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21 July 2014
Bite Size Tech: Red Bull RB10 - Differing Configurations - Hockenheim


Red Bull's pace compared to the Mercedes powered cars this season must be difficult to internalize for the team.  Their aerodynamic prowess has not simply vanished overnight and they arguably still have the best 'chassis' in the field, however to try and make up the deficit during the race, they are having to give both drivers a selection of parts to cater for their needs.

At Hockenheim this meant that both drivers ran with different specification rear ends, with Daniel seemingly able to cope with a little less wing and more tail happy RB10.  As we can see in the image below Daniel ran the older specification singular mounting pylon, which mounts to the underside of the mainplane, less AoA on both the mainplane and top flap, whilst the endplates only featured 3 louvres (which of course reduce drag).
Meanwhile Sebastian (below) ran with much more rear wing angle, resulting in him also needing to run their two tier upper Y100 winglet / Monkey Seat.  The winglet / seat is used to not only create more aerodynamic consistency and balance for the driver, but also overcome the main wings higher angle of attack.  The endplates on his RB10 also featured 4 louvres in the endplate, which help to reduce the tip vortices (drag) generated by the additional AoA.  He also utilsed the newer swan neck style single mounting pylon, which enables the mainplane to operate more effectively (especially in yaw).
Both drivers used the wider leading edge endplate tyre wake slots introduced at Silverstone.
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Bite Size Tech: Lotus E22 - Front Wing - Hockenheim


Lotus have really struggled to realise the potential of the E22 this season with issues from the Renault power unit causing their fair share of these.  However a complex asymmetric design was also bound to be fraught with issues too and makes aerodynamic changes even more difficult.

In Hockenheim the team arrived with a new front wing, looking to gain balance and performance.  The old wing above can be seen above whilst close images of the new wing are scarce, Giorgio Piola did manage to grab a shot of it in a similar orientation whilst it was in the garage (shown below)
As we can see the changes may not seem widespread to begin with but they will certainly have an effect, the main change is the loss of the endplates leading edge slant, whilst a small section of the front/top edge of the endplate has been more outwardly turned than the rest of it.  This is something we have seen Enstone do before with the E21's wing featuring a similar design during 2013.  The positioning of the outwardly turned section also coincides with the cascades position and will help to pull outwardly on it's flow regime.

Meanwhile at the rear of the Endplate the bottom section has been removed, allowing airflow to traverse from the flapped region across the footplate.  Of course both changes have been made to entice the airflow around the front tyre, creating a stronger flow structure that can impact the tyres wake, increasing the floor/diffusers performance.
The new configuration was tested by both drivers throughout Free Practice but only Pastor used it for qualifying and the race (below).  As we can see above the team ran flo-viz on the wing during Free Practice to correlate its credentials.

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Bite Size Tech: Williams FW36 louvred shark fin engine cover - Hockenheim


The FW36 has been a revelation this season with not only the switch from Renault to Mercedes for 2014 now seeming an inspired decision (most probably due to the Toto Wolff connection) but with the car proving to be exceptionally efficient.  Over the last few seasons Williams have struggled to keep up with the development of EBD (Exhaust Blown Diffusers) whether it be the original floor mounted ones with a lack of technical prowess from the Cosworth unit, or with Renault when trying to employ the 'Coanda' exhausts.  They not only struggled to model the phenomenon in CFD and the Wind Tunnel but also replicate any kind of consistent performance during GP weekends.

A return to none floor/diffuser exhaust driven regulations with the introduction of the centreline exhaust has re-invigorated the Grove based squad, whilst the arrival of Pat Symonds and a technical restructuring has also paid dividends.

With less exhaust influence the Williams team have thrived in a more aero efficient formula whilst making shrewd decisions on packaging and gear ratio selections, which are of course much heavily regulated this season.  Initially it seemed this could be their Achilles heel with short ratios meaning they are always visibly in top gear (8th) much quicker than other teams, however as the season has progressed and their knowledge of the suspension setup/engine mapping has matured the team have made significant strides.  Aerodynamically the team haven't been massively eager to affect widesweeping changes either instead opting for setup changes to suit each circuits characteristics.  (Lest we forget this is a team that have produced around 10 different front wings during each of the 12/13 seasons to try and affect performance with little to no performance step)

The teams most frequent changes have come in the form of cooling options with the team having used what we term a 'conventional' cooling funnel for some of the early season races, before returning to their lowline larger outlet with aspirator in China.


