Science - A subject at high speeds

7th September 2012 at 01:00

What it's all about

I could feel the vibrations through my bones. The deafening noise of the engine filled my ears. It was easy to pretend that I was driving a Ferrari in a nerve-racking Formula One (F1) race, writes Alessio Bernadelli.

In fact, I was "driving" an F1 Ferrari simulator at the Science Museum in London. My coach for the day was Felipe Massa, a Ferrari F1 driver, who told me that not only does he train on a simulator but that engineers regularly use information from these virtual races to tweak the real thing to perfection.

"I don't just drive - I need to understand the engineering and science as well," Massa says.

Every aspect of an F1 car is subject to precise calculations and a thorough understanding of the science - from the chemistry in the combustion of the fuel to the physics behind the aerodynamics of the chassis.

As I climbed into the simulator I was reminded of the amazing features of an F1 car. It gets more grip the faster it goes, as the spoilers are designed to produce a downward force so strong that, in theory, it would allow you to drive upside down along the ceiling of a tunnel. (A great way to explain air resistance.)

It is also a terrific way to bring home to pupils that a career with dynamic companies such as Ferrari, Shell, Rolls-Royce could be well within their reach.

What else?

Your pupils will enjoy watching alessio's video of Felipe Massa discussing the science behind Formula One. You can also encourage your pupils to pursue a Stem career with TESGA's quick guide to work experience.

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