Explanation of F1 Aero Rakes and Flo-Vis Paint
F1 teams use aero rakes and flo-vis paint during testing to collect data and optimize the aerodynamics of their cars.
F1 Flo-vis paint
‘Flo-vis paint’ is a type of fluorescent paint that is applied to Formula One cars during testing. The paint is a mixture of fluorescent powder and light oil, which is liberally coated on the car. As the car moves at high speeds and goes through a cornering condition, the paint dries up due to the evaporation of the light oil.
This process leaves a visible pattern of flow structures that can be analyzed by the car’s aerodynamicists to identify any flow separation and other problems that might be occurring. The insights gained from analyzing the flo-vis paint pattern can be used to optimize the car’s design and performance.
During F1 Bahrain preseason testing, the RB19 of Red Bull was distinctively coated with fluorescent paint. This kind of paint, referred to as “flo-vis paint”, is commonly applied to numerous F1 cars for testing purposes. Comprised of fluorescent powder and light oil, the paint is utilized to gain insight into a car’s aerodynamics.
According to Rob Smedley, a former engineer for Ferrari and Williams, applying flo-vis paint on a car during testing allows for easy visualization of flow structures. The paint is spread generously on the car and dries as the light oil evaporates when the car moves at high speed and goes through a cornering condition.
The resulting pattern provides information to aerodynamicists about the car’s flow structures and any separation that may occur, which can help identify upstream problems and facilitate improvements.
To prevent rival teams from gaining information about their car’s aerodynamics, teams often cover their cars with screens when they return to the pits after testing with flo-vis paint. This is because the information revealed by the paint can be valuable to competitors, and can provide insight into a team’s design strategy.
F1 aero rakes
During the 2023 Formula One testing in Bahrain, several teams were seen using a unique-looking structure on their cars that resembled scaffolding. The structure, which was mounted above the cars’ cockpits, had two or more vertical poles with connecting horizontal elements.
This scaffolding-like structure is called a “dorsal fin,” or sometimes a “shark fin.” It is a type of aerodynamic device that is designed to improve the car’s performance by manipulating the airflow over the car.
The dorsal fin creates a vortex that helps to keep the air flowing smoothly over the car, reducing turbulence and drag. This results in improved stability and performance, especially during high-speed cornering.
The dorsal fin was first introduced in 2017 when new technical regulations were introduced that allowed teams to design more complex aerodynamic features. While some teams used this device in the past, it was not widely adopted until 2017.
Despite the benefits of the dorsal fin, some teams have opted not to use it because it can be heavy and may interfere with other aerodynamic components on the car. Furthermore, regulations in 2021 have reduced the size of the fin, making it less prominent than in previous years.
During the preseason testing in Bahrain, the Mercedes W14 was one of the Formula One cars that featured an unusual structure resembling scaffolding. These structures are called “aero rakes,” and they are equipped with sensors that measure the airflow off a car’s body.
The purpose of these aero rakes is to collect data that can be used to compare the car’s performance on the track with data from simulators or wind tunnels. By doing so, teams can assess the reliability of their simulator data and make necessary adjustments to optimize the car’s performance.
The aero rakes are usually attached to the rear of the car and are positioned in a way that allows them to collect airflow data from various points around the car. This data can help the teams identify areas where they can improve the car’s aerodynamics and overall performance.
According to Rob Smedley, a former engineer for Ferrari and Williams, the data collected by the aero rakes is analyzed to identify any flow separation areas where the airflow over the car is not optimal.
One of the things that can be determined is the point where the front wing “falls over,” resulting in reduced downforce on the front of the car. This information helps the team identify areas where they can optimize the car’s aerodynamics to improve performance.
However, there may be some more fundamental problems that the aero rakes can highlight, which can’t be solved at the track. In such cases, the data is sent back to the aerodynamics team to deliberate on how to solve the problem and optimize the flow structures. Ultimately, the data collected by the aero rakes plays a crucial role in the ongoing development and improvement of the car’s aerodynamics.
F1 Aero Rakes Flo-Vis Paint F1 Aero Rakes Flo-Vis Paint F1 Aero Rakes Flo-Vis Paint
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