Thanks to TDF, buying an F1 car has never been easier.

Buying a Formula 1 car isn't exactly a new experience. In fact, teams such as Ferrari and Williams even have dedicated departments with the specific purpose of selling retired machines to well-heeled members of the public.

The thing is, no matter how much money you have, when you buy an F1 car from the classifieds, you need an army of specialists just to start the engine, let alone make it run. That's where British engineering firm TDF can help.

The company, staffed by former staff of the Marussia, Mercedes-AMG, Renault and Williams F1 teams, has re-worked recent F1 cars to make them more reliable, usable, and affordable for those wanting to impress their mates at track days on a regular basis.

TDF-1 Formula 1 car

"As a core part of our business is maintaining modern-classic F1 cars, we know the complexities of keeping these cars on the track – from maintenance and repairs to running costs and the sheer skill needed to drive them well," said Matt Faulks, director of TDF. "With TDF-1, we wanted to create a package that allows driving enthusiasts the ability to have a genuine F1 experience that is more accessible and cost-effective."

Based on 2011 Virgin MVR-02 or 2012 Sauber C31, the TDF-1 package swaps out the screaming 2.4-litre Cosworth or Ferrari V8 that the cars used in period for a 1730cc four-cylinder turbo unit. The engine, based on existing race technology from Mountune, produces 600bhp at 9,000rpm.

Even though it's down four cylinders and at least 150 bhp, the TDF-1 power unit has a wider power and torque window, making it much easier for the amateur drivers that the car is aimed at. 

TDF-1 Formula 1 car

While the engine is different, the crash safety structure and aerodynamic profile of the car remains intact.

The brakes are like the original setup too, with Hitco carbon discs and carbon pads all round with AP Racing or Brembo four-piston calipers, as originally supplied to Marussia and Sauber, while the suspension is double carbon fibre or carbon fibre-shrouded steel wishbones at the front and titanium flexures or spherical links at the rear, whith Ohlins dampers all round with a torsion bar spring at the front and coil springs at the rear. 

The Drag Reduction System (DRS) has been tweaked. As originally intended, the DRS can be opened and closed manually by the driver but if the car detects a steering, throttle or brake input the DRS automatically closes. 

O.Z Racing has provided bespoke wheels for the project, derived from its real F1 products, and soft, medium, hard and wet tyre compounds are provided by original tyre supplier Pirelli.

All of the changes made by TDF help cut weight by around 40 kgs, giving the car a dry weight of 600 kgs and a power-to-weight ratio of 1000bhp/tonne.

TDF-1 Formula 1 car

Just one trackside engineer is required to run the car, and the car will be set up for each individual drivers' needs. What's more, TDF will provide time in its own simulator and coaching with W Series regular Jessica Hawkins to get customers up to speed. A number of trackdays at F1 tracks such as Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Spain and Circuit Paul Ricard, France will also be arranged by TDF.

"Driving a TDF-1 is like no experience I’ve had before; the responsiveness, balance and agility is second to none, and the raw speed is incredible," said Hawkins. "As a professional racing driver, I’ve been behind the wheel of some impressive cars in my career, but nothing comes close to the TDF-1. We’ve worked hard to develop a range of set-ups that suit all levels of experience and ability. The end result is a package that helps drivers build confidence and start to push the limits."

Gallery: TDF-1 Formula 1 car

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  • TDF-1 offers a genuine, race-proven F1 experience in a package that is more reliable, useable and affordable to maintain
  • Re-purposes genuine Marussia or Sauber chassis and factory componentry alongside a bespoke race-proven TDF powertrain
  • TDF-1 has been engineered by TDF, one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in modern-era Formula 1 racing cars and engineering, staffed by ex-Formula 1 engineers
  • TDF is responsible for the restoration, maintenance and support for some of the most important Formula 1 cars in history, providing worldwide specialist consultancy to private owners and existing F1 teams
  • Click here to take a look at the new TDF-1 launch video

Modern-era Formula 1 engineering expert, TDF, has today opened the order book for the TDF-1, a truly unique package that provides enthusiasts with the opportunity to own and drive a modern F1 car in a more reliable, usable and affordable package. 

The ultimate machine for private racetrack use, the TDF-1 is comprised of a 2011 Marussia or 2012 Sauber chassis, suspension and associated mechanicals, which is Powered by TDF. This means that the TDF-1 uses a bespoke race-proven powertrain comprising a state-of-the-art turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which develops 600bhp at 9,000rpm, mated to a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. Both engine and gearbox are stressed members, in keeping with the chassis’ original design. Crucially, the complete package is designed to maintain the original car’s factory-honed chassis/engine geometry. 

