click above to view more high-res images of the BMW Sauber F1.08

While BMW was busy taking the wraps off the production X6 and 3-liter twin-turbo-diesel in Detroit, its Formula One team unveiled its latest race car at their headquarters in Munich, Germany. For those of you who missed the event, which was broadcast live over the internet, we've got the details for you here.

A "radical evolution" is what star designer Willy Rampf calls his latest creation, the BMW Sauber F1.08. Based on last year's successful F1.07, which took the team to second place overall in the constructors' championship (following McLaren's disqualification), the F1.08 adapts to the new regulations – loss of traction control, standardized ECU and longer-lasting transmission – while the bodywork narrows in width, coupled with an improved aerodynamic package.

BMW is hoping to compete with Ferrari and McLaren next season for checkered flags, and given its progress since taking over the Sauber team in 2006, it just might get there. Both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica are staying on for a third consecutive season with the team, lending stability when many teams are switching it up for 2008.

Check out the gallery below for high-resolution images of the F1.08 launch, and pertinent excerpts from the 108-page press release after the jump.

[Source: BMW Sauber F1 Team]

Related GalleryBMW Sauber F1.08 launch

Press release excerpts

BMW Sauber F1 Team sets its sights on maiden victory.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team has completed its development phase, motivation is strong and its plans are ambitious: the team has targeted a first race win in what will be its third season on the Formula One grid. "We're setting our sights high," admits BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, "and we'll have to make further improvements in all areas to achieve what we want to. However, the past two years have instilled confidence within the team. We met our goals in both 2006 and 2007, we are heading in the right direction, and everybody in Munich and Hinwil is focused on the job in hand. If we continue our progress along this path we will also fulfil our aims for 2008."

The team will take on the challenge with the same brace of race drivers as in 2007 – Germany's Nick Heidfeld (30) and his Polish team-mate Robert Kubica (23) will be at the wheel of the BMW Sauber F1.08 for the 18 grands prix which make up the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

"It is generally very difficult to define expectations and make forecasts, but I hope that our plan works out and we are able to win our first race in 2008," says Heidfeld, who once again accounted for the largest share of the points earned by the team in 2007 and finished on the podium twice. "I expect us to move forward in all areas – particularly as far as reliability is concerned – and to learn from our mistakes. This development process is essential in what we're trying to achieve."

And Kubica adds: "I will also be looking to achieve greater consistency in my results during my second full season in Formula One. Retirements and that crash in Canada – which also prevented me from starting in the USA – cost me points in 2007. We all need to take further steps forward in 2008 and make maximum use of every opportunity that presents itself."

Theissen holds his two drivers in high regard: "In Nick and Robert we have a strong and evenly matched duo. For our young team, which in 2006 and 2007 had to drive forward its structural and personnel development alongside
its World Championship campaign, consistency is also a great asset. We know that these two drivers will get the maximum out of the machinery we give them. The F1.07 was a good car, but with the extra resources which have become available to us, the F1.08 should be even better."

The new BMW Sauber F1.08.

For Technical Director Willy Rampf, the philosophy behind the race car for the 2008 season boils down to what he calls "radical evolution". In other words, last year's car already provided the engineers with a sound basis for the
BMW Sauber F1.08, and they did not have to spend time ironing out faults. Instead they were able to use knowledge gained over the course of the 2007 season and channel their energies into the development of innovations which build on this basis.

The engineers' development work focused on achieving a high level of aerodynamic efficiency coupled with a stable aero balance: the lower the loss of downforce when the wheels turn in, the faster the car can travel and the greater the confidence it gives the driver. Other development aims included improving mechanical grip in order to make the best possible use of the standard tyres, and reducing the weight of various components to allow maximum use of ballast in optimising weight distribution.

While the regulations governing aerodynamics remain unchanged in 2008, two other changes to the rulebook have had a major effect: the introduction of standardised electronics (SECU) and the new running time stipulation for gearboxes, which must now be used over four grands prix. Since the SECU does not allow for traction control, among other functions, mechanical grip and sensitive accelerator control will gain in importance.

