Let the tweaking begin

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As Bahrain was the final test before the start of the season, teams had to finalise their setup for the initial GP at Australia. Unsurprisingly that led to aerodynamic changes all over the cars, with Scuderia Toro Rosso adding an extra fin on the front wing endplates. Knowing that simple changes of the FWEP can lead to downforce differences up to 5% of the overall it is obviously an area of focus for the teams. The extra fin and the lower plane of this end plate are bent up slightly. Although other teams have come up with the same before, it is by itself surprising that the leading edge is pointing up since that by itself would create lift instead of downforce.


By jddh1 on 05-03-2007 at 05:47

what\'s also weird is that how does this upward leading edge affect the air that goes over the tires.

By ackzsel on 06-03-2007 at 20:02

Maybe it\'s for compacting air so that the following bend in the wing endplate becomes more effective?

By Ian P. on 07-03-2007 at 05:43

If we give the team aero specialist the benefit of the doubt and assume they are working to generate downforce, then the upward endplate must be doing just that. Since what we see is the static case, then to generate downforce the air flow onto the wing must be at a downward angle. What matters is the angle of attack of the leading edge relative to the true airflow direction.
Last year some fo the teams (Toyota was one notable) had winglets on the engine covers that were clearly angled upwards (lift) so since lift is likely not the goal, either the aero fellow was a total goof or the airflw direction just aft of the driver\'s helmet must have a downward component under some or most conditions. This can explain why so many teams (McLaren, BMW, Spyker) all have wings or Viking Horns in this area. If the airflow has a downward component then these horizontal surfaces will generate downforce. They may have to give up some flow over the rear wing ....???
I would like to get some comments on the effect of the airflow just ahead of the front tyres (got it right that time....) as this should be a relatively turbulent area of high pressure. I think it was Harvey P. that said... \"if you give a driver 5% more downforce, he will go out and drive like a hero\".
Ian P.

By jwielage on 07-03-2007 at 19:45

Very interesting point Ian P. I never thought of that, but it is very logical that a wing can generate downforce even it its leading edge is upward sloping, granted that the airflow hitting is is doing so at a downward angle. Under these conditions a more standard wing or winglet (upward sloping front to back) would probably create excess drag. This being said the front wing will be cutting through undisturbed air, so I don\'t see how it would be coming in at an angle. The airflow should be hitting the fin, as it would the rest of the front wing, from straight on. In my humble opinion I think it must have something to do with what jddh1 mentioned above, creating air that more efficiently flows over or around the front tires. If this fin could condense, and accelerate the airflow feeding out the back of the front wing then maybe it will bypass the tire area with less disturbance. I have no formal fluids training, I could be completely wrong, just my thoughts.

By jddh1 on 09-03-2007 at 00:44

Also notice that the plate is not painted, which means that might not be a definite solutions and that the CFD testing results needed to be confirmed on track. Another thing I wonder about is whether this plate would be movable -- I mean, if they implement this development, will we see a pit crew member adjusting this plate as well as the front wing plates during pit stops?

By jwielage on 10-03-2007 at 19:42

Ahh...thats food for thought. It would have to prove a significant enough developement to warrant attention durring a pit stop. But who knows, as we begin to run up against the areo constraints of current regulation, efficiencies are going to be found in the smallest details. This sport is quite amazing!

By Ian P. on 12-03-2007 at 20:57

Don\'t you just hate it when people start a conversation with a question....??
The discussion on Viking Horns and similar wings and things on the engine cover has bugged me for a while. Why do these work and why do only some of the teams seem concerned about them. Why is it McLaren (and now BMW) are the only one(s) using wings with horns, more correctly described as end-plates, and what is it they see as an advantage..?? Yes even more questions.
Taking a fresh look at some pictures, I wonder if the advantage of this device lies not in the \"general\" aero benefits but as a means of providing stability during braking. I tried to do some quick calculations on how much air is consumed by the engine on WOT (wide open throttle) at 19K rpm. Its a bunch. All this air that would normally be drawn into the engine intake will be blocked and flow around the engine cover on lifting off at the end of a straight. At this point, the aero situation around the top of the driver\'s helmet and flow onto the rear wing will change considerably. The wings and horns may well serve to stabilize the transition. It may not improve downforce but it might help with stability. McLaren, probably more so than other teams, seems to have gone for building chasis that work at the sharp-end of the stability curve. This could be why they have stuck with the wings and horns....comments...??
Ian P.

By RACKITUP on 12-03-2007 at 21:32

The Viking horns were first thought to be de-turbulators for the rear wing, but it seems that they are for added stability during yaw; not supprising with the recent (5 years) introduction of yaw and dynamic windtunnel/CFD testing.

As for the outboard upper endplate rubberstrip, I don\'t have a clue. Best guesses:
a) Contracting the flow, reducing pressure on the front of the wheel---> less drag
b)An endplate-endplate, to prevent flow circulation around the side of the \"primary\" endplate. Reducing induced drag, and increase downforce
c) Pitch sensitivity. If the setup of the F1 car is such that it is inherently rear balanced, then as the car pitches forward under breaking, that plate will begin to be negatively inclined to the flow; producing downforce. This will bring the centre of pressure forward, which \"some\" drivers might prefer under braking.

Just a few guesses...don\'t shoot me :)

By teecof1fan on 02-04-2007 at 04:59

i\'d have to guess that the winglets on the endplate simply ease the airflow over the tyres, that they aren\'t for downforce. neither do i believe the \'viking horns\' on the f1.07 and mp4-22 help with downforce. i think they help airflow to the rear wing and they help with stability (to agree with rackitup)...and to ian p, although bmw and mclaren are the only cars running the viking horn, several other teams do feature wings on the airbox, they just dont have the vertical elements that the f1.07 and mp4-22 have (the \'horn\' so to speak)

By taku on 04-04-2007 at 22:38

The diveplates on the front wing endplate are not specifically downforce generating devices but they must have a beneficial effect on the flow structure round the front wing and tyre area. Most probably they concentrate the vortices produced by the endplate which then act to clear the wake of the wheel from entering the underfloor.

With regards to the horns...could they be a means of tripping the rear wing at high speed? As the car goes faster the wake from the horns will be larger which might just tip the rear wing over the edge. A stalled rear wing down the straights will improve top speed.

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