Formula One car development blog

2006: Invisible upturn at Honda

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In sharp contrast to the visible upturn of sister team Super Aguri, Honda Racing itself was able to find back performance without making big changes to visible aerodynamic parts. Honda was doing pretty well at the beginning of the season with Button being on pole position at Australia. However, due to tyre and internal team problems, performance fell down while other teams kept improving. As Barrichello got the grips to the Honda, Button and the team on itself lost it completely. It... Read more

2006: A visible upturn

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One of the success stories of 2006 is without a doubt Super Aguri. The team had been set up in a few months time and refurbished an old Arrows A23 chassis to compete the season with the SA05. At Hockenheim, things improved considerably with the SA06 as the team reduced the weight of the monocoque and had many aerodynamic developments fitted in the following races. The narrower sidepods, new wings, smaller air inlets and differently fitted exhausts totalled for around 2 seconds a lap... Read more

2006: Sidepod vanes for everyone

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Similar to the adoption of the twin keel front suspension the sidepod vanes are not new but have only been used by few teams in 2005. At the beginning of 2006, Honda, Toyota and Midland each had a version of the elements. The sidepod vane is in all its version located just ahead of the sidepod and above the air inlet. At the end of the season the vanes were for all teams attached at the sidepods. The aim of the carbon element is to improve airflow from behind the front wheels over a... Read more

2006: Flexing down the rear wing

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Yet again it was Ferrari that unsurprisingly had also developed a flexing rear wing that would bend backwards slightly to reduce drag at higher speeds. Few races later the upper element moved downward under the air pressure and created a rear wing that was actually stalling since the slot gap closed. Although several other teams tried to copy the system in order to gain top speeds they never really match the stunning Ferrari. Among the copycats were BMW Sauber, Renault and Midland. ... Read more

2006: The flexing front wings

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The first real discussion subject of 2006 was without a doubt the flexing front wing of Ferrari. Although most wings bend down a little bit at higher speeds because of the air pressure, Ferrari found a very distinct solution to optimise their performance. As the 2006 cars were really underpowered in relation to the grip levels, aerodynamic drag was a vital part for topspeeds, more than has ever been. As the upper element of the wing would prevent flexing, Ferrari allowed movement so... Read more

Different carbon rings in one weekend

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For the first time this season, Ferrari were using different ring types in their rear wheels during one single race weekend. As Carlos pointed out on the forum, both cars were fitted with the big rings as displayed in the image, while after the first race stint they were both fitted with smaller rings, in fact the specification of before the Turkish GP. Contrary to what Ferrari and the FIA state though, the device is certainly an aerodynamic help. While it is considered an allowed b... Read more

How to copy a front wing

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At the beginning of the season, Ferrari came up with a double plane front wing. The upper planes were however attached to the nosecone by flexible joints, causing much controversy and the demand to chance the design. As the wing was found legal in after the changes, other teams started investigating the idea and Renault came up with a similar design at Hockenheim. This time around it's Williams who have seemingly copied the Renault design in terms of the upper planes and their curvy... Read more

Ferrari copy sidepod flip

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Unsurprisingly but a bit later than expected, Ferrari introduced a sidepod flipup at the Chinese Grand Prix. The Scuderia follows suit of BMW Sauber and Renault also developed a similar component. Almost every team now has its sidepods fitted with a similar flip or vane to channel air towards the back of the car. While BMW and Toyota seem to opt for a downforce generating element, Ferrari has the same basic idea as Renault in a way that the element straightens up air coming from beh... Read more

Wing development on R26

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Just like McLaren and Midland, Renault developed a low drag wing which only consisted of a single horizontal plane. The gap between the two elements of a regular wing became obsolete as that is designed to prevent flow seperation on wings with high angles of attack. Obviously, the Monza spec wings are not of such kind and therefore make such a gap obsolete, hence also decreasing drag. In addition to that, Renault developed their front wing (lower part of the image) for a low downfor... Read more

New W-rear wing for BMW Sauber

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BMW's new rear wing sports a new profile that reminds somehow of McLaren front wing designs at the time of the MP4-18. A W-shaped plane with an upward bend in the centre is designed for a reasonable compromise between drag and downforce. Their wing allowed for high topspeeds as it is low on drag while providing the maximum possible grip in the chicanes and both lesmo corners.