Mark Hughes on an important factor affecting speedAugust 25, 2019
In Formula 1, hard work is underway on the regulations of 2021, but for now Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing remain in leading positions. One of the main reasons for this is discussed by the British expert Mark Hughes.
Everyone is interested in how events will develop in the championship after the summer break, given that Red Bull Racing has actively pressed Mercedes in the last four races, and the next two stages will take place on the tracks in Spa and Monza, which are perfect for Ferrari.
But one thing remains the same: the speed difference between the three top teams and everyone else.
In the qualifications, the fastest teams of the second tier (in four cases it was Haas, three times McLaren, two times Renault and Alfa Romeo and once Racing Point) at the last 12 stages showed results worse than the pole time by an average of 1.385% . Those. if this time was, for example, at 1 min. 25 seconds, then the fastest car of any of these teams drove a circle in about 1 minute. 26.2 seconds. And the one who loses in qualification for about a second usually lags behind the leader by more than a lap by the end of the race.
According to the head of the Renault team, Cyril Abitebul, “It’s not just that the cars of the top teams generate much more downforce. Everything is much more complicated. ”
He is right that the matter is not only in the clip. Here it is necessary to raise the question of its stability and the ability to control the flow of perturbed air that is formed behind the front wheels, so that its boundary layer, running along the side pontoons, is not violated during cornering. If this happens, the efficiency of the diffuser is reduced.
Here is how it was explained at the end of last season by Andrea Stella, chief racing engineer at McLaren: “Since 2017, the cars have become wider, the tires too, and this greatly complicated the task of maintaining downforce when cornering. This explains why some cars seem to belong to a higher category – because these teams manage to control the downforce when cornering.
In modern Formula 1, aerodynamics experts most often have to deal with the problem associated with the zone of disturbed air behind the front wheels. After changes in the regulations (in 2017), this zone has become even larger. A wider bottom also plays a role, and as a result the problem becomes even more critical and complex. ”
In an effort to accurately simulate this phenomenon, teams are trying to expand the boundaries of opportunities offered by CFD technology and wind tunnel research. And this also depends on how many highly qualified specialists you can attract to the solution of such equations.
It just so happened, and quite by accident, that the specific features of the current technical regulation highlighted this problem and made it one of the main ones. It is she who most of all affects the speed difference between the top teams and everyone else. But when the rules change, the emphasis may shift.
FOM experts working on the 2021 regulations pay maximum attention to this particular problem, trying to limit the influence of aerodynamics. Here is how Ross Brown, the sports director of Formula 1, said: “The results will be less dependent on aerodynamic efficiency than now.
The idea is that if a large team can use more resources than a smaller team, it will still achieve an advantage. But if now it is at the level of 2 seconds, then in the future it can be reduced to 0.2 seconds.
And this means that if the car of a small team is piloted by a talented young racer, or she has excellent strategists, she can still really participate in the fight and achieve something. ”
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