A particularly eye-catching feature of the F1.08 is the mighty front wing. Having said that, the car's nose has actually slimmed down – in equal measure to the rear end. The narrower engine cover has been designed with all-new extra wing elements. Another new and immediately noticeable feature are the hub caps, or "rim shields".

The BMW Sauber F1.08 celebrated its global public presentation in Munich on 14th January 2008. "The data which the F1.08 has delivered ahead of its roll-out is extremely promising," says Rampf. "And the development work will continue full speed ahead up to the start of the new season. We have already come up with another aero package for the season-opener in Melbourne on 16th March, and this will also change the external appearance of the F1.08 once more."


Development phase reaches its conclusion.

The BMW Sauber F1 Team was consistently the third-strongest team in 2007 and finished the season in second place in the standings following the exclusion of McLaren Mercedes from the Constructors' World Championship. The team had completed its debut season of 2006 in fifth place in the World Championship. Its drivers recorded two podium finishes in each of its first two years – three third places and one second place.

Alongside the unrelenting schedule of the race and testing calendar, the BMW Sauber F1 Team also had to focus on the development of the team in terms of personnel and logistics during its first two years on the grid. Rigorous expansion work has been carried out at its Hinwil base near Zurich since BMW took over the team on 1st January 2006. With its workforce having grown by over 150 to 420, the team moved into the new extension to the Swiss plant in late 2007. The number of employees involved in the Formula One project at BMW's Munich HQ remains unchanged at some 300.

The BMW Sauber F1.08 – a radical evolution.

The BMW Sauber F1.08 has been built on high-class foundations, its predecessor – the F1.07 – having comfortably lived up to everything expected of it. The designers, therefore, enjoyed a sound basis on which to build, and were under no pressure to take any major risks. "That's why we decided to go for evolution rather than revolution," says Technical Director Willy Rampf. Added to which, the engineers benefited from the achievement of the BMW Sauber F1 Team in establishing itself as the third-strongest team on the grid early on in 2007. "That gave us the chance to divert more resources to the development of the new car," explains Rampf. "We put our faith in some logically consistent approaches, which led to interesting solutions." The result is a car which Rampf describes as a "radical evolution".

"Our aim was to build a car with impressive aerodynamic efficiency, but which also boasted a very stable aero balance. Which means that it hardly loses any downforce when the wheels are turned in, and thus gives the driver a lot of confidence," says Rampf, offering a glimpse into his team's thinking. Two other items on the priority list were an improvement in mechanical grip – in order to fully exploit the potential of the tyres – and a reduction in the weight of numerous components. This approach was designed to allow a high level of flexibility in terms of weight distribution through the maximum use of ballast. There was, however, no room for compromise as far as rigidity was concerned.

The F1 regulations inevitably play a central role in the construction of a new car. The two key changes to the rulebook for 2008 were the introduction of a standard electronics unit (SECU) and the new running time stipulation for the gearbox, which is now required to survive four consecutive grands prix.

The development of the chassis was particularly hard hit by the incorporation of the SECU, with the traction control and engine braking control systems among the casualties of the new standard unit. This had the effect of making the car considerably more nervous under acceleration and braking. In order to counteract the loss of traction control as far as possible, the engineers focused particular attention on improving mechanical grip.

The concept phase got underway in May. "The scheduling looked after itself really, as we wanted to evaluate the data from the first few races of the season before getting down to work on the design of the new car," says Rampf. Among the areas of the car decided on at this point were the position of the engine, the length of the gearbox, the wheelbase, weight distribution, tank size and suspension concept. Here, the experience collected by the technicians with the standard Bridgestone tyre played an important role.

Striking front wing.

Look the F1.08 in the eye and its front wing cuts an imposing figure. A totally new development, it now consists of three elements. The BMW Sauber F1 Team's aerodynamics experts invested a considerable amount of time in its design; after all, the front wing affects the aerodynamics of the whole car.

