Williams: Canadian Low Drag Rear Wing


Every year at low Drag circuits some teams will try a more radical way to reduce downforce and drag from their rear wing. It’s rare these solutions get to race, as teams invariable end up running more downforce than the barest minimum these special wings provide. This year Williams bucked that trend and have an all new low drag rear wing. Williams have gone for an opposite strategy to last years (https://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/renault-wiliams-complex-low-drag-wings-for-canada/) and have created the wings downforce towards the tips of the wing and not the centre.

To do this the wing has a shallower angle of attack in the middle and is steeper towards the endplate.  The middle of the wing is about 30% shallower than at the wingtips.  Both the main plane and flap narrowed in the centre, although the variation in the flap’s height is less than with the mainplane.   In downforce terms there’s probably little to choose between the efficiently of creating downforce in the centre rather than the tips. Although the tips do run in far cleaner air, unobstructed by the top body of the car.  The straighter flap is used as it will flatten out more when DRS is activated.
So in downforce terms the Williams wing seems logical. However loading the wing at its tips creates a strong tip vortice, these are the vapour trails we see in wet races. But these vortices create drag and that will slow the car making the wing inefficient in terms of drag. I can’t understand the reasoning behind this. Perhaps the wake formed by the wingtip in this format work in coordination with the lower rear wing, diffuser and brake duct cascade’s.

10 thoughts on “Williams: Canadian Low Drag Rear Wing

    • More to advantages i guess. Larger vortex creates larger wake area, thus reducing the drag for the car behind due to flow upwash from the front car. But this will affect the later car with lower downforce as the wings might not be 100% utilised (expecially the FRT Wing). As long as it is on straights, then it is an advantage

  1. That wing is definitely strange – inverted profile would make more sense.
    Also, to make that work you will need at least modified engine cover, something which I can’t spot immediately on that picture – it looks the same as previous iterations.
    The other way of making it efficient in this profile would be to have larger angle of attack, and that’s certainly not desirable on that track – inducing drag.
    I guess, however, that the solution is not just thrown out of nowhere, so it’s curious to understand whether wind tunnel or CFD were in fault (or both). I didn’t see large advantage in the race, either.

    • second that thought on the design. looks like this one increases the frontal area, which will increase drag. maybe they just run it to get valuable data for the next race.
      But anyway, it is nice to see teams trying every way of doing things right, although this one doesnt. Maybe this design will do some good in valencia

      • They are increasing the wing surface with a more rounded shape, I suppose they are having more tip vortex, but on the otherhand they have a good compensation obtaining a better airflow pass underneath the rear wing center line.

  2. Well uhh….looks like it provided minimal advantage considering Senna had perhaps his worst weekend to date and Maldonado looked pretty awful too?

  3. A bit late to the party, but a few thoughts:
    The camber (curve) of the centre section of the low drag wing is less then the standard wing, and also less then at the tips. I think we all agree that due to this fact, the wing will generate less downforce, as stated. Since the induced drag is proportional to the square of the lift (all else being equal), any reduction in lift will have a much bigger impact then increased strength of tip vortices. On that topic….

    While the reduced centre camber will shift around the pressure distribution across the span of the wing, it will not necessarily increase the pressure on the ends by an appreciable amount, and likely in fact reduces them. The profile of the airfoil at the ends doesn’t appear to have changed much – meaning that the pressure generated there is likely similar to what was done on previous iterations of the wing. However, the lower relative pressure in the centre of the wing means that there will be less tendency for the air to flow out from the centre of the wing – decreasing the overall pressure at the tips, and reducing the generated vortices. More generally, the vorticy strength is dependent on the pressure differential between the top and bottom surfaces of the wing, specifically what those values are at the tips. The reduced downforce generated by the wing means that the overall pressure differential between the upper and lower surface will be less, which must result in a lower tip vortices generated.

  4. Pingback: InDetail: Williams FW34 | Scarbsf1's Blog

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