The first question that we have today is from Richard. He says hi, Scott. My track car is paddle shift. I made myself learn to left foot brake. During a recent spin in a friend’s GT4 race car, I was told that those guys actually right-foot brake. Is there a right answer of which foot to actually use?
Hi, I’m Scott Mansell and welcome to the driver61.com channel where we help drivers be faster, safer, and more consistent on track. I guess the first question here is actually trying to understand Richard why you span.
You say that you spun but I don’t know if it’s on the entry or the exit of the corner. Now, I would guess that it’s on the entry to the corner if you’re saying that it is something to do with the brakes and following on from now, I would also guess that it was probably because of a slight lack of feel in the left foot. That’s usually the problem that most drivers have when they’re beginning to learn or the left foot isn’t the main foot that they use for driving.
The first things to understand is why we left foot brake. Now, in most cases and for most drivers, the main benefit is the speed in which you can begin to brake once you’ve lifted off the accelerator. Obviously, if your left foot braking, you can get directly on the brake pedal. Whereas, if your right foot braking, you’ve got a transition from the accelerator all the way across to the brake pedal, pretty simple stuff. The next point is that most people have better feel in their right foot rather than their left foot.
If you’ve only just started learning to left-foot brake, it’s likely that your feel in the left foot won’t be as good as it is in the right foot. Well, if this is the case, you’re much better off right foot braking. That slight difference in time to get across from the accelerator onto the brake isn’t big of enough difference to make up for the lack of feel in your left foot. However, if you do have excellent feel in your left foot, then it is a slight advantage to use your left foot on the brakes because you do save that time.
But you need to be able to brake properly when you’re in a straight line. Threshold braking, making sure that we’re using all the grip of the car as we were braking in a straight line. Then you need to have the feel and the precision in your left foot to be able to control the mass and the weight of the car as you’re entering the corner and trail braking into the corner. If you can’t do this properly with your left foot, then you’re much better off actually using your right foot to do the breaking because you’ll have much better control.
If you do want to continue to use your left foot and if what I’ve explained that isn’t quite the problem that you were having, then there’s a couple of tips to really just help you a little bit with your left foot. The first thing is to make sure that your left foot physically is just positioned well on the floor of the car or in the heel rest so that you’ve got an anchor point between your heel and the floor of the car which your foot can then pivot off. That’s quite an important, yet very simple part of the process. It gives you the stability and the control in your left foot.
If you’re moving your foot and across as you might do with your right foot as well, but if you’re moving it, physically lifting it up and then putting it back down on the brake pedal, then just that entire movement and that the motion that your foot goes through can cause some lack of control on the brake pedal. The second thing that I would say in terms of improving the feel in your left foot is if you have an automatic car or even if you’re in a manual car when you’re not changing down, you can practice in your Road car.
Now, because they’re servo assisted the pressure that you need on the brake pedal is much lighter in a road car and actually, you’ll need more sensitivity in your left foot. It’s a great place to practice and improve the sensitivity in your left foot. Just be careful the first few times that you do it because our left foot is normally trained to use the clutch pedal. We have this instinctive notion that we put through our left foot.
The first time that you use it for left-foot braking, a lot of the time drivers will get on the brakes way, way too hard and actually almost go through the windscreen. Just be careful of that. Maybe try it in a very controlled way or when you’re absolutely sure there is no cars behind you on the road. Then after that, once you get used to the actual motion, you can really begin to make your left foot much more precise and actually think about how you would use it then in comparison to the racetrack. We get on the brakes and a nice consistent pressure and then try to release that brake pressure in a really smooth way so that when the car comes to a stop or when you want to stop your deceleration, you can’t actually feel the front of the car pop up. If you do feel the front of the car pop up, then it’s likely that the way that you come out of the brake pedal when you’re releasing the pressure is all done too harshly. As we know with trail braking, we want to try and make that moment where we’re controlling and then releasing the brake pressure as smooth as possible.
