After much anticipation, the reveal of all of the cars (excluding the Lotus) a few week’s ago finally gave us the opportunity to revel in the inevitable – ugly noses (although I’m starting to get used to them, so I don’t think they’re too bad now…). Although the “finger” nose, as many predicted, appeared to be the most popular solution, it was refreshing to see each team go a completely different route to one another as each version differed in numerous ways.
Undoubtedly we are yet to see the final version of each team’s respective noses, with the top technical directors and engineers revealing in interviews that they are all running various solutions in CFD and exploring every possible avenue in the pursuit for more aerodynamic performance.
However, assuming that each team has started off at the first test with what they believe to be the best solution to the current regulations, who has done what and why? What are they trying to achieve with their design? And where can we expect nose design to go next? Hopefully this piece should give you the answers to these questions. Continue reading →
One team engineer described the 2014 regulation changes as a “tidal wave” compared to the “ripple” that were the 2009 rule changes, and we all knew how drastically different the cars looked aesthetically and how the racing changed, too. Most of the challenge comes from developing the new “power units” – a 750bhp V6 turbo engine with additional recovery systems (recovering heat under braking and heat energy from the turbocharger) to provide a 160bhp boost for 33 seconds per lap (more on this in a later post). Aerodynamically, teams face another task of providing ample cooling to the power units while also maintaining performance, a challenge made harder by new limits being applied to the crucial elements that provide a significant amount of downforce.
As 2013 developments have become scarce, I have decided to start posting 2014 articles a bit earlier than planned. Analysis: 2014 – Aerodynamics aims to look at different aerodynamic solutions for next year’s cars as a number of rule changes come in. This first installment will cover the new front wing, front bulkhead/chassis and nose layout.
The front wing will receive a bit of a trim next year, reducing its width from 1800mm to 1650mm – 75mm lopped off each side. 75mm is quite a substantial amount, so the engineers will have to rethink the way the airflow is managed around the front tyres.
The above image shows what the front wing will look like relative to the current wing (dashed lines). One debate that has cropped up on forums lately has been the idea of reverting back to an “inwash” endplate, pinching the profile of the ‘plate inwards and passing airflow inside of the front tyre rather than than around it like we currently see (via an “outwash” endplate curving outwards). The endplate is beyond halfway of the tyre tread so I would assume that it is still slightly more efficient to produce an outwash endplate. Teams will want to continue with this design as they have been using it since 2009 (when the current regulations came in), so the car’s aerodynamic philosophy will be based around the aerostructures of the outwash endplate. Continue reading →