Williams 2019 front wing test, Hungaroring, 2018

F1’s new 2019 wings won’t reduce ‘outwashing’ – Wolff

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 aerodynamicists have already found ways to recreate the ‘outwashing’ effect which the FIA hoped to eliminate in 2019, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

New rules for next year are intended to outlaw the complex ‘outwashing’ designs which has been blamed for the difficulties drivers experience when they get close to other cars.

“At the moment it’s very difficult for the cars to follow,” explained Wolff at an event for sponsor Hewlett Packard. “You can’t come any closer, you lose downforce, the tyre loses grip and therefore the overtaking’s really bad.

“When you look at some of the junior classes with less aerodynamics, F2 for example, there’s some great racing there actually. They are able to come close.

“So the aim was to take away a little bit of the aero. Direct the airflow not around the car – so you create a big hole behind your car, and that’s bad – but over the car.

“But they fight 2,000 aerodynamicists in all the teams and I think we have found solutions that we can get the air again around the car. It’s not going to change an awful lot.”

Nicholas Latifi, Force India, Hungaroring, 2018
Outwashing front wings targeted in bid to increase overtaking in 2019
The FIA said the research which led to the introduction of the new wings, which was approved in May, “indicated the strong likelihood of a positive impact on racing and overtaking within F1”.

The change in the design of the wings was aimed at reducing the outwashing effect. In order to reduce the potential lost downforce from the change the total width of the wings has been increased from 1,800mm to 2,000mm.

The FIA estimated the new front wings and other changes would increase lap times by 1.5 seconds. But Wolff believes downforce levels will remain similar next year. “The rumours you hear from the paddock is that people have been able to recuperate lots of that,” he said.

Early versions of the wings were tested by Force India and Williams (pictured above) at the Hungaroring in July. Force India’s technical director Andrew Green said he expected the change would prove to be “a small step in the right direction”.

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2018 F1 season

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Lance Stroll, Williams, Hockenheimring, 2018
New rules are intended to reduce the complexity of F1’s front wings and limit the ‘outwashing’ effect

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Keith Collantine
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  • 59 comments on “F1’s new 2019 wings won’t reduce ‘outwashing’ – Wolff”

    1. Can we just have FLAT PLANK or something like that to get rid of this idiotic front wings?

    2. While this admission is new, I suspect a lot of people expected it.

      1. @drycrust, I am SHOCKED, how is it possible that an even wider wing could be as bad as the previous wider wing, obviously it will take a 3 metre wide wing to fix this problem in 2020.

        1. LOL @hohum you’ve always been my favorite commenter on this site. :)

          I wish I could find the silver lining in this mess, but I’m afraid dark humor is the best we’ll get from the “brilliant new rules to fix the aero problem”. Sigh.

          1. @daved, Aww shucks, thanks Dave “aaand always look on the bright….

            1. @hohum A little Eric Idle right now is appropriate :)

    3. I’m not smart enough to be an aerodynamicist, and can only think of simple solutions.
      But why no simple ‘reduce’ the width of the front wing to fit within the tyres?
      They can stack as many winglets to recover the downforce, but it will be nigh impossible to direct the airflow around the front wheels/car.

      1. (@coldfly) I’m with you on that, I am no aerodynamicist. Is increasing mechanical grip while at the same time decreasing aero to simple?

      2. @coldfly this has been my question for years now and I’ve seen no satisfying answer… I figure that as with other things that ought to change in F1 but don’t, there’s no political will among the teams to go that way. Thing is, I think bringing the front wings back to where they used to be changes the way you design pretty much everything else on the car. But from my total non-expert’s view def seems to me that it’s the single biggest thing inhibiting closer racing – besides the fact that at best it’s a three-team championship, that is.

        1. @coldfly I can see them possibly doing something like that for the new era of 2021, but I’m pretty sure this tweak of the wing for 2019 had to be fairly minimal so as not to cause the lesser teams too much grief financially in adapting. To immediately go to such a different wing as you suggest would cause a very expensive ripple effect throughout the rest of the car, and they’re saving that for 2021 and will give teams ample time to deal with said major changes. I’m predicting front and rear wings shaped such as we have never seen before in F1.