Only if this component possesses extremely high downforce potential will the car be able to show perfect balance.
The nose section of the car, which is significantly slimmer than that of its predecessor, has to work harmoniously with the front wing, as Rampf confirms: "You can't treat the individual components in isolation. At the end of the day, it is critical that they work together to optimum effect."

When it came to developing the concept for the side turning vanes, the aerodynamics experts returned to their experience with the F1.07. On the new car these are once again made up of two elements – the forward turning vane and the main turning vane. Although appearing identical to the turning vanes on the 2007 car, when you take a closer look they are actually totally different.

The endeavours of the aerodynamics team have ensured improved airflow around the sidepods and enabled the underbody to work with great efficiency.

The sidepods have undergone minor modifications in both form and size in order to further enhance cooling. With the engineers having enjoyed a successful result with the cooling concept of the F1.07, the same principle was retained, and complemented by further optimisation measures, in the development of the F1.08. This paved the way for heavier tapering at the rear of the sidepods, enabling extremely efficient airflow to the rear wing and diffuser. The radiator remains in a similar position as on the F1.07.

Ultra-slim rear.

The engine cover has been downsized substantially in terms of bulk, improving the efficiency of the rear end. The cooling air outlets and "chimneys" have been optimised to almost eliminate any tail-off in performance during a GP run in extreme heat. Positioning the exhaust system at particularly close quarters to the engine was a factor in achieving the extremely slim-cut construction of the rear. The new layout was developed in cooperation with engine develop-ment colleagues in Munich, who refined the construction during a series of trials on the test rig.

The extra wing elements on the engine cover – which link up harmoniously with the winglets in front of the rear wheels – are another all-new feature of the 2008 car. These not only generate downforce but also enhance airflow
to the rear wing, which is itself a further development of last year's version.

The car's aerodynamics are rounded off by the wheel rim covers, fixed stationary on the front axle but designed to turn with the wheels at the rear. Their task is the same at both the front and rear: to optimise brake cooling and improve the flow of air around the tyres.

A critical factor in all of these developments was the interplay between the testing programme in the wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluid dynamics). It was late 2006 when the team's experts put the supercomputer Albert2
into operation. Based on Intel technology, its huge performance potential has allowed the engineers to carry out not only more, but also extremely complex calculations.

The development process for the suspension was still young when the engineers began to address the implications of traction control's fall from grace. Added to which, they also set about channelling the knowledge gained with the standard Bridgestone tyre in 2007 into the new car. Their aim was to make optimum use of the tyres both on a hot lap in qualifying and over the full race distance. And that meant ensuring a combination of good traction and high braking stability. Achieving this goal would help to preserve the tyres and make life easier for the drivers by providing stable handling.

The front suspension is a consistent further development of the system familiar from the F1.07. Modified kinematics and another step forward in the power steering system ensure increased feedback for the driver. The rear-axle kinematics were designed to give the car predictable handling and imbue
the driver with plenty of confidence.

Changes to the appearance of the cockpit area can be traced back to new safety stipulations set out in the F1 regulations. The cockpit's head protection sidewalls had to be raised further to enhance safety for the drivers should their car be hit by another car which is off the ground.

"In the development of the BMW Sauber F1.08 we concentrated our efforts on the two areas which offered most potential in terms of performance: aerodynamics and the chassis, with its knock-on effect on tyres," says Rampf, and adds: "Our success with the F1.07 gave the whole team a lot of confidence, and that has now been reflected in a number of innovative solutions. The data we are getting from the BMW Sauber F1.08 is very encouraging."
Pre-season development work still had a long way to run after the presentation of the F1.08 on 14th January 2008 – as Rampf explains: "We will come up with a new aerodynamics package before the first race of the season in Melbourne."

A notable side-effect of this will be a moderately striking change in the outward appearance of the F1.08.

