Simplified wing design among changes for 2019 F1 season

Simplified wing design among changes for 2019 F1 season

Front wing. Picture credit: Force India/ Racing Point F1

A fresh season of the Formula One World Championship is all set to begin next month. As is the norm, technical regulations are changed for the new season, perhaps to increase safety or increasing grip. It could also be done to stop teams gaming the rules to build race-winning machines.

The front and rear wings and the bargeboard have undergone design changes that mean more chances of overtaking. The idea of this is to make races more exciting.

For the uninitiated, think of the front and rear wings as car bumpers. Street car bumpers are smooth and have curved lines. In an F1 car, the ‘bumpers’ are referred to as wings. These wings have a lot of odd-shaped winglets jutting out in all directions. These help in smoothening the airflow around the car. Smoother airflow means the car is able to cut through the air faster and this in turn means that the car can go faster. The other role of these wings is to balance air pressure in all parts of the car and ensure that it is planted to the ground. This is called aerodynamic grip.

Bargeboards are pieces of longitudinal bodywork located just behind the wheels. They too have slots or winglets (like front and rear wings) to smoothen out airflow.

New front wing
The first change, and a crucial one at that, is a wider and higher front wing. The design has been made simpler with less winglets. The 2019 wing will be 200mm wider, 20mm higher and will jut out 25mm more at the front of the car. Simpler endplates of the front wing will mean that the entire wing will be useful to generate downforce. This change has been made to increase overtaking possibilities.

The 2019 cars will see smaller bargeboards that are also repositioned. Bargeboards are fitted on the sides of the car and aid in smoothening air flow around the sides of the car. The air that comes after hitting the tyres or front wing is not smooth. This causes unnecessary air drag.

The bargeboard height has been reduced by 150mm and moved forward by 100mm.

The idea of changing the size of these is to make the cars less aerodynamically disruptive. This ultimately helps in the driver getting closer to the car in front due to better flow.

New rear wing
The new rear wing, just like the front, will be higher, wider and simpler. The height is up 20mm and the width has been increased by 100mm. This has again been done to increase chances of more exciting races by giving the cars behind a bigger slipstream.

Slipstream is a pocket of air in front of the trailing car that has less drag because the car in front has already cut through the air. This means that the leading car produces a sort of channel that has less air resistance.

New brake ducts
A simplified design has been introduced for 2019. This has been done to reduce the possibility of teams exploiting brake ducts for aerodynamic benefits. This means that there is downforce reduction, making it easier for the trailing car to get closer to the car in front.

Tyre colours

Picture credit: Force India/ Racing Point F1

The 2018 season had the hypersoft (pink), ultrasoft (purple), supersoft (red), soft (yellow), medium (white), hard (blue) and superhard (orange) dry weather tyre range.

Pirelli, the official tyre supplier, will now supply only three colours in 2019. The hypersoft, ultrasoft and supersoft are gone and each race will have only a white-marked hard tyre, a yellow-marked medium and a red-marked soft. The compound will still vary with C1 being the hardest and C5 the softest.

This has been done to make things simpler for fans.

Biometric gloves
This has been done to improve safety and aid in medical rescue. Developed by the International Automobile Federation (FIA)’s Safety Department, these gloves have sensors stitched on. These sensors monitor the driver’s pulse rate and blood oxygen levels. This data is transmitted to the track medical team before, during and after a crash.

Rear wing endplate lights
In addition to the single red light, two more LED lights have been added on the endplates of the rear wing. This is to improve visibility in poor weather and must be on at all times while using intermediate (for damp conditions) or wet (heavy rain) tyres.

Higher fuel allowance
Each car has can now use 110 Kg of fuel per race, up 5 Kg from the previous limit.

This has been done so that drivers can use the engine at full power at all times and not worry about conserving fuel. This, in turn, will help them push harder, particularly towards the end of the race.

Stronger helmets

Force India/ Racing Point F1

The 2019 crash helmets are much safer with higher standards coming into force. The front part of the visor has been reduced by 10mm to reduce injury from flying debris. The helmet shell will be made of more advanced composite materials.

Car and driver weight
From now on, the driver and car weights will be considered separately.

This has been done so that heavier drivers are not at a disadvantage. The minimum weight of the car, sans fuel, has been increased from 733 to 740 Kg. Of that, at least 80 Kg must be of the driver, his seat and driving equipment.

Drivers who are below this 80 Kg threshold can add ballast. However, this ballast must be placed in the cockpit area and not in other parts of the car. This has been done to prevent the weight being used for better balance.

Self-scrutineering: There will be no car scrutiny at the start of every weekend. Competitors must sign a declaration that the cars are following technical regulations. The stewards can make random checks.

Chequered light panel: Apart from the traditional chequered flag, the official end of the race will be a chequered light panel at the finish line.

Mirror modifications: Minor changes to the mirror regulations have been made due to a larger rear wing coming into effect.

Restart overtaking: Overtaking on race restarts is not allowed till the driver has crossed the finishing line. Till now, the cars were allowed overtaking once the safety car left the track.

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