have had a common general engineering introduction.

So every qualified engineer has knowledge of the basics. Specialization comes later.

 

True, but you'll specialise as you enter work and from then on it becomes a major effort to change. Not impossible, but you'd have to stand out particularly well to show you have a grasp of the other field. For example in my work our technicians are either mechanical or avionics traded, and it's rare for any to make a swap, but there's usual enough variety of work to keep either interested.

 

My experience learned from post graduate students and those who teach at universities suggests that young engineers have not changed much. The core of engineering education is constant and it is possible to move between the major classifications -- with effort. We know much more and hence there are more specialisms, but anyone with a quick mind can become a generalist engineer. Chief designers are all great generalists with a useful specialism.

 

The problem with specialisation is typecasting. Bob the Gearbox is probably proud of his nickname but may be frustrated that s/he is expected to work in a limited field.

---

In the 1970s it was possible for a designer to take a long winter (northern hemisphere) holiday and read all of the relevant research papers about the next idea. I think that is a significant change.

 

 

The Adrian Newey book explains how his design teams have to juggle the requirements of suspension geometry in order to accommodate an aerodynamic element. The final design is a compromise and I would expect the aero team to express their opinions as openly as the suspension team.

 

As for "aerodynamics before I was born", Voision's Laboratoire raced in 1923 so unless there are many 97+ year olds contributing to TNF it is reasonable to say that the field has been recognised for all of our lifetimes.

 

Working with the specialists in other fields is standard in any complex engineering work. You'd have to have an appreciation for those fields you interact with of course.

 

I don't necessarily disagree with the last statement, but my objection was to Michael's specific claim that aero wasn't real engineering, which is nonsense.



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#102 E1pix

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 17:40

It seems you're presuming others haven't worked in "as high a level as F1," and wouldn't be capable of being equally successful in many fields.

Both are a bit of limited thinking, by definition. With diligence, we're all capable of nearly anything.

#103 Charlieman

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 18:17

When you're dealing with as high a level as F1, you're unlikely to move outside of your specialisation much as the knowledge level is particularly high.

How long before F1 runs out of designers because everyone is a specialist? :)



#104 PayasYouRace

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 18:49

It seems you're presuming others haven't worked in "as high a level as F1," and wouldn't be capable of being equally successful in many fields.

Both are a bit of limited thinking, by definition. With diligence, we're all capable of nearly anything.

 

I'm not doing anything of the sort.

 

 

How long before F1 runs out of designers because everyone is a specialist? :)

 

Never. Specialists work with each other.

 

 

But to be honest, I think you're both talking at cross purposes with me so I'll leave it.



#105 E1pix

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 19:31

Perhaps your RC approach wasn't the best way to create a productive dialog in TNF.

 

Maybe because you’re attacking my professional specialisation from a position of ignorance. Might have something to do with it.



#106 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 08:28

Relax, all. This has nothing to do with "RC approach" or anything of that ilk. From my perspective, it all started with my puzzlement about how anyone posting here could be so ignorant of engineering history (after all, this is a history forum) as to not know about the seminal Peugeot engines, and my (over) reaction to his posting about side pods and wings which, in the context of the Peugeot, are so far away in the future as to be virtually irrelevant. I didn't know that PYR works in the field of aerodynamics, so his reaction to my oversimplification was more than justified. I don't think I need to apologize for anything I said, but sometimes we need to stop digging in our heels. Let's just shake hands, and move on.

 

:)



#107 DogEarred

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 12:30

When you're dealing with as high a level as F1, you're unlikely to move outside of your specialisation much as the knowledge level is particularly high.

 

 

True, but you'll specialise as you enter work and from then on it becomes a major effort to change. Not impossible, but you'd have to stand out particularly well to show you have a grasp of the other field. For example in my work our technicians are either mechanical or avionics traded, and it's rare for any to make a swap, but there's usual enough variety of work to keep either interested.

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst not decrying anybody's wish to stick with their preferred specialisation, others, such as myself, prefer to get more variation (admittedly at the possible expense of a 'vertical' career.)

 

e.g. - in the F1 part of my career, I have worked in aerodynamics, suspension, chassis, bodywork, engine installation, R&D, pit gear & even a bit of gearbox work.

