Designing a competitive Formula 1 car is extremely complex and detailed with an array of factors to take into account in the design and implementation process.
For the chassis design at Enstone alone, over 70 staff members are employed in the design office (DO). The DO is split into different sections ranging from transmission design, mechanical design, stress analysis and the Vehicle Performance Group (VPG).
It’s a purpose built open-plan office to encourage interaction between the sub-groups.
It takes approximately 150,000 man-hours and 19,000 CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings to define the 14,500 components of a car, with the work commencing around 18 months prior to a new season.
Every year the FIA sets out its future rules and regulations, which are thoroughly scrutinised by the management team and designers to get the most out of their plans and to make the package as competitive as possible.
The employees in the design office report to Martin Tolliday (Chief Designer) and Simon Virrill (Deputy Chief Designer), who are overseen by Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester.
Designer Maria Baerthel, whose bene at Enstone since 2014, sheds some light on how the DO is organized.
“The design office is split up in different sections: gearbox department, mechanical department, suspension department and composite department, which is the biggest group, with 70 people working in the design office.
“We also have a stress department, which we are very closely working together with. All the composite parts go actually first to the stress department before we finalise the design.”