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The Overtaking Problem - Reduce wing surface 
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Other Suggestions 

Reducing wing surface area.

A possibility, but I fear that they are nowhere near optimum aerodynamics yet (although all of the leading teams own a wind tunnel most have had it for less than 18 months) and that smaller wings could be made to generate the same downforce and turbulence and possibly be more sensitive to turbulence.

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Marc D from Canada adds

Controlling downforce somehow would really be challenging to the teams and driver. This would not only help reduce turbulence and its negative effects but would also change everything about how curves are taken and also reduce the effect of raw engine power allowing less fortunate teams to be...competitive.

I wonder if it would be a good idea to cover CD, turbulence and braking capabilities by a simple rule.... a lower maximum surface on wings (if there is a current limit in total wing surface).

The only thing is that the regulation must be such that we are not reducing an F1 to an F3000 type of car.

Limiting the width of the Rear Wings could actually be sufficient because the wider the back of the car (and its Wings) the stronger the turbulence. But unless I am mistaking, I believe that the length of the Wings has minimum impact on turbulence. Rear Wings could be forced to be very narrow

Wings could then as long as need to be (with a certain limit), allowing room for technological improvements but not to long so that we reduce the speed at which curves can be taken.

I am thinking loud here, can all of this be verified by anyone ?

The Heretic replies:


You have several valid points.

Reducing rear wings or downforce will also affect the downforce on the front wings as the car needs to be balanced (if you leave the front wings as is you will get far too much oversteer). That in turn will make the car less sensitive to turbulence and as the smaller rear wings would create less turbulence it would be a double benefit.

Nowadays braking is also affected by downforce. A reduction in downforce will have a dramatic effect on braking distances.

But you are also right in expressing your concern that it may get like F3000 or even worse: a faster version of Formula Ford.

This is an exceptionally complex problem exacerbated by the fact that we, the spectators, are never going to be allowed to know all the facts.

Marc, has asked some questions that I would also like answered - anyone out there that is aerodynamic literate?

I suspect (but this is where my knowledge lets me down) that some of the problem is that it is not only turbulence causing the lack of downforce for a following car. To generate downforce the wings create an area of lower pressure below the wings and I do not know how far this low pressure area would extend or if it is relevant. It makes sense that if it is a significant distance the car behind will have less air density which would also reduce the effectiveness of its aerodynamics.

Thanks Marc.

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