How will F1 change the racing in 2021? Its new concept vehicle analysed|F1 technology

In spite of changes focused on improving the racing this year, current F1 cars and trucks lose 50%of their downforce when running behind another cars and truck.

Formula 1 prepares to change that with a radical overhaul of vehicle design in 2 years’ time. F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has said some of their concepts for 2021 lose as low as 5%of their downforce in the slipstream of another cars and truck.

How is F1 preparation to change the quality of racing in the championship? And what changes are they thinking about to bring about this modification?

Craig Scarborough takes a close look at India, one of the idea styles for the 2021 F1 season, to learn.

We are now nearing the point where the last strategies for the 2021 F1 guidelines will be revealed. To get to this point, the FIA with Liberty and FOM have been operating in a brand-new method to decide the technical direction of F1.

Under the leadership of Ross Brawn, a technical research and advancement group has been produced and, for the first time, the rules will have been completely investigated and certified prior to their release.

To do this Brawn’s technical team have had simulation programmes going to satisfy the goals offered to them by Liberty, the primary aim being making it much easier to follow another vehicle and hence making it much easier to overtake. The secondary goals are equalising the field, decreasing costs and enhancing the aesthetic appeals of the vehicles.

Along the way the groups have been helping Brawn with more CFD research on a series of car ideas, the current design being called ‘India’, obviously as the ninth version, with “I” being the ninth letter of the alphabet. Looking at the ‘India’ automobile CFD design, we can see the direction that the sport is thinking of entering, although some of the last information may be missing out on or current information deleted. Taking the model at stated value we can evaluate how F1 aero might work in the future.

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Firstly, the crucial issues the Brawn group have actually worked on are reducing the level of sensitivity of the vehicle’s downforce-producing surfaces when following another, then reducing the wake generated by the vehicle ahead. These can be opposing requirements, but the model appears to have actually satisfied these fundamental goals by moving downforce creation to larger underfloor tunnels, while tidying up wake by the simplification of the aero, with a few additional aero solutions to make the automobile’s wake cleaner.

Creating downforce

While the ‘India’ vehicle at first looks similar to an existing F1 vehicle, albeit with some IndyCar influences, it’s the underfloor that’s changed the most considerably. Now the flooring produces most of the aero load, while the wings have been lowered in their impact.

F1 2021 concept aerodynamics, front
F1 2021 principle aerodynamics, front

Existing F1 floors feature an action along the centre of the car to lift the diffuser clear of the flooring, to minimize its performance and sensitivity. Now, the flooring of the monocoque and sidepods are on one plane, still with a slab along the centreline, but with larger tunnels. The most apparent modification is the cutting edge of the flooring including a raised venturi inlet with the vanes inside serving as bargeboards to control the airflow through the flooring to enhance the downforce produced from ground effect.

To keep the up-wash from the front wing from distressing the underfloor inlet, there is a triangular vane fitted among the front suspension. This will turn this airflow downwards and direct it into the underfloor tunnels

A hangover from rules going back to 1983 is the flat flooring under the raised footwell area of monocoque, needs for this flooring section produced the front splitter or Tea-Tray under the vehicle. This has actually been deleted and the “V” shape under the monocoque shows up, its elimination being to clean up the location ahead of the shaped underfloor.

F1 2021 concept aerodynamics, rear
F1 2021 concept aerodynamics, back

At the rear the diffuser is a bit longer and taller, however is far from a full-length ground result tunnel as seen in the early eighties, this leaves a flat floor in between the ramped sections.

Renault RE30b skirt
A full-length skirt on a Renault RE30 B

It’s thought that the underfloor venturi impact is less sensitive to the wake of a prominent cars and truck and equally can be made to produce less wake, making this an apparent choice for the brand-new vehicle, although this will have been confirmed by Brawn’s group with CFD research studies. In a further advantage the long floor will produce downforce both at the rear and the front, creating an equal balance of downforce front to rear.

Back in the eighties, the long ground result tunnels were reliable as skirts sealed the low pressure beneath the flooring. Skirts helped make substantial quantities of downforce, however at the same made the cars and truck sensitive to bumps and kerbs, as any low pressure was lost when they lost contact with the track surface.

For that reason, skirts were not reintroduced for the ‘India’ car, however rather a pair of vanes flank the rear diffuser tunnel, these vanes being much lower than the floor of the vehicle to assist seal the diffuser. Hanging some 10 centimetres below the floor, what’s unexpected about these vanes is that they are mounted to the rear brake ducts, hence will move with suspension movement, staying close to the ground at all times aside from any tire movement. In this guise the vanes need to be really effective at sealing the underfloor without including sensitivity as experienced with skirts.

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F1 2021 concept floor edge
F1 2021 principle floor edge

Another problem with powerful diffusers at the rear of the automobile is that high-pressure air spilling off the rear tires gets directed the low-pressure location inside the diffuser destroying its performance. This problem referred to as ‘tyre squirt’ has actually been fixed in the previous ten years with; shaped floor areas, exhaust blowing and latterly slotted flooring edges. Evident on the ‘India’ design is a go back to the scalloped area and a total absence of any other flooring edge slots, serrations or add-ons. This scalloped area will send out a blast of air flow in between the flooring and tire to decrease the unfavorable effect of tire squirt.

Offered the increased desire to equalise the cars and minimize costs, one wonders if the shaped underfloor will be a spec part, either made by a third party, or made by the groups to a FIA template?

In adopting the shaped underfloor format, the front and rear wings have been clipped significantly, the front wing is still at the car’s complete two metre width, which is the very same as the present cars and trucks and the rear wing narrowed compared to the present wings.

