The joys of acoustic analysis

Mark Webber, Malaysian GP 2006

Mark Webber, Malaysian GP 2006 

 © The Cahier Archive

The sound of a Formula 1 may get the fans tingling but in recent years it has been getting engineers excited as well, although for rather different reasons. By recording the sounds of the engines and having access to certain measurements provided by the live timing systems, engineers can relate the speed at a given point on the circuit to the revolutions per minute of the engine. They can then calculate the gear ratios from the changes in noise level when gears are changed. After that they can calculate the speed of the car at every point on the circuit. Simulation software can then be used to compare the different competing cars and this has become an important way for teams to see where their car is slower than the opposition.

Our spies tell us that in qualifying in Malaysia the data showed that there is not much wrong with the Mercedes-Benz engines which were using 19,700rpm. Cosworth is believed to be the only car that has numbers higher than that with qualifying spec understood to be over 20,000.

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