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Interview with Nicol Petrucci. Mr.

Petrucci worked for Ferrari in 1989-2001, and later worked as a Head of Aerodynamics in Arrows, Toyota Motorsport and Scuderia Toro Rosso. 1. Why aerodynamics is so important for performance of modern F1 cars? What is the balance between engine performance and aerodynamics performance contributions to overall performance of a car? In the nature of Formula One competition you have a regulation and all the competitors might develop their vehicle in any components allowed. In more than sixty years a F1 car has been developed any of the parts is composed. None can foresee what will be developed more and which will be the result of research that can give more to the performance improvement. There have been years that just on engine was dedicated the most of the effort (money, time, people, ...) for improvement. They were just consider the chassis as something to keep things together, to carry the driver and to transmit the torque to the wheels. They just tough the car bodywork should have been as much simple as possible. When later they have discovered improvement and, for example, wider tread tire, the suspensions system to hold and move properly, become important. Suspension design, structure and kinematic become fundamental more than anything else. At some stage a compromise was reached and as consequence no more gain from suspension or engine was worth development. Story is repeating with chassis design and material, active suspension and electronic control. In the last twenty years was the turn of aerodynamic development and despite the continuous regulation limitation that every year are introduced, aerodynamic still remain the field where most there is to gain. In honesty we have to remember that since some years, engine regulation obliged to froze any evolutions. Great engine manufacturers are preparing new engine package to satisfy the new 2014 rule. We are expecting engine design to be still fundamental for car performance. So to answer in detail to your question I would say that if today engine evolution is important for the 5%, chassis suspension for about 15% the rest is all due to aerodynamic. Next year will be sure different, I would guess 50% for engine and 50% for aero and chassis. 2. It looks like CFD simulations play more and more important role in the car design process. Why is it so? What benefits do CFD sims have in comparison to wind tunnel? Is there something, that can only be achieved with CFD? There were some years where technology could be quickly transferred from aeronautic to racing car world. Nowadays is not like that anymore for several reasons. Example have been for the light structure, composite material and the original wind tunnel use. For CFD has been different, because the methods with great success developed in airplane design in the 70s and 80s did not give

a straight forward implementation in racing car design. We have to wait the last ten years with the great development of computer and their CPU that allow to write specific software. Nowadays the design of any parts of a car even with the most complicated F1 shape can have advantages by using CFD, more than any other investigation tool, wind tunnel included. It is a common believ e that there are some studies that can be conducted only with CFD. To come back to the 1st question, CFD is now the field where most the development effort is dedicated as in the past have been engine, suspension, tire or active control. 3. What typical computational infrastructure looks like? Which operating systems are typically used on engineers' desktops and on computational clusters? This is a difficult question because clusters evolve so quickly that team have to introduce upgrade almost every year. The main computer, the mainframe, as performance and number of cores could normally be placed in the top 100 list of top 500 computer site. For confidentiality normally they do not appear. Although for pure computation power there are some limitation imposed by the constructor association (FOTA) and so code works to use in the best way the rules imposed. Typical OS is Linux. There is a net of workstation and then PC for all the phase of data processing. So far they have no limitation. 4. What is the scale of IT infrastructure needed to develop and test a car and to run a real race? Cluster is of about thousand of cores, data are prepared on both workstation and then on the cluster with automatic procedure. The simulation is done on the entire car and even in several conditions with the aim to reduce as much as possible the calculation time. 5. Which simulation tools and technologies are most commonly used in the design process? Are they proprietary, open source or mix of both? At the beginning they though potential panel methods could be enough, now only solution of Navier-Stokes equations are used. The most common package are on the market are quite popular even if the team require to develop dedicated version in special respect to the solver speed and the respect of the regulation. Open sourced are widely used. Normally teams do not develop code on their own even if a great part of the resources is dedicated at the preparation and studies of the best package. 6. Which skills, particularly in computer science, are crucial for an engineer, who works in development of F1 car? In a CFD department are equally required engineer with computer since specialization and aerodynamics. Nowadays we want to let the aerodynamicist concentrate on their job and so the procedure must be robust and easy enough to avoid any time spent on the code. Sure it is not required to write part of the software itself. CFD software engineer must be capable to converse with software "manufacturers" to explain their needs and requirements.

7. Can you give any advice on how to become great engineer to our students? I appreciate this question, thanks. In addition to be keen obtaining an accurate preparation on the important subjects, I would like to advice anyone wants to become a good engineer to remember that there will be always a difference between them and a scientist. Nowadays, and in particular respect to those one are studying aerodynamics and analytical methods applied to CFD, they become more and more pure scientist then engineer. They need to be researcher as scientist. Nevertheless they have not no forget an engineer must to be capable to build. A F1 aerodynamicist will need to develop and especially to contribute to built an high performance racing car, but always a car that will be driven by a man and must work respecting the lows of physic and engineering.