Some say that Formula 1 cars, at full speed, can drive upside down on the ceiling. No one has ever done it yet; so far the feat only happens within complex mathematics and computer simulations. It is very possible of course, when the conditions are perfect.
What is very possible in the real world is this: anchoring two Formula 1 cars, with engines deleted, on a steel frame. While it would seem that Petronas has managed to balance the cars on a pinhead, architects will see the principles of cantilevering in action. How did they do it? We got the footage of its construction right here.
It is eye-catching, especially when you walk into KLCC via the Dewan Philharmonic Petronas lobby. Keen eyes will notice that both cars are different. The one on the left is the team’s 2010 contender and the right has raced in the 2011 season.
The fact that it is being suspended gives you a different view of the Formula 1 car. While most exhibitions show the shell of the car, this one gives you a view of the underside of the car, also known as the undertray where some of the car’s aerodynamic secrets are held. No, the view is not what you would call exciting but you can see, in finer detail, the guts rather than the glory of the race machine. See if you can spot the little fins that smoothens the airflow into the side pods.
You can also see the skid block here. In case you didn’t know, the skid block is a wood plank that measures 10 mm. This one is painted in the team’s silver. It is FIA’s low-tech solution to a very high-tech problem. You see, Formula 1 cars used to run very close to the track to enhance handling which enables drivers to take corners at break-neck speeds. It is also very dangerous; it caused Ayrton Senna’s death.
Today’s regulations require the skid block to be measured before and after the race. Cars with skid blocks that are found to be less than 9mm post-race will be disqualified.
It is not often you get to see the undertray. The only time you get to catch it is usually during a race incident when the car flips over during a race. Even then, unless you can pause the telly, views of the undertray is always too brief.
Of course, this is not all. The installation is part of the 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix Showcase. A mouthful, I know.
Plenty to see and do… there’s the Formula 1 car on display together with the CLS 350 and the SLS AMG Roadster. Fans of the team should really get over here because the latest line of team merchandise is here to make you part with your money.
Highlight of the showcase has got to the Speed of Sound AR Game. Is it hard? Extremely. You race by matching the pitch of your voice to the pitch that is shown on screen. Hit the mark and you get seconds taken off your time. Miss the mark and you’ll notice the seconds can really add up. To win, you need a near perfect pitch and a very quiet room. Still, our Harvinder managed a time of 10.40 seconds in this noisy concourse and is on the top ten leaderboard. See if you can knock him off his lofty perch.
The showcase has already begun and will come to a close on March 25. I’ll leave you with one last thing to nibble on – Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will be meeting fans and signing autographs on March 21 from 5.00pm onwards. Fan or not, it is worthwhile to visit this showcase.