Photo of Jolyon Palmer in a Renault F1 RS16 by via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo of Jolyon Palmer in a Renault F1 RS16 by via Wikimedia Commons.

Motorsports – Physics & Technology, with Will Buxton & Mario Andretti

Photo Credit: lmankram7 (Jolyon Palmer - Renault F1 RS16) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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About This Episode

“It’s the greatest sport in the world. It’s man and machine in perfect harmony.” On this episode of Playing with Science, hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice explore the science-filled spectacle of auto racing. To start, they’re joined by Formula 1 journalist Will Buxton to catch us up on the history of Formula 1, from the early days of hobbyists racing around airfields to the introduction of aerodynamics and the KERS system (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). Find out more about Formula 1’s tradition of finding loopholes in the rules and exploiting them. Next, physics professor Richard Bower gives us the physics behind cornering and tells us the important difference between torque and power. You’ll hear about the impact of computer simulations on auto racing. We also ponder whether full on battery-powered engines will ever replace petrol. After that, our good friend, adventure journalist Jim Clash, stops by to tell us about some of his personal experiences in race cars: driving a Bugatti Veyron 253 mph, taking an Indy Car for a spin, and getting behind the wheel of a drag car. Last, but not least, we sit down with legendary driver Mario Andretti, the only driver to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, and the Formula One World Championship. Get the driver’s perspective as Mario weighs in on the technological advancements he’s seen throughout his career and tells us what new tech he wishes he had access to during his time on the track. Buckle up!

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