FEBRUARY 3, 1997

Technical analysis: Jordan-Peugeot 197

THE Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot team unveiled its Jordan-Peugeot 197 at London's Hilton Hotel on January 30.

THE Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot team unveiled its Jordan-Peugeot 197 at London's Hilton Hotel on January 30. The car will be raced this year by Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella. Both are relatively new to F1 racing but the team has high hopes that winter testing will help them build up the necessary experience.

The 197 is Gary Anderson's seventh Jordan design and the Ulsterman reckons this will be very different to the sometimes difficult 196. Much has changed since then with a major expansion in the team's engineering staff. At the start of last year Jordan had just nine engineers working on design and engineering, now there are 20. There has been particular expansion in the aerodynamic department, which was previously a single engineer Darren Davies. Davies did a lot of the work on the 197 but was helped by the arrival of four new aerodynamicists. He has since moved to the Arciero Wells Indycar team and the department is now headed by Irishman Seamus Malarky.

The team was also considerably restructured during 1996, with the arrival of general manager Trevor Foster; factory manager Adrian Rowlands and drawing office manager Paul Crooks. This had the effect of taking the pressure of an overworked Anderson, which enabled him to take a long holiday in the summer and then spend much more time on the new car when he returned.

The team's Silverstone factory has also been extended in the last 12 months, allowing many of the departments to increase in size and for the installation of important new machinery such as a four-post test rig - which will be particularly useful for simulation work now that testing has been so restricted by the FIA - and a five-axis cutting machine.

The team has also upgraded its computer equipment which means that it is now working with computational fluid dynamics and calculation work - such as finite stress analysis - has been speeded up considerably.

In November Jordan acquired the ex-March 40% rolling road windtunnel in Brackley. This was too late for the facility to be used for the design of the 197 but it will be up-and-running by June 1997 after it has been refurbished.

The extra budget last year from Benson & Hedges meant that Anderson and his aerodynamicists were able to spend twice as much time in the 30% rolling road windtunnel at Southampton University as they had in previous years and the team is confident that the 197 will be significantly better than the 196. The car looks quite different but this is largely due to the decision to use a totally new aerodynamic package, including shorter sidepods, a modified engine cover and detailed changes to the bodywork inside the rear wheels. There have also been changes to the engine air intake because of a loss of horsepower last year because the driver's helmet was disrupting the flow of air into the engine. The team hope this will give an extra 10 horsepower.

Despite the aerodynamic changes the car is primarily an evolution of the 196 although there have been quite a lot of mechanical changes as well.

Peugeot Sport has produced a new A14 engine which has been testing in a modified Jordan chassis since September last year. This maintains the 72-degree V10 architecture of the previous Peugeot engines but incorporates a number of changes from lessons learned in 1995 and 1996. The unit is lower and lighter than last year's powerful A12.

The rear suspension has been changed and a new seven-speed longitudinal gearbox designed by Mark Smith to allow the aerodynamic changes. Anderson has used composite top wishbones front and rear but has retained lower front wishbones made of steel, although these have been stiffened with carbon composite materials.

Jordan has expanded its composite department and now 30-40% of the team's composite work is done in-house under TomÊAnderson (no relation to Gary). The team does not yet do its own monocoques, which continue to be made to Jordan design by the Advanced Composite Group at its technical center in Heanor, Derbyshire. Advanced Composites has enormous experience in building F1 monocoques, dating back to 1981 when it built its first F1 chassis for Alfa Romeo. It has since built over 100 F1 cars for teams such as Brabham, Ligier, Toleman, March, Arrows and Onyx and currently employs 65 people.

Despite a disappointing season in 1995 Eddie Jordan and his crew are confident that the Jordan-Peugeot 197 will be a breakthrough machine for the team. This is needed because there are clear signs that Peugeot Sport bosses are considering switching to Alain Prost's planned F1 team in 1998 if Jordan do not start producing better results after two seasons together without success.