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Pitot tube

 

(By SonnyT, from F2008 Development thread)

 

A Pitot tube is a pressure measuring instrument used to measure fluid flow velocity, and more specifically, used to determine the airspeed of an aircraft and can also be applied to race cars.

Henry Pitot

The Pitot tube was invented by Italian-born French engineer Henri Pitot in the early 1700s, and was modified to its modern form in the mid 1800s by French scientist Henry Darcy.

F1 teams place Pitot tubes in areas where they want to measure the air speed. At some test sessions the Pitot will be on the nose at others it will be high above the engine air box.

 

 

Pitot tube diagram

 

As these tubes contains air, a pressure can be measured as the moving air pushing against the tip of the tube as it is brought to rest. This pressure is the stagnation pressure of the air, also known as the total pressure, or sometimes (particularly in aviation circles) the pitot pressure.

The measured stagnation pressure cannot of itself be used to determine the airspeed. However, since Bernoulli's equation states that:

stagnation pressure = static pressure + dynamic pressure

then the dynamic pressure is simply the difference between the static pressure and the stagnation pressure. The dynamic pressure is then determined using a diaphragm inside an enclosed container. If the air on one side of the diaphragm is at the static pressure, and the other at the stagnation pressure, then the deflection of the diaphragm is proportional to the dynamic pressure, which can then be used to determine the indicated airspeed.

Remember that since the typical F1 car has many shapes that cause the air flow to speed up or slow down as the car passes through the air the teams will move the Pitot tubes to different locations to get different data.

 

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Some useful links:

Technical
- f1technical.net, a great site with a lot of technical information’s and explanations. Site is updated daily with news from F1 word.

Autosport
 - autosport.com, This site is a legend. A bible for racing lovers. News from all around the word. Unfortunately, to get access to all news, interviews and to open the site completely you should be subscribed to Autosport magazine. Anyway, great read.

James Allen on F1
- JA.F1 site (or blog) ovned by ITV Sport’s lead commentator on Formula 1 James Allen

Joe Saward blog
- joesaward is the Joe Saward official blog about Formula 1 world. Joe is an journalist, who write primarily about politics in and around motorsport, specifically on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship

Vital F1
 - vitalf1.com/ is another great site for Motor Sports fan’s like me. Site is relatively new, but great fun, with great discussion forum, Formula 1 news and forum.

 GP update
- f1.gpupdate.net, Site with fresh news from Formula 1

Planet F1
 - planetf1, another site with many different articles, news and statistics. Biased toward British teams, but anyway good read.

Gurney flap
 - gurneyflap.com, Great history site. You can learn a lot from this site. Pictures, cars and many many more. Great.

4mula1
-
4ormula1 is a database of Formula 1 history and statistics of drivers, teams, grand prix, and all results since 1950

Racecar engineering
-Racecar Engineering, an online magazine with a lot to learn from, a lot of technical information’s and explanations

FIA
 - fia.com, La Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, representing the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users. Head organisation and ruler in auto sport.

Wikipedia
 - wikipedia.org, I don’t believe that I have to tell you anything about this site. It’s not about Formula 1 technology, but you can learn a lot about that too.

Sutton Images

grandprix photo

Carbibles
 - carbibles.com, a great site for normal car users. Here you can find explanations of almost everything about your car and how it works. Technical reviews and explanations of some in-car gadgets.

Dare To Be Different
- Daretobedifferent.org Susie Wolff and UK governing body of UK motorsport have joined forces to launch Dare To Be Different, a high-profile new initiative which is about increasing female participation, not just on the track but in all aspects of the sport.