Enrique Hector Scalabroni: His history and an explanation of ‘roll centres’

Enrique Hector Scalabroni (born Alta Gracia, Córdoba, Argentina, October 1949) is an Argentinian race car designer, technical director, and team racing boss. He was employed by Dallara, Williams, Ferrari, Lotus and Peugeot Sport between 1985 and 2002, before setting up his own F 3000 and GP2 team in 2003, BCN Competicion, which lasted till the end of 2008.


Early Career

Scalabroni studied mechanical engineering at the Beunos Aires Technological university before being recruited by the Formula Renault Fama team in 1975. He later worked for the Osvaldo Antelo Renault F2 and Miguel Herceg’s Ford Turismo de Carretera official teams. In Argentina he designed and built his own small single seaters, Formula Renault, and national F2 single seater cars.

Scalabroni arrived in Europe in 1982 from Argentina at the age of 32. He evolved to became one of the principal designer at Williams, chief designer at Ferrari and Lotus, and the Technical Director with the Asiatech F1 engine manufacturing company.

Formula 1

Scalabroni moved to Italy in 1982, finding a job with the Dallara Automobili group. There he designed the first company wind tunnel and one of the pioneer carbon monocoque chassis for small single seaters: a trend setting Formula 3 car with rearward sloping sidepods, for the 1983 international and national European championships

In 1985, Williams F1 recruited Scalabroni as a designer. At Williams, Scalabroni contributed a substantial part of the six speed sequential gearbox design that Williams pioneered for F1 racing. As design leader, and under the directions of Patrick Head, he was critical in the team that developed the FW11 and FW11B Honda cars that won the F1 World Constructors Championships in 1986 and 1987.

After John Barnard’s tenure at Ferrari (1987–1989), Scalabroni joined the Italian, Maranello based teamas chassis and aerodynamics Chief Designer in September 1989. There he developed Barnard’s Ferrari 640 carbon chassis. The Scalabroni 641 and 641/2 Ferraris were designed in collaboration with Steve Nichols and won six races in 1990 with Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell. Ferrari took second place in the Constructors Championship.
lotus 102bIn 1991 Scalabroni was recruited by Lotus F1 Team, where he produced the Lotus 102B for drivers Johnny Herbert, Mika Häkkinen and Julian Bailey. Before leaving the Hethel team, Scalabroni left one audacious project: an F1 car with the four wheels set up as a cross or rhomboid, two at the sides, protruding from the middle section and one each at the front and rear. Lack of financing ended this project.

At the same time, the South American engineer was consultant for the De Tomaso Guará, in charge of chassis and suspension design. The De Tomaso company Scalabroni also worked in the Bigua development (model known also as Mangusta), model to be known as Q Vale Mangusta, after the De Tomaso family sold the firm assets to new American investors.

Le Mans

In 1992 Scalabroni went to Peugeot Sport, then concentrated in the sport prototype championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

There, Scalabroni assisted in the Peugeot 905 development, working with Andre De Cortanze and was in charge of the 1992 Le Mans winner car of Dereck Warwick-Yannick Dalmas-Mark Blundell. At the same time, Jean Todt, then team director, entrusted Scalabroni with the “avant projet” of the Peugeot Formula 1 car.

When the PSA top executives denied Todt the resources necessary for an F1 team, the mercurial racing boss left for Ferrari and, soon afterwards, Scalabroni was on his way to a company of the ex F1 driver Takeo Ikuzawa. Ikuzawa wanted to establish his own F1 team and during two years Scalabroni and a small, but strong staff, of engineers designed and aerodynamically tested the scale models of the future car.

That project was stopped, but Scalabroni remained with Ikuzawa till 1998 designing different systems for the Japanese automotive and motorcycle industry, claiming several invention patents in the process. Williams recovered him in 1998 and the team’s BTCC Renault Lagunas used efficient aerodynamic and mechanical solutions from Scalabroni.

Other work

Once finalized the Williams consultancy agreement, Scalabroni started, late in 1999, what was to be the Asiatech engine Formula 1 project.

Scalabroni and Peugeot agreed to purchase the assets of their F1 engine program, renamed “Asiatech F1” and kept the factory and personnel. While Asiatech gave its engines to Arrows in 2001, Scalabroni started in the former Williams BTCC premises at Didcot, England, a technical office to design an F1 chassis financed by the same group of companies owner of Asiatech, and headed by Hideo Morita, the heir of the Sony Corporation founder. In 2002 Asiatech was Minardi’s engine supplier but, unable to find proper financing and customers, the company closed its door at the end of the year.

