2019 promised to bring back overtaking claim Liberty Media FOM and the FIA. Well Red Bull claim they haven’t.
The rule changes rushed in near the beginning of the season, fueled by the sudden realisation that the 2017 / 2018 aero regulations have curled a dirty big one on the concept of being able to overtake on track, meant that the teams had to unanimously agree on a drastic new front wing design.
The current cars might look ‘cooler’ than the previous narrow track generation, but unfortunately the ability to retain useful levels of downforce when following a car ahead has worsened drastically when compared to the previous regulations started in 2009.
FIA Chief Technology Officer Nikolas Tombazi confirmed recently that the hope for the 2019 aero modifications would mean that “if a 2018 car following another is disturbed significantly at a one second distance away, then next year it should not happen until 0.8 seconds.”
In order to make this happen, the combination of mandating a wider rear wing and a gap of 6.5 cm to 8.5 cm when the DRS flap is raised, the overtaking effect is improved by 25 to 30 percent, according to calculations by the Aero working group of the Formula 1 management.
Further, the front wing gets 2.5 centimeters more depth and starts 122.5 instead of 120 centimeters off the center line of the front axle. The wing elements may only have five different profiles and not stacked on top of each other.
In addition, under the wing in the future only two vertical flow aligners per side are allowed.
FIA appear to be confident they can significantly reduce the airborne displacement around the car with these new regulations
“The new wing, the forbidden passage of air through the front axle and the simpler front brake vents will make it hard for the engineers, Control the air turbulence produced by the front wheels and divert them to the outside. ”
Auto Motor und Sport claim that engineers from teams have been disclosing numbers that appear contrary to this concept. Rumour suggests that teams are already at levels of downforce and wake disturbance they experience today.
F1 teams already reached 2018 downforce levels in 2019 CFD simulations – despite new frontwing regulations. Red Bull stating additional costs of 15m Euro, suspecting it will have zero effect on overtaking.
AMuS (in German): https://t.co/oK5bCqh2Nt
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) November 7, 2018
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko goes a step further by claiming that “After our simulations, nothing changes.”
“Overtaking is just as difficult. The exercise only costs more money. ”
The 2019 wing is thought to cost less than current ones, and according to FIA calculations the manufacturing cost equates to 20,000 euros less, it still goes through the additional development effort on it again.
According to Red Bull estimates, the additional price would be around 15 million euros, mostly due to the fact that the front wing affects the rest of the aerodynamics. Some teams invest a fortune in specially shaped radiators to allow an even more extreme undercut to side-pods to compensate.
Marko also fears that the two-meter-wide wings break at the slightest collision.
“We will arrive at the point that we will narrow the wings in 2021 again.”
So the reason for such wide front wings? F1 wants to retain the high speed lap times, but not with such high outwash turbulence. It appears F1 cannot have all the cake, and eat it.