Looking at the IndyCar DW12 with its uniquely shaped sidepods, which reduces drag ahead of the rear wheels, and the new Formula E chassis, the front wing of which greatly reduces drag in front of the front wheels, I wonder what design route F1 would go down on if its designers were allowed more freedom in shaping the sidepods and the front wing.
In the case of the front wing, I think they would adopt the Formula E approach, i. e. channeling airflow all around the front tyre, instead of the 2000s dilemma of channeling it on the inside or the outside – although this would certainly require more cautious driving from the drivers who’d not want their rather large front wings lost in an accident.
In the case of the sidepods, the Indy route seems very plausible as well – perhaps even with those chassis elements behind the rear tyres (I don’t know what purpose do they serve).
On the other hand, I do wonder if a front wing would be needed at all if ground effect were to return in earnest (they were sometimes absent in the early 1980s). And how that would affect sidepod designs.
Imagine an internet meme of “What Newey can design without rules vs. What Newey designs for FIA regulations”…. it would pit the RB X2014 Fan Car vs. the phallus-shaped and broken noses of the last few years….
Yeah, I kind of knew about Newey’s X1, X2014, etc. designs, but I would not go that far in theory – I’d open up only a few elements of the rules regarding car dimension, certainly not all, so no closed wheels, cockpit, etc. So what I’m speculating on is specifically how the front wings and the sidepods would look like if only the dimension rules of those two parts would change.
In short, I’d think the IndyCar and Formula E solutions are the way to go, but I’m curious what the forum members think about it – if they have other ideas, or not.
If the designers were allowed more freedom in their creations then we would see something similar to the aforementioned Red Bull X1 ect. However you have to imagine the problems teams would face if you just threw a blank canvas at them in regards to testing because the cars have been pretty same old for many years now so they know what will work and what won’t and if they changed the regulations in terms of design, they would also have to change the regs on testing and windtunnel usage.
Just watching the Red Bull X1 drive at Spa (GT6) makes me glad that there are indeed strickt regulations. The car looks great, sure. But would the immense increase of cornering speed contribute to better racing? I highly doubt it.
I think the cockpits and the wheels are only uncovered because the regulations require them to be. If the rules didn’t specify it, car designers would want to shroud them to optimise the aerodynamics, as in the pictures of Newey’s Gran Turismo racer. Which to me is more attractive than any F1 car of the past 17 years.
Which brings us to a very peculiar problem with these cars. F1 is the fastest autosport category in the world, but its discipline might not inherently be the fastest as an open-wheeler has a disadvantage compared to higher endurance classes (e. g. LMP1) per se…
Higher endurance classes are designed on a total different set of regulations and have been developed to be more efficient in terms of fuel. F1 in all essence hasn’t changed the basic designs of the cars for decades with the narrow front nose and large wings ect.