I think I finally figured out what this silly looking 'sidepod scoop' actually does. If you look closely at it, it looks just like a big funnel. It catches a large amount of air coming around the sidepod and funnels around the side. The interesting part of this is that it creates a 'venturi' for the air going around the sidepod. Thus, it takes a bunch a slow moving air, and accelerates it....and that side wing is, well, rather large... Wink Does have an interesting shape to it though, in that it seems to slope downwards, and has lost the aero profile from last year. Appears to require a strut on the vertical section though, maybe it flexs too much without (the vertical section it does appear to have a slight inward curve though)
I guess it's more of a flow conditioner now than a downforce generator. Aiming for higher aero efficiency to suit the '06 regs?
I was knocking my head, wondering, why a scoop on the sidepod? Well, recently I was given some Advantage-CFD promotional video of the BAR Honda. It actually has an animation of streamlines of the dynamic pressure (roughly, it gives you an idea of the energy in the flow) sweeping across the BAR car at speed. What do you know, I slowed it down, and saw the dynamic pressure go to ambient (basically zero), right at the edge of the sidepod. That explains everything.
For example. The dynamic pressure often goes to ambient on the upper surface of the rear wing. Well, we all know that the rear wing creates a huge amount of drag. Apparently, so does the flow around the sidepod. Also, becaue the rear ends are more tapered this year, it would create even more drag (because of flow separation). Hence, if my theory is correct, the scoop accelerates the flow right around the edge of the sidepod causing it to 'stick' to the sidepod, delaying flow separation, and significantly reducing drag.
This is currently a 'Honda-only' part. New for this year (cause lack of V8 power to overcome the same drag?) So, if this does what I says it does, then I don't see why other cars won't be adding them very soon.