Features - Technical
JANUARY 1, 1997
BY JOE SAWARD
The Tyrrell Racing Organisation - which is beginning its 30th season in Formula 1 racing - unveiled its 1997 challenger at the Capital Radio Cafe in London's West End on January 20. The Tyrrell-Ford 025 will be raced this year by Mika Salo and Jos Verstappen with young Japanese rising star Toranosuke Takagi acting as test driver.
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 lanuch was an upbeat affair with plenty of good humoured 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 Tim Densham (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 refuelling 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.
MIKE GASCOYNE - DESIGNER
"Racing cars are very simple. If you press down harder on the tyres, put stickier tyres on the car, give it more horsepower and put in a driver who gets to full throttle earlier, then the car goes a lot quicker.
"We think we have drivers who can press down on the throttle; we are producing more downforce, we think we have the right tyres and even if the engine is not a Renault, I think we might surprise a few people.
"The car is an evolution of the design concept. I believe that is the way to go. Anyone who says they are designing a car which is totally new is on the wrong track. A lot of the 025's parts are new because they have to be. If you put a different engine in a car you have to have new radiators, new pipes and so on but the concept has been carried through even if 2200 of the 2500 parts have been changed. I believe you design quick and reliable racing cars by sorting out problems but keeping to the same philosophy.
"We think that last year we had a good car and we have improved the parameters on it. There is nothing radically different. We have spent about the same amount of time in Southampton 40% windtunnel but that is only because we cannot get any more time. If we could we would use it. The aerodynamics are certainly an improvement but the visual differences are probably greater than the aerodynamic ones.
"We need more money but that is not the answer. We need more windtunnel time; we need a test team; we need lots of things but they are coming. Tyrrell has made a huge number of improvements in the last few years even if they have been masked by other things. It's frustrating that things have not come right. It could have happened last year.
"If it doesn't happen this year it will be incredibly frustrating but when it does happen it is going to surprise a few people."
WHO IS MIKE GASCOYNE?
The Deputy Technical Director of Tyrrell is 33-year-old Mike Gascoyne. Brought up in Norwich - not far from the old Team Lotus base - Gascoyne won a place at Cambridge University in 1982, to study fluid dynamics at Churchill College. He completed a Masters degree and studied for his doctorate but was too busy to finish his thesis and so remains Mr Gascoyne, rather than Dr Gascoyne.
He worked briefly for the Westland helicopter company but his ambition was to get into motor racing and at the start of 1989 he joined McLaren as an aerodynamicist. After two years working in the windtunnel at the National Physical Laboratory he moved to Tyrrell, to begin an association with Harvey Postlethwaite. Initially he worked as a chassis dynamicist, working with computer simulations and aerodynamic mapping.
A few months after Gascoyne joined Tyrrell Postlethwaite moved to Sauber and in September 1991 Gascoyne followed him to Switzerland - just in time to see Harvey move to Ferrari. Gascoyne stayed with Sauber for the next two years working in the 40% rolling-road windtunnel at the Schweizerische Flugzeugwerke facility in Emmen. In October 1993, with Postlethwaite having moved back to Tyrrell, Gascoyne returned to England to work as Harvey's deputy.
Gascoyne is a racer himself, competing from time to time in pre-1983 Formula Ford 2000 racing. His other hobby is probably even more dangerous - he climbs mountains and has taken part in two Himalayan Expeditions, one of which succeeded in climbing the 21,500ft Sudashanparbat peak.
Tyrrell's new test driver is 22-year-old Japanese driver Toranosuke Takagi. He currently races in the Japanese Formula Nippon series and finished fourth in last year's championship with four pole positions and two wins.
Takagi began racing go-karts at the age of 12, becoming a dominant force on the Japanese scene in 1990. He switched to car racing, competing in Formula Toyota in 1992 and moving into Formula 3 the following year. In his second F3 season in 1994 he finished fifth in the series and then joined Nakajima Planning's Formula 3000 team for the final three races of the season. In 1995 he won three races and finished runner-up in the Championship. There were talks at the end of the year with Ken Tyrrell about a possible test in an F1 car but last year Takagi was back in Japan, racing against Ralf Schumacher and Norberto Fontana.
NAKAJIMA'S NEW ROLE
Satoru Nakajima was Japan's first fulltime Grand Prix driver when he joined Ayrton Senna at Team Lotus in 1987. The former multiple Japanese F2 Champion spent three years with Team Lotus and then moved to Tyrrell in 1990 and 1991 before announcing his retirement after a total of 74 races.
A household name in Japan, he has since developed successful racing teams under the "Nakajima Planning" banner in Japanese Touring Car racing, Formula 3 and Formula Nippon (formerly known as Formula 3000) and has helped promote the careers of a number of young drivers, notably Takagi and Shinji Nakano (who joins Ligier his year).
Nakajima's efforts have long been supported by PIAA, the Japanese automotive product company which has used success in motor racing to build a successful range of exclusive merchandise, including clothing, watches, bags and perfumes. It was the decision by PIAA to support become the major sponsor of Tyrrell that led to Satoru's appointment as Tyrrell's sporting director.<\#026>