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GP Week : Issue 113
FINE DINING With one of his F1 Ferrari’s on exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, ace designer John Barnard has already been accepted by the cognoscenti. Now he’s developed the perfect dining table for the materially obsessed. So slim it’s practically anorexic, Barnard’s carbon- fibre ‘surface’ table spans three metres but is just 2mm thick. It’s so light there’s no need for coasters, but is there actually any point in a lightweight dining table? Surely carbon-fibre would be more usefully employed in high-end camping furniture. Then Barnard could add some scout badges to the three drivers titles and two constructors crowns he earned at McLaren. The table is available in both the natural unidirectional weave finish or in a walnut veneer. Oh, and it’s US$50,000. Carbon with a walnut veneer? If Bentley ever enter F1, Barnard’s their man. SPACE RACE I’ve long suspected that the inspiration behind McLaren’s team kit and motorhome is Star Trek, and this next (starship) enterprise is even more pointy-eared. McLaren composites constructed the landing structure, hull and solar panels for the Beagle 2 space probe. However the US$120 million British project, which was designed to reveal whether life had ever existed on mars, was a failure. Communication with Beagle 2 was lost shortly after it had been released from its mother ship. McLaren has made its own communications goofs over the years. Remember when Lewis Hamilton told the media one thing and the stewards the other? ... DEADLY DIVING F1 is known as ‘The Piranha Club’, making this rather deadly gadget a paddock necessity. The Oviosub Speargun introduces F1 high-tech to the ancient practice of spear fishing. The device uses a honeycomb structure filled with hydrogen to improve balance and buoyancy when firing at watery pray. This composite material, called Cratinax, was first developed by the Renault F1 team in its suspension. Following the Crashgate revelations, the Renault board would have done well to have taken care of Flav in the style of a 007 underwater shootout. Cue the classic quip: You’re fired. THE GREATEST EVER LOTUS? A Norfolk-based bicycle designer, called Mike Burrows, had an idea for a racing bike using a carbon composite monocoque. So, after some initial sketches on the back of a beer mat, he rang up a mate of his who worked down the road at Lotus Cars. Lotus’ aptitude for composite techniques were obvious, and they ran the prototype 108 pursuit bicycle in the wind tunnel – some might say at the expense of their 107B F1 car. The result was their most successful racer since the Lotus 79 of 1978, and British cyclist Chris Boardman rode the Type 108 to victory in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, smashing the record for the 4000m. Sadly, two years later, Team Lotus got on its metaphorical bike and left F1. FLIPPER FLUBBER Fuji, a 34 year-old dolphin from Japan, had three-quarters of her tail amputated after suffering localized cell decay. Then Bridgestone stepped in with ten F1 at large While Formula 1 has often sought real-world relevance, championship-winning teams and suppliers have, over the years, come up with some intriguing ideas and products in their spare time. Adam Hay-Nicholls investigates 28