Using its FiberSIM composites software, Vistagy were able to reduce the time it took to design and manufacture a composite diffuser for Renault’s R29 race car from an estimated 12 weeks to just six weeks.
As a result, Vistagy claim the ING Renault Team was able to get the new diffuser on the track two races sooner than they anticipated.
ING Renault F1 Team has used FiberSIM for the last seven seasons to design and manufacture all composite parts, including the chassis, gearbox, floor, side pods and wing main planes. Vistagy say that not only did the team save time when manufacturing the diffuser, Renault also reported time-savings of 20-30 percent for the gearbox.
The double diffuser was used to great effect by the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams teams in the first two rounds of the 2009 Formula One season. However, ambiguity in the regulations meant many teams felt the component was not permissible under the 2009 regulations. Renault F1 was one of four teams to appeal its use, an appeal that was denied by the governing Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
Like many other teams, Renault F1 Team had been working on its own version of the large double diffuser floor, which smoothly channels air under and out of the back of the car, increasing downforce, lateral grip and overall performance. Once the FIA issued the ruling allowing the use of the new diffuser, FiberSIM helped Renault F1 Team quickly implement it.
“We worked with an outside supplier and asked if they’d like electronic templates generated by FiberSIM for manufacturing the diffuser,” said Ian Goddard, senior CAE engineer for ING Renault F1 Team. “This provided the supplier with better accuracy than they were used to. In fact, the quality of manufacturing data was better than anything they’ve ever had.”
“With ply books, we normally expect some ambiguity, but by using FiberSIM we are able to manufacture the car just as it is designed. That makes a big difference in the 16-week period leading up to the season, but it is even more critical during the season when a part needs to be produced and shipped in time for the next race, as was the case with the diffuser,” added Goddard.
“There’s a constant battle in F1 to find ways to design and manufacture parts better and faster,” said Mr. Goddard. “Our experience with FiberSIM on the development of the composite diffuser once again demonstrated just how critical it is to our efforts to meet our deadlines and put the best car possible on the starting grid.”
Image: Fernando Alonso in the Renault R29 leading Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren MP4-24 Mercedes in the 2009 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England in June.
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