      3. Yes I know. Back to 2005 wings would help, yet we persist with these 2009 monsters, which also look worse.

        1. @john-h If they want to go back to anything it should be the wings from the 90’s as they raised them in 2001 & again in 2005 to reduce front grip & that change made the cars suffer from more understeer.

          An additional side effect was that the higher wings were not only more in the turbulent airflow but also more heavily affected by it as any limited ground effect they were able to produce from running the wings so low was lost.

          I also once had a conversation with Damon Hill who spoke about how the regulation changes that were made after Imola in 1994 badly effected the cars ability to follow as they not only raised front wing endplates slightly but also removed the splitters teams used to have on the endplates which would go under the wing & extend under the front suspension, These apparently created a surprising amount of downforce & also weren’t too badly impacted by turbulant air.
          As soon as they removed those the drivers could apparently feel a big difference in terms of cars been affected running behind another car but the FIA was so focused on slowing cars down due to pressure from outside (F1 was been hammered and dragged through the mud in the media remember) that the side effects were not really been considered. Plus following/overtaking/racing wasn’t as big a focus then as it is now either from F1 or the fans.

          1. @gt-racer, I don’t think that reverting back to 1990s regulations would have as much of an impact as you think – Peter Windsor has mentioned in the past that there were contemporary studies being done in the 1990s that showed that the cars of that era had very large turbulent wakes.

            From what I can recall, he mentioned that those studies showed that the wake of a typical car from the 1990s would, at high speed, extend over 30 car lengths behind the leading car – so even a car built to the regulations of the 1990s would have a wake that extended >100m behind it.

            1. Good grief, my comment vanished again! Is this a nostalgia free zone?

    4. While not ideal, I think this is still good – the purpose of 2019 was to trial some of the large changes that the FIA and Brawn have in mind, so this will give good feedback to them on the process, and the extent to which the rule makers have to do things to level the field.

    5. That Williams pic makes it look like some kind of highfalutin combine harvester.
      Why don’t they use more aero under the body, is it purely safety concerns from years ago or is it more technical?

      1. Tommy Scragend
        7th December 2018, 10:45

        These days a combine harvester would probably be quicker than a Williams.

      2. Combine Harvester Racing. The heyday of motorsport.

        1. The HAYday of motorsport.

          There, FTFY. =)

    6. Just out of curiousity, would they be achieve this with the bargeboards, which have supposedly been brought forward? Or with some winglets/slots behind the nose of the car, similar I guess to what McLaren and Ferrari had. Or is it just probably just a case of finding a loophole in the front wing regulations?

      1. @mashiat the purpose of outwashing is to clean up the hole of air behind the front tyre by redirecting air around it, thus reducing the hole it creates. cleaning up the tyre’s hole of air increases the efficiency and peak downforce of the rear of the car, namely the diffuser, so there is a large performance gain from outwashing, but it can only be done from the front of the car with the front wing.

    7. Paul di Resta said at the Mexico or Austin GP that Red Bull had already found a way to make the new aero rules work in such a way that the cars would be similarly quick to this year (which wasn’t supposed to be possible). Pretty sure we’ve been sold another duff set of regulations.

      1. @hahostolze Similar lap times but with a front wing design that’s less sensitive to the dirty air of another car, so supposedly easier to follow through the corners. We shall wait and see.

        1. @jerejj I’m no aerodynamisist, but I thought that the alterations with the outwashing etc would necessarily lead to slower cars because the cars would be less aerodynamically efficient. If it turns out the cars are the same speed, they are equally aerodynamically efficient, which would imply they leave a similar wake.

          1. If you read the article, it start states clearly they were expecting 1.5 seconds a lap faster.

            It also states they have them 2 metre wide wings, up from 1.8 metres, to compensate for the reduced downforce.

            So the goal was the same downforce, just different wake / outwash.