If you haven’t seen them already, I’ve got a 25-part tutorial series that’s free on the Driver61 website. If you haven’t already, be sure to check them out.
If you’re interested in getting any coaching, I’ll also put a link to the coaching services that we offer on Driver61. If you did enjoy this, please, make sure that you like this video and, please, subscribe to the Drive61 channel. Thank you, and I’ll see you next time.
Secrets to Winning in the Wet (Explained) - YouTube
In this video, I’m going to explain how F1’s greatest drivers excel in tricky wet conditions. I’m Scott Mansell, a pro driver from driver61.com where I have racing drivers reach their potential on track. Racing in the wet is one of the biggest challenges a driver will face and one that as fans, we all love to watch. It’s the greatest leveler of machinery and the moment when great F1 drivers can outshine their cars showing off their incredible feel and car control. Think of Schumacher in Spain in ’96, Hamilton at Silverstone in 2008, Senna and Monaco in ’84 or Senna at any time it happened to rain.
Today, I’m going to explain why racing in the wet is such a challenge and the techniques great F1 drivers use to extract the most from their machinery in rainy conditions. First, I’d love to get your thoughts.
Who current or otherwise is the greatest F1 wet weather specialist driver ever? Leave your answers in the comments below.
The first thing to understand is that, in the wet, using the normal dry racing line is usually not the fastest way around a circuit. Over a Grand Prix weekend, and thanks to previous events at a circuit, a thin layer of rubber gradually builds up on the ideal and ordinarily used racing line. Each car that breaks turns and accelerates with soft sticky tires leaves a trace of rubber on the circuit. This is great in dry conditions as rubber on rubber means more grip hence why the circuit evolves over a race weekend with the times getting quicker and quicker as a circuit cleans up and rubber is in.
However, when the rain comes, the build-up of rubber on the circuit becomes extremely slippery and it can be faster for the drivers to actively try and stay off the normal racing line and therefore, the rubber. There is a reasonably big difference in the amount of grip given on and off the normal racing line. A good driver will try to stay off it. However, it’s not as simple as being on or off the rubber. Different parts of the circuit and different corners will give different amounts of grip. Even though drivers will have a fundamental idea of where the grip should be, they should move their car onto different pieces of track to actually test it as there are so many variables that can affect grip levels in the wet.
Senna and Schumacher used to do this very well and now we see the likes of Hamilton, Alonso and Verstappen testing different parts of the track for grip in a similar manner. When a driver does this, they’ll better understand the difference in grip levels on and off the rubber and be able to extrapolate the information around the rest of the circuit. A good driver on the brakes can make up lots of time in the wet, but with changing conditions and grip levels, it’s very difficult to get the perfect braking point at every corner on every lap. A driver will make up the most time on the breaks during the longer braking zones. Think a long straight into a hairpin. In these braking zones, the normal racing line is to brake as late as possible on the outside of the circuit. In the wet, it’s often better to do the majority of the braking three or more meters from the outside of the circuit.
The reason for this is so where on the grippy part of the circuit and can decelerate faster, knock in the speed out of the car in the most efficient way possible. When the braking phase is almost complete, drivers will usually move the car back to the outside of the circuit to open up the corner again making the angle of the racing line as wide as possible once more.
It’s an established technique learning karting as an eight-year-old. In the wet drive around the outside. Again, the benefit here is having higher levels of grip. The downside is that you have to turn for longer and travel a further distance around the outside of the corner. As with deceleration, getting a good exit out of each corner especially those with a long straight afterwards will have a huge benefit on the driver’s lap time. For that reason, great wet weather drivers will generally square off the exit of a corner. As with most wet weather driving technique, this is to stay off the rubber and straighten the exit even though it’s mathematically not the most efficient racing line.
