Chassis : RB9
Engine : Renault RS27 – 2013
RB9 is a refined version of the previous RB8 (2012 car) , with a “dwarf” vanity panel to cover the stepped nose, a more rigid front wing to meet the stricter FIA regulations regarding flexibility , retained ramp-exit exhausts, tunnelled sidepods and with a passive drag reduction system ,separated from DRS to cut further drag favouring top speed.
The S duct feature which is pioneered by Sauber in 2012 is present on RB9 . It helps to smoothen the negative effects of the boundary layer under the nose . The boundary layer is a slowed stream of air flowing close to a surface due to friction . The small vanity panel on the stepped nose section , alongside with the introduction of the S duct forced Red Bull to abandon the nose letterbox design which aided cooling .
Winter testing updates :
At Barcelona test on February Red Bull tried a low downforce set up rejecting at the same time the beam winglet, also placed extended heat shields on the engine cover around the exhaust zone and featured minor diffuser revisions . A new front wing, revised larger vanity panel and rear wing endplates with horizontal gills instead of curves made debut at second Barcelona test . It was also interesting to see Red Bull to reject the new diffuser and revert back to the old spec .
Aerodynamic performance : very efficient as all Adrian Newey’s creations, provides good aero balance and enough grip .
Speed : very fast at both low and heavy fuel loads but shows very low top speed at straights . The ban of DRS free use at will during qualifying could potentially transform the low top speed issue into a real handicap for the team .
Tyres management : average for all three compounds, soft, medium and hard .
Reliability : pretty good
ramp-exit exhausts, FIA refused permission to Renault to change engine mapping in 2013 that would potentially enhance the positive effect of the ramp exhausts
Despite the fact that FIA attempted to discourage teams from exploiting the nose fairing and gaining aero advantage over it, many teams bypassed the regulations spirit and developed elegant structures both to gain improved airflow over the nose and keep the weight penalty due to the added fairing as low as possible . To be honest this was something more than expected as many changes caused the opposite effect than the wanted one, with the recent ban of the blown diffuser to be the best example. The only team which does not need a fairing is Marussia because of its low chassis .
Ferrari, Mc Laren, Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso followed a conservative pattern as shown in the illustration below
Sauber developed a unique “ Π ” shaped fairing to create a deep channel on top of the nose, separating the air stream flowing over the nose with the one flowing at sides .
Red Bull’s dwarf fairing is an outcome of the desire to limit the fairing dimensions to the minimum required for opted aero efficiency so as to keep the extra weight as low as possible .
Mercedes evolved further last season arched nose . Instead of being flat at the top it has an intense arched shape and a more smooth bulkhead height transition . This is to reduce drag by diverting the air flowing above the nose tip towards the nose sides while the main flow is channeled smoothly over the bulkhead , all aiming lower drag production . The optical result of this pattern resembles to a duck nose .
Finally Caterham and Lotus rejected the possibility of fixing a weight costly fairing and instead developed a sculpted chassis on top, thus forming a smoother airpath for drag cut . However Caterham features a deeper and a more obvious sculpted area than Lotus does .
It is of high possibility to see teams developing further their initial idea or even coping rivals patterns . It is good to remember that the nose fairing, as all new designs, needs to be examined and studied further , unless FIA decides to make regulations even stricter .
- 2013 season – A goodbye to stepped noses (formula1techandart.wordpress.com)