2009 F1 rules make rear wings tiny

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Williams has tested a version of its car with a rear wing apparently designed to meet the 2009 F1 rules. Becken has pictures of it on his blog and here’s an artists’ impression of how the 2009 F1 cars will look (right, found on the F1Technical forum).

I knew from looking at the 2009 F1 technical regulations that the new rear wings would look small but I’m taken aback by how drastic the change is.

With the Williams pictures it looks as though the front wing of the car and the sidepods are still 2008-spec.

The 2009 F1 rules should reduce the complexity of the front wing and add an adjustable element, which provoked much debate here recently. The new rules will also get rid of the winglets from the sidepods, making the back of the car look much smoother.

Hopefully the questionable aesthetics will be more than made up for by much closer and more exciting racing. And it certainly looks a lot better than Max Mosley’s horrible CDG (‘centreline downwash generating”) wing did.

F1 2009 season

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61 comments on “2009 F1 rules make rear wings tiny”

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  1. I think the car looks quite good actually. The main thing after all is the overtaking and close racing, but its always fun to see how teams adapt to new rules and the pecking order changes. Maybe next year we could see 10+ winners instead of 6.

  2. What strikes me the most about the drawing of next year’s car is how ridiculously large the front wing is.

  3. Sumedh

    Sorry there is a confusion. Turbulence from the rear wheels will increase a touch as the banning of flow conditioners means that flow isn’t cleaned up here. Turbulence from the wing will reduce because of the narrower shape.

    Dumbo ears are booted out. Nose holes will disappear as well, especially we now have a standard centre section for the front wing.

    You will always get turbulence (lots of it) from the back of an f1 car. The thing the FIA is trying to calm is upwash. This is what causes the following car to see its performance harmed. The goals are

    1) Cut upwash
    2) Make the aero less sensitive – hence the end of flow conditioners etc …

    Hope that clears things up

  4. That’s not a front wing, its a bulldozer shovel.
    With the wing being the same width as the tyres, many won’t survive the first lap (are you listening Nico.

  5. Want a nice rear wing that doesn’t affect following cars? If we are in a retro mode design wise, why not use a rear wing similar to what the CanAm cars ran? Large single wing on stilts, elevated a couple of feet above the car. Modified to suit the current chassis, obviously. Give it a moveable component as well; nearly flat on the straights, extreme tilt into cornering.

  6. The new rules are stupid. I still don’t believe the rear wing is the problem. It’s about the front wing. Due to the turbulence (which will always exist even without diffusers and rear wings) the front wing can’t work properly. But without a front wing there’s no front end downforce to lose.

    The FIA should ban the front wing, high noses and diffusers and allow a rear wing existing of a maximum of two wing elements and place it in a better (pre-1983?) position.

  7. Thanks John, looking forward to more posts about the F1 tech file on this site.

  8. I can’t help feel that there are too many rule changes, too often. Definately ban all the ugly winglets by all means, but the cars are going in the wrong direction IMHO.
    Slicks will help, but in science, in order to judge cause and effect, one variable is changed at a time, not 3 or 4.

    Do we need another 1994, with cars flying off left right and center, all because Max introduces too many changes at once and doesn’t weigh them all out.

    The cars can’t follow each other closely around corners, but will these reductions allow it to happen- even with movable front wings (another complete unknown).

    Look at it this way- there is a freeze on engine development, but no reduction in power output, in fact an increase in power due to kers- another rushed in rule change to increase the unpredictability.
    The cars have less aero=less drag=faster top speeds and then enter the corners with less downforce. Okay, slicks will introduce more mechanical grip, but I can’t see any proof that the cars are now not going to be upset by the upwash of the car in front.

    I could speculate that the higher wing may introduce problems for the trailing cars rear wing, as there is nothing breaking that airflow between the cars – meaning masses of oversteering cars coming out of the corners sideways. Great for TV, but a bit crap for racing. Just speculation, but these effects should be tested on cars trailing each other, not introduced on Maxs whim.

    And please- not that horrible CDG wing! I’ll never watch again! Don’t think I’d be the only one

  9. It really annoys me hearing people on this forum talking as if they are experts on the subject of aerodynamics! I think I believe the opinion of university graduates working in F1 teams and the FIA rather than people in this forum who think they know better.

    If there is anyone in this forum who is an expert in the field, feel free to comment as much as you like. :)

  10. “It really annoys me hearing people on this forum talking as if they are experts on the subject of aerodynamics! I think I believe the opinion of university graduates working in F1 teams and the FIA rather than people in this forum who think they know better.

