Archive for the ‘Formula 1 Technology’ Category

Lotus E21 – Innovative serrated bargeboards and middle zone updates before Melbourne

        Lotus literally works overtime to constantly improve performance and thus frequently presents new aero components on its cars . This time several middle zones updates followed the introduction of a modified front wing at last pre season test in Barcelona . The upgrade package included apart from innovative serrated bargeboards, a relocated closer to the car body sidepod panel ( yellow double-edged arrow shows the volume between the panel and the car body) and an additional element which leans outwards, inspired by Sauber’s former cars  .

Launch spec – the highlighted in yellow “π shaped” tab helps to drive air upwards and away from the car to seal as possible the underbody aerodynamics .

Launch spec – the highlighted in yellow “π shaped” tab helps to drive air upwards and away from the car to seal as possible the underbody aerodynamics .

   Barcelona Test on March – the yellow double edged arrow shows the volume between the panel and the car body which is now decreased compared to previous version , all changes are highlighted in orange color

Barcelona Test on March – the yellow double edged arrow shows the volume between the panel and the car body which is now decreased compared to previous version , all changes are highlighted in orange color


      The new philosophy is to speed up the air flowing through this zone, due to now less available volume,  while the serrated bargeboards bleeds portions of air to cut drag . The total volume of air may now be lesser but the increased speed counters this negative effect . The low height and leaning outwards extra vane helps to decrease further drag and provide a cleaner airflow towards the rear of the car . All changes aim to create more downforce especially when the cars changes directions .

       Serrated bargeboards may look brand new and innovative but spring their origins a decade back to Ferrari saw-tooth bargeboards .

Ferrari F138 – rear wing, launch version

A  spec  -  Launch blue arrows show the airflow extraction from the vaned endplates

A spec – Launch
blue arrows show the airflow extraction from the vaned endplates

   F138 since launch was gifted with an innovative rear wing, which sports vaned endplates. They, accompanied by multiple blade shaped elements hanging from the endplate bottom, help to extract air from inside the endplate’s zone to the outside hence improve the efficiency of both the diffuser and the wing itself . The DRS activation mechanism is also much slimmer than last year .

Sauber F1 Team – World Premiere: Cutaway F1 Race Car


New film footage shows an F1 racing car sliced into two!

Hinwil, 30th May 2012 – And now for something completely different: for the last two years the Sauber F1 Team mechanics have been using their downtime to slice a Formula One racing car lengthwise down the middle with the precision of true craftsmen. A new film is now set to give this cutaway model its first public viewing.
“Formula One is all about cutting-edge technology,” says Chief Designer Matt Morris at the start of the five minute film. “We’ve all seen countless pictures of racing cars, but wouldn’t it be great to really explore inside it – as if peering into the core of an apple?”
Morris quite literally gets underneath the skin of the F1 car, pointing out where and how the individual components are located within the chassis. Everything is packed in pretty tightly, with no space even for his aforementioned apple. Sergio Pérez is also on hand to demonstrate the driver’s seating position.


credit: Sauber F1 Team

BMW Sauber F1.08 , 2008 season – Bargeboard upwards extension up to sidepod panel

November 23, 2011 1 comment

  BMW Sauber F1.08

        The central zone of a F1 car is considered crucial for a perfect aero-balance forcing teams to exploit bargeboard design to the limit (the bargeboards are the large vertical fences located in front of the sidepod inlets ). Sauber during winter testing ( in Valencia on February) launched a never seen before solution to manage airflow towards the rear of the car more efficiently . The team connected the sidepod panels ( the U shaped plate with the intel logo on it)  with the bargeboards via a vertical and slightly curved aerofoil . The purpose of the new pattern is to manage turbulent flow behind the front wheels more efficiently offering a smoother and cleaner flow of air around the sidepod body towards the indy flaps located in front of the rear wheels and diffuser roof favoring downforce production .

Renault  R28

         Renault was the first team to copy the idea launching its own version from the first 2008 race in Melbourne .

PS= Since 2009 many of the car’s body are elements were wiped out due to revised technical regulations aiming significant downforce production cut .

