Hit the gas
capricorn tackles the side impact and rollover protection structures of the Lotus Cosworth first. Because racing places extremely high demands on the strength of the material, while at the same time requiring the lowest possible weight, Formula 1 cars are now almost exclu- sively made of carbon structures. Pre-impregnated with resin, the semi-finished fibre components are referred to as “prepreg” technology. Through various types of cutting patterns, laying fibre in different directions and varying the number of fibre layers, the strength of each component is individually adapted. During this fine- tuning procedure, capricorn Composite is especially able to utilise its years of expertise.
The specialists place the prepregs into the previously manufactured laminating moulds by hand; layer by layer the expensive hi-tech material is transferred exactly. A vacuum is created under a vacuum bag and the com- ponent then moves into a giant oven, the autoclave. During slow “baking” at about 135 °C under a constant pressure of 6 bar, a perfectly pressed fibre structure is produced, giving the composite component its extremely high strength.
To ensure the safety of the driver and to meet the requirements of the FIA, the individual components of the Formula 1 car are subjected to crash tests during the development phase. As required, the side impact structures withstand a side crash with a force of up to 20 g.
A vacuum is created under a vacuum bag
Lap by lap
The rollover protection also successfully passes a stress test. With side impact protection, the rear impact struc- ture and rollover bar, important components of the racing cars have now passed the test.
At the same time, capricorn begins with the produc- tion of chassis components for the Lotus T127. With each step and each individual component, the Formula 1 car comes closer and closer to being realised. The new car also finally gets its face – the car’s nose goes into production. Of course, it must also withstand crash tests in accordance with FIA regulations. To ensure the safety of the driver in the cockpit in case of a frontal crash, the nose of a Formula 1 car must withstand an impact of 15 m/s without the driver cell being damaged.
At half time the team is on the right track – but will Lotus Racing finish in time and be able to start the racing season?
As required, the side impact structures withstand a side crash with a force of up to 20 g