BMW Sauber F1.08 – technical data.

Chassis: carbon-fibre monocoque

Suspension: upper and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs and dampers, actuated by pushrods
(Sachs Race Engineering)

Brakes: six-piston brake callipers (Brembo),
carbon pads and discs (Brembo, Carbone Industrie)

Transmission: 7-speed quick shift gearbox, longitudinally mounted, carbon-fibre clutch (AP)

Chassis electronics: MES

Steering wheel: BMW Sauber F1 Team

Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza

Wheels: OZ

Dimensions: length 4,600 mm
width 1,800 mm
height 1,000 mm
track width, front 1,470 mm
track width, rear 1,410 mm
wheelbase 3,130 mm

Weight: 605 kg (incl. driver, tank empty)

The monocoque.

The monocoque is the core of a Formula One car, the driver's workplace and survival cell in one. The engine is flanged on at the rear, the car's nose at the front. The form of the monocoque is shaped by a series of factors, such as the car's wheelbase, the size of its fuel tank, the driver's physique, and aerodynamic requirements.

The first stage in the design process for the monocoque involves the definition of the surface form. Finite-element calculations are then carried out in order to ensure that the safety cell meets the levels of rigidity and strength identified as necessary by the engineers. These requirements are based on the dynamic loads encountered by the car on the one hand, and the safety stipulations of the FIA on the other. The safety standards underpinning the construction of F1 cars have risen constantly over recent years and passive safety for the drivers has, therefore, improved significantly. To this end, the key tests are the frontal crash (with nose section) at a speed of 15 m/s, the side-on impact (with sidepods) at 10 m/s and the stationary load test for the roll-over bar, which has to withstand some twelve tonnes of pressure. A total of four dynamic and ten stationary tests are carried out on the car overall.
The monocoque consists of a carbon fibre/aluminium honeycomb composite. This combination produces extremely high rigidity and strength, yet keeps a lid on weight. The composite engineers work out how many layers of carbon fibre are required in which areas in order to meet the diverse demands placed on the car. In so doing, they can also choose from various different types of carbon fibre, depending on whether forces are exerted from only one direction or from several. In areas subjected to particularly heavy loads, up to 60 layers
of carbon may be stacked on top of each other.

A monocoque consists of a total of around 1,500 individual carbon-fibre pieces. It is made from two half shells, into which additional strengthening elements are glued. After several curing stages in the autoclave the half shells are glued together. The final stage involves the assembly of numerous
securing components.

Its enormous strength allows the monocoque to offer the driver an extremely high level of protection even in major impacts. And because the fuel tank is also contained within this structure, dramatic fireballs caused by accidents are a thing of the past. The safety cell can almost always be repaired following a crash.

The BMW Sauber F1 Team produces some eight monocoques per year to be used in races, track testing and on the test rig. Every single safety cell must be homologated by the FIA, although only the first example has to pass the full quota of tests. All subsequent monocoques are merely weighed to make sure that the teams have not suddenly decided to use a lighter version.

Seat.

The latest Formula One cars endure lateral acceleration of over 4g through corners and as much 5g or more under braking. An F1 race will see these forces exerted on the driver repeatedly over a timeframe of one-and-a-half to two hours. A perfect seating position for the driver is absolutely vital, since the smallest pressure points can lead to pain or muscle cramp. Each driver, therefore, uses a seat which has been tailored precisely to his measurements.
The manufacture of a new seat is based around a basic carbon-fibre shell, which is lined with a polythene bag. This contains either a two-component foam or polystyrene granules, which are then vacuumised. The driver sits in the seat and waits as this mass slowly moulds itself to his body. At the same time, a steady stream of small modifications are being carried out. The position of the steering wheel and pedals are also adjusted. When everything is in the right place, the seat foam or polystyrene granules are left to harden. A seat fitting
of this nature will occupy the drivers for between half a day and a whole day. The end result is a transitional seat which will be used for initial testing and serve as a prototype for the permanent version.

