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Saturday, May 29, 2010

F1 SRW Switchable Rear Wing

In brief: The SRW system.
The usual design rules are that the rear wing is built with one purpose and sole job to create down-force.

Like the F-Duct System, the SRW (Switchable Rear Wing); is a rear wing 'and' conduit system, that is designed to disrupt the air-flow to the rear wing at the drivers discretion and reduce down-force.

In the Switchable Rear Wing, some of the air-flow to the wing is manually controlled by the driver, changing how the rear wing reacts at different speeds.

The FIA's rules say that an F1 car cannot have any mechanically operated movable parts, that change the aerodynamics of the car during the race.

A 'loop-hole' in those rules, is that, if a driver were to just block an air-vent with a part of his body. That this action does not count as a mechanical movable part of the vehicle.

In Detail: The Switchable Rear Wing System.
Various manually controlled systems have been designed by competing teams, who want to utilise this 'loop-hole' in the FIA's regulations.

The various systems currently have the driver using his palm or back of his hand, or the left knee, to channel air further past the cockpit and deliver it to the rear wing to disrupt the air-flow and thus the down-force!

The Objective of the SRW.
The SRW is designed to allow the car to go faster down the straights. The car does have the power to go faster, but the increased drag caused by the rear wing, (becoming even more effective as the car goes faster), reduces the final top speed of the car. However, disrupting the air flow over the rear wing with the SRW system, reduces the down force and thus the drag, and therefore increases the final top speed of the car.

F-Duct Variations.
Lets consider the technologies: Maclaren uses the RW80 system, that is operated by the drivers left knee. A potentially more hazardous variation, is the Ferrari's hand operated version, where a vent hole is covered by the palm or back of the drivers hand.

The Force India Team are using their own version, called the SRW (Switchable Rear Wing) System, where it is believed the control is by the left hand. Obviously, the teams are very protective of their technologies and don't like to give too much detail on the exact operation or show detailed photographs of the systems, so we can only speculate at this time.

All the systems use the same principle of disrupting the air-flow over the rear wing and thus lowering the down-force.

F1 cars have more than enough down-force when travelling in a straight line, and in-fact, this down-force increases, the faster the formula one car goes! This down-force increases the grip of the tyres on the track surface, but this extra grip and the increased air pressure, causes more drag and slows the car down.

The Exhaust Diffuser System.
There is one other system that disrupts air flow, that is only being utilised by the Red Bull team. It uses exhaust pressure to exit around the rear wheels, pushing natural air-flow more easily past the rear wheels.

There is a lot of turbulence and drag around the rear wheels, and any improvement and reduction of the drag, must improve the cars handling and top speed.

Up to writing this article, the Red Bull team have taken pole position at every one of the seven races. Perhaps that is due to their Exhaust Diffuser Air-Flow System. This fan thinks so!

More on this article to follow.


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AndyGold. © 2010 AndyGold.

This is a Pole Position Post!
TAGS: SRW-Switchable_Rear_Wing,F-Duct_System,

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