For those of you who live near Milton Keynes, a trip to the Red Bull factory estate in Tilbrook may provide some interest. Red bull have acquired a sizeable factory unit adjacent to their current premises, and for the past few months construction workers have been adding a couple of extra floors to the property.
Nothing strange there you may say, except for the fact that the floors are underground. A sizeable excavation akin to a giant archaeological dig has been taking place as the ground workers break up the huge concrete base on which the factory was built and extract hundreds of tons of the soil from beneath.
The word put out amongst the Red Bull employees, is that these endeavours are related to a rather large boat project.
It does though appear that Red Bull are pressing forward on many fronts. Despite recent petulant threats to quit Formula One, quite the reverse appears to be occurring behind the scenes.
AMuS have reported that Red Bull have recently ordered that the Renault engines be tested on a Virtual Test Track at the AVL facility in Graz.
Que? May well be your response.
Well, a virtual test track is a real-time vehicle simulator used for powertrain and chassis system development in a virtual environment.
“The VTT is designed and built based on the rapid control prototyping (RCP) concept. Therefore, different from the conventional vehicle simulator, the VTT can provide many additional benefits, such as ease of use, flexibility of interface with other devices, and ability to easily implement any hardware-in-the-loop system. The VTT consists of a powerful simulation engine to solve the equations of a complicated vehicle dynamics model in real-time and a sophisticated animation engine to provide real-time visual representation of vehicle behaviour. It also contains multiple virtual test environments with variable surfaces and weather conditions to provide different types of driving conditions”. (IEEE Explore)
This kind of highly complex modelling system is the engineering equivalent to an aerodynamicists’ CFD and wind tunnel combined. In the new Formula One, clearly the emphasis has shifted and now the mechanical combination of a chassis and engine in harmony is the key to success on track.
TJ13 has been informed that Red Bull are planning a facility like this of their own.
Whilst at present Red Bull and Renault feel they are forced together in a marriage of inconvenience, it is strange Red Bull is the one considering commissioning this kind of system – because this piece of kit is more likely to be found in the factory of a road car manufacturer and engine builder.
What is clear is that Renault are no longer prepared to be the whipping boys of the F1 partnership between themselves and Red Bull. Cyril Abiteboul has now upped the ante accusing Red Bull of lying and of refusing to accept their RB11 is contributing to the current problems.
In true boxing rhetoric, Cyril Abiteboul tweeted the following before he left for Sepang.
The gloves are off.
Packing up to Malaysia. Race (round?) 2. pic.twitter.com/RZ6p7Xln1w
— Cyril ABITEBOUL (@Cyroul) March 24, 2015