Those who know aerodynamics say that the vortex generators that have appeared under the floors of the new ground effect cars are destined to disappear when Formula 1 cars find the efficiency that engineers seek in the wind tunnel, a sign that we are only at the first stage of understanding a regulation that has brought the Venturi effect back into the spotlight.
For this reason it is interesting to see what path the two dominant teams have followed at the start of 2022: Red Bull and Ferrari started with completely different concepts, and little by little we discover that there are convergences that push engineers to develop ideas that make the single-seaters are increasingly similar.
Red Bull RB18 floor comparison, British GP
When the RB18 added a cross-blown front of the rear wheels similar to that of the F1-75, it caused some stir that Red Bull copied Ferrari , not getting much out of a solution that was later scrapped, but on closer examination of the car from Maranello we can say that the opposite effect is much more pronounced, that is to say, that it was the aerodynamicists of the Scuderia who took ideas that had appeared in the Milton Keynes single-seater.
It is a situation that has allowed Ferrari to evolve the F1-75 throughout the season, maintaining a level of competitiveness that, unfortunately, was only seen in the Hungarian GP, where the Italians hoped to close the gap after the problems by Max Verstappen on Saturday.
In Giorgio Piola ‘s drawing we can analyze below, highlighting the latest developments that have been discovered in the wind tunnel in search of greater aerodynamic efficiency.
According to the data collected, Ferrari has a slightly more powerful power unit than Red Bull , although less reliable, as shown by repeated breakdowns.
The lower rear wing that Charles Leclerc debuted in Canada has improved the passage of air, but it is really the development of the lower part of the car that has achieved the most relevant results.
Lower floor of the Ferrari F1-75
The entrance of the Venturi ducts has been redesigned and in the most external part (1) the flow of exterior that is channeled in front of the rear wheel has been significantly reduced, increasing the superior air flow, which is why in Paul Ricard a flat “roof” could be seen and no longer oblique as before, going in the direction that Red Bull had already taken.
The flow diverter (2) has also grown in size over time: that vertical bulkhead, in fact, makes it possible to more clearly divide the dirty air generated by the front wheels. This evolution also incorporates ideas that seem to have come from the mind of Adrian Newey .
Ferrari F1-75 Floor Comparison
Piola is not unaware that Ferrari has also modified the design of the F1-75 ‘s keel, which now has a vortex generator in one of the most delicate points of the car. The chief designer acknowledges that the underside of the car is perhaps the most subject to change, but it’s hard to spot the changes unless a crane lifts the cars up, revealing their… nakedness.
Red Bull Racing RB18 flooring
The RB18 shows some hump in the keel both at the front of the bottom (1) and (2) and at the rear (3) and retains the… skid (4) that the Scuderia had already adopted in free practice of the Australian GP.
Red Bull ‘s unpopular skid has found a fixed application not only in the F1-75 , but also in many other single-seaters, proving that it is a solution that is giving excellent results.
The season, after the summer break, will resume with the Belgian GP and the Italian GP , which will be interspersed with Zandvoort in between: fast circuits arrive, so we will see the cars in their most unloaded aerodynamic configurations and riding one of the latest development packs of the season. So it will be interesting to find out what paths the convergence of solutions will follow on the way to greater competitiveness.