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The ING Renault Formula 1 team has reduced the time it took to design and manufacture a composite diffuser for its R29 race car from 12 weeks to six weeks using Vistagy’s Fibersim composites software.

As a result, ING Renault has been able to get the diffuser on the track two races sooner.

The so-called ‘double diffuser’ was used by the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams teams in the first two rounds of the 2009 Formula 1 season.

However, ambiguity in the regulations meant that many teams felt the double diffuser was not permissible under the 2009 regulations.

Renault Formula 1 was one of four teams to appeal its use – an appeal that was denied by the governing Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

As with many other teams, Renault Formula 1 had been working on its own version of the large double-diffuser floor, which smoothly channels air under and out of the back of the car, increasing downforce, lateral grip and overall performance.

Once the FIA issued the ruling allowing the use of the new diffuser, Fibersim facilitated its implementation.

The ING Renault Formula 1 team has used Fibersim for the last seven seasons to design and manufacture all composite parts, including the chassis, gearbox, floor, side pods and wing main planes.

The team reported time savings of 20 per cent to 30 per cent for the gearbox on the R29, but the 50 per cent reduction in time it took to design and manufacture the diffuser, which was comprised of more than 100 plies of carbon fibre, set a new standard for efficiently developing composite parts at ING Renault Formula 1.

Ian Goddard, senior computer-aided-engineering (CAE) engineer for ING Renault Formula 1, said: ‘We worked with an outside supplier and asked if they’d like electronic templates generated by Fibersim for manufacturing the diffuser.

‘This provided the supplier with better accuracy than they were used to.

‘With ply books, we normally expect some ambiguity, but, by using Fibersim, we are able to manufacture the car just as it is designed.

‘That makes a big difference in the 16-week period leading up to the season, but it is even more critical during the season when a part needs to be produced and shipped in time for the next race, as was the case with the diffuser,’ he added.

The ING Renault Formula 1 team reported that the 50 per cent savings experienced on the first double-diffuser design, reducing the composite laminate design time from 12 days to six days, was improved on again on the next iteration.

The subsequent double diffuser took just three days compared to around nine days for previous developments.

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