F1 2021 front wing
F1 2021 idea front wing

The front wing follows the path established by Brawn’s changes with the 2019 rules, now reduced to just 3 components spanning all the method from the nose to the endplate. This disposes of the ‘Overtaking Working Group’ 2009 idea of a neutral centre section hanging from a raised nose. In the frontal CFD image seen here, the wing looks abnormally high, however this is a trick of the eye, the viewing angle of image has the automobile positioned horizontal, so the front wheels are up in the air and not at ground level, it appears the front wing height will be similar the existing set up.

Its uncommon that the wing is divided by the nose, it might be a nod to the early nineties F1 designs, but is really a wake decrease technique. On the post-2009 front wings, the crossway in between the neutral centre period and the outer wing shapes produces the Y250 vortex. This is an outwash trick exploited because 2009 to push the front tyre wake outboard. Without this intersection or any methods to form the wing in this area will significantly lower the outwash effect and tidy up the cars and truck’s wake.

F1 2021 concept rear wing
F1 2021 concept rear wing

At the rear the wing is quite uncommon, as its stylised appearance gets rid of separate flat endplates signing up with the wing profiles. This may be another aesthetic trick, but the absence of endplate above the top wing components will lower downforce and the wake formed at its wingtips. Likewise, the wing sees the return of the lower beam wing, in this case, it seems functioning as an extension to the underfloor tunnels. On this design at least, there is no DRS, the theory is that these vehicles should have the ability to overtake legally without it.

Reducing turbulence

The vehicles unstable wake will have currently been decreased by the easier wings and underfloor tunnels, but an excellent proportion of the vehicles wake is produced by the wheels themselves. It appears fans and F1 itself are sensitive to remain an ‘open wheel’ format, or rather exposed tyres. Again, Brawn’s research study team focussed on front tire wake with the 2019 F1 regulations, ‘India’ goes a step further in reducing this.

F1 2021 concept front wheel covers and canards
F1 2021 concept front wheel covers and canards

First Of All, there are wheel covers, closing off the external face of the wheel with a flat disc. It’s not clear if there are connected to and spin with the wheel or if they are 2008- design static covers that do not spin. These will significantly minimize turbulence as the wheel wake will flow efficiently along the wheel cover’s surface and not break up over an open wheel design. There remains the problem of brake cooling with this design, that isn’t fixed with the design seen here. Perhaps the brake heat is ducted through inside face of the wheel, instead of through the outer face. It’s also notable that the brake duct also features a lower mounted vane, prohibited this year, to help tidy up the tyre wake as is flows along the inner brake duct.

Likewise, the rear brake ducts are improved, not just with the diffuser sealing vanes, but the duct streams back behind the wheel to the rear edge of the tire, this ought to help tidy up the wake behind the rear tires.

Another tyre wake technique is the ‘blade’ installed over the top of the tire, this small piece of bodywork will be hugely prominent in decreasing tyre wake as it will delay the separation of airflow behind the tyre. Although some fans have expressed this as un-F1 as it partially covers the tire.

With this cleaner tyre wake, together with the loss of the Y250 vortex, the reduction in the front wing endplate outwash impact and lack of powerful bargeboards indicates whatever wake is produced by the front tire will be pulled into the coke bottle location and not pressed outside the rear tires creating a narrower wake behind the vehicle, thus easier for the following vehicle to get closer.

Other features

Aside from the headline downforce and turbulence techniques on the ‘India’ cars and truck, there are some other less apparent functions that may likewise offer an indicator of a desire to make the automobiles look different to each other. In addition, there are many unanswered questions as regards what lies below the bodywork.

F1 2021 concept nose
F1 2021 idea nose

Because 2012 F1 noses have actually gone through guidelines to lower their height and implement a compulsory cross-sectional area. With stepped noses, moving towards the 2014 finger noses and the present thumb-tip noses. This vehicle still includes a long, low-tipped nose, however no uncomfortable nose tip is adopted, so ideally we need to get some good-looking styles in this area.

Similarly the chassis cross-section where it satisfies the nosecone has been a clearly square-edged rectangular shape because the late nineties. This is now more rounded on the 2021 car, possibly the guidelines will be less specific in the cross-section location resulting in more enticing rounded styles in the future.

Likewise, a little shark fin is likewise consisted of on the CFD design, in this size and shape it would certainly assist the rear wing aero through corners, however likewise includes an element of visual interest to the automobile.

It appears the sidepods are the least thought about area on the ‘India’ principle, these are traditional mid-positioned inlet styles with a stylised lead-in to the inlet. There appears to be no side impact structures incorporated into the shape, either as this is an early version of the vehicle, or possibly that the shape of these spars mounted to the flank of the monocoque are altering for 2021.

Beneath the skin, the power systems are not now anticipated to change significantly for 2021, however a more extreme shake up of the Engine/ERS format has been postponed. Meanwhile gearboxes are thought to go with a single-supplier fixed-specification for this season too, lowered to a seven-speed system within a self-contained cartridge, leaving groups to develop their own external casing to join the suspension, rear crash structure and gearbox to the back of the engine.

Other fixed specialisation parts are most likely too, maybe brake calipers, brake disc and pad product, suspension uprights and even wheels. While other innovations such as a go back to a repaired hardware-spec active suspension established and electronic rear-view mirrors.

Summary

From these images it’s clear that opinion is divided on the looks of the automobile, the credibility of wheel covers and the tire ‘blade’. In addition, it’s not obvious if the severe wheelbases and heavy weight of present F1 cars and trucks will be dealt with by these guidelines.

But F1 has for the very first time a set of appropriately developed, looked into and verified guidelines that ought to provide on the requirements set out for them.

Video: F1’s 2021 aerodynamic concept

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