## How much is a "point" of downforce?

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raymondu999
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:31 am

### How much is a "point" of downforce?

I've often heard of downforce quantified in "points." I saw in one of the videos on YouTube of turning the mp4-24 into a race winner that they added "30 points." How much is a point of downforce? For example, in terms of downforce, at x speed, how much more downforce does an extra point of downforce generate?

Giblet
Giblet
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:47 am

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

raymondu999 wrote:I've often heard of downforce quantified in "points." I saw in one of the videos on YouTube of turning the mp4-24 into a race winner that they added "30 points." How much is a point of downforce? For example, in terms of downforce, at x speed, how much more downforce does an extra point of downforce generate?
A point is the same as a click. It's an arbitrary number for us, but a real number to the team. They know what one click is, but you can just think of it as one 'step'.

A click on a Reanault wing is not the same as a point on a Ferrari wing.

They sometimes call it a turn, or half turn of downforce as it's done with a ratchet.
Before I do anything I ask myself “Would an idiot do that?” And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing. - Dwight Schrute

raymondu999
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:31 am

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

AH. So it's actually just an internal convention on how to quantify it?

shelly
shelly
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 11:18 am

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

As far as I know in most of the teams 1 point corresponds to 0.000048*(speed in kph)^2 kg of downforce.
i.e @ 250kph 1 point is roughly 3kg of downforce; @ 300 kph 1 point is 4.3kg of downforce

Jersey Tom
Jersey Tom
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 7:49 pm
Location: Huntersville, NC

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

shelly wrote:As far as I know in most of the teams 1 point corresponds to 0.000048*(speed in kph)^2 kg of downforce.
i.e @ 250kph 1 point is roughly 3kg of downforce; @ 300 kph 1 point is 4.3kg of downforce
Where did you come across this?
Grip is a four letter word. All opinions are my own and not those of current or previous employers.

Richard
Richard
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### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

I'm intrigued by the 0.000048. It looks like one of those magic constants that has a simple neat origin.

twoshots
twoshots
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:37 am

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

Always one of those little things that I wondered about. Not being an aero guy myself.

In fact it cropped up at the weekend with Whitmarsh's comments that Hamilton losing his front wing end plate cost 10 points of downforce. 10 'sounds' like a lot, but without a way to quantify it with units...

newbie
newbie
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:33 pm

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

a point of downforce is the same throughout the F1 teams from what I understand. downforce is measured not in Cl (lift coefficient) but in a similar parameter with a similar magnitude. A point is worth 0.01 of this parameter and a unit is worth 0.001. so for example if a hypothetical F1 DID use Cl to quantify downforce and their F1 car has a Cl of 4.000, then adding 30 points of downforce would bring the car up to a Cl of 4.300.

Jersey Tom
Jersey Tom
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 7:49 pm
Location: Huntersville, NC

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

Honestly sounds like BS to me. An arbitrary measure. Could be whatever units you want. Pounds, kilos, some dimensionless measure...
Grip is a four letter word. All opinions are my own and not those of current or previous employers.

Mystery Steve
Mystery Steve
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Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

newbie wrote:a point of downforce is the same throughout the F1 teams from what I understand. downforce is measured not in Cl (lift coefficient) but in a similar parameter with a similar magnitude. A point is worth 0.01 of this parameter and a unit is worth 0.001. so for example if a hypothetical F1 DID use Cl to quantify downforce and their F1 car has a Cl of 4.000, then adding 30 points of downforce would bring the car up to a Cl of 4.300.

I think this is common in general. Simon McBeath's columns in Racecar Engineering magazine use this convention, for example.

shelly
shelly
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 11:18 am

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

I agree with newbie and mistery steve.

Downforce=0.5*(air density)*(speed)^2*(reference area)*Cl

Usually you don't work with Cl, but with [reference area*Cl], namely SCl.
SCl has the dimension of surface, i.e. m^2 in SI; typical values are between 2 and 5.

1 point corresponds to SCl=0.01m^2:
if your car improves from SCl=4 to SCl=4.30 it has gained 30 points of downforce.

Working with points is easier because you work with numbers like 5, 7, 30 instead of 0.05, 0.07, 0.30.

If in the formula for downforce you substitute air density=1.22 kg/m^3 and take into account dividing by 3.6^2 (conversion for speed from m/s to kph) and by 9.81 (conversion from N to kg) you get

Downforce=0.0048*(speed in kph)^2*SCl

and finally with 1 point corresponding to SCl=0.01m^2

1 point [kg] = 0.000048*(speed [kph])^2

newbie
newbie
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### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

shelly hit the nail on the head. using SCL rather than CL is advantageous because you dont need to continuously keep track of frontal area.

autogyro
autogyro
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:03 pm

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

Well I think it is just a way to avoid placing an understandable measure on it that others would relate to.
This is to make it difficult for the FIA to define a set maximum for regulation.
An old saying of mine. Bulls--- baffles brains covers it.

Pierce89
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:38 pm

### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

autogyro wrote:Well I think it is just a way to avoid placing an understandable measure on it that others would relate to.
This is to make it difficult for the FIA to define a set maximum for regulation.
An old saying of mine. Bulls--- baffles brains covers it.
If that's the case, why would Mcbeath in Racecar Engineering use points of DF as a reference in articles about modifying 30 year old racecars
“To be able to actually make something is awfully nice”
Bruce McLaren on building his first McLaren racecars, 1970

“I've got to be careful what I say, but possibly to probably Juan would have had a bigger go”
Sir Frank Williams after the 2003 Canadian GP, where Ralf hesitated to pass brother M. Schumacher

autogyro
autogyro
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### Re: How much is a "point" of downforce?

Pierce89 wrote:
autogyro wrote:Well I think it is just a way to avoid placing an understandable measure on it that others would relate to.
This is to make it difficult for the FIA to define a set maximum for regulation.
An old saying of mine. Bulls--- baffles brains covers it.
If that's the case, why would Mcbeath in Racecar Engineering use points of DF as a reference in articles about modifying 30 year old racecars
You tell me?