2019 F1 design changes should mean closer racing

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2019 Formula 1 car design

2019 Formula 1 car design

Teams competing in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship will start revealing their new race cars in the coming months, but a new video from F1 technical expert Giorgio Piola charts some of the changes we can look forward to in the area of aerodynamics.

Following the rules revolution of 2017, F1 cars underwent a dramatic change that saw them wider and faster, though this made it tougher for close racing, primarily due to the effects of the aerodynamic wake, referred to as “dirty air,” generated by a lead car on the following car's front aero. The result is that the following car loses front downforce.

The changes for 2019 look to alleviate the issue as much as possible and should result in closer racing and much more overtaking, the organizers promise. Front wings will become bigger and extend further forward but they will also lose some of the more complex designs, with the end plates becoming flat and the underwing strake count reducing from five to two.

The new front wings will work in combination with new front brake ducts that lose some of the aerodynamic gain, referred to as “blown axle,” in cars from the last season, such as those raced by Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and McLaren. Finally, rear wings will also be taller, wider and simpler, which should result in increased drag and thus increased strength of the DRS.

Subtle changes such as these will have to suffice until another round of radical changes are introduced for the 2021 season. Concept drawings for the 2021 F1 cars were shown in September and followed rule change proposals announced in April. They included louder, less expensive power units and the idea of standardized parts. Both Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have voiced their displeasure over the latter in the past.

The first race of the 2019 season is the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

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