Insight With Mercedes: What happens to Formula 1 Car parts after a race?
Thanks to Mercedes-AMG Petronas, they’re giving everyone a little insight into the world of Formula 1 and for many fans around the world, we just see the racing side of things, not really thinking about what goes on behind the scenes.
Have you ever wondered what happens to Formula 1 car parts after a race? Well, now you can find out!
For the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team, Formula 1 is all about learning – from fine-tuning their car setup on track to checking and analysing all the data and statistics following the race.
What happens to Formula 1 Car Parts after a race?
NDT – Non Destructive Testing
This is probably one of the busiest departments as after every race, hundreds of car parts are stripped from both cars, taken back to base – back to the factories where they’re all analysed in order to make sure that the parts are all in shape and ready to be put back into the car for the next round of the season.
There’s different types of testing methods depending on the material and part to make sure there are no problem – if there’s a problem, parts are either repaired or scrapped.
MPI – Magnetic Particle Inspection
“We create a magnetic field within the components and apply a green fluid to their surface. When the magnetic field is applied, it’s looks at under a UB light and checked for fine green lines which would indicate a defect. We do this in different orientations to make sure that we don’t miss anything and we have to do these for every turnaround.” – explained by Pete, a Process Engineer in Composites and Manufacturing.
Eddy Current Inspection
This is where metal parts also go through, a pencil-like probe with a coil in the end is moved over the part and sets up a magnetic field inside it.
“This gives us an image on a display – if it meets a defect such as a crack, it will change the magnetic field which will then cause the signal to change rapidly into an upward movement. What we have to do is scan over the component and keep looking at the screen – checking for any large movements which would indicate an issue.”
Dye Penetrant Inspection
This area of NDT also includes the Dye Penetrant Inspection – this is a lengthy process which can last for around an hour per part! Yes, an hour PER part and when you consider the amount of parts coming from the cars – that’s a lot!
“This is one of the biggest methods of NDT which we use these days. The part is placed into a tank of fluorescent dye for around 30 minutes which allows the dye to soak into any cracks. It’s then moved over to the wash station where we wash off the dye and make sure there is no penetrant left on the surface. After this, we place the part in an oven which dries off the water before the final stage – moving to a storm cabinet containing development powder.”
“Here, the machine spread dust over the surface of the part – acting as a blotting paper to pull up the penetrant out of any cracks. Once this process has happened, the part then goes through the viewing area where it’s looked under a UV lights and if there are any defects or faults – they will show a thin green line on the surface.”
Digital X-Ray Machine
This is another method used in the NDT Department – this is a digital X-Ray, not like X-Ray machines that most people know. This uses a detector screen which goes onto a computer producing a live image of the product.
As you can see, a lot (I mean a lot) of work is involved and this is what makes the sport so fascinating. We, as viewers and fans, just see one part of Formula 1 and that’s racing however there’s so much more involved.
You can click here to see more information from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team and a big thank you to them for sharing things like this online.
There’s lots more on the way so check back for all the latest!