The result is a car that delivers 95% of the on-track performance of an equivalent F1 car, with all of the visceral driving dynamics felt by the Marussia and Sauber drivers during the 2011/2 seasons. In qualifying set-up, the TDF-1 will generate 4.0G in a high-speed corner and 4.5 G under braking. However, TDF’s powertrain is exceptionally robust and far more reliable, providing owners with a highly usable package that is affordable to run and maintain. It can be started at the press of a button on the steering wheel and only needs to be serviced annually. 

Wherever possible, the TDF-1 has been engineered to remove driving complexity. Gear ratios and steering wheel functions have been simplified so drivers can focus completely on the driving experience and less on the systems management that modern Formula 1 cars demand. Importantly, great care has been taken to retain the TDF-1’s original factory aerodynamic package, as developed by the Marussia and Sauber teams, while the car’s Drag Reduction System (DRS) has been upgraded so that it will automatically close during a steering or braking input, for added stability. 

The TDF-1 is offered with a full suite of spare parts to keep the car and its driver on track for longer. Spares range from tyres - which are manufactured to order by the original tyre supplier, Pirelli, in soft, medium, hard and wet compounds - to original and remanufactured bodywork and suspension components. With its reduced engineering complexity, the TDF-1 can be maintained for a fraction of the cost of a conventional F1 car by TDF’s team of expert engineers. 

Matt Faulks, Director of TDF, said, “As a core part of our business is maintaining modern-classic F1 cars, we know the complexities of keeping these cars on the track – from maintenance and repairs to running costs and the sheer skill needed to drive them well. With TDF-1, we wanted to create a package that allows driving enthusiasts the ability to have a genuine F1 experience that is more accessible and cost-effective.” 

Jessica Hawkins, TDF-1 Development Driver, said: “Driving a TDF-1 is like no experience I’ve had before; the responsiveness, balance and agility is second to none, and the raw speed is incredible. As a professional racing driver, I’ve been behind the wheel of some impressive cars in my career, but nothing comes close to the TDF-1. We’ve worked hard to develop a range of set-ups that suit all levels of experience and ability. The end result is a package that helps drivers build confidence and start to push the limits of TDF-1.” 

TDF-1 has been engineered and developed by one the world’s most knowledgeable modern F1 experts, TDF. Formed in 2009, TDF is staffed by ex-F1 engineers from a number of teams, including Marussia, Mercedes-AMG, Renault F1 and Williams. 

It has more than a decade of experience maintaining and running modern-classic Formula 1 cars, from the mid-1990s onwards. Its in-house design, engineering and manufacturing unit, based in Bedfordshire, England, produces high-performance components for several F1, hypercar and defence applications.

POWERTRAIN 
Powered by TDF 

The brief when developing the powertrain for the TDF-1 was to create a driving experience as intense as that of the original powertrain, while being more usable, reliable and easy to maintain. 

TDF-1’s power unit is a 1730cc four-cylinder turbocharged engine, based on existing race technology from Mountune, which has been optimised by TDF’s engineers to produce 600bhp at 9,000rpm. The TDF-1 power unit offers around 90% of the power output of the original 2.4-litre naturally aspirated engine, but has a wider power and torque window, making it easier and more rewarding to use for the majority of drivers. 

Limiting the engine to 9,000rpm with turbocharging also helps prolong the life of the engine and reduce the need for costly maintenance. Where the original engine would need to be preheated before running and rebuilt after each race weekend, the TDF-1 power unit can be started at the press of a button and only needs to be serviced once a year or every 3,000km. 

The power unit is mated to a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox via an AP Racing multi-plate clutch with fly-by-wire control. The gearbox, which is made of magnesium and carbon fibre construction, is the first composite gearbox available to the private market. It is longer lasting than the original and designed to make ratio changes quicker and easier. 

Both the engine and gearbox are installed as stressed members, as intended by the original Marussia and Sauber design teams. 

CHASSIS 

Every chassis used to create a TDF-1 is an original Marussia or Sauber chassis that competed on track in the 2011 or 2012 season. It does not use crash test or development chassis and ensures that each chassis is comprehensively stress-tested and scanned for imperfections before it becomes a TDF-1. For maximum safety, all crash mechanisms are designed and loaded to work in exactly the same way as when the original F1 was on track. 