            The result in lap speed was expected to be 1.5 seconds per lap faster. Why? Who knows. But it’s not unusual for evolution to give them that year on year regardless.

            1. Article says that lap times increase by 1.5 sec, meaning they’ll be slower by 1.5 sec per lap.

          2. @hahostolze engineers working with regulation changes always have a goal of clawing back losses from the intended purpose of the regulations, for example Newey often mentions in his autobiography how much performance his team clawed back after every regulation change intended to slow the cars, and it was always very close to 100%. it doesn’t mean the regulations failed, it just means the engineers worked to minimize losses from the regulations.

    8. I’ no expert whatsoever, perhaps what I suggest is impossible. But I think that rather than painstakingly specifying limits to the shape of the aero parts, FIA should do the opposite, i.e. test the cars inside a wind tunnel with a set of sensors behind, and allow only a certain amount of “outwash”, “turbulence”, “vacuum” or whatever the name of the effect that punishes the following car, eliminating the restrictions thus allowing the team’s engineers to found the shape that generates the most downforce without impending too much the car behind.

      1. Good idea, but the engineers would probably find ways to stay within the limits in windtunnel conditions and wildly exceed them in real conditions :)

        1. That would be the “VW approach” :) @krommenaas. I agree @qazuhb, they would “just” have to put the cars back in the wind tunnel every time there is a change to the aero parts.

          1. They should just submit a fiberglass model with the basic shape of the car to be stored at the testing facilities at the start of the season. It should have detachable aero-relevant parts (wings, bargeboards, etc.) Every time a team wants to make an upgrade, they should send the relevant part to be fitted to the model, tested and homologated by the FIA before being used.

      2. @qazuhb, the turbulent wake of the cars will always be large to begin with because of the insistence on open wheeled cars – the wheels themselves generate the vast bulk of the turbulent wake behind the cars.

      3. I agree with your ideas. It seems to me the biggest cause of turbulence is the rear of the car, not the front of the car. So that’s where the rules should apply. For example, having the rear of the back wheels open creates turbulence, so why not do what they do in Indycar and cover them?

    9. If the rules were intended to out-law out-wash designs, and if they managed to create one within the current rules, surely they can classified them as illegal? It is not that hard, you come to the press gloating that you found a loop hole expect it to be closed.

      Or they have found anything, they can’t do it and they just want the FIA to snoop around other teams to see what they are up to

      1. It would be terrible to change the rules to punish smart engineering. If the 2019 ruleset doesn’t deliver, just improve it for 2020.

        1. smart engineering has been punished for quite a while now. bypassing the fuel flow meter, the oil sensors, battery deployment, just to name the most recent.

          I don’t like the rules, if it was me the book would have two pages tops, but we have them, and they say we have them for a reason, so they have to be enforced.

          I know it beautiful to raise the “F1 should celebrate innovation” flag, and I would like to do it as well, but it isn’t possible, only if we go back in time and put the rule book on a diet

      2. @johnmilk the FIA can’t punish teams for breaching the “intention” of the regulations if the teams are still within the limits of what the regulations say.

    10. We shall wait and see.

    11. I predicted early this year that the new Reg’s would expand the gap between the top teams and the midfield.

      Given it will be the top teams that have the better aero teams, I can see the top teams losing no lap time (they’re already 2 sec faster than the midfield) but the midfield losing a second or so.

      Well done Ross and Liberty – way make things even worse.

      1. just leaving this comment here, in case yours materialises I need some lottery numbers

      2. That’s a problem with the lack of a cost cap, not with the aerodynamic rules. And if these rules make racing better within the two classes of F1, it will still be nothing but an improvement – it doesn’t matter if there’s 1 or 3 seconds between the two classes, as they’re not racing each other anyway.

    12. Not the wings, the poor performance of pirelli makes overtaking difficult. A five to ten degrees difference in temp ruins the tires in two laps. At a short track like Mexico they are just cruising to save them.

      1. Which has absolutely no negative effect on overtaking. In fact, a strong evolution in tire performance helps overtaking.

