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 :
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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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 .
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.