Being one of the chosen BMW Juniors, I was recently invited to visit the BMW Formula One factory in Hinwil, Switzerland.

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The chosen ones. BMW Juniors at the BMW F1 Factory
in Hinwil, Switzerland

"Being one of the chosen BMW Juniors, I was recently invited to visit the BMW Formula One factory in Hinwil, Switzerland.
We were given an extensive seminar on racing technique, aerodynamics and car set up by Mike Strottmann a former BMW touring car racer himself and other experts from the factory.
Extremely interesting was also the tour of the factory including the museum and the high tech wind tunnel, which is so important for the development of F1 aerodynamics.


F1 Engine secrets revealed by the expert

A Formula One car is actually not a car as most people perceive it: It is actually an airplane flown upside down. If you race through a tunnel you could actually drive along the ceiling and it would stick! The only problem is how to get it there without crashing at 300 km/h. The engineer who gave us the lesson on aerodynamics had been crazy enough to volunteer but management refused because of safety concerns.


Set up and driving technique lesson by BMW Touring
car driver Mike Strottmann

The wind tunnel is managed by the second most powerful computer in the world: Albert. It is really huge, something like 20 x 2 x2 meters, like computers used to be 50 years ago, but as powerful as they are today! Only NASA has a bigger one. It works 24/7 and calculates billions of ways every day how air could flow over the car in a way that it gives the right mix between downforce and drag or wind resistance. That's why the cars have little wings all over and look so alien. But next year there will be more restrictions and cars will look more similar again to give the teams a more level playing field and increase competition on the track instead of in the factory, which is better for spectators, since only few people have the opportunity to go inside an F1 factory. Even we were not allowed to go inside the actual tunnel. Top secret!"
Marlon


Marlon Stockinger and Simon Moss checking out
Nick Heidtfeldt's Steering Wheel at the BMW F1
Factory in Hinwil, Switzerland