Creating an F1 exhaust system from scratch for HRT
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Although we work for a number of F1 teams, we are tightly bound by confidentiality. Not only can we not discuss what we do, but in most cases we can not even reveal who we work for. HRT withdrew from F1 in 2012 so we are at liberty to use them as a case study to illustrate the sort of program that we run for race teams.
HRT began life as Campos Meta in 2010, as one of the three new teams to enter F1 using the Cosworth engine. The first systems were designed in collaboration with Dallara, who built the first car. Dallara designers used our tooling chart to see what diameter tube that we could bend and what centre line radiuses they could use to route the primary pipes. Following agreement on a CAD model we had to make the system from scratch in a two week timeframe so that the new team could enter the first race in Bahrain, having missed all pre-season testing. Both cars started from the pit lane.
Just before the first race, Campos became Hispania Racing F1 (HRT) and Colin Kolles replaced Adrian Campos as Team Principal. In May, Kolles took over the car's development from Dallara. In 2011 Good Fabs were asked to redesign the exhaust system. Based on his 20 years experience fabricating F1 exhaust systems using Ferrari, Mercedes, Cosworth and Renault engines, Phil Levett worked with design engineer Didier de Lille to design a new system that would improve gas flow while avoiding all surface issues dictated by the bodywork's aerodynamic surfaces. The new system used the same inconel 625 material, although in different wall thicknesses depending on proximity to the engine. New steps were introduced to increase the diameter as the primary pipes approached the collector and the tailpipe was redesigned.
The first design was approved for production. However, during fabrication some adjustments were suggested to optimise the manufacturing process. These minor alterations were recommended to reduce both production time and cost.
GoodFabs built and scanned a finished system, created a new CAD model for design approval and the new design was passed by HRT for production.
The GoodFabs exhaust system was used in 2011 and 2012 seasons, did not fail once and enabled HRT to consistently finish races.
Most systems were used for two races and were not shot peened - a finishing process used to stress relieve welds.
Based on orders placed towards the end of 2012 it is likely that the final systems were run for four races. Many teams, including some toward the back of the grid, replace exhaust systems every race.