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 .
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 .
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 .
- Ferrari F138 – winter testing (pre season) tech summary (formula1techandart.wordpress.com)
- Ferrari F138 – technical specifications (formula1techandart.wordpress.com)
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 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 .
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 .