OT - F1

paul stenquist pnstenquist at comcast.net
Sun Oct 18 19:31:20 EDT 2009

On Oct 18, 2009, at 7:07 PM, frank theriault wrote:

> On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 6:53 PM, paul stenquist <pnstenquist at comcast.net 
> > wrote:
>> Exactly. And the driver's reactions have to be superb. Things  
>> happen very
>> fast at that speed. But while reactions have to be immediate, they  
>> have to
>> be controlled as well. A responsive race car requires a light touch.
> As someone once said, back in the day drivers were fat and tires  
> were skinny.
> No longer...

While F1 is the major league of motorsports and obviously requires the  
most skill and endurance, almost any race car driver has to have the  
instincts of an athlete.

I'm working on an article about drag racing funny car drivers. I've  
noticed that it takes quite a few years for a newbie to become  
competitive, and a look at what goes in in the four seconds it takes  
to go from start to finish, from zero to 300, makes it easy to see  
why. The g-forces generated by 8000 horsepower are astronomical, and  
the cars move around constantly. The vibration obscures one's view and  
can even break teeth. Funny car drivers wear a boxer's mouthpiece.  
Within one second after pushing the throttle to the floor, the car is  
going 150 mph, and within that second it may require several steering  
corrections,  and if it starts "shaking the tires" the driver has to  
try to gradually back off the throttle in tiny increments, then  
"catch" it as soon as the shake disipates.. In another half second the  
car will be going over 200 mph and will probably drift to one side or  
the other.  If there's the slightest imperfection on the track, it can  
make a violent move. The exhaust volume produces considerable boost,  
and if a cylinder weakens, the car will make a sudden move toward that  
side of the track. It accelerates from 200 to 300 in  less than two  
seconds and may well erupt in flames at some point near the end of the  
pass. As it passes the end of the grandstands, it can make a hard move  
if there's a crosswind. That will happen at close to 300 mph. But a  
correction has to be smooth and subtle. Sudden movements will put the  
car right into the guardrail.  Of course, driving that kind of beast  
doesn't require any kind of athletic ability and anyone can do it:-).
> ;-)
> cheers,
> frank
> -- 
> "Sharpness is a bourgeois concept."  -Henri Cartier-Bresson
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