Once the car is set in the corner and the driver can begin to see the exit, they will slow the car very slightly to make it turn a bit sharper, then cut back to position the car just inside the dry racing line. The car will now have a straight edge directory towards the corner exit and be on a piece of the track with higher grip hence propelling them down the following straight faster. The technique of squaring up the exit of the corner works best if the following straight is longer as the time benefit accumulates as you accelerate further.
Aquaplaning is one of the most horrible things you can experience as a driver. It’s one part of racing where a driver’s skill in trying to save the car, at least, doesn’t make that much difference. Aquaplaning happens when a car’s wet tires can’t shift the standing water on the surface of the track quickly enough and the car ends up riding on a film of water rather than the infinitely grippy attract surface. It’s why wet racing tires and Road car tires have tread, so the standing water can move into the grooves. F1’s big wide tires combined with the high speed as well as a low plank means that F1 cars are prone to aquaplaning. Even though Pirelli say that for wet moves 65 liters of water per second at maximum speed, the best solution for a driver is to never aquaplane. To do this, they must avoid at all costs the puddles rivers and other standing water on the circuit. This is why you’ll often see them following in each of those tire tracks when there’s a lot of rain.
With F1’s aerodynamics working the air around the cars as hard as possible, there are huge visibility issues in the wet. The water is literally sucked up by the diffuser and wings before a thick cloud of vapor is hung in the air as a challenge to the following drivers. This is an advantage if you’re out front but a massive headache if you’re anywhere from the mid-pack back.
As the following driver can’t see much out front, they’ll use their peripheral vision much more. This mainly helps in the big braking areas where drivers will use the braking reference such as a Marshall’s post or signage to help engage their latest braking spot.
Driving in the wet is hugely difficult but that’s why, as fans and drivers, we love it. It really highlights the great drivers in F1, where new drivers in an otherwise uncompetitive car can earn a surprise result.
HANS Device: Saving Lives in F1 (explained) - YouTube
Hi, I’m Scott Mansell and welcome to the Driver 61 Channel. Now, as you may know, I usually focus on driving technique in my videos. Today, I am going to look at one of the most important pieces of safety equipment in Formula One, the HANS device. Before I get into the video, I would really love to hear your opinion in the comments. Do you feel that Formula One should keep on striving to make itself safer and safer for the drivers? Or do you think that Formula One has been sanitized far too much and it’s lost some of its edge? As I said, I’d really like to hear your opinion about this in the comments below.
Here we have a HANS device. This is quite an old HANS device. It’s just one that I’ve got in my office here on display. As you can see, it’s made out of carbon fiber. It’s designed to protect the driver’s head and neck when they’re in a frontal impact when they’re in a frontal crash. In case of a frontal impact, the HANS device or Frontal Head Restraint keeps your head, neck and thorax moving constantly together so you don’t get that whiplash effect.
It does a similar job to the frontal airbag in your road car in case of an accident, where it reduces the potential for whiplash and prevents a basal skull fracture. Basically, it goes over the shoulders of the driver just like this. You will have seen all of the Formula One drivers wearing these when they’re racing. They’ve in fact been compulsory in Formula
One since back in 2003, and for good reason. It really reduces the risks of a neck injury if you do have a frontal crash.
I’ll just explain how it works. Basically, you have these tethers on the back of the HANS device here, and you can see that they slide. They connect with this metal part just here, onto the helmet. You can see they just clip onto the posts on the back of the helmet here, and then you can see that it’s connected to the HANS device. In the event of an accident, the driver’s head may come forward, and the two tethers at the back stop the head from coming forwards too much and having a basal skull fracture just down here.
As you can see, the tethers actually slide in the back of the HANS device here, which means that the driver can actually look across into the corners. When they first came out actually, they didn’t have this sliding action on the back and they were just pinned in one direction. It was actually quite difficult at points to look across into the corner because they didn’t slide at the rear.
