This is what the 2021 Formula 1 cars will look like. Well, imagine it being a little bit bigger and you’ll have it.
Formula 1 and their governing body, FIA, have been testing these 50 per cent scale models in a wind tunnel to test the effectiveness of planned design changes. The 2021 regulations have to be finalised by an October deadline.
The new rules aim to increase the amount of overtaking but a major hurdle to that is wake disruption. Like how a boat leaves a wake in the water, an F1 car leaves a wake in the air which discourages drivers from following other cars too closely.
“The fundamental point of all of this is that we are trying to reduce the losses that the following car would face,” said Nikolas Tombazis, FIA’s head of single seater technical matters.
Through computational fluid dynamics testing and changes like different side pods and wings, the engineers have been able to reduce wake disruption down from 50 per cent to just 5-10 per cent. The 2021 cars also use larger, 18-inch wheels. The front wing design may evolve as development continues.
As the video shows, the physical wind tunnel testing uses a rake to test the effects of wake disruption. The size of the facilities means they can’t feasibly wedge another F1 car in there, even if it is only 50 per cent scale.
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