Cars & Racing | 14 December 2017F1 Racing Tech: Chassis Share article facebook twitter google pinterest The most popular motorsport in the world is undeniably Formula 1, however only the most diehard fans have a good comprehension of the intricacies of this festival of speed. From Speed Read F1: The Technology, Rules, History and Concepts Key to the Sport is a look at the basics of the history and current configuration of the F1 chassis. Technology: Chassis If the engine is the heart of a Formula 1 car, the chassis is its spine. Every element connects to the chassis and relies on its strength. In the early days of the World Championship, chassis were typically built as a steel frame. This could take the form of a flat perimeter design that looked like a ladder, or the frame could appear as a more sophisticated, three-dimensional network of tubing known as a space frame. The engine, gearbox, suspension, and outer body panels were then mounted on the frame, usually with the engine in front of the driver. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, three key changes transformed the sport. First, the Cooper team started winning races—and then championships— with cars whose engines were mounted behind the driver, giving a better handling balance. Then another team, Lotus, introduced a car whose outer skin was designed as an integral, load-bearing part of the chassis rather than just being dead weight. This evolved into using the engine as part of the car’s structure, a change that Ford underwrote in its development of a new V-8 in 1966. Manufacturers built chassis from steel and aluminum until 1981, when McLaren shocked the F1 world with the MP4, which featured a carbon-fiber chassis. Carbon fiber quickly became the chassis material of choice, and remains so to this day. A modern F1 car is built around a central carbon-fiber structure called a “tub,” which includes the cockpit. These tubs have to pass a series of static load and crash tests, including a simulated rollover. The cockpit wall, for example, must withstand an impact equivalent to 250 tons. To keep the competition as fair as possible throughout a Grand Prix weekend, the cars must weigh at least 728 kilograms (1,604 lb.), including the driver but not the fuel. Each car’s weight is checked at random during the weekend and again immediately after the race. Buy From an Online Retailer Prepare to enter a world of speed with Speed Read: F1. This arm of racing can be intimidating to get into, but this intro guide is loaded with all the information you’ll need to get into Formula 1. You’ll get the history of the sport, biographies of major drivers and figures who have dominated the sport in its long and storied history, and a rundown of the incredible technology that makes these cars so fast that they stay glued to the road. You may not guess it, but the world’s premiere automobile racing series takes the Formula One name from the set of rules governing the class. Plans for a Formula One drivers’ championship were floated in the late 1930s, but shelved until after World War Two. In 1946 the first F1 races were held, but it wasn’t until 1950 that the details for a true world-championship series were hammered out. It was a long road from the 1930s to now for this great sport; one marked by glory, championships, iteration, technology, and speed. Don’t be intimidated by this incredible culture, dive into F1 Racing today! Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.