What do these three F1 drivers have in common? Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and a young Nico Rosberg (while riding for Williams in 2006).
They were all coached by Rob Wilson – “the F1 drivers coach”. He has also trained many other professional drivers who ride in almost every professional racing series around the world.
Rob knows weight transfer. Most of the time when he talks about driving, he talks about weight transfer. He says that” the rate at which you transfer weight ” is just about the most important thing you do in a race car.
It is a smooth introduction of the steering brake and throttle for maximum grip. From this point of view, a weight transfer makes sense.
But the problem I have with weight transfer at the center of our thinking about driving race cars is that weight transfer is not related to the movements of the car that the driver can feel.
In my blog post, weight transfer part 1, we discussed the movements of the car that give the driver feedback directly from the tires. They are created by the forces that act on the tires in the plane of the ground. There are three movements that the diver feels: lateral and longitudinal g-Force and a very subtle rotation of the car around its vertical axis as the tires continue to grip the road.
It is this small turn of the car that is the most important return for the driver. This is what the driver perceives, interprets and responds to as a “cornering speed” – if you drive to the limit or can push harder – or if you drive too hard?
(Basically, when the steering wheel is moving, you control the car by feeling the rotation, the speed of rotation of the corner.)
When driving coaches talk about weight transfer, whether the speaker intends to make this interpretation or not, the conclusion that most drivers take is that we can feel the weight transfer and use this information when controlling the car.
Rob Wilson talks almost exclusively about weight transfer. He says “” when we did everything else, the line and so on, we bring everything back to that weight transfer rate.”
Rob Wilson’s “Flat Car” Concept
Here is a short descent. My purpose here is to discuss his use of weight transfer to describe what is happening,
Well, I’m not suggesting for a moment that I’ve studied his techniques or that I’m somehow qualified to criticize what he’s doing. It is very successful, with a long list of satisfied customers, including Formula 1 drivers and drivers of all forms of professional motorsport. But because of the amount of video content on YouTube that shows his work, this is a good opportunity for us to look at the language he uses.
Rob uses the phrase “flat car” as a code word to represent the idea that you need to have as little direction in the car as long as possible to reach the highest speed in the corner.
In the traditional style of racing, in the corner entrance, use only the smooth rotation of the steering wheel.
Rob’s recommended steering technique is as follows:
1. Slow Rotation initial in the (current).
2. Mixing in a full motion of the steering wheel
3. Then apply an additional direction at the top of the corner.
The idea is that you can have more speed in the corner entrance with less direction in the car to the top. Then, when you get close to the top or even the top, you are driving more for a short time to turn faster while the car is driving at its slowest speed. Having directed the car better to the exit, you can remove the direction of the car earlier and turn it on earlier.
With the code word” Flat Car,” Rob suggests keeping the car flat at least a few car lengths before each maneuver (i.e. as little weight transfer as possible) – either by braking, accelerating or turning.
For example, during the first power-up, Rob suggests temporarily throwing a small weight transmission with a small amount of steering to “put the car in the corner,” as Rob says.
To get out the direction of the car as quickly as possible when leaving the turn and returning to power, it suggests that you think “flat car” – turn the car in the middle of the corner, get out the direction, get to a flat car as quickly as possible (with as uniform a weight as possible to give maximum grip for Acceleration).
Weight transfer thinking might be fine in these cases. But sometimes it’s not.
What is especially confusing to me is at the corner entrance, when approaching the top, Rob still wants you to temporarily think “flat car” – in order for the car to be “flat”, even if it only lasts a few car lengths, before adding the extra movement of the steering wheel, you need to rotate the car in the third phase of steering.
But far from having the car flat and approaching the top, this is just the point where you have maximum weight transfer and maximum rolling angle on the car. The car is very far from flat.
Then I realized what he was really talking about, that he was stabilizing the car for a while on the suspension. Towards the end of the second phase of steering, you slow down the speed of your hand or even stop turning for a while before the last third phase of the rotation begins. Just to let the suspension rest.
What happens when you stop turning your steering (assuming you have a constant accelerator pedal and you’re done braking on the track) is that the rotation you feel goes to zero, while the lateral G, the cornering force, is at its maximum. You do not feel rotation in the car, but the car rotates a lot. From the outside of the car you can see the car turning around a curve center, somewhere in the corner. But from your world in the car they are in tune with the car, and it does not rotate around its own axis when the car is in a “stable state”.