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Aerodynamic Structure and Development of Formula 1 Racing Car Wakes

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3995, e-ISSN: 1946-4002
Published April 01, 2014 by SAE International in United States
Aerodynamic Structure and Development of Formula 1 Racing Car Wakes
Citation: Watts, M. and Watkins, S., "Aerodynamic Structure and Development of Formula 1 Racing Car Wakes," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 7(3):1096-1105, 2014,
Language: English


For the modern Formula 1 racing car, the degradation in aerodynamic performance when following another car is well documented. The problem can be broken into two parts; firstly the wake flow generated by these vehicles and the subsequent interaction a following car has with this field. Previous research [1, 2 & 3] has focused upon investigating the later without completely characterizing the former. This paper seeks to address this deficiency with initial data from a newly commissioned 30% scale Formula One wind tunnel model built to the 2011 technical regulations. Experimentation was carried out in the Industrial Wind-Tunnel (IWT) at RMIT University. In the absence of a rolling road an elevated ground plane was implemented; the results obtained show good agreement with the limited published material available. Using a high frequency response, four-hole pressure probe the aft body flow was investigated at multiple downstream locations. Time-averaged velocity, turbulence and secondary flow vectors were plotted. These data were supplemented through flow visualization techniques to better understand the salient aerodynamic features. The influence of geometric changes to the aerodynamic devices upon the rear of the car (i.e. drag reduction system currently used within Formula 1) was also investigated.