Starter motor


Formula 1 starter motorFormula 1 starter motor
Geared tip of the probe that is plugged into the back of the gearbox






Starter motor with external battery power supply


At the beginning of a race, a complex procedure is to start Formula One engine. Numerous components are utilized in this secretive action, without which the car would go nowhere. When you consider that a racing V8 using in F1 is around ten times more powerful than a road car power plant, you realize that it takes more than just the twist of a key to get it running.

The electrical starter motor is an external unit, held by a mechanic, which features a long probe that is plugged into the back of the gearbox and engage two pairs of gears. First of all, the mechanic inserts the probe in the gearbox. He then receives a signal to push the starter motor button. This turns the engine over until the engineers are happy with the engine speed and oil pressure and - using a laptop - they will effectively turn the ignition on.
In simple terms, when he pushes the starter motor's button, 24 volts start an handheld electric motor and trough long shaft start to turn gearbox and through the gearbox to turn the engine. Because the motor has such a kick in it, there is a reaction arm which hooks up on to the rear wing or to the road to stop it coming out of the mechanic's hand.
The starter motor features a set of gears and clutch, and as the engine will move five times faster than this, for safety there is a spring clutch. This acts like the freewheel on a bicycle, allowing the mechanic to withdraw the probe without any danger to himself. Another safety measure is the break-off clutch, which will prevent an accident should the engine backfire.
While the starter motor itself is an off-the-shelf unit, modified to cope with the high voltage passed through it, the probe, gears, clutch and electronics are all produced in-house by the teams.
A range of materials are used for the construction, including aluminium for the main body and steel for the probe.
The starter is made to be reliable, not light, which is one of the benefits of having an external unit. In the past, when they had an on-board starter, they wanted it to be as light as possible so an air starter was used. Now they concentrate on durability and this is generally a trouble-free piece of equipment.

From season 2014 and massive engine and KERS rule change, FIA included in their Formula 1 rule book that an starter motor must be included and that driver must be able to start the engine seated in the cockpit.




5.18 Starting the engine :
It must be possible for the driver to start the engine at any time when seated normally at the wheel and without any external assistance.


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Books to read


Some useful links:

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

 - 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.

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

Missed Apex Podcast
Enjoy range of Podcasts and Articles on Motorsport. Every week a Formula one chat on Missed Apex F1 Podcast with F1 journalist Joe Saward and tech Analyst Matthew Somerfield as guests. Also the exciting all electric racing series formula E on eRadio Show and Bike Show Lean Angle Podcast.

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

 - 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.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.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.

Giorgio Piola web site