As teams learn about how the airflow works with these new, simplified front wings, minor changes to well-established solutions are starting to occur.
Originally, endplates were fitted to the ends of wings to help contain the high pressure above and low pressure below, by preventing the air spilling underneath and costing downforce. In modern motorsport the endplate does far more than this ‘sealing’ of the wing tip: Additionally, they form vortices to push air around the front of the car.
Therefore, with the current full-width front wings, they create an ‘outwash’ airflow to push the front tyre wake away from the rear of the car. These vortices are formed in three places: The top edge, the footplate and the point where the wings meet the endplates.
Toro Rosso’s new footplate area is revised to make the vortices stronger. As free-stream air rolls under the footplate from the outside, pulled in by the low pressure created under the wing, it’s spun into a vortex by the arched footplate shape. This straightens the airflow under the footplate and prevents the loss of pressure, whilst simultaneously creating a strong airflow to control the wake coming off the front of the tyre.
To help this effect, the usual inner footplate (1) was removed in Barcelona. Normally teams have a footplate (2) running on the inside of the endplate to separate the airflows on each side.
These of sort of treatments are typical of Toro Rosso who lead the trend in many detail areas of aerodynamics. It’s noteworthy that the step on the end of the footplate (3) introduced at the start of the season has now been copied by Ferrari.
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6 comments on “Analysis: Trend-setting Toro Rosso’s latest aero refinement”
16th May 2019, 8:20
I really enjoy these technical articles. However, I’m unable to follow this without a diagram of the airflow.
16th May 2019, 8:47
Good to see Toro Rosso’s aero team working well despite the loss of James Key – who is in charge now?
16th May 2019, 9:49
Is this article meant to have pictures?
16th May 2019, 12:22
Seconded, I too don’t see pictures, on both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, on Windows 10.
Chuck Lantz (@chuckl8)
16th May 2019, 20:38
I agree with those who asked for better diagrams. I’ve worked a bit doing aero on racing applications, and unless the flow process being described is dead-simple, using text to describe it is damned near impossible. More graphics, please!
22nd June 2020, 11:52
The tyre wake cannot be pushed away by anything of the front wing as the tyre wake starts to build behind the front wing…
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