FEBRUARY 3, 1997
Technical analysis: Tyrrell-Ford 025
The 025 is the latest design from Harvey Postlethwaite's team of engineers at Ockham, Surrey and the team hopes that the new machine will help the team forget its disastrous 1996 season with Yamaha.
The entire launch was an upbeat affair with plenty of good humored banter. Postlethwaite pointed out that while the new Stewart team claims to have the first ever F1 car designed completely by computer, Tyrrell engineers gave up using drawing boards as long ago as 1989.
Harvey's design team was led once again by deputy technical director Mike Gascoyne, assisted by senior designers TimÊDensham (chassis), Gary Thomas (gearbox) and Nigel Leaper (composites). The team will shortly be joined by McLaren suspension engineer Chris Cooney, although he has not been involved in the design of the 025.
Former race engineer Simon Barker has been responsible for production of the car, an area which Postlethwaite stressed as being increasingly important in F1 today. The more efficient the production the more development can be done before a car has to be built.
There has been no shortage of development in the last few months with the 025 being visibly different to last year's 024, despite the fact that the basic structure and design philosophy of the car is closely related to last year's model. The switch from Yamaha V10 engines to Ford Cosworth EV4 V8 engines have meant that there have been many changes in the detailed design.
The change of engine followed a falling out with Yamaha over the numerous engine failures which blighted Tyrrell's 1996 season. Although a customer V8 engine may not seem to be a very competitive option, both Tyrrell and Cosworth engineers seem to have an infectious enthusiasm that the engine will surprise in the year ahead.
"Six months ago we started up a new and totally separate area in the company to specialize in the ED4 engine," says Cosworth Racing's managing director Brian Dickie. "We put together a team including some extremely youthful, bright and innovative people. They have a good track record as they were responsible for the successful engines in the Opel Calibras in last year's ITC.
"So far the ED4 is eight percent better in maximum horsepower than the engines raced last year by Minardi. We hope to add another 5-6% with the EV5 so we are going to produce an engine which will be 15% better than last year."
The EV5 will feature new cylinder heads with barrel throttles, a revised bottom end and a new fuel system. It is expected to rev as high as 15,000rpm. It should be raced for the first time at the San Marino GP at the end of April.
In theory V8 engines can be lighter and more compact than V10s with lower frictional losses, less need for cooling and a more efficient fuel consumption.
Since refueling was reintroduced into F1 V10s have had the advantage because fuel consumption has become less of an issue.
In fact the Ford Cosworth V8 EV4 engine - a design which dates back to 1989 - is considerably heavier (27kgs) than the Yamaha V10 it replaces. It is also bulkier, being 20mm longer, 120mm wider and 220mm higher. This is mated to a Tyrrell-designed, longitudinal, semi-automatic, six-speed gearbox.
The team intends to use its Hydrolink suspension system - which it is developing with Dutch technology partner Koni - later in the year. This will be a much-modified version of the system that was used without much success in 1985.
The biggest visible changes come in the car when compared to the 024 come from a completely new aerodynamic treatment - most noticeable in the single central support joining the front wing with the raised nose. This was evolved by Gascoyne and his aerodynamic team in the 40% rolling road Mitchell Windtunnel facility at Southampton University.
"Last year we had reason to believe that the 024 was quite a good chassis," said Postlethwaite. "We have, therefore, carried over much of that car into this car. On the way it has received a new engine and a completely new aerodynamic treatment. With the Ford engine, this chassis and these two drivers I think we should have some jolly good racing in 1997."
Although the team was highly optimistic for the season ahead, the car showed a distinct lack of sponsorship. Mild Seven, Korean Air, Hoxsin Futures, Fondmetal, Motorola and Elf have all disappeared and only PIAA has arrived. There is considerable white space on the car which has not been filled. The team hopes that with some good results these gaps will be filled.