D he Formula 1 dares in 2019 an experiment. As in 2009, the aerodynamic rules were written with the aim of reducing the turbulence of the cars towards the rear and thus making it easier to follow and overtake. At the presentation of the new rules, the FIA's head of technology, Nikolas Tombazi's hope, said: 'If a 2018 car is significantly disturbed at a distance of one second, it should only happen next year after 0.8 seconds.'
In conjunction with a wider rear wing and a gap enlarged from 6.5 to 8.5 centimeters when folding up the flap, the overtaking effect is improved by 25 to 30 percent according to calculations by the Formula 1 management aero working group. The front wing gets 2.5 centimeters more depth and starts 122.5 instead of 120 centimeters in front of the center line of the front axle. The wing elements may only have five different profiles and may not be stacked on top of each other. In addition, only two vertical flow straighteners per side will be allowed under the wing in the future.
The FIA technicians are sure that they can significantly reduce the lateral displacement of air around the car with the new regulations : 'The new wing, the banned air passage through the front axle and the simpler front brake ventilation will make it difficult for the engineers to control the air vortices produced by the front wheels and divert them outwards.' That the lap times will increase by an estimated 1.5 seconds , be bearable. In order not to lose too much downforce, the front wing has also been widened from 1.80 to two meters.
Downforce values as at the beginning of the 2018 season
The engineers have, however, in their development work for 2019 had completely different experiences. We hear from various teams: “We're already back to the downforce values from the start of the season.” And the actual goal of curbing the diversion of the turbulent air to the outside is a long way off.
not easier, ”fears Force India technical director Andy Green. Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko goes one step further: “After our simulations nothing changes. Overtaking remains just as difficult. The exercise only costs more money. ”
Even if the individual wing according to FIA calculations is 20,000 euros less in production costsshould cost, that goes on again due to the additional development effort. According to Red Bull estimates, around 15 million euros. Because the front wing influences the entire rest of the aerodynamics. Some teams invest a fortune in specially shaped coolers in order to compensate for undercutting the side pods even more.
Marko also fears that the two meter wide wings will break in the slightest collision. “We will get to the point where we will build the wings narrower again in 2021. Such a shot in the dark shouldn't happen to us a second time, ”warns Marko.
The question arises as to why the front wings were wider instead of narrower. Many engineers believe that 1.70 meters would also have been better in terms of containing the turbulence. Counter-argument: Then the cars will be too slow. 'So what?' Asks Andy Green back. 'When the races get better, nobody asks about the lap times.'