The Future Car Podcast | Red Bull Advanced Technologies Does It All | Rob Gray | Part One

The Future Car Podcast | Red Bull Advanced Technologies Does It All | Rob Gray | Part One

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Hello and welcome to 2024's first future car episode. It's been a while, so we're starting off with a bang and I'll be sitting down with the technical director at Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Rob Gray. We talk a lot about racing on this podcast and one recurring topic within the world of racing is the transfer of technology from race cars to commercial vehicles, carbon fiber to anti lock brakes, and even the rear view mirror. We have the world of racing to thank for many aspects of our cars we ride in today. Red Bull Advanced Technologies is leading the charge when it comes to applying race car tech to commercial vehicles and even beyond.

Rob brings 20 years of design experience from Formula One to his role as Technical Director at Red Bull Advanced Technologies where they take the tech, the methods and tools used To make a winning Formula One team and apply those to engineering challenges on land, sea, and air. In part one of two, Rob and I discuss his past professional experience in F1 and how it compares to what he does now. We also talk about the biggest technological breakthroughs he witnessed while working in Formula One and finish our conversation on the RB 17. Red Bull advanced technologies.

First hypercar project. We even throw in a bet on designing an America's cup race. I know you'll really enjoy my conversation with Rob Gray. We're all familiar with the Oracle Red Bull.

Racing Formula One team. They just won both the Drivers and the Constructors Championship, something they've done many times before. But the Red Bull Technology Group has several different organizations within it. One of them is Red Bull Powertrains.

They're working together with Ford to develop a power unit that's going to comply to the new regulations that are going to come in in 2026. And then, there's Red Bull Advanced Technologies. That's who we're going to focus on today. Red Bull Advanced Technologies takes the technology, The methods, the tools that are used to make a winning formula one team.

And they apply those to engineering challenges that are on land, sea, and air. And this could be anything from a, a hyper car, a commercial hyper car to a hydrogen powered race car, or a bike, a balloon, submarine, a sailboat. And to explain all this as today, we have just the right person, the technical director for Red Bull advanced technologies. Rob Gray. Rob, welcome to the Art Podcast.

Thank you very much. I want to read the description of Red Bull Advanced Technologies. It says, a company that brings exceptional engineering, design, and production capabilities to a diverse set of industries across land, sea, and air. Now, that description opens up a world of possibilities. It could be almost anything.

So, what is it, exactly, that Red Bull Advanced Technologies does? Well, I thought, um, your introduction kind of started to cover it quite well, to be honest. So, really, Red Bull Advanced Technologies is a, a smaller version of all of the engineering and manufacturing side of the Formula One team. And, so, we take the technology that's used to develop the race winning cars, and we apply it to a range of other industries, as you say.

So, we've got, um, we've got two core aspects of the business. We've got, like, the engineering side. And then we've got the supply chain side.

The engineering side has all of the main departments that you'd recognize from the F1 team, but on a smaller scale. So we've got an aerodynamics department, we have a performance and simulation department, electronics, design, composites, structures, try not to forget any. And so we, we can put all of the, all of the engineering that we use on the cars, we can apply to whatever other project, project we want. We've then got the supply chain side, so we're building that up at the moment, and that's focusing on how we actually deliver the physical components that we've designed, Into it, whichever project they're needed in. So delivered to actually Work in the commercial world or could be in racing outside of formula one, of course Uh, yeah, I mean we we don't do masses within racing at the moment I think um, there's the main project that is racing at the moment or main two main projects that are racing at the moment are the america's cup Um with the linghi rebel racing team and then moto gp where we're looking at aerodynamics for the ktm Moto gp team and then a whole host of projects that aren't racing focused You So that's where land, sea and air comes in.

Obviously sailboat racing on, on, on the sea. It's also called a sister business to Red Bull racing. So there is an influence. by Formula One into Red Bull Advanced Technology. So how does what's learned and done in Formula One impact what you do? So, yeah, I mean, Red Bull Advanced Technologies was formed in 2014 when, um, Dietrich Mateschitz, the founder of Red Bull, he expressed the desire to see the wonderful Formula One technology being applied in the wider world.

