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Development of Seamless Shift for Formula One Car

Article of Honda R&D Technical Review F1 Special (The third Era Activities)

Summary

Honda focused on gearbox development during its third Formula One era. The reduction of shift time is an effective means of maximally increasing race competitiveness within the constant-mesh 7-speed gearbox regulations. In the standard shift process, the current gear was disengaged, the system went into a neutral state, and the following gear was engaged. Honda’s seamless shift realized up-shift with a torque loss time of zero, by engaging the following gear and then disengaging the current gear. Normally, this process would lead to damage due to double engagement, but in the developed system double engagement was prevented and transmission of deceleration torque was enabled by adding one-way clutches with a locking function to the conventional shift mechanism. The selective use of these one-way clutches, positioned between the gear hubs and the mainshaft, and the use of cooperative control with the engine, enabled the realization of seamless shift across the entire shift range. As a result, lap time was reduced by 0.4 sec per lap, and the system was used in races from 2005 as the first shift mechanism of its type in the Formula One world.
This paper will also discuss the removal of the shift forks and shift rings as well as the fitting of the gear selection mechanism inside the mainshaft in order to reduce the total length and weight of the mechanism while maintaining its seamless shift performance.

Author (organization or company)

Takashi YOSHIOKA(Automobile R&D Center)、Takeshi UCHIYAMA(Automobile R&D Center)、Katsumi KUBO(Automobile R&D Center)、Ryo MATSUI(Automobile R&D Center)

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