Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness

Thermodynamics 101, brought to you by the warmup sequence of a Formula 1 motor.

If you "get" why I find this compelling, then… well, you’re probably a gearhead!

If you don’t understand the attraction of a V-10 motor spinning up to 18,000 RPM while shrieking loud enough to make ears bleed, then consider this a good example of our irrational fascination with technological aesthetics (where "our" means the human species).  We just love this stuff.  It just manifests itself in different ways.  If you’re proud of your Prius, you’re expressing something irrational, because the Prius is certainly not about an economically justifiable technology choice, no more than a Formula 1 car is. 

In the end, it’s worth going back to Norman’s Visceral-Behavioral-Reflective model of cognition.  This video is all about the power of the visceral.  It’s absolutely, postively worth designing for, no matter if you’re working on a financial website or a F1 car.

this video footage via Google Video

44 thoughts on “Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness

  1. THAT is one of the coolest things I’ve seen for a couple of weeks. And that is saying something given some of the geek filled fun I’ve had with computers during that time. It also helps one to appreciate some of the engineering issues faced in heat management of modern F1 cars. How to dump the heat effectively without upsetting the dynamics of airflow can be a surprisingly difficult question.

  2. I can’t believe that people *knowingly* seat themselves in the middle of that. Then again, I’m a girl. I still think that rocks, though.

  3. Turn Off the Lights, And I’ll Glow: F1 V-10 Startup

    Y’know, it’s fairly obvious that we’re not huge fans of modern Formula 1 racing. But the technology, oh sweet mother of internal combusting. CTE pointed us toward this vid of a Formula 1 V-10 startup test, and we’ll be…

  4. This is fantastic. Wow. Made my skin tingle, and hair stand on end. Can you imagine being strapped in front of that thing?

  5. v10 Insanity

    In keeping with our recent automotive theme… If you have ever had any interest whatsoever in anything related to cars, engines, racing, speed, or engineering marvels, you simply must go here. (It’s a video. Wait for it to load. Hopefully,

  6. links for 2006-02-07

    Device Specifications: Cingular 2125 (tags: cingular2125 windowsmobile) DOM Scripting: Beautiful balloons (tags: javascript DOM webdev reference) Super Bowl XL Commercials on Google Video (tags: superbowl commercials) metacool: Unabashed Gearhead Gnar…

  7. That is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I’m sitting here with a huge stupid smile on my face that won’t go away.

  8. I definitely “get” it. The obvious glow is amazing but what has always interested me is how fast the F1 engine reacts to the throttle and off. Amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Its amazing how hot it needed to be to run properly. It wouldnt rev until the headers were glowing a proper white. Lucky bastards…

  10. Answer for Walter Wong: If it’s an Arrows A22, the engine is an Asiatech V10. If it’s an Arrows A23, the engine is a Cosworth V10. I can’t tell from the video which it is – the team mechanic uniforms from both of those years were pretty much the same. Either way, both of those engines were capable of around 18,500rpms. Not too shabby!
    Thank you for the video. Anyone who has the opportunity needs to experience an F1 race in person. It can best be described in two words: Violent Speed.

  11. Most women & many men probably don’t care much about this stuff, but this is just simply amazing & ominous.
    Us gearheads are so often thrown out to pasture as simple minded, but there is so much math, physics, science, geometry, etc… involved in the gearhead mindset & what it takes to be a part of this field of interest or lifestyle, that if one is even remotely aware of what is going on here, they truley must be awestruck.

  12. One of my Physics students showed this the other day. I have been a fan of Formula 1 for nearly 40 years, but never heard that. The ultra-low moment-of-inertia, the idle at 4000rpm, and those violent throttle bursts to red line. It borders on the obscene, and I am a gearhead pervert.

  13. Hello Guys,
    How do I get a copy of the F1 Motor video?
    (Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness)
    If any one can e-mail me a link to download a copy that whould be great.

  14. The instant throttle response and return is due to the lack of torque in a formula one v10. Also, from what I know, this is a standard computer controlled warm up sequence and would be done on each cold start before practice, quals, etc. What an AWESOME find, keep the f1 coming, by far some of the greatest technology the public can come in contact with! The v8 cosworth going to 20002 is pretty amazing also!

  15. just way too cool… i must have replayed the clip about twenty times now; still in awe…

  16. Regarding the heat issue, Champ-Car teams have to put towels soaked in water on the bodywork overtop of the headers during longer pitstops to act as a heat-soak to prevent the body from burning. After 30 seconds or so, the towels are steaming.
    The flywheels are around 6 inches in diameter, the reciprocating mass of the engine is squat.