And so that was kind of the initial mission statement of the company. And then there's a number of us who've worked in the Formula One team for a long time, you know, I've been there for quite a while and we bring a lot of knowledge of the methods and the processes that are used in the Formula One team and then we can apply them out into the different projects. And really it's the It's the methodologies that we use on the Formula One car that are most relevant to what we do.

So, for example, in aerodynamics, we're using the same CFD process to analyze the airflow around whatever the project happens to be, whether it be a bike or a MotoGP, sorry, a push bike or a MotoGP motorbike. And we're using the same methodology that we use on the Formula One car. to do that analysis. And it's those tools that carry the technology over. I guess, so you mentioned, um, uh, computational fluid dynamics, or if you've got a racing boat, or a bicycle, or a race car, making sure it can flow through the air with the least amount of resistance is common to all of those. Yeah, I mean, minimizing drag is a sort of fairly common target.

And so, yeah, so we use CFD extensively on pretty much all of the projects. Now you started in Formula One with Jaguar and that was over 20, about 20 years, over 20 years ago now. Yeah. 2002. 2002. So you went from a structural analyst at that point to actually a, um, chief designer.

So how do you compare All those years working in Formula One, to what you do now? I suppose some of the roles I had on the F1 team I see are absolutely directly paralleled, and people within my team now have those same roles. So, you know, the structures job that I started in, we've got guys working in Rebel Advanced Technologies doing that exact job. On a personal level, I suppose as you, as you progress through your career, probably the amount of engineering you do versus the amount of general managing you do, then the balance shifts. And so, um, whilst I still call myself an engineer, I know, I know that the majority of my time is actually spent away on non engineering topics.

So your, your title's in F1. They, they, like a structural analyst, chief designer, and now you said manager. So do you ever feel like, oh, I wish I was doing more engineering? Oh, all the time. All the time. Um, and I, I actively get involved in the projects as often as I can.

Um, but it's just, there's a few different things pulling, pulling me in different directions. So of all the things that you do, what do you like the most? Probably the engineering. Yeah, no, actually undoubtedly the engineering, seeing a problem that needs solving and being able to get your teeth into it.

That's great. And also, I mean, I love when we have a new project and you're in that kind of blue sky thinking phase and when you're then maybe doing some quick calculations to try to work out whether your thinking is going in the right direction, that's, that's the really enjoyable. enjoyable part of it. Well, you know, and that's one of the big differences actually to in Formula One because a Formula One car tends to be an evolution, right? It evolves some way you use the previous year. Now, if there's a change in the regulations, that jump is bigger, but you don't very often get like that clean sheet of paper and say, Oh, how are we going to make this race car? So if you're on a new project, Complete something no one's ever done before.

How do you, how do you get the people together in that brainstorming session to come up with ideas? How does that, that real creative part work? How do you, how do you manage that? I guess. Um, so we've got, we've got a good team of people and you know, people is really, the people side of it is really quarter. Um, to that way, you're, you know, you'll throw a problem out to the, to the guys and say, so we've been asked to look at whatever it might be and, um, get people's input and their thoughts and then really just start kicking ideas around. And then firming up on things. And then it pretty quickly comes down to, right, well we've got a bit of an idea of where we want this to go.

So now we need to actually run some numbers. And start, um, or start laying out some, um, some shapes on the CAD to actually work out, um, what the thing might look like and really build it up from there. They say sometimes that when you're developing new concepts like that, instead, it's almost better, instead of having the super genius, you know, that has all the ideas, to have people with a lot of different experience working together. And you mentioned when you were listing the different types of capabilities you have.

There's mechanical, there's electrical, there's software. Is that a big part of it getting, you know, cause sometimes the software person might come up with a neat mechanical idea, who knows, does that, does that play into it? Yeah, it does. I mean, I think, um, it's also very easy to forget some of the aspects of the, the engineering that you are absolutely intrinsic to the project. So, you know, it's, it's very easy to forget that.

Okay. So you want to have a mechanism that does something, well, you're going to need electrical to supply power to it, and you're going to need software to actually control it. They all work together. And they all go together. And, and these guys have all got a lot of experience, you know, quite a few of the team have been in Formula One for as long as I have.

