Technical Summary - Toyota AM01 F1-2001 test car
By Craig Scarborough
This is Toyotas first F1 car and indeed their first single seater, only their second factory prototype after the GT-One.
Toyota Team Europe, TTE is based in Koln, Germany, making it one of the few (4others) non British based F1 teams. TTE is based in an impressive, high-tech, 17,000 sq m facility in Koln, Germany, and employs around 300 people.
Toyota Team Europe has become the central point for Toyota's motorsport involvement based in Europe. The design, construction and operation of the Corolla WRC and Toyota GT-One entry in Le Mans were managed from TTE.
TTE head hunted a lot of technical staff from other F1 and Motorsport teams, this has made them unpopular around the paddock, but the need to bring in outside people was inevitable seeing they will be only the full constructor (that is engine, gearbox and chassis) aside from Ferrari.
The team shave also invested in the Southern French circuit of Paul Ricard (part owned by Bernie Ecclestone) making it up to current F1 standards for safety. This circuit will be the basis for performance testing of the car by Mika Salo, while the other driver Allan McNish tests at the other circuits on the F1 calendar gathering data. The intensive testing schedule has already produce development on the car aimed improving reliability or performance. The team shave already had one major political casualty, the original designer Andre de Cortanze was fired in May and the team poached Minardi designer Gustav Brunner to replace him. Forcing Minardi to start legal proceedings to prevent the loss of their designer. The matter was solved out of court and Brunner has taken on his new role at TTE.
Andre de Cortanze,
An acknowledged top level designer with experience of: GT and rally cars with Peugeot, Toyota’s GT car, F1 Experience with Sauber, and was noted for designing the innovative Elf GP motorbike of the eighties. He is known for his knowledge of suspension and innovative aerodynamics.
Another well known top level designer, Brunner has made his name mainly in F1, particulary with low budget teams designing neat, innovative and reliable cars, Brunner is credited with the bodyworkless carbon monocoque now universal in F1 when he worked for ATS in 1983, he has also designed for March-RAM, Ferrari and most recently Minardi.
Toyotas other recent Motorsport activities in Europe
Designed and built by Toyota Team Europe in Köln, was introduced in January 1998 to contest the 24 Hours race at Le Mans. The new GT car was designed from a clean sheet of paper under the direction Andre de Cortanze.
Corolla WRC Rally program
The compact, four-wheel drive hatchback powered by a two litre turbocharged engine, the Corolla exploited the new regulations intended to make it easier to produce a car capable of winning the World Championship, whilst setting strict limits on performance. In the capable hands of Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya, the car claimed its first World Rally Championship win in Monte Carlo in January 1998, with Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet taking the honours in Spain three months later. Notably Toyota were thrown out of the championship for technical irregularities on their Turbocharger restrictor.
Indy car program
The Engine developed and branded as Toyota is solely the work of Toyota Racing Development, TRD in America. They have no connection with TTS in Europe.
None available, has to be a v10, angle expected to be ~90 degrees
Airbox & engine cover
One striking point when viewing the car head on is the narrowness of airbox\engine cover, the sides of this structure are almost vertical and are no wider than the width the drive rear head rest., in fact the drivers helmet is the widest point in the middle of the car. The airbox inlet duct is the large and open and is similar in size and profile to the Minardi inlet. The roll over hoop does not yet feature the ears to meet the dimensional regulations, F1 cars even when testing before officially joining F1 are required to meet the fia technical regulations on weight and design, after Honda tested their prototype car well under weight at an official test and set times faster than the existing teams running to the weight limits. How Toyotas private use of the Paul Ricard circuit in France affect this mandate is not clear, is the team test at an official F1 track or test they will have to comply with all the FIA regulations.
The fuel filler and its hinged flap are mounted on the monocoque quite high on the roll hoop structure, the flap is round and does not extend far enough down to meet the sidepod tops. Neatly this positioning of the flap allows the sponsor Esso to place its name centrally on the panel
Side impact head rests (SIHR’s)
As with one of the common formats of side impact head restraints air flows cleanly between the drivers head and the SIHR’s. The rear of the SIHR’s are not truncated, but blend gently in to the tops of the sidepods, there is a continuous gap between the these headrests and the engine cover. In side elevation the cockpit dips between after the front roll protection.
The nose is quite high and the tops and bottom remain largely horizontal through out their length
The underside of the nose is quite flat except for a narrow rib to mount the lower wishbones. The underside of the nose curves quite abruptly around to meet the front splitter (shadow plate). The front splitter (shadow plate) is very thin and features no fences or double skinning to accommodate ballast.
The sidepods come quite far forward and probably shroud some form a side impact structures, however forward of the sidepods now shaping to widen the monocoque in order to provide more protection is visible.
The front suspension is quite conventional, the moulded carbon upper wishbone feature flexure mountings on their inboard ends and mount to the chassis with large alloy clevises, these are larger than most current F1 teams and allow a larger degree of geometry changes, this again suggests the work Toyota are doing to optimise their suspension geometry. The lower wishbones mount on the central rib under the nose, these do not appear to much freedom for adjustment.
The spring dampers are operated by pushrods, these carbon elements mount on the lower wishbone and connect to the bell crank that operate the damper via an alloy extension to the need of the pushrod, this alloy extension features Ferrari like shims to adjust ride height and the assembly is clamped by two fasteners. Only a single small access appears to created in the top of the monocoque for access to the dampers and pedals.