The definitive seat is made by first electronically scanning the inner surface of the provisional model. The engineers use the scan to create a mathematical surface, on the basis of which the form is moulded into a tooling block. The seat then takes shape through the application of individual carbon-fibre sheets and is cured in the autoclave. The final manufacturing stage sees the seat given its finish. As part of this process, the apertures for the safety and rescue belts are cut out and a one-millimetre-thick layer of padding added. A finished seat weighs around three kilos.

Carbon fibre.

With the exception of the engine, gearbox and wheel carriers, a Formula One car is made almost exclusively from carbon fibre. High rigidity and strength, coupled with very low weight, are the stand-out attributes of carbon. It boasts a similar level of rigidity to steel, but is around five times lighter. On the downside, the manufacturing processes involved in making it are highly complex and its material price is considerable. One square metre of pre-impregnated carbon-fibre sheeting costs between 50 and 200 euros.

Carbon fibres have a diameter of five to eight micrometres. Typically, between 1,000 and some 20,000 fibres are brought together into bundles, and these are woven into textile-like structures.

Around 20 different types of carbon-fibre material are used in Formula One. These differ most prominently from one another in their structure and the type of resin with which they are impregnated. Should the forces only be coming in from one direction, unidirectional weave is used. If they are being exerted from various different directions, on the other hand, bidirectional weave is preferred. In order to provide the properties desired, specialist composite engineers establish which weave is required, in which resin and in how many layers

The manufacturing process involved in making a carbon-fibre part incorpo-rates several stages. First the part is designed using computer-based CAD (Computer Aided Design) techniques. This data is then refined and provides the basis for CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). The mould is cut into a tooling block on a five-axis milling machine; this block serves as the positive mould. The laminators place the precisely pre-cut carbon-fibre pieces one after the other onto the tooling block following plans drawn up by the composite engineers. When this stage has been completed, the whole item is packed into a polythene bag, vacuumised and cured for anything between ten and 20 hours in the autoclave at a temperature of around 50 degrees Celsius. After some final touches, the negative mould is then ready to be manufactured into the carbon-fibre part itself.


The laminators lay the pre-moulded carbon-fibre pieces on top of and along-side each other in the negative mould. Depending on the part in question, this can involve as many as several hundred pieces. When everything is ready,
the mould – plus carbon-fibre inlay – is also packed into a polythene bag, vacuumised and cured for five to six hours at a temperature of approx. 150 degrees. When the curing process is over, the individual parts are further refined and brought together into finished components. A front wing, for example, consists of around 20 separate carbon-fibre parts.

Components which need to demonstrate particular toughness are made with Kevlar as well as carbon fibre. The Kevlar used by the BMW Sauber F1 Team is produced and supplied by its partner DuPont.

Steering wheel.

The steering wheel in a Formula One car is the driver's control centre. From here he steers the car, operates the clutch, changes gear and can adjust any number of electronic functions using several buttons.
The first stage of the design process sees the engineers set out the functions which the driver will control using buttons or rotary switches. The initial layout is then established, before a provisional version of the steering wheel is made using rapid prototyping. In the next stage, the driver is brought in to assess whether all the controls are in the optimum position. If this is not the case, he expresses how he would like them to be.

Manufacture of the definitive steering wheel can now begin, for which the carbon-fibre "frame" provides the basis. The holes for the switches and buttons are bored into the frame before the foam for the grip is applied. This is then wrapped in carbon fibre once again. The grip of Robert Kubica's steering wheel is covered in leather, while Nick Heidfeld prefers a silicon mass moulded precisely to the form of his hand.

Now it is time for the buttons and switches to be added and wired up to the circuit board before the display is connected. From 2008 both the circuit board and the display will form part of the SECU and be made available in standardised form by the FIA.

