Racing lines: visit F1’s small suppliers Car News

“My grandfather was originally an engineer who made commercial fire extinguishers, loved motorsport and saw a gap in the market,” says Tuppen, adding that Niki Lauda’s fiery crash at the Nürburgring in 1976 was part of his inspiration.

The first agreement with the F1 team was concluded in 1999, quickly followed by others – and now the FEV covers the whole grid. So what does FEV produce and why is it so reliable?

Strictly confidential

The first part is a tricky subject for FEV to answer, as the off-the-record nature of supplying multiple F1 teams that are deeply and inherently competitive means the company is bound in near-total silence. What is becoming clear is that while F1 teams are increasingly self-sufficient and keeping as much as possible in-house, even the best-resourced ones need specialist suppliers to meet specific demands.

Fire safety equipment, which is mandatory in FIA technical regulations, is one of those key areas that requires some degree of outsourcing. What FEV can tell us is that the extinguishers are custom made for each team, which dictates their design, shape, manufacture and location on the car. No surprise, given that every aspect of the modern F1 design is optimized for lightweight shrink wrap.

F1 is only part of the business. FEV also supplies fire extinguishing systems to Porsche, for its racing and road car divisions, to Skoda in rallying and to all manner of club and national racers. At entry level, fire extinguishing foam is common, but Tuppen explains that a gas is the preferred solution in the upper echelons of motorsport: “It does not present any risk of corrosion and evaporates in about 10 seconds, whereas if ever you see a foam fire extinguisher go off, it makes a big mess. We use 3M Novec 1230 gas, which is as environmentally friendly as possible. There are nozzles directed at the engine and in the cockpit, and the flow rates and volumes in the cockpit are calculated so that the quantities released are safe for the driver.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-06 23:01:24

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