        1. @krommenaas Except it does. When you are following another car, your tyres overheat, and drop out of the narrow optimal window. Hence, drivers usually tend to have only 1-2 laps to get an overtake done, or they have to back off. Drivers themselves have identified this as a crucial part of the difficulty in overtaking.

    13. This smells of bluffing to put pressure on other teams and mis-direct them in a wrong direction :)

    14. Any resulting bans on loopholes is a result of poorly formed regulations. They should ban any loopholes, but there will be constant bickering and fighting among teams because of it. Overall, I don’t think they gave enough thought to the 2019 regulations… and it will be a hit and miss situation up until they hopefully get a few things right in 2021.

      1. Finding out loopholes now is better than finding them out in 2021. I applaud Brawn for attacking the problem. It will be an iterative process, but in the end he’ll get it right.

    15. What is the point of the wings? They are useful for hot laps but awful for racing, and the race is the main event. For as long as they continue to race the qualifying car instead of qualifying the race car you cannot seriously expect the racing to improve. They are also hideously expensive to design and manufacture so please just remove them already, from all the Formulas not just F1.

      1. You are talking about a complete redefining of F1 then. Much slower cars, much less awesome looking etc etc. Way too risky and would likely have many people leaving their F1 fandom behind. Yes the wings are a problem for close racing but it would be a much bigger problem for F1 overall to remove them and completely change the entity. They just need to emphasize aero downforce less and invite mechanical grip more. They can also make the cars create less wake. Better tires will help too. There are many combinations of things that have never been tried before in F1, but now there is more urgency and new leaders in town who actually are studying this with two cars in a wind tunnel and will implement their findings for 2021.

        1. You are talking about a complete redefining of F1 then.

          Yes I am, for the better.

          Much slower cars, much less awesome looking etc etc.

          Not much slower, just a bit slower and actually much, much better looking.

          Way too risky and would likely have many people leaving their F1 fandom behind.

          Rubbish. People are moving away from F1 already because the racing is poor, so how do you decide that they will stop watching should the cars become wingless?

          Yes the wings are a problem for close racing but it would be a much bigger problem for F1 overall to remove them and completely change the entity.

          No it would not, it would be a much needed revolution.

          They just need to emphasize aero downforce less and invite mechanical grip more. They can also make the cars create less wake. Better tires will help too.

          They have tried all of these things and failed every single time.

          There are many combinations of things that have never been tried before in F1, but now there is more urgency and new leaders in town who actually are studying this with two cars in a wind tunnel and will implement their findings for 2021.

          They don’t need to try new things, they just need to look back at what is known to have worked before. For a business that has so many clever people involved they can be really thick a lot of the time, it is very frustrating.

          1. @rob91 Couldn’t disagree more, and the good news is they won’t be removing the wings.

    16. somewhere in the back of the VIP lounge high above the paddock:

      i have an idea.. lets change the rules next year so the small teams have to invest all there money to keep up with the topteams.
      And when the differences between the teams are decreasing we will think of new regulations to keep the money flowing.

    17. If Wolff is being truthful, perhaps the solution would be movable front wings that when a loss of front down force is detected will move to restore the previous level of down force. A then get rid of DRS.

    18. This is why we need more standard parts in F1 …and it should start with front wings!

      It would save all this nonsense of the FIA trying to improve the show only for teams to go against the spirit of that.

      Plus hundreds of thousands of pounds of wasted money and time for something that is ultimately completely pointless.

    19. They could replace DRS with DPS “drag production system” (McLaren could assist in R&D) to slow cars down?

    20. Wolf’s job is tp spread propaganda, I take everything he says as a joke.

    21. As long as the wings are allowed to have more than 2 elements and a gap between the elements and the body, there will always be some trick available to make the air do what is most beneficial. The rules should be simplier like the old days: front wings have 2 elements and must extend from the body to the inside edge of the tire with constant shape. Simple and done. QED

    22. “I’m no aerodynamicist, but… [INSERT FLUFF HERE]”

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