Archive for formula 1

Force India to use Interim design Diffusers

Force India will be be using an interim double decker diffuser design for the Bahrain GP. I believe if it works out right, the team will come at par in terms of pace with some of the cars. With Sutil missing out on golden points laps away from finish, AGAIN, this will hopefully not just be a moral boost for the drivers!


Leave a Comment

Diffusers legal in Formula one!

YES! Its official! Diffusers are legal in formula 1! Not that I doubted it anytime!

What does this mean?

  • All the cars of the three teams (Toyota, Williams, Brawn) are legal.
  • The teams and drivers retain their points.
  • It is “in your face” for the big guns.
  • Mostly all teams have come up with their own new diffuser designs so the diffuser effect will be invalidated over the next few races.
  • This move including the big guns shows just how under-confident they were about winning the hearing. Not the “100% sure” attitude you expect from teams with apparently very high technical expertise.
  • The upcoming races promises to be a thrill and actual competition between the brains behind the diffuser.
  • Other strategies like KERS will now come to the fore. More on KERS later.

(my verdict on the diffuser controversy and diffusers explained click here)

Don’t believe it?! Read it for yourself – official FIA report

Articles which may interest you:

ESPN-STAR: BMW developing new diffuser

AUTOSPORT.COM: Ferrari ‘forced’ to develop new diffuser

GP Red Bull working on double diffuser

FIA Chinese GP Press Conference: Heiki K says Mclaren will have diffuser ready in Europe

Comments (1)

Rainy day at Malaysian GP

Brawn GP once again bagged top honors in the rain cut Malaysian GP!

Button came first, followed by Heifeld (brilliant race just 1 stop), the two Toyotas – Glock and Trulli , Barrichelo, Webber, Hamilton, Rosberg.

Only half points were awarded as less than 75% of race was completed. I again stress the need for a points based champion!


Some of the highlights of the day were:

  • The start. Alonso pulling off an incredible manouevre to get into 5th place. Rosberg taking the lead
  • Kimi on intermediate before the rain hit, doing the lap 20 seconds slower than others!
  • Kubica engine failure, Heiki darting off the track on his own!
  • Button showed the way its done by sensible pit stops when required – no genius stuff
  • Ferrari not getting any points once again!
  • And man! it was pouring down heavily – cars were actually leaving trails in the water on the track as a boat does! and the rear wings were separating the moisture from the air owing to heavy humidity!

All in all, an overdramatic race with a very unspectacular finish…

Leave a Comment

Rear diffusers in formula 1 – in controversy

update – Diffuser hearing result is out. My article “Diffusers legal in F1”

So what exactly is the rear diffuser controversy in formula one? I did some reading and understanding about that and would like to present a basic understanding about it.

  • Aerodynamics has two major functions in a F1 car:
  1. increase downforce of the car i.e. push the car down on the road providing better grip and thus handling
  2. reduce the drag on the car and consequently improving top speed of the car.
  • Diffuser is a component involved in improving the aerodynamics of the car.
  • One way of producing the required downforce on the car (other than front and rear wings) is what I can be simply explained as the ‘converse of the airplane effect’ – The air flow over and below the car is adjusted in such a way that the pressure over the car is higher (air flows at lower velocity, in accordance with Bernoulli’s principle) and the pressure below the car is lower (air flows at higher velocity). Thus, with a higher pressure on top, it pushes the car downward generating the downforce. This downforce can account for as much as 25-30% of total downforce produced.
  • So the principle is to accelerate the air flow beneath the car, to make it it reach larger velocity to get a higher pressure difference. This is done by a narrower flow cross section in the undertray of the car.
  • Then the diffuser comes in. The diffuser as the name suggests is basically a passage with increasing cross sectional area. This slows down the air and increases its pressure. Slowing down the air to a similar speed as that coming from the top helps in preventing flow separation from the undertray profile. Flow separation can lead to heavy drag losses so the diffuser has to be precisely designed for this. The increased pressure also fills up the wake region behind the car and prevents drag losses due to difference in nose pressure and low tail pressure caused due to wake formation.
  • Another way of aiding this process is by opening the exhaust of the car into this diffuser which helps in sucking air more quickly from underneath the car.
  • Now the larger the volume of the diffuser – the better its performance both in terms of reducing flow separation and also through design achieving a higher air velocity at the bottom (i.e. a lower pressure). This is exactly what some of the teams (Brawn, Toyota and Williams) seem to have succeeded in doing.

Firstly it is very important to see and understand a rear diffuser as per rules. As you shall clearly see it does not make any use of the rear crash structure for its aerodynamic passages. Take a look McLaren MP4-24 rear diffuser design – FIA report

There are two aspects to this controversy – the external design and the internal design

  • External – the teams have done is that they have utilized a central section tunnel. This is one point of dispute. However, as per rules a 175mm central section is permissible. Another point of dispute is the extension of the central diffusion section to within 150 mm of extra body work.

