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Engineering F4 Perfection in Sepang

5 mins
29/06/18

The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – fueled by Petron – is just about to kick off the third season of Asia’s premier junior driver development championship. The first double-header of the 2018 line-up is slated for the 7th to 8th July and the 13th to 15th July at the world-renowned Sepang International Circuit. With that, let’s take look at how F4 SEA cars are calibrated and set up for their Sepang debut – from the stand point of the engineers.

As the FIA-certified F4 Championship will be visiting three countries over the course of the upcoming season, the race cars have to be set up according to the needs and requirements of each circuit. There are various parameters that can be adjusted and tweaked to optimise the F4 car for the demands of the circuit.

For example, the setup employed for the first two legs of the season at the Sepang International Circuit cannot be used in the following rounds at the Madras Motor Race Track as the demands of the track are different. The same goes for the double header in Buriram where the engineers will ensure they optimise the setup according to the track.

All settings are calibrated to a neutral baseline. Minute changes to the aerodynamics are then made to optimise the race cars by changing the angles on the cars’ aero-fixtures. This allows engineers to increase or decrease the amount of downforce generated. The next crucial issue for engineers is weight and how it’s ballasted throughout the car.

“In order to achieve the desired weight distribution tailored to the track, an experienced driver who is familiar with both the car and track will go out and set the benchmark – this will give us (engineers and mechanics) the base-line input. We also consult the data logged by the car and together with the test driver, we analyse it to find the best setup for that particular circuit. This way we are able to calibrate the weight distribution in relation to other changes made. Once we find the ‘sweet spot’, we will calibrate all the cars to those specifications and lock it down; no further changes are allowed, thus making every car identical” elaborates Tan Lip Han, F4 SEA engineer.

However, drivers are allowed to change the positions of the front and rear anti-roll bars only. Drivers are allowed to adjust these are they drastically alter the handling characteristics of the car in terms of understeer and oversteer.

This equality of engineering and set up make F4 SEA a true driver’s championship with a level playing field for all.  This effort also lends a hand toward consistency of the cars’ natural performance in terms of downforce, aerodynamics and weight distribution. By standardizing these variables, the cars will produce a set measured amount of downforce and clock consistent times throughout the entire weekend.  The efforts of the engineers and mechanics are all geared towards making F4 SEA the best junior driver development championship in Asia.

Don’t forgot to catch these wizards of speed as they rip around the world-class Sepang International Circuit from the 7th till 8th of July 2018 for the third season of the FIA Formula 4 South East Asia Championship. F4 SEA will be streaming its brand new three-race format live on Facebook and other social media platforms. Please follow our social media feeds as they dispense vital information on F4 SEA and all the happenings from the eight events on the 2018 calendar. For more information on Formula 4 and the F4 SEA Championship please head over to https://formula4.asia/