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BMW-Sauber f1 car

BMW-Sauber is looking at computing power to improve aerodynamic efficiency

Swiss-based F1 team BMW-Sauber has been using Europe's fastest industrial supercomputer to design aerodynamic components for its 2007 car.

The supercomputer - named Albert 2 - uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to calculate the airflow across engine parts in order to help make them more aerodynamic and to assist cooling of hot components.

Albert 2 uses 1,024 intel processors and 2 terabytes of RAM.

Head of aerodynamics for BMW-Sauber, Willem Toet, said: "Thanks to Albert 2 we can calculate more variants and more complex models which, in the end, results in an advantage on the stopwatch."

Traditionally, F1 teams have always used large wind tunnels to test the aerodynamics on their cars. Sauber are the first team to use a supercomputer, in the belief that it is now powerful enough to accurately simulate the results they would get from a windtunnel.

This means the team can tweak the car's profile in the computer in order to quickly try out different settings and shapes, removing the need to keep physically changing the real car in the wind tunnel, which is costly and time consuming.