Wherever possible, the TDF-1’s chassis remains original to the Marussia or Sauber F1 car on which it is based. This results in a dry weight of just 600kg, which yields a power-to-weight ratio of 1000bhp/tonne. The TDF-1’s aerodynamic profile and performance remain exactly as the teams’ highly skilled aerodynamicists intended. 

The TDF-1’s Drag Reduction System (DRS) has been updated to provide an additional layer of security. DRS is a mechanism used to ‘open’ the car’s rear wing, reducing downforce and increasing straight-line speed. In Formula 1, DRS can be closed manually or will close automatically at the end of an allotted ‘DRS Zone’. This means that if the driver makes a sudden steering input, lifts off the throttle or applies the brakes with the DRS open, the car will become unbalanced, resulting in a serious accident. On TDF-1, DRS can be opened and closed manually by the driver but, if the car detects a steering, throttle or brake input that could make it unsettled, it will automatically close DRS. 

The TDF1’s suspension uses double carbon fibre or carbon fibre-shrouded steel wishbones at the front and rear with titanium flexures or spherical links. Ohlins dampers are used all round with a torsion bar spring at the front and coil springs at the rear. It uses Hitco carbon discs and carbon pads all round with AP Racing or Brembo four-piston calipers, as originally supplied to Marussia and Sauber. 

Wheels are made bespoke for TDF-1 by Formula 1 supplier, O.Z. Racing, while tyres are made to order in soft, medium, hard and wet compounds by original tyre supplier, Pirelli. This ensures that the grip profile of the tyres is the same as experienced in a Formula 1 car. 

OWNERSHIP

The TDF-1 is designed to be a Formula 1 car that can be easily and safely enjoyed as regularly as possible. It is a unique proposition within the market, providing modern-era Formula 1 performance and dynamics with usability that negates the need for full team support, expertise and vast IT capabilities. 

To ensure drivers get the most from their car, TDF provides a comprehensive driver training course with the purchase of the TDF-1. This includes one-to-one training and driver coaching with TDF-1 Development Driver, professional racing driver and W Series star, Jessica Hawkins. Drivers will also have use of TDF’s own F1-grade driver simulator, to hone their skills. 

The TDF-1 will also be set up by TDF’s expert engineers to the driver’s preferred driving style, while the driver will also receive a bespoke seat and attend a driver fit to check for pedal and wheel positions. 

By reducing complexity, TDF-1 in standard trim is able to be run with just one trackside mechanic. However, an onboard start package and radiator fans mean that the driver can also opt to run the car entirely by themselves. 

On delivery of the TDF-1, drivers will also receive a complete set of pit equipment and circuit spares, as well as flight cases for movement of the car. 

TDF-1 drivers will receive invitations to a number of TDF-hosted driving days, which take place on international racing circuits often featured in the Formula 1 calendar, such as Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Spain and Circuit Paul Ricard, France. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 

Chassis

 

2011 Marussia MVR02 or 2012 Sauber C31: carbon fibre monocoque and nose box.

   

Suspension

 

Front:

Double carbon fibre/carbon fibre-shrouded steel wishbones with Ohlins dampers and torsion bar spring.

Rear:

Double carbon fibre/carbon fibre-shrouded steel wishbones with Ohlins dampers and coilover springs

   

Brakes

 

Front:

AP Racing/Brembo four-piston calipers and carbon pads. Hitco Carbon brake discs with 280mm diameter.

Rear:

AP Racing/Brembo four-piston calipers and carbon pads. Hitco Carbon brake discs with 280mm diameter

   

Wheels and tyres

 

Front:

Pirelli P Zeros in soft, medium, hard and wet compounds, on 13in rims

Rear:

Pirelli P Zeros in soft, medium, hard and wet compounds, on 13in rims

   

Weight

 

Dry weight:

600kg

   

Dimensions

 

Length:

5,200mm

Width (across body):

1,800mm

Height:

950mm

Wheelbase:

3,400mm

   

Engine

 

Configuration

Turbocharged in-line four cylinder

Displacement

1780cc

Construction

Aluminium, steel and carbon fibre

Valvetrain

DOHC, five valves per cylinder, cam on bucket

Fuel type

Sunoco 260GT Plus

Power output

600bhp @ 9,000rpm

   

Transmission

 

Six-speed semi-automatic with reverse gear, constructed in magnesium and carbon fibre. AP Racing multi-plate fly-by-wire clutch with steering wheel controls.

   

Performance

 

Top speed

200+mph (322+km/h)

Acceleration

0-62mph

 <2.0 seconds