 

I draw the line at electrical & electronics though - that's the work of the devil...  :mad:



#108 PayasYouRace

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 12:51

Relax, all. This has nothing to do with "RC approach" or anything of that ilk. From my perspective, it all started with my puzzlement about how anyone posting here could be so ignorant of engineering history (after all, this is a history forum) as to not know about the seminal Peugeot engines, and my (over) reaction to his posting about side pods and wings which, in the context of the Peugeot, are so far away in the future as to be virtually irrelevant. I didn't know that PYR works in the field of aerodynamics, so his reaction to my oversimplification was more than justified. I don't think I need to apologize for anything I said, but sometimes we need to stop digging in our heels. Let's just shake hands, and move on.

:)


I’ll take that.

#109 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 14:24

Me, too.

#110 Bikr7549

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 15:32

Whilst not decrying anybody's wish to stick with their preferred specialisation, others, such as myself, prefer to get more variation (admittedly at the possible expense of a 'vertical' career.)

 

e.g. - in the F1 part of my career, I have worked in aerodynamics, suspension, chassis, bodywork, engine installation, R&D, pit gear & even a bit of gearbox work.

 

I draw the line at electrical & electronics though - that's the work of the devil...  :mad:

 

A long time back at work the experiments we were running were all manually controlled, data taken by computers but the operations were manual. A decision was made at higher levels to automate the process so a software engineer was brought in to do this, with the result of constant 'computer glitches' that made running tests very difficult. This went on for a while with the unexpected result that the formerly arch rival mechanical engineers and electrical engineers became allies against the new common threat. Eventually a new software engineer was brought in and in an amazing turn of events all the glitches were not only fixed almost immediately but whenever a new problem with the equipment came up he would often say "I can fix that in software', and he did! The evil software often saved us much time and money, it was great. I even had a button made up for our group with that saying on it. Goes to show that the wrong person is worse than no one, and that the right person is worth their weight in gold, or some such materiel. There is a new common enemy now, the systems engineer-less said the better...

 

PS-I was initially so unimpressed by our original software person that I decided to take a look at programming myself, and learned to program micro controllers, at a low 'hobbyish' level. Despite my initial prejudices I learned that this was in fact real engineering, and that if done in a way that was straight forward and logical (that was what was missing with the first programmer) was pretty cool and even fun. 


Edited by Bikr7549, 15 January 2020 - 15:41.


#111 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 16:15

Glad we at least all agree that tech is the root of all evil. ;-)

#112 Glengavel

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 17:07

A long time back at work the experiments we were running were all manually controlled, data taken by computers but the operations were manual. A decision was made at higher levels to automate the process so a software engineer was brought in to do this, with the result of constant 'computer glitches' that made running tests very difficult. This went on for a while with the unexpected result that the formerly arch rival mechanical engineers and electrical engineers became allies against the new common threat. Eventually a new software engineer was brought in and in an amazing turn of events all the glitches were not only fixed almost immediately but whenever a new problem with the equipment came up he would often say "I can fix that in software', and he did! The evil software often saved us much time and money, it was great. I even had a button made up for our group with that saying on it. Goes to show that the wrong person is worse than no one, and that the right person is worth their weight in gold, or some such materiel. There is a new common enemy now, the systems engineer-less said the better...

 

Oi !!!  :mad:



#113 DogEarred

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 17:16

Glad we at least all agree that tech is the root of all evil. ;-)

 

Actually - it's HR.....



#114 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 17:29

Beg to differ... it's CR. ;-)

(Woof)

#115 DogEarred

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 18:12

You beg to differ.

I beg for food...

#116 JacnGille

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 18:37

Glad we at least all agree that tech is the root of all evil. ;-)

Says the man who drives a decades old VW.   :cool:



#117 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 18:48

See? :-)

#118 chr1s

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 21:27

Even when you specialize in an engineering discipline, you will have had a common general engineering introduction.

So every qualified engineer has knowledge of the basics. Specialization comes later.

Chapman himself was actually a qualified a civil engineer, not mechanical.....



