ZF has a long tradition in supplying Formula 1 teams with products. In 1937 the first Mercedes silver arrows already won their races with clutches and shock absorbers of the ZF product brand Sachs. In the 60s, ZF successfully equipped the cars of Team Lotus and Colin Chapman with transmissions. In the early 90s, ZF re-entered the elite class of motorsports as a supplier of clutches and shock absorbers. Since then the partners of ZF Race Engineering have been very successful. Teams equipped with ZF products won nine F1 constructor´s world championship titles, eight of them with Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, and were able to score more than 130 race victories in Formula 1.
The technical regulations of Formula 1 have changed dramatically for the 2017 season. After only minor design changes during the last years, spectators can now recognize a major design shift in the new cars. The targets of the revised regulations are to make Formula 1 faster and reminiscent of the glorious days of the series. The cars are now much wider with a maximum car width of two meters. The aerodynamic wing elements are a lot more prominent and the lower back wing provides a more dynamic and aggressive look of the new cars. The return of the so-called “shark fin” is also very evident. This aero part can be found in all 2017 cars in different variations. The new aerodynamics are supposed to create more downforce resulting in faster curve speeds, faster lap times and more exciting races with higher demands to the drivers. The higher top speed is also caused by the new tyres, which are up to 25% wider. With these impressive characteristics, all tyres provide a much larger total tread area and therefore a better grip on track.
In the 2017 season the teams of Scuderia Ferrari, Sauber F1, Sahara Force India, Scuderia Toro Rosso und Haas F1 rely on shock absorbers from ZF Race Engineering. ZF clutches are used in the powertrains of Red Bull Racing and in the near future by another F1 team. The driver´s subtlety will be in even higher demand in the new season, as there will be only one clutch lever in the new cars instead of two in the last years. This lever defines the transmittable torque. Handling the clutch the right way will therefore become even more important for an efficient start into the race. The Formula 1 clutches from ZF Race Engineering are designed for a powerful performance and minimum packaging requirements. The clutch weighs only 1.800 grams or about 10% of a comparable clutch in a street car. The clutch can transmit a torque of over 1.2000Nm with a diameter of only eleven centimeters, while simultaneously providing optimum clutch modulation during the starting procedure. With titanium housing and carbon facings only high-quality materials are used in the production process.
The new Formula 1 season begins on Sunday, March 26 with the season opener in Melbourne/Australia.