And, um, so yeah, they bring experience from all these past projects, and you apply that experience to whatever the new challenge is. So a few people, uh, have, you know, 20 years of experience on the design side for Formula One. So like you said, from 2002 All the way through to 2020, you were, you were, you were working on the design side for racing. So, during that time period, what do you think were some of the biggest developments, technological developments, in Formula 1 that really drove the sport? Well, the big project I was involved in, so first of all, um, we, we had a big project to, um, do an instant shift gearbox. That was a long time ago, that must be, that was about the third or fourth Red Bull car that we were doing that, and that was a, that was a really interesting project. And then the big one, obviously, was the hybridization of the power unit.

So, first of all, CURS. I think we added in 2009. And what is, if you could explain So CURS, so Kinetic Energy Recovery System. And that was really putting a, uh, 60 kilowatt motor. Um, so about 80 horsepower and the associated battery and power electronics onto the car And with the idea of saving energy under braking and then deploying it Later on to give the driver a boost and that was actually deployed by the driver pressing a button on the steering wheel At the time and that then led on to the change in engines that came in 2014 When we went to the V6 turbo engine, um, from the V8 and, you know, the V6 turbo was a huge change for everyone because it was such a, a complicated beast in comparison to the relatively simple V8s that came before it, you got two.

Two hybrid systems on that turbo one electric motor taking power out of the crankshaft Um or taking power out the rear which you didn't have on on on the v8 Because was that on the v8, but it was a very small part of it um, and then the bigger change was that you had the turbocharger with the Electric motor coupled to the turbocharger to recover waste heat from the exhaust. And so yeah, that was the biggest change I think um on the on the car spec and then from an engineering perspective, I think i'd have to say that the The growth in simulation And simulation capabilities is the biggest thing that's changed. And I remember when I started CFD was kind of a, a fairly sort of, uh, unproven technology.

And there were maybe a couple of guys working on CFD. And now you see that CFD is like an absolutely intrinsic part of the aerodynamic process, aerodynamic development process. Um, and similarly on the vehicle dynamics side. Um, we've gone from having a small number of guys simulating the car and how the suspension setup works, how the car corners, to now we've built simulators and we, uh, we test everything in the virtual world before we go to the track.

Some of this has been driven by the FIA. Um, so the FIA, um, have always, they've ratcheted down the amount of track testing we've been able to do. And so inevitably that's meant we've ratcheted up, first of all, what we do in the laboratory. So we do a lot of physical testing of the car away from the track. Um, but then secondly, the actual simulation to, um, go ahead of the, of the physical testing. Wait, and you mentioned aerodynamic simulation and really any kind of simulation, anytime you can run something real quickly on a computer.

Rather than on the track, it takes less time, not as expensive, moving all the equipment, the race cars, the drivers. But there's also limitations. I think the FAA also limits the amount of time you can actually do computations because these simulations have actually gotten so good. Yeah, on the aerodynamic side, they limit the amount of CFD runs. But otherwise, you can do as much as you need.

Otherwise, I think you can do as much as you want to, yeah. And it's really, you know, Formula 1 is a development race, so the faster you can get through these iterations, of a different component or a different system and under a different number of designs and understand what is actually going to make the car go faster, then you, if you win that development race, that's how you, so you get those parts onto the car, you go faster than the competition. Well, you know, you, you mentioned, um, when the new engine came in, you were going to, you're extracting energy, right? Trying to recover energy from the turbo. Right. And also from you generate energy, I guess you could say electrically, right? With, with, with a generator from breaking and most, most people think, Oh, it's a race car, just put a big motor in there and go as fast as you can.

And that is important, but the real, it's not really about having a big motor, but it's about getting the most power. That you can. And I guess that was a big engineering challenge. I mean, looking back, you know how it was solved, but I would imagine when you first said, Oh, we're going to have to take power from the turbocharger.

And we're going to have to have regenerative braking. We've got to figure out how all this works together. And then the driver's going to press a button. I mean, that's a very, very complex system getting all that to work together.

I would think. Yeah, it's incredibly, incredibly complex system. And I'm can't explain it in two minutes, right? Well, no, I was going to say, I think, I think it's sort of, I think it's fair to say that we, we struggled at the start of. 2014, we were with Renault at the time and, uh, yeah, the, uh, the system was not as well optimized as perhaps it could have been and perhaps others, perhaps others were.

