Video: designer Sergio Rinland on setting trends in F1

RapidTech technical expert Craig Scarborough talks to designer Sergio Rinland about the cars from the first phase of his Formula 1 career, including the first F1 Dallara

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Haas has upset the Formula 1 apple cart recently by using Dallara and Ferrari parts since debuting in 2016, yet its approach is nothing new as Sergio Rinland points out.

Designer Rinland has worked with Williams, Brabham, Benetton, Sauber, Scuderia Italia and Fondmetal, and in a recent episode of RapidTech he talked to technical expert Craig Scarborough about his cars from his early years penning F1 cars.

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This included first with Scuderia Italia in 1988 then Brabham from ‘89 to ‘91 and Fondmetal in ‘92.

His Scuderia Italia F188 was a co-production with chassis manufacturer Dallara, and Rinland believes that was a prototype of the Haas-Dallara tie-up seen in F1 today with its wide use of 'listed parts' not made by the Haas team itself.

‘Yeah, very similar,’ said Rinland, ‘because I don’t think that Dallara in terms of philosophy of working has changed. Because Mr Dallara is still at the helm. Every time I go there it’s like walking at home again.

‘It was easy to drive,’ he added of the ’88 car, ‘it was comfortable for the driver to go fast.’

Later that year then-Brabham boss Bernie Eccelstone ‘invited’ Rinland to return to Brabham for ‘89. ‘He didn’t actually say “would you like to come back” he said “you have to come back”!,’ Rinland grinned.

His '89 Brabham was a development of the Dallara F188 rather than of previous Brabhams.

'We were going to run from a BMW turbo four cylinder to a normally aspirated 3-litre V8,' Rinland explained. 'So it was a clean sheet of paper, so it was more a development of what I did at Dallara Scuderia Italia than what I did at Brabham before.'

He stayed there until ‘91, producing the distinctive cigar-shaped machine that year which again was at the fore-front of innovation which still is felt in F1 today.

‘We did what you do today in CFD, or what you see at the track with this map of pitot tubes to measure air direction and velocity,’ Rinland said.

‘We did that all along the cigar of the car and that sort of dictated the shape.’

It also was one of the first F1 cars with front wing endplates coming inboard.

Rinland also reflected on his ‘92 Fondmetal, a car often forgotten as it didn’t score any points, mainly due to poor reliability, and the team went out of business before the season’s end. Yet it was highly rated by its drivers and Gabriele Tarquini qualified 11th in it at Spa that year.

‘I still value that car as probably the best design I did in the era,’ Rinland says.

It was another car that helped set a trend. ‘You had channels on the side which is very similar to the waist that cars now have,’ Rinland added, ‘not only Formula 1 cars but Le Mans cars, even cars on the road.’

Images courtesy of LAT Archive

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