Question regarding nose heights

This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  matt88 6 years, 1 month ago.

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    Hi there, I’ve been wondering about this for a while but never cared to ask around, but since I couldn’t seem to find an answer…

    Looking at the 2009 cars, they seem to have noticeably lower noses than the 2010 and especially 2011 cars, which have even higher front noses than their predecessors. Can anyone explain to me if change has been triggered by rule changes or just aerodynamic advancement?

    Quick comparison picture between Brawn BGP 001 (2009) and Ferrari F150th Italia: http://i56.tinypic.com/sc95p5.jpg

    Now I know not all 2009 cars shared the same nose as the BGP 001, as is the same with this year’s F150th Italia compared with other 2011 cars. But still, looking at how successful the BGP 001 was, why did they completely abandon the whole idea and decide to raise those noses to an almost completely straight piece of bodywork?

    Hope someone can provide me with an answer!



    I’m not aware of any changes to the aero regulations concerning that area between 2009 and now, but the reason for the high nose is that it allows more air to flow into all the other aerodynamic pieces under the car. These direct airflow around the car, which help in the creation of downforce and also the reduction of drag, as well as supplying air for the radiator inlets in the sidepods.

    I think what started the trend was the Red Bull RB5, which had a pronounced hump on the top of the nose section, with a U shape. This allowed the pushrod and rocker assembly for the front suspension to be mounted higher, without interfering with driver vision drastically. The points where they attached the lower-A arms is also much higher and very close together.

    This moved a lot of the suspensions assembly upwards, while making the packaging more compact, which helps with the airflow situation under the car.

    I hope that makes sense, I’m not sure whether or not I wrote that clearly, and I’m certainly no expert on the subject, so what I just said may be complete rubbish.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve never really liked the high nose look of F1 cars.



    The nose works as part of the overall aerodynamic package to direct air around the car, critically to the radiators, the rear wing and the diffuser. A higher nose does not automatically work better than a lower one, but how it works with the rest of the aerodynamics to best manage the airflow. A low-nosed car is just as capable of doing this well as it is badly – the 2009 McLaren also had a low nose and wasn’t exactly one of Woking’s best.

    So why did Brawn abandon its lower (compared to pre-1990 designs, the 2009 Brawn and 2011 Ferrari noses are both raised) nose? There could be a number of reasons, here’s a couple.

    Brawn 001 was optimised around the double diffuser concept (and remember that nose shape plays a role in feeding air to the diffuser), which only Brawn, Toyota and Williams had at the start of 2009. When the other teams brought out their own double diffusers, Brawn rapidly lost its dominant advantage. By the end of 2009, the Red Bull was the car to beat despite not being optimised around a double diffuser. It’s not impossible that, had the double diffuser loophole been clarified early enough (as Ross Brawn offered to do) either way, Red Bull would have had the fastest car for the whole year, but we’ll never know.

    The 001’s successer, the Mercedes W01, featured a similar shaped nose – albeit higher off the ground. It’s entirely possible that in developing W01 the windtunnel/CFD numbers simply told the team a higher nose worked better than a lower one. After all, what worked on 2009-spec “refueller” cars wouldn’t necessarily work as well on the 2010-spec chassis, with a much larger fuel tank.



    In 2009, the optimum weight distribution was a bit more forward than 2010/2011. So you had your nose low so that when you placed ballast there, it would have a low Center of Gravity; not due to the double diffuser unfortunately.

    The Red Bull V-nose is not actually for the suspension, unlike the 2010 Williams/Renault. What happens is that they make a V shape on top of the nose so that on the underside, you can do the same V shape (i.e. if you piled two Red Bull V-noses from 2009, they would fit like a puzzle). That means there is more clear air UNDER the nose. that means more air goes under the nose, and is there for the diffuser to work from. The same could be done by raising the whole nose, but that would: a) hamper driver visibility and b) raise the center of gravity

    The 2011 we see kind of 2 concepts. a Rd Bull style nose which still has a bit of a V-nose, and a McLaren/Ferrari style nose which is flat. The McLaren/Ferrari brings the V-nose concept further in that it allows more air to go under the car. Adrian Newey in Red Bull went for their concept because of the same two reasons I said in the paragraph above.



    As Zadak once said…

    In the regulations there is a gap in the middle of the front spoiler where no downforce producing peices may be fixed. So teams will use that gap to make a clear airflow under the car and around to the side pods as they cannot use that for simple downforce. Higher noses is to let more air flow over the gap and under the front of the car.

    A low nose has advantages but cannot develop much downforce on it’s own as it will direct more air at the driver’s head than a high nose.

    The gap in the spoiler is causing designers to use high noses. That’s my thought anyway.



    Notice McLaren have a low nose to direct airflow over the car, which is their philosophy with the L-pods, whereas all the other teams have high or platypus noses.



    I think that the higher nose is just a consequence of the imitation of the dominant design, which has clearly been Red Bull since mid-season of 2009. However, McLaren is trying something different and it’s going well, so maybe next year we can see lower noses and L-shaped sidepods…

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