Um, and so, yeah, it's a big challenge. And that's interesting because all the other teams are facing the same thing. And a big part of racing, I would think, would be to take what you start off with, your best, your best effort on the first one, and then evolve it as quickly as you can. And if you can evolve quickly, Then I think that's how you can get in front and stay in front, which Red Bull has been able to do. Absolutely. I mean, I think Red Bull have always been very good at winning the development race.

So I think, you know, we've all, we've, there've been a lot of years where we've maybe not come out with the fastest car for race one. But then it's rapidly become the fastest car as you move through the season. I want to ask you one last question about your career. Because sometimes people, I mean, even in my role, it seems people come up to me and say, Oh, what do I need to do to get a job like yours? What do I need to do to become the technical director, right, at Red Bull Advanced Technology? I'm sure you must get that, that question, even from new employees.

And what I, you, you've been through so many positions and over a nine month period, you went from a chief designer to technical director, chief designer in Formula One to technical director for, uh, uh, Red Bull Advanced Technology, quite a, quite a big move in nine months. What advice would you give to someone that wants to make a big, what do you gotta do to in nine months make a big career move like that? What's the secret? I'm not, I'm not sure there's any one secret. I mean, I think. Career paths in Formula One can be frustrating because there's no well defined ladder that you have to try to progress up.

It's just, it tends to be, you see the opportunities and if they're, they're right for you, you take them. And I think I've been lucky in my career that I've always been offered good, good opportunities to progress. I enjoyed my role in, as Chief Designer and then um, was asked, would you like to go and run the Advanced Technologies Division? And I thought, well, yeah. Um, I think at the time I was maybe, I've been doing that job for about six years and so it was, um, fairly getting comfortable, maybe.

And so a new challenge was a good thing. I think you raise a good point, is whenever there's going to be a change, there has to be maybe a little bit of anxiety. Like, and even this one too, running Red Bull Advanced Technologies and that, you know, Oh, it's going to pull me away from engineering. Right. But I guess you have to be willing to accept those changes.

Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing I'd say, I always say to people is that actually a lot of the moves I've made career wise have been sideways moves. Where you think, I'm going to do something different for interest rather than particularly worrying about my career. And those add up, right? And they add up, and they typically result in a better job in the future. Certainly one of the benefits of having moved over to Red Bull Advanced Technology is to having the opportunity now to work on Red Bull's first commercial car. First commercial hyper car, the RB 17, which is said to be optimized for on track, the on track driving experience.

So there's a lot of influence from what was learned in formula one into the RB 17. I think one of the things that's really interesting is you name the, your, the formula one car, Oracle Red Bull racing names or formula one cars like RB 16, uh, 18, whatever is on and on. But when, from 2020 to 21, uh, during the pandemic. It was the RB16A and B, and then you jumped to the 18, which then left 17 open. So, there's a lot of heritage, even the name.

You can, you could ultimately buy a commercial car that is named like a Formula One car. So, first question is, how does the performance of the RB17 compare to your Formula One cars? Well, it's um, so the obvious Or how will it compare? How will it compare? I mean, it's still in the design process. Um, but at the, at the moment, the aim is for it to be very, very close to the performance of the Formula One car. I'm hedging my bets there slightly, saying it's going to be close. I think it should be, it should be as fast as a Formula One car, but I don't want to shout about that at the moment.

It's going to have slightly more power than a Formula One car. So we're looking at around 1, 200 horsepower overall from the engine and hybrid system. Um, it's not going to be a lot heavier than a Formula One car. Um, and it's Even though it has additional bodywork Um, and it's going to have, um, more downforce than a Formula One car. I mean, the, the, the interesting thing with RB17 is it's not constrained by the regulations of Formula One.

So we're able to use things like active aerodynamics, um, to really get as much out of it as we can. And so, um, I think we've said before, it's a bit, it's a bit of a Red Bull or Adrian Newey's greatest hits car, where, you know, all of the good technology that's been used in Formula One in the past is getting put into the RB17. I think what's interesting about what you just said is that, We all think about, oh, a Formula One car is the fastest race car in the world, of course. But, it's the fastest race car based on the regulations that it has to conform to. Absolutely, yeah. So as soon as you change those regulations, it could be faster.

