In conjunction with the FIA, F1’s in-house technical team has produced its first iteration ahead of an expected overhaul of the technical regulations for the 2021 season. After a phase of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) testing, F1 has now produced a 50% scale model, which has been tested within the Sauber windtunnel in Switzerland – as shown in its video tweet below…
The CFD tests, according to the FIA’s head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis, showed the 2021 concept sustained a downforce reduction of “5-10%” when in the wake of another car, compared to the 45% that current cars receive.
Windtunnel testing has, according to Tombazis, correlated with those previous figures.
“Fundamentally, the CFD was correct,” Tombazis told Formula1.com. “There have been no major surprises.
“So there is a 5-10% wake disruption, compared to the current levels of 50%, although it depends on the exact configuration you are testing and so on.”
Along with the ground-effect package, produced by a pair of dramatic Venturi tunnels, the car notably features little in the way of the expansive bargeboard packages currently seen on the current generation of F1 machinery.
The changes seen are part of a push to improve the closeness of wheel-to-wheel racing and level of overtaking in F1, without the need for driver aids such as DRS.
F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds has lauded the work produced so far, hailing the “exceptional” results produced in simulations and testing.
“[Results are] actually beyond what I thought we could achieve when we started the project” said Symonds. “With the configurations we have got at the moment, the results are exceptional.”
Other areas of interest include the front wing, to which the nose attaches directly to the front wing mainplane.
The five wing elements allowed currently has been cut to three, attaching at both ends between the nose and endplate to eliminate the “Y250” vortex – a common tool in creating a barrier between the tyre wake and the floor. There are also deflectors mounted to the front uprights to control the tyre wake, while the rear wing has been reshaped to reduce the wake produced.
“The fundamental point of all of this,” Tombazis added, “is that we are trying to reduce the losses that the following car would face.
“The simplification of the leading car’s aerodynamics also helps for wake performance because on the one hand the front car doesn’t have as many methods to control its wake. On the other hand the following car, not having all these little, very sensitive devices is less susceptible to disruption.”
Further changes confirm the wheel covers on the 18-inch wheel rims, along with a reshaped halo fairing to better integrate the design with the car.
F1’s self-imposed deadline to ratify the 2021 rules is October, although it is currently unknown if the design seen in the wind tunnel has been updated. The current contingent of teams have also been involved in the process of defining the 2021 rules, having been offered extra time to their simulation allowances to do so.
“The teams have been very good,” Symonds added. “The teams that have had the resources to do it have worked on a number of projects for us, and they are all fully informed of what is going on.
“We have meetings every few months, we send our geometry to them, they then run that in their own CFD environments and they feedback results to us.”