  17. There is something about the sound of an F1 engine….it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up……..18,500 rpm redline,4000rpm idle………whats not to like……..i think i’ll watch it again.

  18. Just to respond to a previous comment, i can confirm that it was a clip of the great Cosworth V10.

  19. Dan wrote: “The instant throttle response and return is due to the lack of torque in a formula one v10.”
    In the interests of engineering accuracy, let’s note that the immediate throttle response and return of an F1 engine is due to the extremely low rotational moment of inertia of the crankshaft/flywheel/clutch assembly, as well as to the light weight of the reciprocating parts, and not to the engine’s supposed lack of torque.
    Card-carrying gearhead

  20. This is definately ear candy AND eye candy for the gearhead oh sweet baby…

  21. holy mother of god. im so happy right now and so idiotically inspired as well.. an engine just DOES NOT reach redline in less than half a second!
    btw the Arrows A22 did 358 kmh in hockenheim so this is prally as good sounding as an f1 engine(or any engine) will ever get. ever.

  22. Folks! – I’m glad I’m not the only “lunatic” who gets off and won’t sleep for a few hours after having just heard this for the first time right before “dreamland” – What an Orgasmic Rush!!! Reminds me of the days we had the race here in Detroit about 20 years ago – “Cobo Hall” was the F1 garage and our photo passes for the weekend included touring it – complete with the occassional “Engine Session” – but not to that extent – unfortunately the Detroit Fire Marshall forbid them from “firing up” in the building!!! Was quite a scene watching them chase from one end of the garge to the other while the teams would stategically “fire up” when the marshal chap was at the other end of huge convention-hall-like space! Those were the days – Detroit ’82-’88.

  23. I’m lucky enough to be a crew chief on a Nostalgia Top Fueler. For those of you who don’t know, thats a front motored dragster that harkens back to its’ roots in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. Our motors are larger than F1, and granted not as sophisticated, but if you’ve never been around a supercharged, fuel (nitromethane) burning motor, you are in for a treat. The crew members around the car wear respirators to provide filtered air, and ear protection. The sounds of an idling fueler are one of the most visceral experiences ever, and when the throttle is ‘whacked’, hang on!!! Newbies always jump, and the experienced get that stupid grin that says it all: NITRO…….yeah

  24. What a sensation it would have been to have this engine in our Heat Power Lab. at Brooklyn Polytechnic in 1952 when I graduated. BPI is now 154 years young!

  25. “as well as to the light weight of the reciprocating parts, and not to the engine’s supposed lack of torque.”
    Neil, the design for higher RPMs is tied to torque really. Motorbikes, just as F1 cars have high RPM readlines. This is more so because of lower torque that they need to generate. Lower torque requirements means that the connecting rod doesn’t need a long moment arm from the crankshaft, which leads to shorter strokes of the piston, which leads to higher RPM capabilities 🙂
    Very very nice video. Wow, computer controlled warm-up?? Amazing what those engines can do!!

  26. 18,000 RPM
    -Each Cylinder fires 9,000 x per. min.
    x 10 cylinders = 90,000 firings per. min.
    / 60 =1500 firings per. sec.
    -Each piston comes to a complete stop 36,000 x per. min. or 600 x per. sec.
    Lawd Have Mercy!

  27. Good to get all the clarifications about torque etc.
    Just in case any lay people are reading, let me add my 2c…
    In plain english, the instant throttle response (a leaf lands on the pedal and the engine whacks into the rev limiter) is because the bits that need to move (and move more and more quickly) are made out of balsa wood, cork and moonrock. They have little or no mass:-)
    The reason that’s a good thing is increased control.
    F1 engines have no torque because the drivers that control them can keep the engine plum in the middle of a 300rpm torque band at all times in response to track and race conditions.
    Or, to put it another way, F1 engines put all their eggs in one delicate little basket and then get men with spideyskills to handle the basket.
    That’s what make me cry, it’s all that human effort rolled into one single (and to many, pointless) endeavour.
    Thanks for the treat:-)
    p.s. Gearheadiness is a funny thing, I don’t know if any of you have seen that video (made by a Danish animator and then distributed as “crazy frog”) of a frog firing up an imaginary two stroke and then taking off in a cloud of smoke, but as a kid I used to do that all the time. I’d be standing at a pedestrian crossing holding my Mom’s hand and making (very realistic) engine sounds. The nang-nang-nang and rapid gear-change (1-2-3–4—5——6) of a small-bore two-stroke still gives me a smile today:-)

  28. Most car drivers don’t know what revs are…

    Not like us cheeky biker-types (tho now that Ive aged and drive an opposed twin, my serious revving days are behind me) who are familiar with little two-stroke Yams and their ilk Diego Rodriguez has posted an astonishing little fil…

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