#119 arttidesco

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 21:39

I guess my question about engineers came about thinking about Peter Connew, gave up his job designing record players to go on holiday to Italy saw the GP at Monza came home and landed a job doing design work for Surtees F1 projects was only in the job for a couple of months before he decided he could do it all better himself. Granted his car only started one Grand Prix but was wondering how many engineers are there designing the third tier of a front wing who would be capable of designing a whole car ? But I digress here is a photo of Mario in the 80 at the Race of Champions soon after it's launch Mario only drove it in qualifying but elected to drive the 79 he put on pole in the race, finished 3rd.

 

03-79-04-15-Copyright-Sven-Platt-1979-Lo



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#120 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 22:39

Exactly, Artti.

We seem to have forgotten that the very people we all admire from racing's past came from unity of self-thought, experimentation, and relentless drive -- not from tired concepts blathered down by singular voices in Uni. In the Art world at least, and sorry to say it, but most of the teachers could never cut it in the real world and that's a pretty limiting way to create original thinking.

Hence the tiny odds of current reproduction of the Chapmans, and the Gurneys, and others like them.

#121 Regazzoni

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 22:44

I am not exactly designing third tiers of any front wing, ...er..., but I am still capable to do the whole lot. I would be able to give it a stab at an aspirated engine too: architecture, thermodynamics, main dimensions, etc.

 

The issue is that by not being an insider, beside x-years of close experience missing obviously, I wouldn't know for example the latest alloy available to make the crankshaft, say, or perhaps (although I think I could find out) the fibres used in the chassis and suspension arms, and so on. I suppose I wouldn't be able to solve on paper the aerodynamic interference (nobody can, on paper, without past experience and a database/archive of test results), but still can make a reasonable layout with full 3D mechanical and aero balance on a spreadsheet or math sheet. Then, we go testing... I wouldn't expect to qualify, obviously, but it would run. In the Seventies it would have been much easier to do than now, provided backing etc was available, because the technology wasn't as sophisticated. I digress too... :)



#122 E1pix

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 22:54

And Thanks for "digressing," Regga, it's really not and consistent with discussing Chapman in my view.

The "third tier" brings analogies. One is how ridiculous F1 has gotten -- and so very unsustenable. I'd venture to say that without population growth and generational interest in tech, it'd been gone well before now.

#123 Sterzo

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 22:57

As for "aerodynamics before I was born", Voision's Laboratoire raced in 1923 so unless there are many 97+ year olds contributing to TNF it is reasonable to say that the field has been recognised for all of our lifetimes.

To reinforce the point, didn't Fiat's aeronautical designers help to shape the 1922 Grand Prix cars, with particular emphasis on the undershield?



#124 Charlieman

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:30

The issue is that by not being an insider, beside x-years of close experience missing obviously, I wouldn't know for example the latest alloy available to make the crankshaft, say, or perhaps (although I think I could find out) the fibres used in the chassis and suspension arms, and so on. 

John Barnard created a 'spec book' for his teams, listing preferred materials, bearings, unions, fasteners etc. Many others have copied this practice.



#125 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:38

In Design and Behaviour of the Racing Car (1963), Pomeroy described how racing car manufacturers had come to rely increasingly on outside suppliers: “so whereas the classic racing cars of the past, Alfa Romeo, Auto Union, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz, have been the products of concentrated and concerted effort within one factory the cars of today evolve through coordinated work with outside suppliers”. 
 

He continued: “we may also conclude that the day of the authoritarian designer has gone. Although Bugatti, Columbo, Jane, Lampredi, Pomeroy senior and Porsche did not calculate and draw every part of the racing cars with which they were concerned, at least some of them could have done so, and all of them subjected the work of their juniors to the closest scrutiny and a veritable barrage of suggestions. Today we live in a world of specialists, and although Cooper and Lotus, for example, choose Girling disc brakes, and BRM and Ferrari Dunlop’s, neither have the resources to design and develop their own systems, nor would they contemplate recruiting them when all that is needed is to sign a contract and duly receive cut metal in wooden boxes”.   He didn’t need to say that the above applied to engines and gearboxes for most manufacturers. 
 

Full circle or plus ça change?



#126 Glengavel

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:13

Actually - it's HR.....

 

Different disciplines have different enemies. Software engineers have never known the pain of getting a storesman to yield up a packet of screws. Hardware engineers have never known the pain of getting IT to fix a faulty computer monitor.



