Ogami Mushashi and syguy explanations and checkered links are great. Giblet brings forward something I've been thinking today.
So, I have just two more questions, if you’re so kind.
An “air wing” should be able to do some force on the surrounding air. This force would move the “air wing” in the opposite direction, maybe disrupting it. That's what could be, at the bottom, behind Tomba, saribro and zac's objections.
The only stable vortex I have seen in this world is the Great Red Spot, which is an aerodynamic enigma, or so I’ve heard.
Is there any “modern” explanation for the Great Red Spot? It seems to comply with the conditions of the question: it could be a “wing of wind”. Or, at least, it seems to a novice that something is counteracting the thermal and coriolis forces there: the Red Spot has been circumscribed to the southern equatorial belt for more than 150 years now (maybe 300).
So, here we have a possible
aerodynamic solution. Theories you can read are: the shear at the edges of the belt keep the storm in place, OR there is a fountain of heat (like in hurricanes or typhoons) below it. Thus, maybe
there are two possible solutions, first a couple of shear currents at the edges of the “air wing”, and second, a fountain of heat on the body of the car. None sounds very promising, I concede gladly…
A possible answer to fastback33 question. Which NACA profile is this?
There is another kind of waves I know that are “stable”: solitons.
The idea is this: the speed of a wave is proportional to its frequency and wavelength. On a normal wave there are many frequencies superimposed. They have different speeds, which leads to the dispersion or flattening of the wave. In a soliton, there is an interchange of energy between different frequencies, with the end result that the differences in speed are cancelled and the wave sustains itself.
A soliton in a channel (the larger wave to the right)
Of course, I think it seems as difficult to achieve solitons (if that's possible at all) on a flow of air as it sounds...
Why there are no elliptical wings in F1? I imagine that the advantage they give you are less than their defects, as Ogami Mushashi comments on endplates seems to imply somehow, but stay with me for a minute:
The lift of a wing is more or less proportional to its chord. In an elliptical wing, the chord diminishes the further you are from the body. At the wingtips, the chord is zero, and thus, the lift is essentially zero. This is no good for F1 designers: you wish to achieve maximum lift, so, why "throw lift away"?
Spitfire’s elliptical wing: at the tips there is no lift
Now, the air flowing under the wing has a tendency to move upwards at the lateral and trailing edges of the wing. I read that is this "upwards push" what causes the vortices at wingtips.
This means that at the wingtips of an elliptical wing this tendency is reduced, because there is no lift. Apparently, this made the Spitfire an “smooth” to follow airplane (and a more predictable one while turning, which allowed you to try to tighten the turn and receive a "warning" from the controls, before stalling the wing).
It occurred to me that a source of inspiration could be migrating birds, which fly in flocks. After all, they have evolved to fly close to each other. I say yes: to an amateur they seem to have this kind of wings, or at least a reasonable approximation. Have any person in the F1 world tried to get some inspiration from them? Maybe
this design has some merit: perhaps
it gives you less "dirty air" AND reduces downforce, or so I think it's probable. I shouldn't say it, but it seems a really good idea.
A flying aerodynamics teacher?
On the other hand, buzzards have more “blunt” or square wings. They fly alone, like Massa wishes to, when qualifying behind Alonso…
Wing enhanced for lift, that leads to solitary flights?
Another example is a school of fishes. They seem to have evolved to swim very close to each other. They seem, again, for an amateur, to have a tail thicker at the external edges and thinner at the center, not far from the “split wing” proposed (and apparently rejected) to enhance overtaking.
Swim, swim. What do we do? We swim...
Well, I don't know if any of this is workable. Any suggestions? Sorry for the long post.