The steering rack is mounted forward and mid way between the wishbones, the steering column s not allow to intrude on the space occupied by the drivers legs and hence this requires the almost horizontal steering column to connect to the much lower steering rack via geared drop shaft (as per Williams). This creates more friction in the steering mechanism and would suggest Toyota have a power steering system to aid the drivers. The mid placed steering rack means the steering arms have to pass though slots created in the brake ducts.
Currently conventional format brake ducts are used and in most tests the top 10-20mm of the ducts have been closed off with a strip carbon fibre. No other detail on the layout of the uprights have been disclosed.
The front wing mounts via two drop plates, the shape of the wing is still quite simple and would appear to be for a low downforce configuration, it should be noted that the Paul Ricard circuit where most of the testing is completed is a very high speed track with long fast curves, no doubt Toyota have created different versions of the track with cones to mark out slower bends. The wing does not dip in the centre section, in fact slight raise in the middle can be seen, the outer edges of the wing are curved upwards slightly. A small fence is mounted under the wing, they are offset from vertical and follow the Sauber style triangular shape and are also steadied by a small cable.
The endplates are totally conventional, with an angular convex shape towards the rear and a small flip up.
The barge boards are also a commonly used format, being quite large with a small curve to bring them under the monocoque slightly.
The sidepods are quite low and sweep down gently to create an even lower deck at the rear
The sidepods have permanently featured flip ups, the are long and sleek in shape and small endplate is formed by the rolled edge of the flip up. The car has features removable cooling chimneys and are quite narrow in profile, the car has had reported cooling problems as the engine and chassis designers marry the requirements of the engine sidepods and radiator package
The inlet for the sidepods unusually features a distinctive split inlet, this has been used by F1 teams in the past. The exact reason Toyota employ it is not stated, but possible they have sought to create two separate ducts for oil and water cooling, that way the incoming airflow can be measured for each requirement and the designers can gain engineer new inlets matches to the specific oil and water cooling requirements.
The sidepod covers are one piece and no part of the surface is formed by side impact protection structures, this allow the team to modify the shape easily.
The sidepods covers are individual and the engine\airbox cover is a separate piece of bodywork, again the simplify modifications.
The exhausts exit periscope style through the top of the sidepods, they exit quite far forward on the sidepods, this complicates the exhaust routing and proximity to the radiators but does allow a lower narrower coke bottle shape at the rear of the car. The sidepods end inline with the rear axles line and the top surface is quite narrow, as no deck formed by extending the top edge of the pods. Small blisters are moulded into the rear central section where the engine cover and sidepods meet to clear the suspension.
Floor & diffuser
The floor either side of the coke bottle shape forming the rest of the mandatory flat bottom area is fashionable thin and blends into the sidepods with a narrow tight fillet, the leading edge of the pods is curved unlike most current F1 cars where a small lip is formed to deter air flowing under the floor.
The rear diffuser has not been revealed in any detail so far, how ever viewing it form the front, it is clear the rear leg of the lower wishbones pass inside the central tunnel via a small windows cut out of the panel, this upsets the airflow only Williams have recently passed suspension elements through the diffuser. This may be due to a change in the geometry of the rear suspension rather than a design feature and no doubt a subsequent iteration of the suspension diffuser package will be produced.
Another interesting point on the rear of the car is the offset of the rear wheels, most F1 cars have deeply off set rear wheels, where the wheel centre is nearer the centre of the car, the Toyota wheels have a small offset and the wheel centre is only 15-20cm from the outside of the wheel. This would allow Toyota to create longer rear suspensions links or more space to package the upright\brake assembly, also the air exiting the wheel would have an easier path, with the rapid development of brake ducts this year this could be adopted elsewhere next year .
The rear wing seems to be a simple triple element or bi plane arrangement, the smallish endplates, featuring generous cut outs to clear the rear wheels, no attempt has been made to connect the endplate to the sidepods or flip ups. The lower element that forms the wing mount is also a simple straight item.
Rear impact structure
The rear impact structure that it mounts to, extends horizontally fro the top of the rear light towards the gearbox, it does not curve down to meet the rear of the gearbox like most F1 cars with a similar high mounted structure. Neither does it intrude into the central diffuser tunnel, this suggests that either the lower element and diffuser are lower than the norm in F1 or the rear end (gearbox etc) is higher, bearing in mind the work Toyota have done to lower he rear end of the sidepods the lower option is more likely, this may affect Toyotas ability to create a higher central tunnel for more downforce should it be needed .
In testing during June July some revisions were noted on the car, the sidepods have been revised. The teams reported cooling problems in the heat of the south of France, where the test track is located. To new shapes have been noted, firstly the rear end of the sidepods appear to be much lower, the upper wishbone and track control arm have been exposed and now pass over the top of the sidepods with a few centimetres clearance. The rest of the sidepods and flip up remain similar to the launch\early test version.
The other difference has been the inclusion of black carbon fibre panel inserted into the lower mid section of the sidepods, this appears in outline to be a reminder of the ducts let into the side of the GT-One endurance car, on the gt-one their use was to exhaust air from the front underwing, but on the F1 car I expect they exhaust air from the radiators in order to improve cooling, it is not clear the insert curves back in to the front of the sidepod, but I expect this is the case, a similar format was used on F1 cars in the 80’s & 90’s before the flow was totally ducted out of the back of the sidepod.
Also a louvered outlet under the start of the flip up has been used to aid cooling.
All these developments have been seen independently and together on the car, again suggesting that Toyota have a flexible design for testing aerodynamic solutions.