(Williams have cleverly employed a secondary or¬† ‘double decker’ diffuser by modifying the rear crash structure which exceeds the limits.) – for the pic – FIA reports

(Toyota have extended their bodywork to exploit the 150mm rule. This provides an extended diffuser section allowing it work more effectively. There is also a very low level splitter for more smoother air-flow) for the pic – FIA reports

  • Internal – The diffuser in itself consists of many sections. What the above teams have done is that for the central section of the diffuser they have used a incoming hole. And interpreted the rule in such a way that only the diffuser volume is only the central section and not all three sections. This I believe has helped them to have a higher flow rate possible as well as lower pressure. Also the hole coming from the side will help prevent flow separation.

(The internal hole in the Williams diffuser design – FIA reports)

  • All other teams have taken the spirit of the rule and interpreted it simply as all sections must have similar height and width with no entry tunnel. – FIA official report
  • My verdict – If the judging is fair, and only technical stuff considered, this should be allowed. Other teams should play catch up and all the big guns should accept that they have been out-smarted.
  • Another important point was made the other day on commentary – Imagine 10 teams with about 500-700 of the most elite designers and top class automotive engineers in each of the teams’ R&D. That makes about 5000-7000 geniuses pitted against how many FIA rule book officials – 15! Definitely people will find loopholes to exploit!

For more information, clarification, pics – check out my references

Wikipedia – Diffuser

Wikipedia – Ground effects

2009 regulation changes for diffuser: FIA

Excellent pic showing Williams’ Diffuser on car.

Good aerodynamics drawings and parts zoom in view

The actual diffuser on the race car with more

Everything u need to know about F-1 cars ( a seven part awesome series, aerodynamics in part 7) – Click on “taking the lid off F-1 on the website

Comments (4)

Sports update: Cricket and F-1

Sunday was a ideal day for a sports fan like me. The all important fourth day of the India Vs NZ 2nd test in the morning followed by Formula 1 opening race!

First things first- Cricket: India finally drew the test!!! Thanks to a 642 minute enduring century from the surprisingly patient Gambhir! The innings that saved the test and hopefully which would enable us to win the series. Such was the patience that he did not score a single run (while on 83) for almost 12 overs! VVS showed us real class in his boundaries studded century (25 fours in his 125*) and so did Yuvi in his half century (54 off 63, 10 fours). And the patience game was ably supported by the Wall, Dravid (62) and Sachin (64). The partnership between Dravid and Gambhir (133 in 63 overs) is the best defensive batting display I have seen in a very long time. Who would have thought that India could have batted 6+ sessions to save the test match! A commendable feat indeed.

Formula 1: What a dramatic start to the season! It could not have been filled with more twists! Brawn GP scored a 1-2, the only third time in racing history by a debut team. Hamilton coming third after starting last on the grid. Actually Trulli was third but was dropped down later after a penalty for improper rear wing. That meant that the FORCE INDIA cars came in 9th and 11th! And if positions are further cut following the diffuser controversy, FI will get precious points!Ferrari continued their tradition of not scoring any points in the opening race. And feel sad for Vettel and Kubica. Two of the better drivers who should have got points but for their recklessness! And Kubica was not even on KERS!

Aditya writes about qualifying and the actual race in detail. I am thinking of writing more on rear diffusers and KERS soon…

And I am definitely not impressed by the current scoring pattern ūüė¶

Comments (2)

Formula One

Well, I never had access to much of an access to F-1 racing before so watching it was out of the question. And then there was the Schumacher Era. I dont know why, but a sport which is dominated by just a single champion has always been boring to me…¬†Same can be said about the tennis era with Federer… Monopoly is one thing I really hate (not the¬†board game of course!) However, getting into mechanical engineering and that too automoile engineering could not keep me away from F-1 for long time. Now I can appreciate both the race part as well the engineering.

Of course I am not an avid follower and definitely not a writer¬†like Aditya here, but have taken a keen interest in it. And following my glorious tradition of not following the champions I will NOT be supporting Ferrari… Instead I would be backing McLaren¬†and Force India, the former to¬†give Ferrari a good fight and the latter for¬†obvious patriotic reasons. And¬†I would like the¬†latter to do what the former as soon as possible! Of course it was achieved in the street circuit of Monaco and it was¬†Raikonnen only who literally thrashed the competition. Of course, all say that it was not his fault but it was Sutil who lost the GLORY.

Anyways, yesterday’s race was clearly one of the best I had witnessed. Such high class drama! Its not that regular that you see such intensity and overtaking in the leader position with such few laps to go and here was a result that nobody could have even predicted even a few minutes ago. And Hamilton being penalised under laws which I believe are not that fair, but nevertheless it was much post race drama. The Raikonnen crash meant that he would be pushed further away from the Championship title which holds all signs of degenerating into a two horse race¬† between Lewis (76) and Massa, the former leading by just 2 points with 5 races to go. The next couple of guys are Kubica and Kimi separated by just one point, Kubica(58) a considerable 16 points away from Massa(74). BMW is another inspired team this year alongwith Toyota.

So looking forward to many such races and race-blogs in the future…

My post on the Australian GP 2009

What are rear diffusers?

Leave a Comment

Force India finishes 10th!

Time to rejoice. Real good performance by FI in the first season. Keep up the good work! We will be praying you earn some points this year itself!

Leave a Comment