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Development of Lightweight and Compact Differential for Formula One Car

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

Summary

The differentials used in Formula One vehicles comprise a differential mechanism and a differential restriction device (LSD), which together form a bias-adjusting mechanism, and a final reduction gear set. Because the differential is positioned close to the rear end of the vehicle, it contributes to dynamic performance. Reducing the weight of the differential helps to centralize the mass of the vehicle, and increasing its compactness boosts aerodynamic performance. Development efforts were concentrated on the achievement of a lightweight and compact differential, with the focus in the initial stage on the centralization of mass. Previously mounted on the final driven shaft, the bias-adjusting mechanism was positioned on the final drive shaft, helping to reduce the center of gravity and the yaw moment of inertia. A full pinion engagement planetary gear was employed as the differential gear. A study of the merits and drawbacks of the mechanism resulted in the development of an ultra-short differential (USD) employing a full pinion engagement double pinion planetary gear positioned on the final driven shaft as the differential gear. It was predicted that this would increase the compactness of the unit and reduce its weight by 1.2 kg.

Author (organization or company)

Toshio HIYOSHI(Automobile R&D Center)、Yuichi SUENAGA(Automobile R&D Center)、Haruki YOKOYAMA(Automobile R&D Center)、Yoshikazu KATSUMASA(Automobile R&D Center)

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