Simon Pagenaud, Penske, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2017

F1 could look to IndyCar for aero solutions

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In the round-up: Ross Brawn says Formula One could draw inspiration from other forms of motor racing including IndyCar in order to improve the quality of its racing.

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The will-he-won’t-he over Pascal Wehrlein’s presence in the opening races of the season has a lot of people wondering whether there’s more to the story than meets the eye:

Obviously it’s just wild speculation at this point but it does seem strange for them to be so unsure. If it’s simply fitness wouldn’t it have been obvious weeks before Melbourne that he wouldn’t be able to drive.

I can’t see Sauber taking the risk of letting him do practice if it was very likely he wouldn’t be able to compete in the race.

It’s hardly an ideal scenario for Sauber to let a rookie jump into the car for the race with little experience – albeit he performed exceptionally well.

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  • 43 comments on “F1 could look to IndyCar for aero solutions”

    1. There’s a lot I’m struggling to understand about aero. Is the problem that all the all gets kicked upwards and therefore creates a sort of vacuum behind the car, or is the issue more to do with how messy the aero becomes from all the winglets on the car? Or is there another reason I’m unaware of.

      F1 keeps taking about aerodynamics and “hard to follow”, but they’ve not actually explored the ways to stop this. F1 has had aerodynamics for years, and many years ago it was even more dependent on it than now, so why is it such a huge problem now? We know from the past that there are ways to have good aerodynamics which doesn’t prevent close racing. And as Brawn said, other series manage it fine, so what really is the problem?

      1. @strontium – Check this link here. It’s an article by Scarbs. Hope it helps!

        1. Maybe than can go back to a Skirts of the 80s and suck the cars on the track even better a DRS skirt when overtaking!! 😂😂😂

        2. @toiago Thanks for the link to Scarbs article. Very interesting and informative. Sounds like they know what to do from a scientific standpoint, so it will be up to Brawn and Co. to evolve F1 the right way just as he has been talking about doing now that new management is in place. I’m excited for the future.

      2. I think one of the main reasons why it’s a bigger problem in F1 is that the airflow around the bodywork is much more finely tuned than in other cars.

        Just compare the complexity of an F1 front wing to an Indycar one, all those little winglets, vortex generators, bargeboards, holes in the floor, nose, endplates, etc all they do is massage the air to an almost ridiculous degree.
        So basically even a small draft crossing the circuit will upset the balance and handling.

        Huge budgets and advanced CFD simulations have allowed engineers to understand and therefore implement this complex solutions. This didn’t happen to the same degree 20-30 years ago.

        1. I’ve often thought that something like the oval aero kits could work for F1. Combine this with big, wide tyres like we now have, and possibly with stupidly soft compounds to really maximise mechanical grip and could this be a potential solution? In fact, I say bring back a tyre war and then we will really maximise grip!

          But if cars can follow and pass through the fast corners on ovals, surely it can work in F1 too

      3. @strontium think about turbulence on an aeroplane. when the plane hits the turbulent air the wings became less effective and you lose height and stability, everything becomes bumpy and uncomfortable. the same happens to F1 cars except the other way up. if a car is cornering and its wings become less effective then it loses grip and stability.

        the problem is F1 is compounded by the open wheels which create masses of turbulent air. and, as mentioned by @mantresx the aero package as a whole is very finely tuned and sensitive. the current complex front wings and big tyres are obviously significant.

        designers could simplify and make their cars better at running in dirty air (ferrari appeared to be better than mercedes at melbourne, but maybe it was just better mechanically and overall) but it’s a defeatist attitude – surely it’s better to do a mercedes and design a car that is quick enough to get pole every time and never need to run in dirty air!

        1. Designers right now are intentionally creating dirty air as it helps their car’s performance. Spill some vorticies on to the front tires and the drag does down. Look at the back of most cars and you will see arrays of little vortex generators at the back… Why are they doing that? It keeps the car behind in really dirty air and one can’t follow. This is being done intentionally- and anyone who says differently is not being honest.

          Indycar doesn’t have any of the vortex generators as they run spec aero bits. Watch an indy race and the cars can dice each other. They don’t pull up to a car and hang back 2s because they are sliding around so much.

    2. Something that i’ve heard in relation to Wehrlein is that it isn’t a simple case of ‘fitness’, Yes that is a part of it as he wasn’t able to train due to his back injury, However i’m also hearing that he aggravated the back injury on the Friday in Melbourne.

      The reason none of this was picked up in testing is apparently party because they weren’t pushing the car due to not having any spares & not wanting to risk damage, But also because Circuit de Catalunya is pretty smooth now so his back wasn’t taking the beating that it was getting on the bumpier Melbourne circuit.

