Aerofoils – What Speed Increase do;Aerofoils Give to an F1 Car?
This assignment introduces concepts such as centripetal force, angular acceleration, coefficient of
friction, unit conversion, moments of forces, scaling and dimensioning, and problem solving. The
objective of this work will be to learn how to analyse and present information in a meaningful way.
The problem to be solved is “What speed improvement do aerofoils give to an F1 car”. You are
asked to calculate the maximum speed with and also without aerofoils. To help solve this task, you
will use ‘Foilsim’ software.
The car will be travelling around a bend of fixed radius: (50m / 100m / 200m / 500m)
Car mass is 620kg.
Centre of gravity is 2/3 rds of the way back horizontally between the wheels, and 1/3 rd of
the height vertically up from the ground.
Maximum width of car = 1.8 m (as defined by F1 regulations)
Maximum height = 0.95 m
Coefficient of friction between the tyres and the road:
Intermediate tyres in the dry: 0.7
Intermediate tyres in the wet: 0.4
Slicks in the dry: 0.9
Slicks in the wet: 0.1
1. Calculate the maximum speed of the car around the four bend radii without the aerofoils, for
each of the four tyre conditions.
Before attempting the next questions, please watch the set of tutorial videos, by following
the links given in the appendix.
Use Foilsim (undergraduate edition) to design two aerofoils which fit the car (they must use
the span and chord values determined by you – see below).
To determine the chord and span of each aerofoil, perform a Google image search to find a
top view of an F1 car, and using the maximum width (approx. 1.8 m) as a scaling reference,
measure the dimensions for your car. Then copy the image into a programme such as MS
Paint and measure it to obtain the positions of the wheels, wings and overall length. You will
use these measurements as the basis of your calculations.
2. Calculate the new maximum speed for each bend radius, for each of the four tyre conditions.
3. Plot a set of graphs which concisely summarise all your findings (with / without aerofoils, bend
radius, tyre friction coefficient).
4. When the car is without aerofoils, calculate the forces for one particular corner radius / tyre
combination and determine whether the front or the back tyres slip first.
Introduction to Assignment Two
Please provide a brief introduction to the assignment topic.
Please provide your answers here to the questions posed in the Tasks section.
Please provide a brief conclusion to the questions discussed as part of this assignment..
Please visit the following websites to aid your learning of aerofoil aerodynamics applied to F1 cars:
The following diagrams are used in the tutorial videos and may help:
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