Flaps instead of wings?
10th January 2014, 16:32 at 4:32 pm #134112
I was watching some Top Gear clips recently and I came across Richard Hammonds review of the Pagani Hyuara. This hypercar does not have a wing to hold it down, instead it has four flaps – two at the front and two at the back that are computer activated and adjust to hold it on the road.
What I was wondering is if F1 might eventually go this way, eliminating wings altogether and replacing them with two or more flaps (size and range of motion restricted I am sure) instead. What do you think? Could they do it? Should they do it? And perhaps most importantly, would it look cool?10th January 2014, 17:22 at 5:22 pm #248035
I doubt they could replace wings, as I don’t believe they create downforce in the same way. I assume they create some downforce by deflection/upwash, but more importantly create drag on one side of the car to help it pivot and thus turn better. So I don’t know how much downforce they actually create.10th January 2014, 17:33 at 5:33 pm #248036
Also, regardless of how effective they are, as active aero is banned with the exception of the highly regulated DRS, I doubt we would see such technology in F1 for a long time.10th January 2014, 20:26 at 8:26 pm #248037
Well of course they would have to change the rules about active aero, but I think it is fun to speculate what “flapper” F1 cars would look like.11th January 2014, 4:47 at 4:47 am #248038
Yeah, it would look cool.
Probably the most dramatic area where their use would be visible is under braking. When the driver hits the brakes, the wings will move to their most vertical position. You would be able to see who brakes first in an overtake.
Moveable aero devices have long been banned (with the exception of DRS which is highly regulated). The likelihood of a lifting of the ban is not great because it has been around for so long, there’ll be lots of resistance.
I think it would make overtaking easier and more fair. On the straights, the cars will lower their wing angle to minimise drag, producing a cleaner wake while allowing more effective drafting. As the cars have adjustable levels of downforce, following a car in corners would be easier, as more downforce could be dialled in.
I think the designs of the cars will become more focussed on reduced drag, which may make them look sleeker and prettier. As the wings would be able to produce more than enough downforce due to high wing angles, the focus would be on making the car faster in a straight line with the minimum wing angles.
The difference between a top team’s car and a backmarker’s car will be much less, as deficits in performance will be compensated for by adjusting the settings.
In terms of how the different settings are worked out, I think that the driver should be given 5 or 6 programs which will be fixed before the start of qualifying. This means free practice sessions are when the driver has to figure out how to configure each setting.
One setting will be for optimum performance on fresh tyres (used for qualifying)
In dry races, where will be different settings depending on the health of the tyres, as well as settings for following cars.
In wet races, the settings will probably be around track conditions.
Overall, I like the idea, but I don’t see it being introduced in the foreseeable future.11th January 2014, 11:39 at 11:39 am #248039
I think it is the future for road cars, but I wouldn’t like it on the racing cars.
Basically it would mean that the teams will run maximum downforce EVERYWHERE without loosing out on top speed, as well as it would make the slipstream less effective.
Basically having more downforce then the others would be a ‘free’ advantage in the sense that there would be virtually no drawback.
Not like today where teams running more downforce are usually slower on the straights. I like that sort of balancing act between downforce and top speed. I think it makes the racing more interesting.11th January 2014, 12:03 at 12:03 pm #248040
I think the broader implication of active aerodynamics would be the costs and car dimensions. Cars like the Pagani or in the past, the McLaren Mercedes SRL have a very large body that the flaps can easily fall down on and reduce downforce as well as make the nuts and bolts disappear. If the flaps were to be placed where the wings are, the construction would change cars and the regulations would have to face a major re-write.
If F1 had not banned active aero way back, we could have had some crazy cars by now, but I think we’d also have 3 or 4 cars by top teams. I’d imagine active aero takes a lot to program, make it work, make it work as well as your competitors’ and such.
If LMP 1 is heading for new glory days, I’d much prefer active/movable aero on LMP 1 cars.15th January 2014, 20:25 at 8:25 pm #248041
Yes, the cars would look very different, I would regulations limiting the size and placement of the flaps, Say 100mm x 150mm or so and they have to be placed no higher or lower than something complicated and obscure. But I think that it is fun to speculate15th January 2014, 20:57 at 8:57 pm #248042
@mads Although, that being said if I recall correctly, this season we saw RBR getting some of the higher speeds through speed traps despite their superiority in downforce. Prior to 2013, RBR was typically one of the slower teams through the speed traps, but this year their downforce advantage didn’t seem to come with a clear disadvantage in top speeed.
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