F1 Cars need lots of down thrust, it is said that at speed, if the track was upside down the force generated by the “wings” could support the weight of the car. With that in mind, what would be the aerodynamic (lift/drag) advantages of the front foil on the new Aston Martin F1?
What I believe the rules have is a footprint that the wing can be no bigger than. Instead of just one airfoil wing, there is a better advantage in more area per foot print area, more airfoils doing airfoil things, and there is vertical component which gets the wing in cleaner air. Not as pretty as just one wing. The little eyebrow wings in Europe touring race cars fenders are strange to see.
I've looked at a few flow studies on these (esily found on google) and they not only proivde downforce but direct air around the front wheels/tires for drag reduction and putting cooling where they want it (brakes, radiator inlets). It's pretty neat.
Remember also that F1 is not about top speed. Downforce increases the g's in braking, cornering, and acceleration. Yeah, they are in traction control to something above 120 mph now, more down force even means more acceleration up until they get above tractive limiting. So, downforce is mostly king, and the induced drag is far less important.
The one place downforce - and thus induced drag - hurts them is on the longest straights on each course. The rules allow a car that is attempting a pass to flatten the rear wing briefly when some specified seconds behind the car ahead and closing. They only get so much of this time per race, so it must be used carefully, but it is instrumental in allowing a faster car to pass a slower one. So, induced drag is important in only a small fraction of the course.
As for reducing aerodrag of parts behind, I doubt that it is big. They do not run the foils stalled, and they have aft airfoils and heat exchangers aft that have to work too. See my comment above about flattening the aft wing on straights when trying to pass. The flow has to stay pretty well energetic along the length of the car.
I was unaware that they could not optimize the downforce for all conditions, sounds a bit WWF to me
When I was doing track days we used to just wave the faster cars ahead, I guess that would be too obvious for "racing"
Its all about the rules and trying to maximize performance within a quite prescriptive rule set.
The wing is often slightly flexible - I suppose to reduce drag at high speed.
Bear in mind that a new wing shape is often used for each individual track. At high speed track only a couple of elements might be used, and a really skinny rear wing, to optimize speed. At low speed tracks, where turning performance is more important, more elements are used.
Rear wing has a driver controllable flap that flattens out and reduces drag, although it may only be used on specific straights when the car is close up behind another (I think < a second behind) with the intention to promote overtaking.
All presumes the driver gets the car through the first turn unscathed and doesn't try to modify the wing on the competitors' rear tyres...
I don't recommend anyone take aero 'advice' from F-1 designs (unless you are designing an F-1 car!), these are not designs created in an open 'unlimited' environment, but rather to fit within a lot of strict rules and regulations. Thus, they may not, and most likely are not, the most efficient and lightweight way of achieving the desired aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics in F1 are as much about airflow management as they are about downforce and drag.
The goal is to get the airflow to the key areas of the cars body more so than they are about creating downforce as the air coming off the cars at speeds create a wake force that affects the cars behind them and getting the air to the rear in the key areas can increase the air flow and create more downforce as well as lessen drag in other areas.
This combined with the cooling needs of the engine, the intercoolers and graphics brakes plays a huge role in th shape and the needs from the wings
I would call it rules interpretation. The rule package changes about every three years. Wings like that have been around for twenty years. Some years they are legal and some are not. In F1, it takes about $150 million to come in last place. That wing is on the level of a NASA project with lots of secrets, but what is more interesting is the build quality and consistency. They will build a half dozen of those wings and I bet there isn’t.001” difference in all of them.
For another example of aero "stuff" look at this year's Prada cup/Americas Cup yachts.
they've sealed the gap between wing root and fuselage to reduce drag. Or sail & deck, same thing.
Also using hull design to minimize the gap between hull and water for the same reason as they fly around the course.
and they balance on 2 of 3 foils in a straight line, lifting and lowering the side foils with hydraulics powered by human "grinders" turning cranks. ( by hand on the French, American, & British boats, by foot on the New Zealand one )
Really incredible aerodynamics used in multiple ways, from foil design to sail control.