When it comes to the shape of the front wing, the Formula 1 aerodynamicists have to severely restrict themselves with the new cars. Only with the end plate can you let your creativity run wild. We show you the different solutions in the gallery.
The new Formula 1 cars have only completed four Grands Prix. But even in this short time, the new generation has managed to conquer the hearts of the fans. Hardly anyone mourns the old racing cars even a tear. The racing action has gotten better. And the completely changed look is also well received by the viewers.
One element that has contributed significantly to the modern design is the front wing endplate. The vertical ends of the wing used to be relatively clumsy and rectangular in shape, almost like a shoe box. Now the end plates protrude much further upwards. And the front edge is dynamically swept back in what looks more like a shark's fin than a shoebox.
Modern look, better racing
Another new feature is that the wing profiles now transition into the end plate in an elegant curve. The slits between the individual flaps can even be seen from the outside. Previously, the transition consisted of a hard edge that produced a powerful vortex. This intensified the unwanted turbulence behind the car and disturbed the oncoming flow of a pursuer.
So that the aerodynamicists can no longer direct the air outwards so easily, narrow limits were set on the geometric shapes of the front wing. There are only two important requirements for the end plates: The element must not be angled more than 10 degrees in relation to the direction of travel. And all shapes must have a radius of no less than five millimeters. This is to prevent the engineers from inserting hard tear-off edges into the design, where artificial vortices form.
It is allowed to mount an additional fin on the outside of the end plate. The so-called "Dive Plane" not only produces some downforce, it should also help to reduce the vortices that occur on the outside of the wheel. The fins must be at least five millimeters thick to minimize the risk of tire damage in the event of enemy contact. Incidentally, when laminating the entire end plate, a special composite material must be used that has a special splinter behavior. This should also prevent tire damage in an emergency.
Red Bull is already remodeling
The maximum extension of the end plate is of course mandatory. With the exact shape, however, the aerodynamicists can let off steam relatively freely. And so you can see many different solutions on the ten cars. At Haas, for example, the front edge is reminiscent of a serrated knife. And the engineers of the US team also poured a lot of brain power into the shape of the fin.
Red Bull were the first team in Melbourne to already have a front wing endplate upgrade ready. The new version not only improved aerodynamics, but also reduced weight. The engineers not only changed the shape of the end plate, but also the fin on the outside.
In the gallery we show you the solutions of the ten teams in detail.