With Formula 1 teams unveiling their new cars for 2013 and preseason testing at Jerez starting shortly, let us look over the technical regulations imposed for 2013 and how engineers have implemented them in their new car designs.
The first noticeable trait with this generation of cars is the nose. Some refer to it as duck-billed, but the nose is an ever-evolving piece of engineering loopholes. Thanks to the FIA’s rules adjustments forcing the elimination of the Double Drag Reduction System (DDRS) development, and safety regulations being implemented for crash situations, the nose is now the most important area to seasonal development of the 2013 car.
The stepped nose can now be hidden by a modesty panel, which cannot be raised 625 millimeters above the tub. This streamlines the nose and should have a positive aerodynamic effect. The reason the stepped nose cannot be higher is purely a safety reason. The FIA mandated teams keep the nose low so that in the event of a T-bone collision the nose will shatter and all debris will collapse downward, not into the hit drivers’ cockpit.
The other main change is the banning of Double DRS, which utilized ducting around the rear of the car to push all displaced air for an additional aerodynamic effect. With this new rule in place, also gone is the F-Duct system which used displaced air from the center of the car to stall the front wing.
Instead teams will need to get crafty, and Lotus is leading the forefront. On their car they displayed the Passive Drag Reduction System (PDRS) which is not linked to the traditional DRS system, or triggered by ducting such as the now-banned F-Duct system. Instead it is triggered only by airspeed, meaning the Lotus should have additional downforce on high speed corners and more top end speed down the straights.
Formula 1 continues to be on the forefront of all racing technology, and the aerodynamic battles of this era of cars continue to excite fans on and off the track alike. It seems that more changes will be coming in 2014 especially, but for this season the focus continues to be on grip, and as teams search for every last bit of it, the envelope will continue to be pushed in 2013.