Formula 1 has announced in an internal document to the teams’ new designs for the wings of the 2021 vehicle concepts.
No pictures were released to the public, yet… but some information has been published. The cars will look even more dramatic than in the previous designs and their front wings will resemble the wings of modern passenger aircraft.
In the original design, the nose was directly connected to the main blade of the front wing, which has been reduced to three elements (currently five). The rear wing merges directly into the end plates.
Formula 1 technical director Pat Symonds and FIA head of operations Nicolas Tombazis concentrated mainly on the front wing. This is supposed to have a “futuristic arch” and thus differ from the current straight front wings.
The 2-metre wing should “swing dramatically upwards like the wingtips of a passenger aircraft”. The teams can freely develop in this area. Music to the ears of designers such as Red Bull’s Adrian Newey whose previous exploitation of the aerodynamic rules often included ‘trick’ bending aero parts starting around 2011.
Red Bull has a long history of developing flexible bodywork in Formula 1 pushing the regulations to the limit. Some years ago flexible wings were common on the grid, but recent measures by the FIA have seen the practice become more complex and less common. Obviously by opening up this area for teams to exploit will mean designers with previous history of mastering this ‘dark art’ such as Newey, will no doubt be looking back to F1 as his main focus for Red Bull.
‘Aeroelasticity’ pioneered by designers from the early 90’s, then perfected by Red Bull’s Adrian Newey with the RB06 onwards meant that his F1 cars could alter their aerodynamic properties at different speeds, without breaking the rule – No moveable aerodynamic parts. To quote Craig Scarborough, a well respected F1 tech author:
“This [wing] flexibility can be for three different benefits, either reduced drag, improved balance or greater downforce.”
One might expect Newey rubbing his hands in delight at this news.
The rear wing, and for aesthetic reasons, will be wider and the end plates will be curved inside.
In August, a 50 percent wind tunnel model was tested for the first time in a wind tunnel. The rulemakers were very impressed with the results. The goal that the cars can follow each other better and thus the racing is improved seemed to work out. The wind tunnel tests with “Lima” will continue until October, when the rules for 2021 will finally be announced.
The tests will focus on whether the front wing can be narrower without creating more turbulent air. Despite all aesthetic measures, the top priority will be to improve the following of the front wing.
In August, Symonds said: “The results are better than anything I thought when we started the project. With the current configuration, the results are outstanding.”
Below is a render created by Autosport showing the new front wings and how it might look.
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