Or different. It's certainly different. But, you're making a commercial car that you can take on to a track. So, when you were let loose, hey! No more regulations.

Is it mostly aerodynamics? I suppose the big difference on the aero side is that um, we're able to focus on having a lot more aerodynamics down at low speed. Um, and then we're able to use active aerodynamics to, to limit how much that um, aerodynamic load increases as the speed goes up. And we have to limit it because the tires simply could not take the momentum. Just wear out. Yeah. Couldn't, you see you have a tire load limit and you cannot you cannot exceed that.

So we have to limit the aero at higher speeds. It's a bit, it's a bit like DRS on the Formula 1 car. Except we have DRS on the front wing, the rear wing, um, and also the fuselage. Oh, is that, so it's actually active? Yeah, yeah, so it's active aerodynamic elements. The driver doesn't have to press about driving? The driver doesn't have to do anything then.

And actually, the drivers are, there's been a big focus for the driver with this car of making it easy to drive. So it's not supposed to be, while it's supposed to have performance similar to a Formula 1 car, it should not need a Formula 1 driver to extract a good amount of performance from it. Well, I was going to ask you exactly that. That is, um Like you said, Oh, it's going to have the performance of a formula one car. You're going to make it easier, but I'm, I would bet that if someone, you know, your ordinary driver, maybe that has a little bit of skill, right? Maybe it's taking a car on a track or something like that.

They sit in, in the RB 17. They're not going to be as fast as max. Well, if they are, we give them a job. Oh, it can be a good way to interview for your next driver. I guess when you have all that power and all that capability, Safety, do you, obviously you consider safety during crash and all that, do you also consider safety from a standpoint of making sure that when somebody gets in that car they don't over drive it and get themselves into trouble? Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, first of all, there'll be very much a program of simulator work for the, um, Oh, really? Yeah, so the customers will be able to come and drive the car in the simulator before they take delivery.

Okay. So they'll get to experience it in the virtual world before they go on track. Um, so that's the sort of first aspect of the driver training and then, um, there'll be a number of organized events where the drivers can bring their cars along and we'll have professional drivers on hand to help them start getting the most out of the cars. And then we will also have, so we've got the passive safety systems that you mentioned, and you know, it's going to be very, um, very much, it's, it's more, it's more like a Le Mans car in terms of its safety system, you know, frontal impact, rear impact, that kind of thing, than a Formula One car. Um, just cause it's a more similar geometry of car, but then we also have active safety systems. So, you know, it does have ABS, unlike.

And the formula one car and it can use the other active systems to also help the driver out What did you learn in trying to do this? I said, oh wow, this is a great f1 technology It's going to really make this commercial car so much better and right now the rb17 is for Taking it on tracks at least for now, but ultimately did you learn anything about an f1? F1 technology that you've brought into an on track car that you think Could even make an on road car ultimately someday maybe or maybe it's even a different on road car I suppose I mean, it's not quite answering the question But there's quite a few things where we're trying to make the RV 17 far easier to live with than an F1 car So there's technologies that we're developing So taking the Formula One inspiration and then developing those, um, those technologies so that it makes it easier to run the car and requires less, less onerous servicing, um, and makes it a bit more robust for customers to live with. And so I can see that there is a pathway there where you then end up with something that's um, suitable for road. After all, you still got to bring it in for an oil change and all the things that you have. But you don't, I mean, Formula One car, for example, you, at the end of every race, you've got a fairly long list of parts that you have to crack check.

Yeah. Absolutely. To make sure that they're good to be used again, and That's, yeah, that's after sort of 300 kilometers of race, plus maybe, so maybe after 500 kilometers total, and obviously you don't want that on your track car. Will the RB17 come with its own crew, that you have at your fingertips there, if you want to? No, we're not, um, we're not supplying uh, team mechanics.

No crew, you've got to find your own crew. No, no, and really the aim is for it to be run with an absolute minimum of crew. You, you mentioned, uh, really some steps in the buying process, which, okay, I'm going to purchase the car, I'm going to get simulation training, probably a real driver to, you know, an experienced driver to show around the track. You're only going to make 50 of these, and I believe the price is, uh, around five million pounds or so, is that right? Five, five and a bit. Okay, okay.

