It’s no secret that every second counts. So, it’s no surprise teams spend millions of pounds every year on advanced technology to ensure their cars are designed to be as fast and as efficient as possible.
Throughout testing, two features you’ll frequently spot are aero rakes and hi-vis paint, but what are they, and how do they help teams?
You might wonder, why do teams stick massive pieces of what looks like metal fencing on the back and sides of their cars?
They might not look good or seem like they’d benefit the car being streamlined, but they serve a very important purpose – helping teams work out how the air is flowing into and through the car.
These aero rakes might appear to be one single piece of metal.
However, they are a series of pitot tubes sensors that use pressure to measure the airflow. For such a modern sport, pitot tubes were first invented in the early 1700s.The data is quickly gathered and measured trackside, allowing them to tweak wing angles or other parts to solve issues with disrupted airflow.
However, if any major problems are spotted, the data is sent back to base, where their aerodynamics design team might have to go back to the drawing board.
Each team is free to design their own aero rake, which is why you’ll see so much variation up and down the grid. They’ve continued to get bigger and more unusual every season.
Check out the one on Ferrari’s 2022 car right now. It looks like something off of Game of Thrones!
Surprisingly, this hi-vis paint (also called flow-vis paint) is rather ordinary.
Made from a mixture of fluorescent paint powder and a light oil, usually paraffin, teams use it to give them a clear picture of how their car’s aerodynamics are working in practice.
Sections of the car are coated in the paint before being sent out on track. As the air flows through the bodywork, the engineers can easily tell how well the various parts are directing the air underneath the car.
If you spot areas where the paint hasn’t all come through or has split off into small patches, this suggests that a particular part might not be performing as it should and becomes an area to work on ahead of a session.
Although, we reckon this would be a pretty epic way to design an F1 car livery.
What part of testing would you love to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below.