In 2003 Scalabroni established his own team, BCN Competición, based in Granollers, Barcelona, Spain, associated to his Spanish friend Jaume Pintanel. With Scalabroni at the helm, BCN Competición competed in a Formula Nissan “Light” in 2002, then in a Formula 3000 with which Enrico Toccacelo gave the team a victory and second position in the 2003 championship. Scalabroni got one of the GP2 licenses in 2004 and remained in that series till the end of 2008. At the end of the 2008 season Scalabroni sold the GP2 license and cars to a Group of companies represented by Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro who set the new Ocean Racing Technologies Team. Once the deal was clinched, Scalabroni concentrated in other new projects.

(Article from Wikipedia)

here’s another of Enrique’s video’s explaining roll centres.

17 responses to “Enrique Hector Scalabroni: His history and an explanation of ‘roll centres’

  1. What fascinates me about this (and I had to battle a little to understand Enqrique this time without his spoon) is that at the launch of the MP4-27, it was noted how low the front of the car was and hence the opportunity to develop the car and work with the airflow under the nose was constrained.

    It was not this that constrained McLaren in 2012, so if the car is quick – and Barcelona test 1 will give us a better idea than Jerez – then McLaren will have even more development opportunities in 2013 with the front end of the car.

    So both McLaren and Ferrari are on a ‘pull rod’ system and RB have stayed with the ‘push rod’ suspension.

    I’m wondering has Newey missed a trick by sticking with the push rod system and the lower ‘roll centre’ and reduces area for air flow manipulation?

  2. Big mistake! I am trying to understand the “Roll centre” vid with a relaxing glass of Bells. Will give up and try later with more brain cells.

  3. What a truly amazing discovery – just think, without the internet, and for many of us, without ‘TJ13’, this wonderful guy would be left virtually unknown to most of the world…
    Last night I was washing up and accidentally put a spoon under the tap and nearly jumped as the underside of the spoon was ‘sucked’ almost out of my hand – having once experienced the power of water-divining I am amazed that I never saw this little experiment before…
    Thank you.

    • The beauty of simplicity.

      Think of Richard Feynman’s glass of ice demonstration about the O-ring that scuppered Challenger.

      Going to watch that again, more than once. I felt I needed more information at many points, but even what I did not understand felt illuminated by Scalabroni’s pencil.

      I don’t know if I am jealous of the younger generations, for having the internet, or if were I young today I might not take it all for granted, and not explore, just as once I took the riches of my own education for granted. Or at least I always presumed that access to vast libraries, and great intellects, was something you could take as given, in life. I soon learned it was not so.

  4. Really fascinated by the unusual Lotus he designed, but I can’t find anything else online about it. Has anyone else seen any more info? I can’t quite see how it would work but it would be fascinating to know more.

    • I can’t help I’m afraid – however, if you get time to research it, please feel free to drop me a line with your findings and we’ll publish for everyone’s benefit

      • Found a sketch here along with a few other oddballs. Still not too obvious what he was thinking, I can’t see it being that stable. Also, I’d guess you either have only one wheel steering or only one transmitting power.

        • There is no pic with your comment – I don’t know how to put pics or video into comments – some others have done this – CAN YOU HELP?

          I think I saw that drawing on F1-Rejects – ‘the cars that were never built’ page

          • The lack of basic practical documentation as to how WordPress works is something that almost makes me catatonic with incomprehension. There’s a hypocrisy that what poses as a common man’s publishing platform has no simple guide to the use. Now, I have to be very careful with this, and if he’s reading, sorry (yet another) John, but my mate has hard grafted to attain his WordPress guru status, and it is well earned. But my friend is not familiar with a lot of computer science, and frankly, when a system is not accessible to someone who has competent theory, there’s something very wrong. I don;t even think WP is a good common platform. Not to mention the insecurities that exist in the hotch potch code, or the sham that is MySQL posing as a database (dropping comments does happen, it’s not you or I fluffing the wrong button) , but the real thing is it’s a commons that is also a tragedy of the commons, a Babel of code, but without the ebb and flow and coherency of a human bazaar, in my view.

            I intend to ply my friend with whatever will influence him to forgive my calling him names like “Not A Computer Theorist” (!) and work out how to compile a guide.

            Maybe that’s the first genuinely useful thing I can do?

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