      1. If there is something else going on, it’s that Ferrari have asked Sauber to give Giovinazzi another go so they can better evaluate him. Let’s be honest, poor Jules would have almost certainly been in the second Ferrari last year, and now Ferrari needs someone new assuming they can’t steal Ricciardo or Sainz later. So if Wehrlein isn’t perfect and Sauber doesn’t give up any points by subbing in Giovinazzi, it’s a win win.

      2. @gt-racer @wushumr2
        Now comes word Wehrlein “might” be out until Sochi. James Allen is stirring the pot a bit in this article, but brings up some interesting points.

      3. This would make sense with him aggravating his back injury. If he has torn or ruptured something in his back and again re injured it, things will take even longer to heal. Ive had back problems myself and can attest to how difficult it can be to get back to full strength, and I dont face 6g loads. You can perform fitness exercises to speed up the healing process, but you have to first let it heal to begin strengthening, all that takes time, and sometimes longer than anticipated.

    3. If F1 is going to take a look at Indy, then they should concentrate on Push-to-Pass, as that’s basically DRS done perfectly right. It allows driver to also defend and adds a new strategic variable to the race. I don’t see that gimmicky and most importantly it’s fairer compared to DRS.

      1. How is that anything other than a gimmick ?
        Personally, it’s as bad as fan boost for me.

        1. @beneboy Fanboost is completely unfair popularity contest. Push-to-Pass gives same possibilities to attack & defend your position to everybody.

          1. You left out one important detail. Push-to-pass is of limited use. You can only use it a certain number of times during a race, whereas DRS is of unlimited use.

            1. They changed that this year– It’s still limited, but I think you get 150 or 200 seconds of use total. That could be 10 uses at 15 seconds, or 150 uses at 1 second each.

              One significant change to DRS could be eliminating the use when you’re 1 second or less behind a lapped car. :)

          2. @huhhii @ossopite @fullcoursecaution
            It’s still a gimmick.
            Effectively saying “we can build a car with x power, but we’re only going to let you use y% of it, except for a few times a race to help spice up the action.”
            If the cars are difficult to follow or overtake, then their design should be changed to make it easier all of the time, not just when you press a go-faster button a limited number of times.
            Push to pass and DRS produce the same result – highway passes.

            1. @beneboy It’s not comparable to Fanboost or DRS. You see the car ahead can use Push-to-Pass as well. It’s equal for both cars. No highway passes, unless the car in front decides not to use it or has used all of his Push-to-Passes already (brings extra strategy to the race when drivers have to decide whether or not Push-to-Pass should be used or saved for later).

            2. I agree that it would be better to design the cars such that there is no need for DRS or push-to-pass, but for at least the last 20 years dirty air has made overtaking too difficult. I’m not convinced a satisfactory solution could be found without such a mechanism while keeping cars that resemble what we have now.

              I also think push-to-pass is better than DRS because it can be used anywhere. Unlike recent years you would not have the majority of overtakes taking place at the end of the same straight – drivers would in theory be able to take advantage of a small mistake by the car in front anywhere on the circuit.

        2. You can’t be serious. The problem with fan boost is that it’s fundamentally unfair. You could argue the same thing about DRS, because there is nothing the driver in front can do about it.

          Push to pass on the other hand is perfectly fair, since each driver has the same amount of boost time available during the race. That means it can be used for attacking and defending and to take advantage of it a driver must strategically out-fox their opponent.

          Sure, it’s still artificial, but motorsport is full of artificial elements and without such a mechanism there would be hardly any overtaking at all. We are already seeing that with the new tyres: the artificial aspect of rapid degradation has been removed, taking with it the large differences in pace that used to lead to overtaking.

        3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          4th April 2017, 13:42

          It’s not a gimmick when drivers have equal opportunities to use it, much like when KERS started.

          Fanboost is a gimmick because it discriminates against all but three drivers, and DRS is currently a gimmick because it discriminates against the lead driver.

          The ability to reduce drag on the straights in itself is worthwhile, its just its unfair implementation that makes it gimmicky.

          Push-to-pass style DRS rules as described above would be a far more sporting way of going about it.

        4. I don’t think that you can compare fan boost, a completely artificial popularity contest which has nothing to do with actual racing, to Indy’s push-to-pass, a specified amount of time of higher engine performance given to all drivers on the gird to use as they see fit during a race to attack, defend, or close a gap at any time during the race.
          The first is a true gimmick controlled by outside entities, the second is a tool controlled by the driver during a race and its employment is part of effective racecraft.
          I have long been an advocate for scrapping the current, hated, formulaic DRS employment in favor of an unpredictable DRS employment exactly like Indy’s push-to-pass.

    4. So F1 now to go american way in car design, who would have thought lol.

      1. There’s nothing American about the Lola Indycar. It’s British.

        1. *There’s nothing British about the Dallara Indycar. It’s Italian

        2. huh? mental shortcuts seem too difficult sometimes.