Um, why just 50? Okay. Well, because we want to build the car in the way we know how to build cars, and by that I mean, we want to use the same build process we use with the F1 car to build the RB17. So, the F1 car very much gets built in small chunks. So, you, if you take a gearbox as an example, we'll build an oil pump, we'll sign that oil pump off on the rig, prove that it works, we'll do the same with the differential.

We then put these parts together into the gearbox, we sign off the whole gearbox. And then when you put that gearbox onto the car And you go out on Friday practice, it just works and the car works. And we, and we're using that same methodology for building the RB17.

Also, um, we're intending to, we're not going to build these cars down a production line, we're going to have a team of mechanics putting each car together in a build bay, like we do with the race car. So. In order to use that process that we know and understand, we really have to limit the, the, um, the number that we're building.

So we're, we're looking at around two years to build the full quantity of 50. And I suppose we could have extended that, but we want to keep it exclusive. And, um, we want to, yeah, do it the way we know.

And I think two years is long enough for that to be the case. So should, should they call you if they're, if somebody wants to get on that? Yeah, absolutely. Okay. All right. Adrian Newey. Uh, he was, he was the creative force.

I think one of the things that's always fascinating about Adrian is he works on a drafting board. Few people still do that. Pencil, paper, big board. And I suppose that being able to work with a pencil and paper allows your creative juices, I would imagine, to come forward. But you're responsible, not only to make a beautiful creative card, but one that's interesting. Works from an engineering standpoint, so I would imagine there's there has to be times when Design and creativity has to be balanced against making it work from an engineering standpoint How do you work? How do you work with Adrienne and really how do you balance this the creative the design aspects of a beautiful car with the? Functionality is I'd say that Adrian's design input is really on the the actual functional aerodynamic side.

We then have a Because that's the shape, right? The shape is That's the, that's the basic shape. We do then have, then have a guy on the styling side who tries to beautify the aerodynamic shapes and make, make them sort of work more coherently. And then Adrian and those, Adrian and this other guy work together very closely to come up with something that is both beautiful and works aerodynamically. And then you have to package everything else inside. Yeah, I mean that's another iterative process though.

So You know, we go through I don't know how many iterations of aerodynamic surfaces where we're then doing the mechanics. You need to bump it out here, there, whatever. Um, and yeah, that leads to sort of healthy conflict within the team where you've got the aero guys saying I like that, healthy conflict.

Yeah, we want this to look like this and the mechanical guys saying, but there's no space for these parts. And then they, you know, they work together and work out a solution. And I suppose then simulation becomes the arbitrator. To a large extent, yeah. I mean, we're very much, um, performance simulation leads a lot of what we do. So, every aspect of the car gets put into the, the model, and run around the track.

And if it makes the car faster, then we keep it. If it doesn't, then it, it goes. And a good example is the hybrid system. Well, you know, the hybrid system is on the car because it is making the car go faster. No question about it. Designing a commercial car is something Adrian's always wanted to do.

In fact, that was a key part way back, I think, when keeping him with Red Bull. At least it did. You're going to get an opportunity to design a commercial car. And you work with, he worked with Aston Martin on the Valkyrie, which is quite, quite the machine.

And so he had his, his dream, or at least his dream on the commercial side to develop this car. What did he learn from that, that you've improved on, on the RB 17? What, what, what do you, how, how did that influence? What is it? What is it that he learned on that project that you've been able to, So yeah, I mean, Adrian and the whole of Red Bull Advanced Technology were very involved in the Valkyrie. And it wasn't just Adrian.

And I think the biggest lessons learned really were the value of the R& D side of the project. So really I think the Valkyrie maybe didn't spend as long in the test lab It could have. And so then the track development phase took a lot longer than it then was intended.

