We all know what a Formula One car looks like. We also know that there is always experimentation done on the different models to test out any new engineering advancement. Above all, how does a Formula One car work and do they have a clutch available to change the gears?
The clutch of a Formula One car can be located between the engine and the vehicle’s gearbox. The clutch uses Carbon-Carbon (C/C) plates that are operated with electro-hydraulics. The system uses a computer that monitors and matches the revolutions and gears when the driver decides to change gears.
Because the motorsport is so intense, the clutch had to be tempered to withstand heat up to 260 degrees Celsius. However, the temperature often rises higher than that because of the friction caused and the speed that the vehicle is going.
So where is the clutch pedal located?
The pedals to control the clutch are located at the back of the steering wheel where the paddle shifts are. The paddle shifts are often used on high performance cars. Gearing up uses the paddle on the right and gearing down uses the paddle on the left hand side of the steering wheel.
Engaging and releasing the clutch uses a computer system. The computer powers it most of the drive except when the driver has to pull away from a stationary position. When pulling away from a complete stop position the pre-set clutch pedal will release automatically. It will also slowly release the second clutch paddle that is located on the opposite side of the steering wheel.
During the warm ups before the actual race begins the driver has to find the point where the car will “catch” or “bite”. Once the driver feels the catch, he will have to apply throttle to increase the revs the car makes until he eventually pulls away. Once he feels the catch he will have to manually release the clutch as the car simultaneously accelerates.
When the gear needs to be changed, the driver will flick the clutch and the car will electronically switch the ratio of the gear. Changing gears in a Formula One car takes 5 milliseconds.
The clutch kit is important in the Formula One car. It helps the driver to increase speed and also tests brand new technology that we could be looking forward to in the future. The clutch is also helpful to the engineers to see at which point the car reaches maximum torque for quick acceleration from the start line or pit stop.