        3. Except that it’s not a Lola, but a Dallara…so it’s Italian.

        4. @damon, I don’t know where you are getting your information from, but you seem to be about a decade out of date. Lola Cars doesn’t even exist anymore – they went out of business in 2012, and what assets they had left were bought by Multimac (a Canadian automotive manufacturer that was the main supplier to Lola at the time).

          The last time that Lola Cars supplied a Champ Car chassis was in 2006 – Panoz was made the sole supplier in 2007 – whilst I believe that you have to go back to about 1997 to the last time that a Lola chassis was used in the IndyCar series (Dallara has been the dominant party in IndyCar since 2003).

    5. Siri contracted a throat disease after I asked her to read today’s headlines ;)

      I’ll now ask her to look up the French translation of ‘increment’ :p

    6. That article on Rosberg is a bit odd, maybe just trying to put together an article when the BBC really did not have anything interesting?

      I think that him showing up for the first tests was more about saying goodbye to the teammembers who had had little time to see him as well as part of “being in the family” tied in with is PR contract with Mercedes

      1. Yes, the article seems to go a way, and uses Horner’s comments on the matter has being bad for the sport (his retirement) and then ends with a conclusion that doesn’t seem fit to what they were saying previously.

        The comments below the photos are also very weird. It he did is pretty much what every fan does, wake up to see the first race, yet the comment tries to insinuate that he can’t detach himself from the sport.

        All in all, a couple minutes of my life that I won’t get back

        1. Thanks for the warning then @johnmilk, @bascb, I hadn’t decided if I wanted to check it out, didn’t need more Horner talking about what others’ drivers should have done; I guess I can leave it now.

          About the Rosbergs photos, I personally thought it fitting that Rosberg, who always did his youtube after-race review, now shows his fans how he experienced the race while not being in it. Doesn’t have to be a returning item surely, but for his 1st race out of the car, definitely.

          1. Yeah nothing to see here. That was an older quote from Horner too. Nico is happily retired and even if he does miss F1 or some aspects of it, he obviously is happy to not be in it any more. His personal decision…no regrets…that’s what I glean from everything I’ve seen of Nico in 2017.

    7. Regarding the COTD, I share the sentiment that the Wehrlein situation is not as simple as it looks on the outside. I suspect this is related to the Sauber-Honda “talks” and the relationship with Mercedes is deteriorating.

      1. Alternatively (please put on your tin foil hats for this one) Sauber is in a bad situation financially and Ferrari are putting in their young driver to cover missed engine payments.

        However, to add to my previous comment I was quite disappointed to hear the rumours of Sauber-Honda talks – this is the type of partnership I would have expected from Manor but with Manor out and Wehrlein gone to Sauber I had a brief moment of excitement at the thought of a Sauber-Mercedes partnership for 2018.

    8. Glad to see an improvement in sponsorships in 2017, many teams can do with some financial assistance right now. But why is McLaren obsessed with a “title sponsor” though? Red Bull, Ferrari, and Williams do not have title sponsors, and they’re living fine (although you can argue Tag Heuer is effectively Red Bull’s title sponsor). McLaren should focus on getting stickers on their cars first before thinking about a heavy deal with any company.

      1. Red Bull, Ferrari, and Williams do not have title sponsors

        SCUDERIA (MARLBORO) FERRARI (you won’t see it as ‘cancer stick’ naming/sponsoring is not allowed in sports in most countries)

      2. @ducpham2708, as @f1-liners notes, Red Bull are their own title sponsor – the team exists to primarily promote themselves, so seeking a title sponsor would defeat the purpose of having the team in the first place.

        As for Ferrari and Williams, @f1-liners rightly points out that they do both have title sponsors, even if Ferrari cannot explicitly advertise their title sponsor because it is effectively outlawed.

    9. Good job F1, get rid of all those Eccele Ego fat and become fit and interesting by taking the good stuff from the other formats.

      Seriously this is a good route, keep em coming !

    10. How about giving the following car a marginal PU horse-power boost so that they can get closer on the straights?

    11. Watching some Formula E for the first time in a few years. Umm, is that some new added “sound”? Is this for real? It sounds like r/c cars I used to play with in the 90’s.

      The cars look so slow, sound absolutely a joke, the drivers are all “washed out” f1 “stars”. This is the future?

      I wonder now about the relation to people who are “into” FE and if these are the same people that bang on about how the “sound” is fine, how they love the “tactics” etc.

      As yet ANOTHER current or former F1 DRIVER talks about how bad the new sound is but the blame is put on “rose tinted” fans and the media. F1 drivers are saying the v6 cars sound horrible! You don’t rate their OWN opinions???

      Watch some footage of the old turbo era cars. Ayrton Senna passing Prost, the cars sounded vicious! Even the inline 4 Brabham had a decent sound.

    12. And the association of French chefs in Paris have contacted McD’s burger flippers to share their secrets.

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