(Motorsport-Total.com) – Formula 1’s switch to a car that draws much of its aerodynamic performance from the bottom of the chassis means that teams have focused primarily on this area in the first half of the 2022 season.
With each individual race, the teams collect more data and have a better understanding of how to maximize their performance while combating the negative effects of porpoises.
The phenomenon that surprised most of the teams was the focus of attention, as reducing the capacity of the porpoises would lead to more power. All teams suffered from porpoise hunting to a greater or lesser extent due to a number of factors that led to this phenomenon.
A simple way to mitigate the problem is to raise the vehicle’s ride height. This will not only affect the aerodynamic performance, but also significantly limit the available setup options.
For many teams, this means they need to look for a more substantive approach. Some teams need to be more realistic about how long it will take to find a suitable solution.
Meanwhile, the development battle continues, and the teams are busy working on new ground designs – not only to improve aerodynamic performance, but also to save weight.
The latter is especially important when you consider that a large part of the field was not able to reach the minimum weight, even if it was raised to 698kg just before the season.
Given the increased pressures the lower body is now under, the teams had to plan some extra leeway. While some of this can be addressed with a better understanding of the real-world stresses operating on different areas of the ground, a late change in regulations to include a metal strut in front of the rear tire was also significant.
This not only reduces the porpoise, but the stiffness this achieves is offset by the weight reduction plans.
Correction method brings benefits
Given the time it takes to manufacture the undercarriage, which is by far the car’s largest component, the teams have opted for a patch method, allowing them to swap parts of the undercarriage instead of an entirely new undercarriage each time they produce.
While this adds a little more weight, it also makes them more flexible to develop and lowers costs, which is a very important factor when considering the impact of the budget cap on teams this season.
One of the most obvious areas of development is the lower rim, where teams can choose to not only use the “wing rim” but also the geometry of the lower chassis and where it breaks in front of the rear tire.
The McLaren team caused quite a stir in pre-season testing when their interpretation of the Edge Wing was first seen. However, any infraction was quickly dismissed, and several teams – including Ferrari – copied the design after their CFD analysis and wind tunnel design looked promising.
Mercedes may not have gone the McLaren route, but the lower section received a distinctive spoiler as part of the latest revision. More in a sickle shape, the am W13 allowed the team to change the geometry of the lower part of the wing.
Gurney-like flaps have been added to the lower body rim, just in front of the rim edge, and the bulge area in front of the rear tire has also been improved.
casual in focus
Another area where teams monitor the progress of their competitors’ designs is in the bar. Aston Martin pioneered a solution that found its way into many other cars. Ferrari was the fastest in terms of reaction and had its own version of the so-called ‘Bib Wing’ ready to race F1-75 just a week after introducing the AMR22.
This was quickly followed by Red Bull, with the Alpine A522 and Mercedes W13 also now sporty versions of the wing, along with crossbar modifications to take advantage of the new flow conditions.
Red Bull has gone its own way in many ways: the RB18 has one of the most complex undercarriage designs on the grid. Not surprisingly, some of these design cues are now making their way into the competition. So let’s take a closer look at what Red Bull does.
The leveling of the contour on the underside of the RB18 is completely different from what you would see otherwise. While most teams seem to have a nice curve in the center section shaped like a boat, Red Bull has a surprising twist which is where the outward-tilting struts roughly meet the edge of the lower body.
To mitigate this sudden transition in the side wall of the tunnel  There are also a number of indents. The tunnel itself appears to have a much more curved roof than many other competitive solutions.
While this means not using the maximum allowable surface area allowed by regulations, it is likely to reduce flow instability over a wider range of ride heights.
Red Bull has also used a stepped keel design where the lower body tapers into the distributor area at the rear of the car a feature that Ferrari has also incorporated into its latest design and which we’ve also seen on McLaren.
This area is not a one-size-fits-all, as each team has its own interpretation. For example, the undercarriage of Red Bull and McLaren consists of three steps, and only one Ferrari.
Red Bull with a strange runner
Another interesting Red Bull design feature that’s been in the headlines lately is the glide. At first it was questionable how such a thing could be possible, but now it is clear that this is Red Bull’s interpretation of the edge wing, which is connected not to the top but to the lower body.
The sled consists of a rod suspended from the underside of the floor by the six permitted brackets. The brackets are metal, as are the brace, which the team uses with caution as they can touch the track surface if the underbody is bent toward the road.
Although not its primary function, the choice of materials may also result in the slip providing some stiffness to the lower body, although this may not be necessary as Red Bull probably has the most extensive internal strengthening strategy in the field (see below ).
The blade’s primary function is aerodynamic, with a buttress at this point supporting, though not in the spirit of wing edge rules, the various flow structures around it.
This helps not only to improve the performance of the underpass, but also reduces the penetration of tire deformation into the distributor area by changing the path of the air flow and the already moving vortices.
On return, the team made an interesting change to the lower body as part of the update package launched in Spain: a large teardrop-shaped bubble is now included in the lower part next to the side profile. It appears to open a path for airflow, spreading from the inside of the lateral to the channel adjacent to it (red arrows).
The air flowing through this channel appears to exit a crater-shaped outlet far from the stream (top right of the image), with the topography of the plate perfectly comprising it for both outflow and outflow conditions.
The bladder also appears to provide adequate flow adjustment as the airflow is also directed around the bottom of the side legs (smaller and lower opening).
Further underside changes were made to Azerbaijan as the team improved not only the lower strut and lower rim transition (blue arrows, old inset), but also the height and geometry of the lower rising rim.
Previously, the leading edge would drop downward to meet the structure below the equator, with the result that the outer part of the lower part was higher than the inner end (red arrow, old inner figure).
The leading edge in this area has been raised and is now located on the side of the hull, which results in a different flow behavior not only for the bottom of the hull, but also for the airflow that flows through the bottom of the hull side.
Red Bull has also finally found use of the outdoor floor strut that the FIA introduced before the season to help teams mitigate the effects of porpoise hunting.
The short strut required minor modification to the underside of the chassis to accommodate its mooring, and it’s much shorter than many of its competitors, traversing the lower side panel alongside rather than running full width on the hood.
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