Interview: Frédéric Vasseur – Racecar Engineering


On 9 January 2023, Draveil, France-born Frédéric Vasseur, began the function of Scuderia Ferrari Common Supervisor and Group Fundamental. Vasseur’s motorsport occupation has been huge, starting in 1992 whilst nonetheless learning Aeronautical Engineering at ESTACA (École Supérieure des Ways Aéronautiques et de Building Car) in Paris, making ready Method 3 engines for Renault together with his corporate, RPM. After graduating in 1995, he arrange the ASM crew, racing in Method 3 in 1996 and ran the operation as much as 2015, successful quite a lot of titles, together with the French one in 1998 with David Saelens on the wheel. He gained the Eu name 4 instances between 2004 and 2007, with Jamie Inexperienced, Lewis Hamilton, Paul Di Resta and Romain Grosjean.

In 2004, he created a 2nd crew, ART Grand Prix successful 8th groups’ championships throughout GP2 and GP3 and 11 drivers’ titles, together with clinching the 2016 GP3 crown with Charles Leclerc. An inquiring thoughts and a willingness to discover new avenues led Vasseur to arrange AOTech in 2010, an organization specialising in using simulators and CFD design. Two years later, alongside got here Spark Racing Generation, designing and production hybrid and electric techniques. The corporate secured the contract to offer Method E chassis when the class for totally electrical single-seaters was once first arrange through the FIA (Federation Internationale Car) in 2014. Frédéric first gave the impression within the Method 1 paddock in 2016 as Renault Group Fundamental. The next 12 months, he become Managing Director of the Sauber Team and Group Fundamental of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Group, which morphed into Alfa Romeo Racing in 2019, working Ferrari energy gadgets.

Vasseur explains the demanding situations of Method 1 and what it takes to be aggressive within the present technology.

Q: How has operating in F1 advanced over the past seven years, whether or not in control, engineering, or any other function within the recreation?

‘The load of teamwork is a lot more necessary than the load of people in this day and age, a lot more so than it was once only some years in the past. It’s extra an issue of crew success since the huge measurement of the groups calls for extra coordination throughout the departments. A unmarried individual’s affect is much less, however that isn’t to mention they’re much less crucial as a result of they’re now extra specialized than ever. Method 1 is evolving in some way that responds higher to consultants than people with an summary of a specific matter. Alternatively, with that, there was the requirement to extra successfully coordinate the ones consultants who in the past would be capable to do a lot more than they do now. This dramatically adjustments the construction of the groups and the output from that in relation to the velocity of construction. Some other affect is that groups have a brand new era entering Method 1, and this skill has a wholly new perspective. They admire other applied sciences and physics in quite a lot of techniques to the former era. It’s subsequently very important to have control with numerous revel in to try this coordination as successfully as imaginable with out letting too many issues of view intrude with each and every different.’

Q: What are your ideas on the most recent technology of technical laws?

‘The laws are just right if groups are in entrance! Jokes apart, they’ve modified dramatically over fresh years with the associated fee cap laws, technical laws, wearing laws for the usage of wind tunnels, and many others. All of those are going within the route of the convergence of efficiency. Even the reality the engines are frozen method F1 goes towards a tighter championship struggle, and it’s operating. Groups have been unfold out about 5 in line with cent in qualifying efficiency in 2017 and 2018, and now maximum groups are inside of two in line with cent. In 2022, 5 groups have been inside of a one in line with cent efficiency margin between them. It’s going to be an improbable recreation if F1 maintains those laws for some time.’

Q: What’s F1’s highest instrument for construction?

‘Simulations and simulators are our highest equipment. The speed of construction is excessive with those. Within the early phases of imposing simulators, groups made such a lot growth and now optimistically use simulation era to persuade what takes position all the way through the race weekend. The simulation and trackside departments want coordination and consider all the way through the race weekend. The crew on the manufacturing facility will run simulations for set-up right through the evening after taking trackside information in from the auto on Friday. They’ll then arrive at a set-up they consider is maximum acting earlier than the crew at the floor reaches the monitor on Saturday morning. If groups are assured with correlation, they know the verdict made again on the manufacturing facility may also be performant if carried out at the vehicle. The 4 pillars of efficiency are the wind tunnel, CFD, simulator and the true vehicle. Each and every must be operating successfully to be performant. No a kind of operations is thought of as much less necessary than the others; they’re all crucial.’