#127 blackmme

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 14:14

I guess my question about engineers came about thinking about Peter Connew, gave up his job designing record players to go on holiday to Italy saw the GP at Monza came home and landed a job doing design work for Surtees F1 projects was only in the job for a couple of months before he decided he could do it all better himself. Granted his car only started one Grand Prix but was wondering how many engineers are there designing the third tier of a front wing who would be capable of designing a whole car ? But I digress here is a photo of Mario in the 80 at the Race of Champions soon after it's launch Mario only drove it in qualifying but elected to drive the 79 he put on pole in the race, finished 3rd.

 

03-79-04-15-Copyright-Sven-Platt-1979-Lo

Really interesting photo thank you for sharing. 

Clearly from the 80's very first run in anger(ish) it was not running in its anticipated design configuration as the front wings attest.

I thought at the time as a 9 year old that it looked absolutely terrific with the original low line rear wing and no nose wings.

 

Regards Mike



#128 kayemod

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 15:22

Chapman himself was actually a qualified a civil engineer, not mechanical.....

That's true, but it was a borderline pass, obtained after a second attempt, he failed the first time. He also had a certificate of some kind that told of his competence in something like "sanitation hygiene", presumable a connection of some kind with his degree. He was never impressed by paper qualifications, I think he regarded them as slightly suspect, an attitude that seemed to run through Lotus generally. When they took me on, everything was taken on trust, I never had to produce any documentary evidence. On specialisation, Colin Chapman, and the Company's thinking seemed to be that any competent engineer should be able to turn his hand to most aspects, learning what was needed on the job. That worked OK back in the 70s both in the road cars and motor racing fields, though with IT etc, that kind of thinking wouldn't work so well today, but Chapman was a man of his time. He was an intuitive engineer the like of which I've never encountered either before or since, he could look at a drawing or component and almost instantly size it up, understanding most of the pluses and minuses, and he was rarely wrong. Faults? Yes of course, but those were mostly on a personal level, I don't think you'd ever have heard real criticism expressed by contemporaries who knew what they were talking about.



#129 E1pix

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 15:51

I'd like to think some younger readers may get a sense here that you don't have to decide your entire future at 18.

It's a big world out there. While recent trends point towards defined limits, that path to job security may well include a lifetime of career misery.

Enjoy whatever you do. Life here is a one-time deal.

#130 Regazzoni

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 19:25

I guess my question about engineers came about thinking about Peter Connew, gave up his job designing record players to go on holiday to Italy saw the GP at Monza came home and landed a job doing design work for Surtees F1 projects was only in the job for a couple of months before he decided he could do it all better himself. Granted his car only started one Grand Prix but was wondering how many engineers are there designing the third tier of a front wing who would be capable of designing a whole car ? But I digress here is a photo of Mario in the 80 at the Race of Champions soon after it's launch Mario only drove it in qualifying but elected to drive the 79 he put on pole in the race, finished 3rd.

 

On reading this, Derek Gardner came immediately to mind. For what I know about him, he was working as transmission engineer with Ferguson and the 001 was the first car he designed. He must have had a keen interest to the point to have thought long and hard about the technical issues of designing a race car and attempting it from scratch. Presumably, it was sharing this interest with Tyrrell while working on the Matra that led Ken to entrust him with the design of the 001.

 

I think Duckworth designing on his own the DFV and Forghieri (promoted to top dog at, what, 28?) also come into this category. You have to have a very good basis of engineering, a genuine interest and an inquisitive mind to think in depth about the design problem and tackle it with confidence. Sounds familiar (in my humble little garden).
 



#131 10kDA

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 23:28

I made a lot of money for a lot of people through solving engineering problems and for the most part, it was career misery. But I have an intuitive approach, which, as stated here, sometimes gets results when a formalized approach does not. The Manager of Engineering at one of my miserable places of employment was a MFA - no engineering degree, yet he was very effective in a high-stress, highly challenging situation. I have a learning disability which (so far) has kept me from getting an engineering degree, but it has not kept me from learning enough aero engineering that I've been able to make that my profession. The career misery stuff fizzled away to nothingness in the process. I encourage anyone reading these posts to keep their eyes and ears open, as we often need to make changes for personal reasons. Sometimes we may be viewed as "failures" when we leave one discipline for another, by the ones who stay in the misery.