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4:16 am - Monday March 27, 2017

F1 on Ice

Red Bull prepared one of its F1 race cars to run in slippery conditions and then filmed the adventure. The subsequent video has been released on the Internet, and it shows driver Sebastien Buemi playing ice racer in the Red Bull Renault-powered car. See the video below.

Formula One racing didn’t happen in 2009 at the famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve of Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal. A dispute between Grand Prix F1 du Canada and Formula One Administration meant for the first time in 20 years Montreal’s F1 race was cancelled.

However, the dispute was settled late last year and Montreal’s F1 race is back on the calendar in 2010. The city will host the race June 13.

News of this development got Red Bull Racing all excited. And regardless of the frozen weather in Montreal, they were determined to put an F1 car around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and on the ice of Lac-a-l’Eau-Claire, north of Montreal.

Monaghan investigated what rallysport racers do to successfully run on snow, ice and gravel. What did he learn? The biggest difference is in the tires.

So Red Bull Racing consulted the tire experts at Bridgestone, and together they chose to fit the F1 car with specially designed Bridgestone Potenza snow tires — essentially much narrower and taller than normal F1 tires. Each front tire was fitted with 420 studs, and each of the rear tires was garnished with 588 studs. The tires were produced at Bridgestone Motorsport’s Technical Centre in Toyko.

Normally an F1 car is running at peak revs as it navigates a racetrack. But running at peak revs with studded tires would simply rip the studs from the rubber. To ensure that wouldn’t happen, the engine’s rev range was limited so it couldn’t provide full torque.

Buemi drove the Red Bull car on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the team also laid out a replica course on the frozen waters of Lac-al’Eau-Claire.

Monaghan wasn’t on hand for the filming, but after he viewed the video he thought Buemi, “was a brave driver.”

He said: “And yes, you can take a dedicated surface car (meaning the asphalt of a racetrack) and make it run on ice and snow.”


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