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F1 Team Wind Tunnel

Formula One Wind Tunnel Projects - Ridge & Partners LLP

This is the second constantly operational wind tunnel that Ridge has built for a Formula One client on the Brackley site. The new building extends the impressive facilities at the Mercedes F1 Team’s headquarters, which Ridge first developed in 1997 with BAR.

Motorsport experts at Ridge were asked to provide innovative design and cost solutions from the conception to completion of the project to produce a state-of-the-art wind tunnel and ‘design and model shop’. The scheme comprises two units with a combined floor area of 5930m².

The wind tunnel unit includes:

  • A full-scale wind tunnel capable of replicating a road speed of 180mph, incorporating a bespoke rolling road and fan
  • A control room and a viewing gallery looking onto the car testing activities
  • The ‘F1 Experience Centre’ and presentation area
  • Ancillary areas, including model preparation space, trim shop, compressor/ vacuum air pumps to serve the rolling road, high and low voltage switch gear and offices
  • A three-storey reception tower with a high-impact display of F1 cars suspended from the ceiling.

The adjoining unit houses a custom-designed facility where carbon fibre wind tunnel models are designed and produced. This ‘model shop’ has a drawing office, pattern and mould making departments, an autoclave and car bays – all of the exacting requirements for in-house model production at the pinnacle of motorsport technology.

The design solution delivered by Ridge features a steel frame with in-situ concrete floor slabs cast on a composite metal deck. This framing solution was both robust and quick to construct. The entrance area is high-impact, providing an airy three-storey space and staircase designed to showcase the F1 cars, which are suspended from the main structure.

In addition, we tackled tough ground conditions, including the need to maintain a fresh water spring, with piled raft foundations. These had to meet the acutely precise tolerances for the wind tunnel and rolling road equipment.

Formula One Wind Tunnel Projects - Ridge & Partners LLP

Formula One Wind Tunnel Projects - Ridge & Partners LLP


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