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Sauber split an F1 racing car in half

Racing team Sauber has done something never attempted before and managed to split a Formula 1 car in half. It took them two years to do it, but for any racing fans out there it was definitely worth it. For the first time we can see exactly how an F1 car is laid out from front to back.

Having stood next to one of these cars, it’s surprising how small they actually are. What you don’t realize until you see inside is just how low everything is positioned to keep the center of gravity as close to the ground as possible.

That desire to keep everything as low as possible even extends to the fuel. As you can see, the fuel tank includes a number of baffles and a pipe system. Each race the car starts with a close to full tank of fuel, but as the race progresses it gets used up leaving an empty space. The engineers don’t want that fuel sloshing about as it will adversely affect performance, so they force it down through the pipe and keep it from moving too much with the sectional baffles.

The driver has to have a lot of trust in the car and the team. His back is just 50mm away from the fuel tank, and his backside is a mere 10mm off the ground. When you see these cars go over a bump you can guarantee the driver feels it. Their seat is a carbon honeycomb structure with a minimal amount of foam padding to help with comfort. It’s very strong while remaining lightweight, and acts as a safety shell that protects the driver from being injured in all but the worst of crashes, but it isn’t exactly comfortable.

Looking at the car as a whole, there’s doesn’t seem to be that many components. That’s mainly due to everything you’d expect to find on a typical car being miniaturized as far as possible. The end result is a racing car that can hit 300 km/h and weighs as little as 440kg before you add the driver and fuel. Impressive stuff.

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