After all the electronics work has been completed, the specialists set about assembling the mechanical parts – such as the gearshift and clutch paddles – and the quick release mechanism on the reverse side of the wheel. Drivers removing the steering wheel to get in and out of the car and then replacing it has become a familiar sight to F1 fans. The quick release mechanism is also required to pass an FIA test in which the driver has to be able to vacate the cockpit within five seconds.

Before the steering wheel is sent into action it is checked over on the test rig. Only when it has emerged from this testing session with flying colours are the buttons and switches glued onto the reverse side of the frame. It may weigh just one kilo, but this lightweight high-tech steering wheel is now ready for some seriously heavy use.

New rules governing Munich's finest.

While the BMW V8 engine has retained the same homologated basic form since the end of 2006, with further development only permitted in peripheral areas, other components of the powertrain – which is developed entirely
in Munich under the watchful eye of Markus Duesmann – have undergone fundamental modifications.
From 2008 each Formula One car's gearbox has to last four consecutive race weekends. Only the gearwheels and associated dog rings of the individual gears may be changed – once – during the weekend, to allow the gear ratios to be adjusted to the different race tracks. This leeway is essential when the race in Monaco (top speed approx. 290 km/h), for example, is followed immediately by Montreal (top speed approx. 330 km/h). With the exception of a few minor subcomponents, however, the gearbox now has to remain untouched for some 2,500 kilometres.
The mileage it is required to cover is not the only new demand placed on the gearbox, though. The gear ratio pairs must now have a minimum weight of 600 grams and a minimum width of 12 millimetres, and measure no less than 85 millimetres between the main and auxiliary drive shafts. This meant the gearbox had to be completely redesigned. Plus, a host of new components had to be sourced, as those used in 2007 no longer conformed with the technical regulations.

In a conventional gearbox the drive used to change gear is interrupted for approx. 50 milliseconds; the vehicle has no forward power for this snapshot of time and the car just rolls. The wind resistance generated at the high speeds achieved in Formula One brakes the car by around 1g during this suspension of tractive power. In a road car, this would come across as powerful braking. This interruption of power every time the driver shifts up a gear – which he will do some 2,000 times over the race distance of the Monaco Grand Prix – adds up to a significant loss of time or a deficit of several hundred metres by the end of the race.

The new quick shift gearbox (QSG) fitted in the BMW G1.08, however, totally eliminates this break in tractive power. The ingenious interplay of electronic and mechanical components is the key. One of the main tasks here was to marry these complex requirements with the new standard ECU stipulated for use by all teams from 2008.
Both the development and production of the QSG takes place in Munich.

The transmission's extremely durable toothed gears – partly manufactured at BMW's Dingolfing plant – are made of high-strength steel, while the transmission housing is of cast titanium. Converting torque and engine revs is just one of the transmission's jobs. It also has to pass on the forces generated in the suspension to the chassis via the engine.

One black box fits all.

As for the second fundamental change in the regulations, the BMW engineers have far less influence over that. All the teams on the grid have been supplied with a standard electronics unit – effectively a black box and operating instructions – and left to make the best they can of it. The most prominent casualty of the introduction of this SECU (Standard Electronic Control Unit) are the electronic traction control systems, which precisely regulate engine
power through corners and under acceleration in order to minimise slip and, therefore, optimise traction.

The BMW Race Car Controller (RCC) system, used by the BMW Sauber F1 Team in 2007 for all engine, gearbox and car-related issues, combined maximum functionality, flexibility and adaptability to all driving conditions with a minimal space requirement and weight. With the SECU – supplied by McLaren Electronics Systems – on the other hand, both the electronic hardware and programmes are stipulated in the regulations. This change of tack required not only a revision of the car's technical specifications, but also the implementation of sweeping measures affecting infrastructure and peripheral issues – starting in the area of testing. This concerned not only the full complement of engine, gearbox and component test rigs, but also the application and evaluation tools for telemetry and analysis, and the computers in Munich, Hinwil and at the race circuits.

