Lauda's Ferrari 312- Transverse
Pechito Lopez's USF1 car will be quite different from most cars on the F1 grid. Of course it will be more like the others than it will be different, but there are a few things that have caught my attention.
The team has said that they are "building" their own gearbox. I suspect this means assembling all of the parts supplied by partners. I believe the gears, shafts, and other "hard" parts are being manufactured by Emco. The gearbox casing, the frame that supports all of the "hard" components, may be built "in-house" or may be contracted out. Either way, the assembly will be by the USF1 team.
The most interesting fact about this gearbox is that it will be transverse rather than longitudinal.
A transverse gearbox will shorten the wheelbase of the car as the distance between the front of the engine and the center of the rear wheel will be shortened. But, the width of the gearbox will be larger than the longitudinal unit, thus impacting the "coke bottle effect", i.e. the narrow rear body shape. This will impact the effectiveness of the difusser, some experts say.
I do not know how this will impact the effectiveness of the aero or the center of gravity, but I suspect the guys at USF1 have determined some advantages. The car will aleady be "fat" due to the large fuel tank.
Another unusual feature is the front suspension. This is not definite, but it seems as if they are planning to use a front suspension that is also a "throwback" to the past. Pictures and videos from the team have led some observers to believe that the front suspension will include coil springs and a damper arrangement that differs from the accepted F1 norms. I do not have conclusive evidence of this.
But, suppose this arrangement includes the ability to mechanically adjust ride height during pit stops? The ride height under full fuel load will be the minimum, but after burning off a substantial amount of fuel, the ride height will increase substantially and influence underbody aero effiency.
Again, this is pure speculation, but I consider the possibilities fascinating.