Q: How do you stability between what instrument suggests the following construction step must be vs the trackside engineers’ philosophy?

‘Groups ask this query on a daily basis! This crew’s process is to are expecting how highest to make use of the equipment they’ve to complete as top as imaginable. Ahead of an tournament, groups do many simulations that scan the entire set-up diversifications, together with the wings, journey top, suspension and many others. However then you might have the development itself, which gives a mess of variables which are very tough to are expecting, let on my own use for your favour. So, groups will have to repeatedly stability idea and apply. In this day and age, the idea could be very just about truth, a lot more so than it was once only some years in the past. So, it’s protected to mention groups lean on it extra, however to mention it supplies the entire solutions is some distance from the reality. The margins around the box also are extraordinarily tight, so in case your delta out of your goal is out through only a tiny in line with cent, your place might be from the entrance to the again of the sphere. A small share between your simulation and truth may make an enormous distinction.’

Q: How necessary are drivers in creating those vehicles with the entire era to be had in Method 1 now?

‘The contribution is mega. The primary a part of their contribution is on the monitor, protecting constant and pushing the auto to its prohibit, in addition to the race craft referring to wheel-to-wheel battles and making growth in each stint. The second one section is to grasp the physics at play and to paintings with the engineers to milk the auto’s doable beneath construction. The 3rd part is private, which is keeping up their want to stay pushing themselves and motivating the crew to stay pushing and exploiting the entire exhausting paintings that is going into generating the auto and working the auto on the monitor. This isn’t trivial.’

Q: What’s your strategy to technique?

‘Technique is a crucial a part of Method 1. Alternatively, it’s made complicated through explicit allocations akin to tyres, the timing of classes right through the race weekend, and creating and bringing new portions to the circuits the place they’re going to be maximum performant. The nearer you’re to top efficiency, the extra dramatic the impact of any unmarried mistake within the operations or technique. You will have to make sure to’re doing the appropriate factor on the proper time to milk the alternatives you must acquire information and make growth. Technique all the way through the race is completely other. It hinges on what’s about to occur subsequent and how you can take advantage of that. Groups are repeatedly having a look on the subsequent lap and concurrently checking what their opponents are doing to look in the event that they will have to manipulate what they’re going to do subsequent as a result of what the opponents are doing. It additionally is aware of whether or not there are issues in some races the place your competition would possibly make errors. In most cases, this might be round when tyre degradation is top, or some drivers are preventing for place. In moments like this, it may well trade your whole race. If there’s a security vehicle, as an example, you’ll make massive jumps within the box or make just right growth on a brand new set of tyres when others don’t seem to be setting up the most efficient lap instances.’

Q: How may synthetic intelligence be used to persuade Method 1 technique?

‘The database for the usage of synthetic intelligence for doing all the means of the race has but to reach, however groups are smartly on easy methods to having the ability to do one thing like this quickly. It is advisable believe that the instrument may ultimately have the ideas to take into accounts the monitor, stipulations, the collection of pit stops, the relative place between drivers and when there’s a likelihood for an incident to provide the likelihood of a safety-car at the upcoming lap, or one thing like this. However it is going to take a long time to gather this type of data on the measurement groups wish to make the appropriate calls from the output. In my earlier lifestyles, I labored on a challenge that studied street injuries for vans. The database for this was once mega, with hundreds of thousands of vans international. Those databases thought to be the hours the vans have been working on that shift, whether or not it was once AM or PM, summer season or wintry weather, and lots of extra elements. It additionally thought to be the collection of top braking occasions over the former two hours and whether or not there have been any incidents of over pace on some sections of the street. In spite of everything, the instrument may believe these kinds of components and establish the danger of an coincidence. This took many hundreds of thousands of information issues in an excessively constant framework. In Method 1, groups already soak up billions of information issues once a year, however groups need to stay this non-public as a result of this is a aggressive merit. Moreover, you can’t manoeuvre straightforwardly the usage of information since the margins are tiny. Groups must believe a sub-one in line with cent margin of error, and the variables are nonetheless substantial. Because of the specificity of our trade, I believe Method 1 will use this later.’



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