Valencia: Technical Review now on Racecar-Engineering.com

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Ban on Outboard Mirrors – Red Bulls prototype mirror

Red Bull - Rapid protoyped mirror (Copyright: autosport.com)

With the forthcoming ban on outboard mirrors, teams are using the chance to have the driver and car together to size up their new solution.  Here we can see Red Bull have made up a Stereo Lithographed – Rapid Prototype mirror.  It’s been taped to the cockpit so the drivers can judge its position, ready for the monocoque modification and final production mirror housing to be ready for the Spanish GP.

Red Bull: Exhaust Driven Diffuser

Red Bull surprised everyone with their revised car that appeared on the last day of testing.  As the car sported revised exhaust systems with a low exit that aims the exhausts over the diffuser.  While exhaust driven diffusers were popular in the nineties before periscope exhausts became the norm, to have the exhaust play over the top of the diffuser is a relative novelty.  However the Newey designed solution on the RB6 is a little more complicated than it first appeared.  In one shot we can see the upper deck of the diffuser features a window (Arrowed) to allow the exhaust gas to pass inside the diffuser, rather than solely over it.  With the aim that the high speed exhaust gas will drive more flow through the diffuser to increase downforce.

One criticism aimed at exhaust driven diffuser is their sensitivity to the throttle position and hence the speed of the flow through the exhaust and in turn the amount of downforce it adds to the diffuser.  This issue was mainly related to when the exhausts   were placed right on the kickline between the floor and diffuser, thus their effect on downforce was much more pronounced.  Placing the diffuser further up the diffuser reduced this sensitivity.  Newey knows a thing or two about blown diffusers, the McLarens retained diffuser exhausts exits all the way to the MP4-17, even then the switch to periscope exhausts was largely driven by other  engine packaging factors.  Even the still born MP4-18 aimed to have diffuser exiting exhausts.  The placement of the exhaust some way upstream of the diffuser exit should allow a better compromise between downforce and sensitivity.

Red Bull: Jerez developments

Red Bull: Revised front wing endplates, with a slotted side and new cascades

Following their evolutionary theme for the RB6, last week their car appeared with a logical development to the RB5 front wing.  As with much of the aero on the Newey designed car, the approach is unique.  Red Bull have a wing highly integrated into the endplates, with the flap and two slots hard to distinguish from the endplate and main plane.  

One feature common to many cars is the Brawn style upright-less endplate, Red bull have not followed this path and the endplate still features a large upstand along its upper edge.  The upright-less design directs more flow low around the wheel, to replicate this Newey has followed some other teams and vented the side of the endplate to accelerate the flow inside the endplate, creating the more powerful flow around the front tyre. 

Allied to the vented endplate the new front wing also sports revised cascades, still split into two span-wise sections,.  But the two sections are now more aggressive and flanked by endplates.

RedBull RB6: First impressions

RB6: a more raised V nose

RB6: Pull rod rear suspension has been retained

RB6: tall and narrow diffuser

RedBull surprised us all last year with a car far different to its rivals. Neweys nose up tail down approach was all about working the diffuser and rear wing harder. Even in its early format the RB5 was a match on pace for its double diffuser equipped peers. However the 2009 ar car was ill equipped to accept a doubel diffuser, the low mounted gearbox and crash structure impinged on the space needed for the diffuser. Its clear Newey has kept the basic conept of the car and redesigned the rear end to accomadate the bigger diffuser. While taking what was a unique and now more commonplace “V” nose to a greater extreme.

The whole front of the chassis appears to have been raised, but it is in fact the bulges formed by the tips of the “V” nose that are higher, Newey has done this to create a narrower cross-section down low, for more space between the front tyres to route airflow through the undercut sidepods and over the diffuser and beam wing. These shoulders atop the chassis no longer merge smoothly into the nose cone but are more truncated, the main shape of the removeable nosecone is now near hexagonal, and very shallow, drooping slightly toward the two camera pods mounted hammer head style at its tip. Beneath it is a derivative of the 2009 front wing with its complex curves and three element main plane bridged by the two element cascades.

Moving rearwards the roll structure, raised chassis, splitter and bargeboards all appear to be largely carried over from its predesessor. Although now housing a larger fuel tank.

The pod wings also take cues from the RB5 with the mirrors mounted on slim extensions from the top of the board. From the high and realtively small sidepod inlets the sidepods start off undercut and then turn into a downward flared shape as per the 09 car. diping along with the exhaust outlet under the rear suspension. The rear suspension is still high mounted and retains the pull rod suspension, but is not merged into the tail fin and not exposed atop the gearbox. The tail fin now features a far larger side area, and incorporates the tubular outlet and optional slots for engine cooling. the rear wing is endplate moutned, there appears to be no central support strut. and although the shark fin joins the rear wing this does not take the loads from the wing into the chassis.

At present the diffuser isnt fully evident, nor is the rear crash structure, which are likely to be the areas where the car diverges from its forebear.  What we can see is the launch diffuser (which may well change before Bahrain) is a long, narrow affair.  Merged into the tail of the cokebottle shape and featuring staggered exits to maximise the use of bodywork heights allowed at the rear of the car.