Barcelona Tyrrell Briefing on X-Wings

TYRRELL X-WINGS Current media interest in "X-wings", "wing towers", "sidepod-mounted winglets" or "candelabra" on Formula One cars is running at an all-time high. As the team that instigated this aerodynamic...

TYRRELL X-WINGS Current media interest in "X-wings", "wing towers", "sidepod-mounted winglets" or "candelabra" on Formula One cars is running at an all-time high. As the team that instigated this aerodynamic innovation, Tyrrell has prepared some briefing notes on the subject. In addition, there is a quote from Tyrrell Deputy Technical Director, Mike Gascoyne.

* The concept of "X-wings" originated in 1997, when the team struck on the idea as a way of generating additional aerodynamic downforce on a Formula One car * They were first fitted to the 1997 Tyrrell-Ford 025, and appeared from time to time throughout the season. They have also been used on the Tyrrell-Ford 026 in the first four Grands Prix of 1998 * They were originally dubbed "X-wings" by Tyrrell staff because the structures had angled inner support struts extending down to the tops of the sidepods. When viewed from the front or rear of the car, they appeared to form the top half of the letter "X" * They have a particular application on circuits with low levels of surface grip or where high downforce is required * They generate additional levels of downforce, but the actual amount varies according to the design adopted by an individual team and the overall level of aerodynamic efficiency of its car * The additional downforce generated is "clean-air" downforce applied amidships which improves a car’s ability to be able to run closer to another car * In the case of the Tyrrell-Ford 026, each wing and its support is an integral part of the car’s sidepod structure. The unit has been carefully designed, stress analysed and fabricated to deal with the aerodynamic forces acting on it * They would not be used at high-speed circuits such as Hockenheim or Monza since the increased levels of aerodynamic drag generated on the straights would outweigh any benefit they might offer in terms of slightly increased cornering speeds * Aside from Tyrrell, four other teams ran cars in "X-wing" configuration in the San Marino Grand Prix: Sauber, Prost, Jordan and Ferrari MIKE GASCOYNE, TYRRELL DEPUTY TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, ON "X-WINGS" "Tyrrell invented the "X-wing" concept last year as a way of generating some additional downforce from its cars. When the FIA brought in the new "narrow-track" Formula One regulations and we began our aerodynamic work on the 1998 Tyrrell-Ford 026, it quickly became clear that the "X-wings" had a much more significant part to play in the overall aerodynamic package than they had in the previous car. In fact, they generated up to 5 per cent more downforce.

"We haven't been surprised to see other teams copy the design, even though it took them a while. Aside from not quite understanding how the wings worked, I'm sure there was also an element of the "not-invented-here" syndrome that held them back. In terms of safety, we designed our current car to be fitted with the wings from the outset, and we feel our installation addresses a lot of the issues currently being raised by the FIA."

Tyrrell has long enjoyed a reputation for technical innovation and it is certain the team will now be seeking alternative solutions to the issue of downforce generation.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mike Gascoyne
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Jordan