8 Apr 2024

April ‘24- Motorsport Update


Hello and welcome to the Stemettes Zine Motorsport Series!

Every fortnight, I’ll discuss the latest events and STEM advancements in motorsport to give you an insight into the industry.

So, let’s get started!

F1 – Carlos’ Celebrations

The Australian Grand Prix came with plenty of excitement with two Australians on the grid, and it did not disappoint.

The event highlighted some concerns for Williams. After suffering a large crash in FP1, Alex Albon’s chassis had sustained such damage that Williams was unable to repair and replace enough parts to race it. Team Principal James Vowles made the tough decision to swap the drivers, with Logan missing out on any further racing that weekend, in the hope of Alex bagging more points. Voules has been on the record as saying there’s been a lot of changes at Williams recently, as he tries to bring the team forward. The lack of a spare chassis is an unfortunate consequence of this, but the team aim to have another ready for Miami.

The other big story of the weekend was Carlos Sainz. After suffering from appendicitis in Saudi Arabia, there were doubts from those in the paddock that he would be fit enough to race so soon. He explained how they used laparoscopy in the surgery, using three holes to improve recovery rates. Sainz also used physiotherapy to recover, and less intense training. With the FIA monitoring his progress, there were changes to his belts, using sponges, to further protect him.

Any fears regarding his performance soon dispersed when he stepped in the car. After securing a front-row start next to world champion Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver suffered reliability issues with his right-rear brakes, and once in free air, Carlos held a commanding lead for the remainder of the race, winning the Australian GP.


F1 – Winging It

Most updates seen at the Albert Park circuit were tweaks to the front and rear wings. Most prominent on the Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Kick Sauber. The Sauber had a new front wing end plate, with less extreme camber, angling it closer to 90°. As well as a detached flap section for the upper elements. These aerodynamic edits are likely aimed to increase local downforce and outwash.


Formula E – Puzzling Powertrain

Formula E headed to Japan, with the results meaning of the fives races this season, each has been won by a different constructor, with McLaren taking their first win in the series. Gen 3 is the first generation of Formula E to use a front and rear powertrain, with a near doubling regen capacity. Genbeta have explored the use of the front powertrain kit in traction, to give all-wheel drive. The 2024 regulations are giving a tight battle for the position of top powertrain, and we’ll have to wait and see over the next few races who comes out on top.


IndyCar – Student Support

Juncos Hollinger Racing has taken a unique approach to advancing their car performance – forming a partnership with Purdue University. This gives some of the students the opportunity for an internship with the team, given they show the right attributes that align with the team’s values, giving them a valuable, and unique experience within the motorsport industry. And certain university projects can be applied to car development.

It’s a great way to encourage student participation in motorsport and is helping the team secure improving results. The partnership helps provide those early experiences that should help students progress to full-time careers in the sport.


WEC – Tolerance Troubles

Cadillac Racing had thought they’d secured fifth place in Qatar before post-race checks resulted in their disqualification. The WEC uses a homologated model, meaning there is a standard model beyond which iterations are strictly controlled.

The cars are monitored with a 3D scan to check component dimensions and alignments with reference to the standard CAD model. This revealed that the diffusers were too high, and misaligned, meaning they were outside of the tolerance limits.

It turned out the parts had arrived at Cadillac with missing quality control checks. And whilst the breach wasn’t intentional, it was outside of the rules, hence the disqualification. This highlights the importance of tolerances and quality control to ensure parts are within this.


That’s this fortnight’s round-up of STEM in motorsport. Check the next Zine issue for further insight into the motorsport industry.


This article was written by Grace, East Midlands Regional Advisor of the Stemette Futures Youth Board.

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