The HANS device is part of a system. It obviously works with the HANS posts in the back of the helmet here. It’s also vitally important that it’s used with the big harnesses that you see in racing cars. If you don’t have those harnesses to keep the yoke of the HANS device in place, then the HANS device is actually useless. For example, you couldn’t use this with a normal road car seat belt because we need to have this yoke part, the part that comes over your collar bones here, in a strong position so we can keep it down when the head comes forward in case of the frontal impact.
If you enjoyed this video and you’re interested in more Formula One driving technique videos, please be sure to subscribe to the Driver 61 Channel. That’s all for this video. Thank you very much for watching. Let me know if you’d like me to explore more about the Formula One driver safety devices and about Formula One technology, as I’ll be interested to look into those topics for you. Thank you very much for watching and I’ll see you next time.
Hi, I’m Scott Mansell from driver61, and today I’m going to take this grinder to see what’s inside this Formula One Pirelli tyre. Today I’m at my father’s workshop and they’re racing run and prepare many period Formula one cars from the mid-’90s to around the mid-2000s. This workshop is like a treasure chest of Formula One parts. I’ve dug out this Pirelli Formula One tire, and we’re going to take the grinder to it to see what’s actually inside the carcass of an F1 tyre.
First of all, I’m going to take away some of the rubber on the surface of the tire here to see what’s under the surface and to see what is exposed when we see drivers lock up their wheels and actually go through to the canvas of the tyre.
The first thing is that it’s surprisingly strong and causes a whole load of smoke. If you can just see here, I’ve not really taken much rubber off the tire, and it’s created so much smoke, it’s actually a lot stronger than I expected.
I’m going to carry on and see if I can actually make it through the initial surface of the tire because I haven’t even broken through to any of the treads or the nylon or whatever the material underneath the rubber is that I expect to get to.
As you can now see, there’s a loop of steel that’s in the surface of the tire and that doesn’t seem to be much else. Next up, I’m going to cut directly through the cross section of the tire so we can see each layer of what’s inside the surface, over the shoulder and through the sidewall of the tire just here.
I’ve put a thinner disc in the grinder now and it’s a lot easier to cut. You can see that I’m almost half the way through. I’ll show you some close-ups of this. It’s very interesting, the construction and actually how thin the surface of the tire actually is when you look at it in this cross-section. I’m going to flip the tire over and go in from the other side to finally cut it in half.
What was surprising then was actually the differences in how difficult it was to cut through various sections of the tire. Obviously, here where the bead is on the inside of the tire was very difficult because it’s a steel ring that goes around the inside of the tire. Then as we came through this section, in particular, this shoulder section at the top of the sidewall, it was really, really thin and very easy to cut through. Obviously, there’d be quite a lot of flex in the tire at this point when you see it on track. Then as we come through to the surface here, again, it was quite difficult to cut through.
Almost perfect. I just need to take out one of these more burns, and then the tire will be able to open and we’ll be able to look inside. As you can see, I am absolutely covered in rubber, and there was loads of smoke. I’m really interested to see what’s inside this tire.
There we have it, we have a quarter of the Formula One Pirelli. Now we can see inside the structure, and actually, it’s quite thin. I’ll take the camera now and we’ll have a look.
Here we have the cross-section of the tire, you can see first of all the steel bead is just down here this circle cluster of wire here. That runs actually around the inside of the tire like this. It keeps the tire on the wheel and gives it support around that inner edge. Then as we come up the sidewall here, you can see that there’s some radio wire that runs around the sidewall but this is only too dip here and it goes to only one deep here. As we come up to the top of the shoulder of the tire, you can see that there’s actually no wire or no nylon in the tire or as we come through here.
Then on the surface of the tire, we can see that we’ve got the core running across here. Now, I think from the sparks at least, this is steel and there might be some nylon in there but I’m not exactly sure about that. Now again it gives the surface of the tyre some strength.
As you can see here, the actual tread or the sleek part of the tire is only five, four, fimillimetresers thick as we come through here and it’s got the metal running all the way down to the support. It gets a little bit thicker as we get to the end of this coat, that extra row of metal.