We're then trying to reverse that. So we'd be spending a lot more time in the lab running on the, on the test rigs. So that when we hit the track, the full, uh, full car components, everything, everything from single component all the way up to full car. And it really trying to mirror the F1 process where we test the car so extensively on the, on the, on the different test rigs that you go to, pre season testing in Bahrain, when you get what, three or four days, On track everyone runs around you rarely see a car stopping in preseason testing these days And and then you go to the first race and you go through the season with absolutely minimal issues and so we're trying to copy that process and hopefully then have a much easier run through the The track validation process and deliver a fantastically reliable car to customers I think that's really interesting what you just said about uh on that first practice day. It's a new car It's an evolution of a previous year say more so or less so depending if there's rule changes, but it is a new machine Like you said, because of simulation, now, you're at, on that first practice day, you rarely see Uh, the cars perform fairly well.

I mean, maybe they're not at the ultimate speed and you've gotten every little tenth of a second out. How does that compare to what was going on, say, in 2002 or 2003? On that first, compare a practice day in 2002 to one and say, you know, that we might see here in a few months when you start practicing. I suppose back then, um, there was very, you know, there was very minimal testing of the car away from the track. In the, from a simulation standpoint? Uh, and from, you know, physical testing of parts. So we used to test the safety critical parts, um, but that was, that was about it.

Um, and so, yeah, you'd go to the track and there was an awful lot of, um, calibration work to do on the car when you first hit the track, and it was a fairly painfully pro it was a painfully slow process. And so, you know, I think back then we've pro I don't know the exact numbers, but we've probably gone from expecting to do sort of maybe a couple of hundred kilometres on the first track test day To being disappointed if we don't hit 500. But that it's all because we've we've had to focus in on the value of track time Because of the reduction of that, of the track time that's available. And that simulation is not just on the design of the vehicle, but the driver themselves? Yes, I mean, one of the, one of the really noticeable things is how infrequently we have to make a setup change when you go to a track these days. So, years ago, you know, every time you went to a track, the first thing you'd do after the first run would be to change an anti roll bar or something else.

Yeah, the driver would come back and give you, give you feedback. Um, and that was a fairly standard process, and now it's fairly common. Fairly rare to hear that happening. Well, let's talk about, uh, other forms of racing. Um, you, you've gotten together with Aligny. Aligny, I pronounce that right? Yeah.

Aligny, and, and you formed the America's Cup, an America's Cup team with them. So Aligny Red Bull Racing Team in, uh, in America's Cup. And you've transferred knowledge that you've learned in Formula One, another great example, into racing sailboats. So, in what way, uh, in what way do you apply, or what types of technologies from Formula One can you apply to a racing sailboat? So, with the Alinghi Rebel Racing Team, we very much took the approach that we're not the experts in designing racing yachts. Um, we, Perfectly open about that.

And so what we did with them is we've put, it's very much a partnership, but we've said to them, look, this is the technology we've got. This is what we can do. These are the tools we have. These are the methods we can use. And then we've let them pretty much pick and choose and say, well, I think they, we think it'd be really helpful if you can do this part for us or help with that. And so we've ended up then using the CFD process that we talked about to work on the hull design of the boats.

I mean, these boats actually, you think it's going to be a hydrodynamic problem, but it's actually an aerodynamic problem because they spend Is that because of the speed of the boat? No, just because they, because they're foiling boats. They spend so little time actually in the water. Only the foils in the water.

So the whole body of the boat, the whole hull is more of an aerodynamic problem these days. So yeah, so we've applied the same CFD process. We've then ended up designing an awful lot of the electrical installations on the boat. And I think we've We've done a pretty good job of applying the same rules that we use for Formula 1.

design to make sure that it's a reliable installation. It's robust, it's easy to service, it's easy to swap parts out. It sounds like fairly basic stuff, but I think it should be, should be fairly useful. And then probably one of the biggest areas we're involved in is on the control systems, because America's Cup is actually fairly free in terms of regulations on the control system, certainly compared to Formula One. That's, um, I didn't know that.

So you can have computers or. You, you have control units, yeah, and you can, you can write. Are they making decisions on the placement of the, of the sails? Not so much decisions, but, um, you know, just how, cause a lot of the controls for the sailors are done by, via electronic control modules. So, um, human, machine interfaces. And, and so they'll be pressing a button to make the sail move, and then it's, um, how you then, you know, Go through the system to actually make that happen and how you link some of these functions together.

