Formula 1 is definitely a sport all about speed, however setting up your car to race on track takes lots of patience and dedication. Matt Amys explains in this video that 25 years ago it could take hours just to get one F1 car started.
For this demonstration, we’re looking at a Minardi M198 car. This is the car that an Italian team called AlphaTauri used during 1998. Unfortunately this car wasn’t very powerful in comparison to Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F300 or Mika Häkkinen’s McLaren MP4/13. It was estimated to be about three seconds slower than those two cars, but it does give us an idea of what technology was like back then.
Cars from this period of Formula One racing used V-10 engines. They take a long time, between one and a half to two and a half hours, to start on cold days. This information is given by an organization called TDF that looks after old vintage F1 cars for collectors.
First, you need to warm up the engine by adding heated coolant. People may think that these engines are too tightly fixed and can get stuck when cold, but that isn’t true. If it’s not hot enough, it could damage the Ford-Cosworth V-10 engine of the M198. Before starting, we should also make sure to clear out all air from the hydraulic lines.
Next, tubes inside the engine that take air in must be filled up. This air helps make it possible for the valves to open and close quickly as the engine is running. Then fuel is put into the engine and you have to use an outside motor to turn the engine on. That little motor plugs into the back of the gearbox and gets it spinning so that the crankshaft starts moving.
The oldest laptops with Windows 95 need to be used to control cars from the 1990s because they don’t work well with more modern computers. So, even if you have a laptop that’s older than this car, it could still work better than the car’s onboard computers. This isn’t just true for race cars from the 90s–it happens with McLaren F1s too! Once all temperatures and air pressures look safe, you can take the car out on the track.