Williams FW33 – Innovative rear suspension



The ultra low rear end of the Williams FW33 (2011 car) effected the rear suspension design dramatically. The totally new rear suspension is a pull rod design in contrast to the previous push rod and the innovative of this new configuration is that  the top wishbones ( in yellow)  attach directly onto the rear wing’s single pillar , something novel for F1 .



      The unusual and innovative rear suspension assemble caused excessive vibration to the rear  wing , something totally unwanted because it dramatically reduces aero efficiency of the car . To decrease wing’s lateral movement and provide extra stiffness Williams supported the beam wing onto the pillar ( in yellow , first image ) via a connector .Furthermore in the first 2011 race at Melbourne , to totally overcome any vibration issue , the endplates were mounted onto the diffuser roof via single metallic pillars (second illustration ,red arrow) .






Williams FW33 – Innovative compact rear end

Williams managed to construct the smallest ever 7-speed gearbox even though the gearbox endurance is now increased from 4 to 5 races this year . This aggressive structural approach gave permission to aero dynamists to construct a fabulous low and compact rear car end , the smallest in 2011 grid . The target is to clean dramatically the airflow passing over the rear beam wing and the diffuser roof  causing a serious increase in downforce production .

The ultra low rear end effected the rear suspension design as well . The new suspension  is totally new and a pull rod in contrast to the previous push rod with the top wishbones ( in yellow) to attach directly onto the rear wing’s single pillar , something innovative for F1 .  The differential (in orange ) is also very inlcined because of the low gearbox line ‘

Talking about the double diffuser ban Sam Michael said  : “Not only can you not open any holes between the reference and step planes, you must have continuous material through all lateral and longitudinal sections. The scope for developing anything on the diffuser is limited, so we’re looking at the centre, rear and front of the floor, as well as the sides of the floor and the little area around the tyre spat, all of which are still free.”

Lotus Renault R31 – Innovative forward exhausts

A great novelty as regards Renault exhausts , proving that stricter rules can not ban creative spirit in Formula 1 but to redirect it exploring new innovative ways  .So Renault instead of finding a way to bend the rules and  blow the diffuser with hot exhaust emissions either through the sides or through the engine starter hole  ,decided to construct forward blowing exhausts !  The innovative forward exhaust pipes have an elbow ending configuration to blow under the chassis and energize airflow under the floor and towards the diffuser .  To prevent any floor toasting close to the exhaust pipe opening Renault placed a metal heat cover and also tested in some occasions heat sensitive green stripes under the floor or red stripes over it to check any heat issues rising from this configuration .

Mc Laren’s innovative rear wing system ( F-duct)

December 14, 2010 3 comments

Mc Laren constructed  its 2010 condenter , the MP4/25 , equipped with a new innovative system , called the F-duct which helped the car to achieve higher top speed at straights without loosing downforce at corners .

Official name of the system :

         While press and media called the system “The F-duct” , Mc Laren officially coded the system as  “RW80” meaning Rear Wing version 80

What is the benefit from such a  system :

          The driver at will can blow a high velocity airstream to the rear wing at straights , causing the it to stall , gaining a significant greater top speed for the MP4/25 up to 7-12 km/h  according to the tuning of the system and the track characteristics . The system was found to be within the rules by the FIA .

Why the system was considered to be legal :

        Several teams protested against the legality of the system when it gained publicity but FIA had already gave the green light to Mc Laren to develop such a system because the non movable-flexing wing plane principle is not violated as the system alters only the airflow around the wing and not the wing’s flexibility  .  Rival teams rushed to copy the system with the first one to be Sauber , while Ferrari , Red Bull , Williams , Force India and much later Renault and Toro Rosso also launched their own versions of the system .

    For 2011 the rear wing stalling system was ruled out of the regulations in favor of the new  rear wing attack angle adjustment mechanism .

How the system is activated :

       The air entering the nose snorkel can be blocked by the drivers left leg at will and as a result  the airflow  inside the engine cover is forced by changed pressure to circulate via a certain tube to reach  the rear wing causing it to stall .

