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 .
The F2012 had already received several front wing updates before China , thus meaning that some parts of the car should be re-examined to cope better with new aerodynamic elements .
The first step to this direction was taken at China where new turning vanes and bargeboards replaced the old ones . The new turning vanes had a reshaped sharper end with an additional vertical fin, while the bargeboard gained a winglet close to the turning vanes. Furthermore the large triangular chassis vane was replaced by more elegant double winglets spotted just behind the mirror, aiming to reduce further the amount of lift created by the sidepods .
The new chassis winglets were even tested with the old turning vanes-bargeboards, giving the impression that Ferrari was sure on their positive effect but had doubts on the rest updates .
F112 launch version lacked any bargeboards but soon a set of 2011 (F111) alike flow conditioners added on the car before Melbourne . At Spain the team moved not a year back but two instead by placing a 2010 (F110) alike set ! The two years dated bargeboard has a saw tooth upper profile and does not extend behind the sidepod panel (no1 in the image below) but ends exactly where the floor surface starts . That itself proves that old parts could sometimes be more effective than newer ones and should never be forgotten .Worth’s remembering though that F112 chassis is based on the same 2010 Dallara chassis opted to regulation changes .
The new bargeboards dictated the sidepod panel’s vertical slot to move slightly to the rear (no 3) , some changes to the rear zone and finally the floor vanes become thicker , longer and more aerodynamic (no 2) to cope better with the new set .
A set of bargeboards was present on F112 at Melbourne even though the initial version of the F112 lacked any . Bargeboard is a small piece of bodywork placed in front of the sidepod and act as flow conditioner .Its aerodynamic role was restricted since 2009 , due to changes on technical regulations , but bargeboard still contributes a lot to drag reduction and cooling .
At Monza a new set of bargeboards was fitted on RB7 which had a saw-tooth upper profile and a new leading edge not vertical but inclined towards the body of the car in order to speed up the air flowing between the bargeboard surface and chassis hence improving underbody efficiency .
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 .
The R30 did not have any bargebords since launch and at Sepang that was about to change as small triangular bargeboards were added to the car to improve airflow management around the sidepod bottoms .