In Germany the team opted to race another iteration of the shark fin configuration, with additional cooling louvres placed along its length. (This had also been tested in China during Free Practice)  The team also added a small gurney trim around the periphery of the lower cooling outlet, that will have a negligible drag penalty, but increase the cars cooling capacity.
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20 July 2014
Bite Size Tech: Lotus E22 - Additional Cooling - Hockenheim


Lotus have really struggled to realise the potential of the E22 this season with issues from the Renault power unit causing their fair share of these.  However a complex asymmetric design was also bound to be fraught with issues too and makes aerodynamic changes even more difficult.  With temperatures rising at Hockenheim the team decided to install and trial some additional cooling inlets under the roll hoop.


It's unclear what the team were looking to cool, whether it be an oil cooler that the team had also moved or whether it was simply just additional cooling for the powerunit.  The team didn't race these additional inlets however, as, as we know any additional apertures results in increased drag and so the team clearly took the decision that the cooling advantage either wasn't required in Germany or didn't supersede the drag component.

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19 July 2014
BIte Size Tech: McLaren MP4-29 NEW tubercles inspired Rear Wing - Hockenheim


McLaren arrived in Germany with a new rear wing with a few new distinguishing features:


The endplates have each been treated to two rows of canards, which rather than being one longitudinal canard are serrated for further efficiency.  This is a design that has been prevalent on the Lotus for some time, with airflow rolling off the canard at the endplates trailing edge creating vortices, which makes for an altogether more targeted flow structure in the region.  The canards form part of the 20mm allowance for the endplates and so the endplate around them has to be narrower to accommodate them.  The serrations are used so that the airflow works in the same manner whilst the car is in yaw, otherwise the vortex would rapidly break down as the car changes direction, leading to a loss in stability.  Of course the team have opted to angle both rows of canards upward to further maximise the whole wings airflow structure, creating upwash that vicariously leads to an increase in diffuser performance too.

The team have also re-designed their Mainplane and Top Flap with the introduction of tubercles to the trailing and leading edges of each respectively.  Tubercles are the wave patterns formed on the edges of the wing profiles, with the pectoral fins of humpback whales being most widely associated with their use.


The tubercles on a humpback whales fins are seen as one of the primary reasons for their maneuverability, with them increasing the efficiency of the fins span (Research conducted around 10 years ago concluded that a humpback style fin produced 32% less drag and 8% more lift than a conventional straight edge fin).


In the case of McLaren it's interesting that they've opted to place some on the trailing edge of the Mainplane skewed to the placement of the top flaps leading edge ones (like a zip).  I believe this is to mainly help the upper profile, vicariously boosting the performance of both.

As two profiles are required by the regulations and inevitably a singular profile would lead to stall issues, the design and use of tubercles for the rear wing have required further investigation than simply applying the humpback knowledge. We also have to consider that DRS plays a role in how Formula One designers approach rear wing design, with implications in performance both when in use and when closed.

Starting with the Top Flap as this uses the conventional knowledge carried over from the humpback, the tubercles create a Venturi effect with the airflow being constricted by the protruding "knuckles" and allowing the airflow to pass by the shorter sections, creating narrower flow channels, that pull on the constricted flow.  Much like the use of Vortex Generators on a sidepods leading edge this results in a wing that produces a wider operating window, meaning the team has much more scope in terms of angle of attack.  The tubercles also reduce drag, with tip vortices curtailed by their destabilization of the airflow.


The Mainplane also features tubercles (marked above in yellow) but this time on the wings trailing edge, now although this is counter intuitive to what we have just learnt in terms of the humpbacks tubercles, we must consider that there are two pressure sides to a wings profile and one cannot work without the other.  I'd suggest the trailing edge tuburcles are a means to increase the speed of airflow dispatched by the mainplane, allowing the lower pressure side (the back) of the top flap to work more efficiently with the high pressure side.  Furthermore we must remember that the wing operates in different modes, with DRS.  The opening and closing of the DRS flap during a lap can lead to instability as the airflow tries to re-attach, this can be a problem under braking and turn in, which the team and drivers would of course like to avoid.

Some smaller changes have also been made to the rear wing support Y-Lon, whilst the centralised V groove, used to cut drag has also been reduced in size.  These changes are both supportive of the new tubercles which increase the wings efficiency, the change to the Y-Lon has been made in order to reduce it's effect on the mainplane (especially in yaw).  Whilst the span reduction of the V groove is due to the increased L/D that the wing now has.
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18 July 2014

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