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Batman - A Delta Wing (Part 2)

by

Antonio Eiras

The wide use of such wings on Formula 1 cars of a few years ago, when the technical regulation allowed the use of free space on the side pods, ahead of the rear wheels, is very telling of its effectiveness in achieving aerodynamic load.

 

But its widespread use did not prevent that every single setter presented a different wing, in a diversity that was derived from the fact that a technical device streamlined to suit a vehicle does not necessarily work well when applied in another vehicle.

 

Thus, comparing the three best cars of 2005 Formula 1 season, we found that while Renault (drawing 3) adopted, from the European season, a double delta wing, McLaren (drawing 6) and Ferrari (drawing 9) remained faithful to the single delta wing, with the Italian team, from mid-season, to add a small delta wing, placed at the beginning of the side pods, at the same height as the main delta wing.

 

In Renault that used two delta wings, the main upper and the lower secondary, their technicians managed it in order to get an additional downforce at the expense of a slight increase of drag.

 

In circuits where they needed bigger aerodynamic loads, the French team chose to use an upper wing with side fins, as we can see in drawing 3, which allowed generating some additional loads at the back of the wing, where it worked as a traditional wing, with separated upper and lower faces airflows.

 

When used in the delta wings "pure" configuration, as seen in rear and bottom view in drawing 5, the outer edges of the wings were in additional angle, inclined upwards, in order to increase the angle of attack of this edge of wings and to induce the formation of a strong vortex along it.

 

In McLaren, as can be seen in drawings 7 and 8 (in back and bottom view), the technical staff chose to keep the simplest wing, being perhaps the most effective of the three solutions presented here, which worked almost exclusively as delta wing.

 

In the rear third of the outer edge, also inclined upwards, in further angulations, a side fin extended only to the upper face, allowing the vortex created in the bottom side to continue to be powered by additional airflow but preventing that the airflow on the upper surface of the wing to pass to the bottom face, gaining here some additional aerodynamic loads.

 

In Ferrari (drawings 9 and 10), they used throughout all the season a mixed wing, where the front two-thirds functioned as a delta wing and the rear third as traditional wing, by the introduction of side fins. Although the vortex created in the front part of the wing is maintained on the back thereof, the use of side fins made the airflow a two-dimensional one, separating the upper and bottom wing airflows.


From the middle of the season, the Italians single setters began to use a small fins placed at the front end of the side pods, as can be seen in the same figures. These wings operated together with the main delta wing as a strake, that is, its original function was to create a vortex that reaches the edge of attack of the main delta wing and would lead to be generated a stronger vortex than the one that would be created from a airflow which had not been disturbed in its path along the lateral surface of the side pod.


With the additional wing, the aerodynamic loads produced by the main wing will be greater, thus improving its effectiveness, similar to the effect achieved in fighter aircraft, by the strakes on the main delta wing.

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