    If there is anyone in this forum who is an expert in the field, feel free to comment as much as you like.

    It’s an absolutely fair point. But two things here: (1) the fact the CDG wing concept was dropped suggests the FIA themselves don’t entirely understand aerodynamics – it is a complex problem, to be fair – and (2) some teams are already coming out and saying “we don’t know how these changes will affect the racing”. There’s a bit of guesswork going on here.

  11. Let me add a couple of things Rob as well.

    Aerodynamics largely an art (as you insinuate) – in many instances teams don’t know why something works but see an improvement in handling/stability/speed whatever … CFD definitely helps understanding. Though this remains an engineering discipline rather than a theoretical physics discipline.

    The CDG wing is a fine idea on paper, and is sound – instead of producing upwash you produce downwash, which help maintain pressure on the front wing of a following car. The CFD – available on the web – didn’t show a huge benefit but I think the theory is reasonably sound.

    The other, far bigger, issue is that teams obviously don’t want to talk about this stuff. What you are left with are people who know what they are talking about based on a) prior experience or b) theoretical knowledge or c) amateur enthusiasm!

    In fact students working for teams etc etc etc will be so focused on one small part of the car that I suspect that won’t be able to tell you much about the overall 2009 regs. I’d trust someone on F1tech.net over some of them …

    At the end of the day until the 09 cars are on the track we are all in the realm of speculation. Nothing wrong with that is there!

  12. It looks very early 1990s to me, with Derek Warwick wearing a blue helmet.

    I have faith that the techs will tamper as much as possible with the rules, in order to gain some advantage. We must all withold our judgements until after we have seen the news cars race ofcourse. Whatever the design, a nice, fat V12 engine would surely make that car a whole lot more beautifull. Oh, and give us thirty of them instead of the usual, lame twenty. Thankyou Bernie!

  13. i bet F1 car in 2009 will look ugly with those stupid regulations.

  14. Man if I worked for the Overtaking Working Group that came up with these rules I’d be more than a little annoyed if I read some of these posts.

    They used McLaren’s simulator to test the results and data from Ferrari’s tests where they had 1 car follow another so I think they have actually done a lot of work on these. They weren’t just thought up by Max’s men off the top of their heads.

    Personally I’m of the opinion that the best way to introduce better racing would be to free up the technical regulations so engineers can do their thing and work out new ways to do things, but limit the spending of the teams so that the top teams don’t just throw billions at winning..!!

  15. Hi

    Don’t slam me too hard as this is my first post but i’m a long devoted F1 fan and have been looking around a few websites to find some insightful banter in regards to F1 especially the new rule changes.

    People saying that the flexible front wing approuch not making any difference would do well to cast their minds back a couple of seasons ago (I think 06) when Ferrari used a flexy front wing (while it wasn’t allowed) and was achieving good results in slower corners and then gaining an advantage on the straights (around 7kmh if memory serves) Then they got told to remove it.

    The rear wing situation is going to be compounded by other factors from aero being messed around with so I believe the cars will behave quite differently to the current crop. Bear in mind however minute the affect of grooved tyres over slicks in aero terms the grooved tyres will still have an aero effect.

    On the F1.com site there is an interview with the Bridgstone director of motorsport and I point at this ‘How a grooved tyre interacts with the road is different from the way in which a slick tyre works and for the drivers it was a new sensation’ Was this derived from purely the tyre, it’s aero effect or the fact the cars were dimensionally narrowerer to decrease downforce. Just as happened in ’98’ it appears that multiple adjustments will give us differing results that as a viewer of the spectacle may be unquantifyable to one specfic area.

  16. I’ve been an F1 fan for 40 years. I’ve watched the development and enjoyed most of it other than the grooved tires and the new computer generated courses. Going back in time with these wing changes and what appear to be pathetic cars trying to look like IRL or Indy cars, I’ve stopped watching Indy because of their changes with tires, fuel, wings and now all have the same engine. F1 seems to be going in this same direction. I hope Max and Bernie let all the engine manufacturers develop as they have done in the past and set the standard for world motor racing for everyone else to follow.

  17. About the shark fins. do they actually improve downforce? If they do then surely they are the way to go?(even if they are rather ugly!) I wonder if the size of the shark fins make any difference?

  18. I wish that f1 was more about the driver skill than the car too. It obviously is at least 80% down to the car, with lewis Hamilton not performing to his usual standard and Jenson Button winning every race so far* If it was down more to the driver f1 would be the most exciting sport on the planet!

    *my comments are correct at the time of wrighting. I apologise for any mistakes!

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