You know, I'm not an expert on America's Cup sailing boats, but you see them with the cranks and is, when you say press a button, they're, they're still, are they still doing the cranking and all that? Or is it now all motorized when you're making adjustments? So the cranking is to generate hydraulic pressure, um, pressure within the system. And then, um, and so the guys cranking and they're actually going to be cycling. Well, they're allowed to be cycling again in the next America's Cup. And so, yeah, so the cranking's generating hydraulic pressure, and then the guy who's trimming the sail, he presses the button, and that gives the command to actually You use the hydraulic pressure to adjust the sail.

Oh, okay. So the humans are basically just creating, uh, a reserve of power that you, that you can, uh, so are, uh, is the control system making the decisions of how much to trim and, and, and do all those things? Uh, I don't think it's making the decisions. That's still down to the guy who's actually doing the trimming.

Um, but it's just that it's the actual, it's how it's, Yeah, how that function actually happened, how you actually make things move. You know, when you're, when you're engineering something, um, like the RB17, a Formula 1 car, safety is a big part, especially crash safety. On a racing sailboat, though, it's lower speeds. If you crash, uh, you know, you fall into the water, I guess. Now, I'm not trying to belittle it or not, but it's certainly not the same as going 200 miles per hour on a track where you might hit a wall.

Does that allow you to design with less safety factor, maybe closer to the edge where you're eking out? In other words, safety is, relatively speaking at least, right? Um, uh, maybe a little bit less of a concern so you can draw more performance out. I think the problem there though is that, um, so Formula 1 car is a very well defined problem. In that, you know, you've got the cars that, as you say, iterate slightly each year.

And they go around the tracks that are fairly well known, and it's fairly well constrained. And so you've got a pretty good idea of the loads we're going to see on next year's car before the car hits the track. Okay.

Whereas the America's Cup boat, it's kind of, well, the Alingura Bresson guys are designing what they call Boat 1, which is the first own designed boat, having, um, got Boat 0, which is a boat using a hull from an existing design. And so there's a lot more unknowns. And so rather than feeling like we're able to, you know, Push the envelope because of the lack of safety requirements is more a question of being less certain over the loading that you're going to see and having to account for that. And the loads are huge. You know, we've designed some parts of the boat that we're seeing more than 10 tons of load. Going into and so where we've then tested these parts in the lab It becomes really quite challenging to actually get that load into the parts, you know carbon fiber and composites play a big role in racing sailboats and in race cars and all that and Composites are a unique material because you can you can tailor The strength and the stiffness and different directions and they always say they always say Well, one of the greatest advantages of carbon fiber is you can do all that tailoring and then they say one of the worst things about carbon fiber and composites is that oh my god, we have so many options How do we pick the right one? And I would think with a racing sailboat, like you said, you got the hydrofoils It's lifting out of the water.

You got these masts that are driving the thing forward you know, many, many meters up into the air. Is there a lot of tailoring that goes on into what the directions of the fibers are or how you're placing the, you know, the carbon fiber or the composites when you're designing a sailboat like that? Yeah, I think so. It's, um, I mean, we've not, we've not been responsible for the hull design itself, but on the components we have been doing, yeah, it's, it's very tailored, very tailored. And what components are, is, is Red Bull Technologies actually? I can't really go into too much detail, but, um, Yeah, there's quite a selection where we've seen where we, it's really looking at the parts where we can see the Formula One application, the application of Formula One technology being particularly relevant.

Do you ever have moments where The boat guys say, oh man, there go those racing guys again, or vice versa. I can't believe these boat guys want to do that. Don't they understand? Do you ever have moments like that? I'd say my colleague on the Olinga Red Bull Racing side, and I'm sure he won't mind me quoting him, Sylvia, he likes to remind me every so often, he says, Rob. We're Lumberjacks, your watchmakers.

Oh, so it's a, it's a cross between a Lumberjack, an Axe, and a, and a fine Swiss watch, or something like that. Not quite sure what that ends up being, but, but it makes sense though, it makes, it does, it does make sense. I think it's more just that, um, occasionally, you know, we're used to working on very, very small components in intricate detail. And then you look at some of the, the America's Cup parts, and they're, just the scale of the thing is so much bigger. Yeah.

Um, it's easy to. When you're looking on a cad screen, it's easy to forget that it's actually a 75. You need to put them side by side.


2024-04-20 02:46

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