This required the investment of considerable capacity and resources in new car systems – e.g. in the steering wheel with all its control functions, in the retuning of the chassis, gearbox and engine to new sensors, and in the fundamentally different philosophy and logic of the SECU.

Trials with the SECU have been conducted on the engine and gearbox test rig at BMW in Munich since July 2007, and in autumn 2007 testing began in an interim car.

As Mario Theissen explains: "Since 2000, development of BMW's F1 electronics had taken place entirely in-house. To this end, the BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) played an important role. The whole company, including its series-produced road cars, benefited from these developments – in the form of both function operating systems and the associated monitoring technology. All of which means we're not too happy about the introduction of the SECU. However, 2009 will bring with it another new challenge for our F1 experts, one which is already enshrined in the regulations. We will be developing systems using kinetic energy. We currently enjoy the fruits of production car developments as far as energy regeneration systems are concerned. However, by the start of the 2009 season we will be developing technologies at F1 speed which will then bring about advances for series-produced vehicles. Among the components involved will be generators, electric motors and storage media. These developments are also important elements in the design of economically efficient and environmentally compatible road cars."

The road to the homologated engine.

Over recent years the FIA has imposed a raft of new and far-reaching regulations governing engine development. The sport's governing body cited safety – i.e. lower top speeds – and cost savings as the reasons behind
the changes.

Among the implications of the new regulations has been a quadrupling of the service life required of the engines since 2002. In 2003 the drivers had to use the same engine in the race as they had in qualifying for the first time. 2004 saw the introduction of the one-weekend rule, and since 2005 the power units have been called on to survive two consecutive GP weekends. Since 2007, though, engines exempt from these regulations have been permitted once again in the first two free practice sessions, so as to increase driver activity on the Friday of the race weekend.

Development work on the current BMW V8 engine began in late November 2004 after the decision was taken to switch from V10 to V8 powerplants for the 2006 season. The move was underpinned by a series of central parameters governing the engines' construction. Displacement of 2,400 cc and a bank angle of 90 degrees were stipulated for the V8 engines. The powerplants had to tip the scales at no less than 95 kilo¬grams. This included the intake system up to and including the air filter, fuel rail and injectors, ignition coils, sensors and wiring, alternator, coolant pumps and oil pumps. It did not include liquids, exhaust manifolds, heat protection shields, oil tanks, accumulators, heat exchangers and the hydraulic pump.

The new regulations stipulated that the engine's centre of gravity must be at least 165 millimetres above the lower edge of the oil sump. The longitudinal and lateral position of the V8's centre of gravity has to be in the geometric centre of the engine (± 50 millimetres).

The cylinder bore is limited to a maximum 98 millimetres. The gap between the cylinders is also set out in the rulebook – at 106.5 millimetres (± 0.2 mm). The central axis of the crankshaft must not lie any less than 58 millimetres above the reference plane. Variable intake systems designed to optimise torque have also been banned since 2006.

The power supply to the engine electrics and electronics is limited to a maximum 17 volts and the fuel pump has to be mechanically operated.

Only an actuator may be used to activate the throttle valve system. With the exception of the electric auxiliary pumps in the petrol tank, all subcomponents had to be driven mechanically and directly via the engine. In addition, a long
list of exotic materials were excluded and the team has since then limited itself to working with the conventional titanium and aluminium alloys stipulated in the regulations.

Further restrictions followed in 2007. Engine speed was restricted to 19,000 rpm from the start of the season, while at the end of 2006 all the teams had had to submit sample engines which would remain essentially unchanged initially up to the end of 2010. The only remaining development potential for the engineers lay in peripheral areas, such as the cooling, intake system and subcomponents. The decision to introduce the SECU was taken in the winter of 2005.

Preparing for the worst.

Before a BMW V8 P86/8 specification reaches race readiness, it has to successfully complete an extended session on the dynamic test rigs. The latest generation of engine and gearbox test rigs are located in Munich. The exacting challenge for the powerplant: 1,500 kilometres on a fabricated circuit profile simulating the toughest loads presented by the current batch of race circuits on the F1 calendar.