Then again, we come to the shoulder which doesn’t have any support. It’s just a rubber. As you can see, it’s really flexible to the top here it’s a lot stiffer when I try to compress it. Of course, the most stiff section is down here near the bid where the tire fits to the wheel.
The ridges that you can see on the inside of the tire here are for when it’s in contact with the side of the wheel on the inside. It’s got ridges down here as well because the breaking forces in an F1 car are so strong and so severe we need to try and give the tire as much grip on the wheel as possible. Otherwise, when the driver gets on the brakes, the wheel can actually slip inside the tire and that causes all sorts of problems such as putting the tire and wheel out of balance so the driver would get a vibration when they’re running quickly along a stretch.
That’s all for this Driver61 video. I know it’s a slightly different style and different topic of video, but if you enjoyed it, please subscribe to the channel and let me know any comments if you do like this style of video. Thank you and see you next time.
What's Inside an F1 Gearbox (& How it Works) - YouTube
Hi, I’m Scott Mansell. In this video, I’m going to take a look at what’s inside this Formula One gearbox and explain a little bit about how it works. Today, I’m in the workshop of Mansell Motorsport who restore and look after many Formula One cars from the mid-’90s to the mid-2000s. They’ve been kind enough to give me this 1997 Jordan F1 Gearbox for me to open up and have a look at how the internals actually work.
Before I get into taking this gearbox apart, I think it’s important to understand the position of the gearbox within the Formula One car itself. As you know, at the front of the Formula One car where the driver sits, we have the tub which is made out of carbon fiber. Then behind that, on four studs, we have the engine bolted directly onto the tub. Behind the engine, we have the gearbox bolted directly to the engine. All of these parts are stressed members. They’re part of the chassis, meaning that the rear suspension is in fact bolted directly on to the gearbox.
This is the front of the gearbox casing. It’s made out of cast magnesium. You can see this input shaft at the bottom just down here. This is connected directly to engine and it’s where the power comes through from the engine onto the layshaft of the gearbox. In terms of changing gear, we need to head around to the side of the gearbox. What you can see just here is the change cylinder. The driver makes the shift request with the paddles on the steering wheel, either up or down. It then goes through the GCU. The change cylinder here, which, in this case, is pneumatic with air either fires the gears down or up the gearbox.
If I just put this handle on here, if you watch the end of the cylinder, you can see it moving. Obviously, the force would come from this side and it would change the gears up or down. Before we can get into the gear cluster, I need to take off the rear diff housing. In this section of the gearbox and the rear diff housing, the diff gear and diff would sit in here. In the side here come the driveshaft. We have the driveshafts would then go out to the uprights, which are then, obviously, attached to the wheels and so the power can go through the gearbox, the diff, and into the track.
Now, I’ve removed all of the nuts from the diff casing. Time to try and take it off. Now, you can see that I’ve opened up the diff casing away from the gearbox casing to my right. You can see here that this is the main shaft that comes out the top of the gearbox. This gear, this bevel gear, drives this gear, which is then, obviously, connected to this gear, which then would go behind here onto the diff gear and rotate here, which then goes onto the drive shafts, which then, obviously, goes to the uprights, and through the wheels, and into the racetrack.
This, just on the top, inside the gearbox casing here, is the gearbox oil tank. You can see it’s got an opening here. Well, behind that, if you imagine back here the diff gear coming around and around just in this position here, then all the oil that collects then gets flicked into the gearbox oil tank for then distribution around the rest of the gearbox.
If you look closely, these nuts here and take the oil tank off at the top. The cassette should come out here. We’ve got the main shaft here and the layshaft at the bottom, which I’ll explain once we’ve taken out, as it’s a little bit easier to explain once you can see all of the moving parts.
Here we go. Let’s have a look at those gears.
