Crazy aero 2017: 10 wing designs for 20 races

The race to win the race. The 2017 F1 season is going to be of of the biggest arms races in F1 history.

The new aerodynamic regulation modifications change the playing field of the aero engineers. The last major rule reform date back to 2009, so for the aero designers it was back to the drawing board. Evolutions are to follow each other at a rapid pace. It might even get so far that different tracks get different set of wings.

Force India technical Chief Andy Green earlier predicted:

“the top teams will bring new developments to each race. If we have to succeed we have to bring upgrades to each race.

Force India is quoted to build up to 10 different wings for the 20 tracks.

Parting Williams engineer Pat Symonds explained on whether different teams will have different approach to the new regulations

“There is a bit more of an open area, and a bit more of an open area there but you don’t really notice it to be honest. Once again, if you painted them all black you would struggle to notice.”

James Allison concludes the 2017 cars will simply be better to look at

“The proportions of next year’s cars are very appealing. For those of us who are lucky enough to be seeing them as they get created, they look nice. I’m looking forward to seeing them racing.”

Expected results of the aero modifications:

  • Wheelbase extension
  • 25-30% increase in downforce (increased curve speed)
  • Top speed will be about 20 km/h less
  • 5-10% more drag (decreased fuel economy: cars will need more fuel)
  • Brakes should last longer (difference between top- and curve speed will be less)

Will this make for a better show?

Increased downforce will lead to decreased lap times, that much is sure. Drivers might feel cars are more challenging, but overtaking will not be easier because of it. It might even become harder:

“The truism is that the more downforce you’ve got on the car the more you’re going to be affected by the wake of another car,” said Symonds.

Some drivers tend to agree to this, as Lewis Hamilton perhaps puts it:

“I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake. Give us five seconds’ worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change – we’ll just be driving faster.”

How will it affect cars and races? We will get a first peek in about a month’s time, when first pre-season test will take place at the Barcelona Catalunya circuit. It will comprise of 2 separate 4 day sessions:

  • February 27 to March 2
  • March 7-10

We fear aggressive looks alone will not be enough. TJ13 is keeping our collective fingers crossed for close racing.

3 responses to “Crazy aero 2017: 10 wing designs for 20 races

  1. As the adage has come to be, “Faster cars do not always equal better racing”
    Sometimes, but usually not.

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