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Sauber cuts an F1 car in half to show us what’s inside

Most of us think we know what’s inside the body of an F1 car. There’s an engine, a couple of pedals, a fuel tank, some batteries, maybe some sort of bloke to control it all. But very few of us have any idea what these components look like underneath the bodywork. Luckily for us, Sauber has released a video that shows a fascinating insight into how an F1 car’s components are packaged together.

Behold: The world's most expensive cut and shut.
Behold: The world’s most expensive cut and shut.

The team has done this, not by cooking up some half-baked animation, but by cutting an actual F1 car in half so we can see its dissected innards in spectacular detail.

The video reveals all the major components that make an F1 car work. From the rear moving forward, we can see the gearbox at the rear, the clutch, the engine, oil tank, fuel system, electronics boxes, the pedals and the steering system. All those pieces are, unsurprisingly, positioned very low in the chassis to help maintain a very low centre of gravity.

One of the most surprising tidbits to come out of the video is the driver’s incredibly uncomfortable sitting position. He sits a mere 10mm off the track surface and is bent in an awkward V-shape with his feet almost at the same level as his shoulders.

Terrifyingly, the fuel tank is positioned only 50mm behind the driver’s seat. The fuel system is made of Kevlar and constructed of numerous horizontal baffles that prevent the fuel surging around during cornering and braking. Each baffle has flat valves that prevent the fuel flowing upwards, so the fuel level stays as low as possible, maintaining the low centre of gravity.

Reassuringly, the car has an integrated fire extinguisher that can be activated by the driver or the marshalls.

Sauber also showed off the steering system and the nose of the car which, far from being hollow, is crammed to the hilt with complex-looking components.

The video makes for fascinating viewing. Hit play, soak it all up and let us know what you think in the comments, or on Facebook.

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