Parts of the system :


The system  functions with the combination of  three different air inlets which are :

(A)  a nose duct  ( spotted where the F letter of the Vodafone logo exists and so called F-duct ) –  (Number 4 )

(B)  an inlet located behind the driver’s helmet  under the primary airbox inlet to receive airflow –  (Number 3 )

(C)  airbox second upper  inlet –  (Number 1 )

[The number 2 inlet feeds the engine with air and has nothing to do with the system]

         The received airflow from the nose duct  is directed via a tube inside and around the cockpit ending inside the engine cover . There it meets a second  richer airflow coming from the (B) inlet. The summoned airflows then enter a  system of tubes housed inside the engine cover .  The airflow coming from the  (C) airbox upper inlet also enters this system of tubes

How the system functions :

     Activated  system                                                                    


         When the system is active ( at driver will ) the airflow entering the (C) airbox inlet  circulates via a certain tube , gaining gradually velocity  with the help of a venturi effect , to reach  a hole located on the centre zone of the rear wing profile ( yellow arrow ) . The airflow  hits the wing and exits  behind the  wing’s profile  via a small additional pair of wavy shaped slits  , disrupting airflow and causing the wing to stall . As a result  the  wing’s drag production is significantly decreased in favor of top speed   .

      blown aiflow wing inlet

wing blown aiflow exits behind the  wing’s profile  via a small additional pair of wavy shaped slits 

When system is inactive  the air inside the engine cover flows into a second tube  exiting  above the  beam wing  leaving the rear wing unaffected .

   deactivated system

Pre-2010 season variations of the system  :

        The system is much complicated and the team tested various versions before launching it at Bahrain . The visual variations regarding the nose snorkel  are the following  .

    Winter testing      


   Winter testing  - a rectangular piece of carbon seals the  upper inlet surface 




Developments during 2010 season of the system

       During season Mc Laren developed further the system . The season developments regarding the  system’s activation way ,which was revised from driver’s knee to driver’s hand  and the different system’s tuning and air exiting  ways , are going to be described in future posts  .

Ferrari’s innovative front wheel rims

   F10  front wheel rims

      Wheel rim Carbon fairings, which were extensively used during last years were banned since 2010 season in an attempt by FIA to make pit stops safer  . So in theory all teams had to reverse back to simple rims but Ferrari instead moved a step forward and merged the fairing idea into the rim producing an interesting crown wheel rim design . The double concentric rings of different diameter  may be attached on  the wheel but  are considered to be part of the rim ,  so they are made of the same homogeneous metallic material to the wheel according to FIA regulation article 12.3.

      Rival teams couldn’t copy the design due to new 2010 homologated rules ( rims , fuel cell and crash structure are homologated to low down the cost )   as they already run simple rims at the first 2010 race at Bahrain and Ferrari cleverly kept it secret till the start of the 2010 season.

    Ferrari’s innovative rim design extracts hot air coming from brake components in such a way that effects less the outer cooler airflow towards  the rear  , decreasing vortexes and improving aero performance of the car . Rival teams had to deal wheel fairing ban by developing sophisticated front wing endplates  to clean airflow around  front wheels profile .

Red Bull RB6 – exhaust development from launch to China

   Launch – periscope exhausts

Red Bull was the first team to re-introduce the  Exhaust Blown Diffuser system in modern Formula 1  . Initially the RB6 was launched with periscope exhausts blowing just above the rear suspension’s wishbones . Later during winter testing the exhausts were repositioned close to the floor and under the suspension wishbones in an attempt to energize the diffuser causing it to produce more downforce .

  Winter testing – fake exhausts

The team tried to keep the new floor exhausts unnoticed by placing fake exhaust heat covers at the former upper position . Moreover the additional vertical floor fence which was tested  also , made the exhaust observation  even more difficult .


At Bahrain the fake exhausts were removed  while later at China the engine cover’s rear part was revised . This black coloured new part  can be separated from the rest engine cover and the change was  triggered  by the mechanics need to reach faster and easier the new floor exhaust internal area.


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