First of all, you can see here that we have the layshaft that runs across the bottom. That turns the main shaft that runs across here. The layshaft is the one that’s connected to the engine, the engine comes out of here and powers this layshaft. Now, none of the gears on here actually turn away from the shaft. They’re directly splined onto the shaft itself. From the size of them, with this one being the smallest just here, you can see that this is first gear, these pair of gears. This is second here and then we jump across here, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh with these gears just here. The power from the engine drives the layshaft here which then turns all the gears on this top shaft.
I’ve just put this piece of wood in place so you can actually see the gears turned. We can see here because all the gears are turning freely, you imagine the engine power coming here, we’re spinning all the gears but nothing on this left-hand-side is going into the diff. You can see here that the car or the gearbox is actually in neutral because there’s no power or no drive coming at the back of the gearbox here and going to the diff.
How do we actually change gear? Well, I showed you earlier on the change cylinder on the outside of the gearbox that moves forwards and backwards and then shifted the change mechanism. Well through the internals of the gearbox that’s actually connected to this. This is the barrel and the selector shaft along here. As the change goes through the change cylinder, it actually comes here and moves this barrel around which then moves this piece here which is the selector fork across.
We’ve got the engine running. The power is coming through here onto the layshaft, the gears are turning on the main shaft at the top but the gear at the back here, the main isn’t actually turning. It’s just the gears that are spinning on top of the main shaft, we’re in neutral. Then the driver pulls a gear and it goes into first gear. You can see the selector fork here move across and we take first gear just here. Let me simulate the engine moving. Pick the shaft up again. You can see that the gear, the main shaft is actually rotating now all the way through, we’re in-gear. Then the driver selects another gear, the selector fork moves across and we take second gear. Sorry, it just fell out. Now, at the back, you can see that the main shaft is spinning again. Then we go up another gear and if you watch this selector fork, we head into third gear and again, it’s all locked up on that main barrel and we take third gear. Again into fourth, you can see this selector fork move across fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. We’re in seventh gear, sixth gear, fifth gear, fourth gear, third gear, second gear and first gear’s just gone dog to dog.
That’s a really good way to show it. You can see that we’ve gone from first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. You can see there that the timing is obviously absolutely perfect. When we go from one gear across into second– now watch this selector fork and this selector fork. We go from second here, that then comes into the neutral position into between these two dogs. Then the third gear moves across. That then moves away from the dogs and disengages this gear just before the fourth selector fork moves across and engages fourth gear and again the process continues all the way along. That’s an absolutely beautiful piece of engineering that you can see there.
To better explain the gears on the main shaft which is the more complex of the two shafts. I’ve gone and picked up a few spares off the shelf. On the layshaft, you can see here that this hub is splined. The main shaft has spline like this and this hub fits over the main shaft. Then you can see here that we are splined on the outside of the hub as well. Those splines are so this dog ring can fit over the top and stay have movements side to side, lateral movements side to side but stay connected and can drive the gear that’s attached to this hub.
Then on this section of the hub, we have a bearing as you can see in here that spins and then we have the gear that goes over the bearing. As you could see before, the gear is actually, let me just remove this dog ring, the gear is actually not connected to the hub. It is not driven all the time by the shaft. Then when we put on the dog ring and this is how we can change gear to select a fork that I showed you earlier and actually it goes over the dog ring like this. The selector fork moves across and then engages the gear, which means that the gear then drives the shaft which then goes straight to the diff and can drive the rear wheels.
One important thing to note is the cut of the dog just here, you can see that it isn’t at 90 degrees to the gate it’s actually cut like this. Now, the reason for that it’s when the gear and the dog ring come together when it’s being driven, when it’s loaded they actually pull each other together and when you put in seven or eight hundred brake hosepipe through these gears, it’s obviously very important that mechanically they drive each other together.
That’s all for this video. Thank you very much for watching and if you did enjoy this type of video, please let me know in the comments below and be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already. Thanks and I will see you next time.