Engines earmarked for transportation to the race venue complete a rather more gentle functioning check on the test rigs. This is followed by quality checks, with the oil undergoing spectrometer analysis to identify any metallic residue. Then it's time for action on the track.

Lessons learnt on the race track are transferred to the road.

One of the aims stipulated by BMW for its return to GP racing in 2000 was the creation of synergies between F1 and series production. The development of the Formula One powertrain and electronics has been integrated with impressive effectiveness at the Munich plant. The BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ), a type of automotive think tank, plays a key role in this process. The F1 factory was built less than a kilometre away from the centre and the two facilities are interconnected. "The FIZ represents the future of BMW, with elite engineers working in state-of-the-art research and development facilities," says Theissen. "The FIZ is given vast resources, from which we benefit directly. At the same time, due to the extreme technical challenges and pace of development demanded by grand prix racing, the company's involvement in F1 represents a unique proving ground for our engineers."
The expertise acquired remains within the company, where it benefits the development of production cars. Knowledge developed for use in Formula One in the machining of different materials and components, e.g. cylinder heads and crankcases, finds its way into both the construction of series-produced passenger cars and the development of motorcycles at BMW Motorrad.

Casting technology for Formula One and series production.

The casting quality of the engine block, cylinder head and gearbox plays a crucial role in determining their performance and durability. Advanced casting techniques, coupled with high-precision process management, enable lightweight components with impressive rigidity. To ensure that production models benefit from these developments, BMW has its own foundry in Landshut. In 2001, this was joined by a dedicated F1 casting facility. The two departments are jointly managed to ensure a constant exchange of information and expertise.

The same sand-casting procedure as is used for the production of the Formula One V8 engine is also applied to oil sumps for the M models, the intake manifold for the eight-cylinder diesel engine and prototypes for future generations of engines. Virtually at the same time as the F1 foundry went on stream, an F1 parts manufacturing facility based on the same template joined the series production facility. This is where the team make components such as the camshafts and crankshafts for the F1 engine.

Lab work for the future.

The state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at the FIZ allow materials research to be conducted at the highest level and shoulder-to-shoulder with the Formula One experts. To this end, the development of coatings plays a major role, although the high-tech centre is also used for detection work in the damage analysis process.

Aviation and aerospace technology frequently serves as a basis in research work. Some highly promising developments, which as yet remain too expensive for use in production models, have already found their way into BMW's F1 project. This opportunity to introduce fresh technological blood helps the engineers to continue developing innovations for series production. Models in double-quick time from the FIZ – rapid prototyping.
From the new idea and the conception phase to the construction process, production of the necessary tools, manufacture of new parts and testing – new components are expensive and time-consuming to make. In Formula One, moving forward and addressing problems demands fast reaction times, while the number of design modifications made during a single season has been as high as for the entire BMW range of series-produced engines.

The team is, therefore, constantly on the lookout for ways of shortening its processes. Here the BMW Formula One engineers can turn to the Rapid Prototyping/Tooling Technology department of the FIZ.

Once the necessary parts have been designed using a CAD system, computer-controlled machines use laser beams or three-dimensional pressure technology to create scale models made out of resin, plastic powder, acrylic, wax or metal. That enables installation and interactions to be simulated without delay, allowing any necessary modifications to be carried out before the final manufacturing process gets underway.


BMW P86/8 – technical data.

Type: normally aspirated V8

Bank angle: 90 degrees

Displacement: 2,400 cc

Valves: four per cylinder

Valve train: pneumatic

Engine block: aluminium

Cylinder head: aluminium

Crankshaft: steel

Oil system: dry sump lubrication

Engine management: standard ECU (MES)

Spark plugs: NGK

Pistons: aluminium

Connecting rods: titanium

Dimensions: length: 518 mm
width: 555 mm
height: 595 mm (overall)

Weight: 95 kg

Maximum engine speed: 19,000 rpm