The aero secrets revealed by F1's dirty cars in Turkey

The Turkish Grand Prix really threw a spanner in the works for Formula 1 drivers and teams as they scrambled to get on top of the freshly laid track surface and weather conditions.

Listen to this article

The challenges certainly were unique, but there were also some unintended consequences from the weekend too as they offered a fascinating glimpse of teams' aero secrets.
For not only did the weather allow us to capture images of some of the vortices, the wet surface gave us clues about how the aerodynamics of the car disturb the airflow and manipulate the tyre wake to improve performance.

On top of this, the track surface was still leeching oil residue. This emulsified when mixed with the rain and, after nearly two hours of running on Sunday, left the cars covered in a grey hue. This behaved much like the flo-viz paint that the teams use to assess aerodynamic performance in testing and free practice sessions – so offered the chance to see a car's aero secrets at work.

Read Also:

Join us as we take a look through a collection of the best images from the weekend that can be used to visualise how the car's aerodynamics move the airflow around to improve performance and cause the turbulence we always hear about.

 

Red Bull

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull is known for its aerodynamic prowess and this picture just goes to show how well the airflow moves around the RB16's sidepods into the coke bottle region.

 

Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 detail

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton climbs out of the cockpit of his Mercedes W11 as a seven-time champion, and we are treated to a view of both how the airflow moves over the surface of the sidepods, and how the design of the halo fairing alters the flow too.

 

Ferrari

Ferrari SF1000 detail

Ferrari SF1000 detail

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

In this image of the Ferrari SF1000, we can see a vortex that has formed beneath the car.

 

McLaren

McLaren MCL35 rear detail

McLaren MCL35 rear detail

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

A vortex forms due to the adverse pressure gradient at the rear wing tip on the McLaren MCL35 and is visible due to the climatic conditions.

 

Renault

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

This shot of the Renault RS20 shows how the Venetian blind style deflectors push the airflow down and around the sidepods.

 

Williams

Williams FW43 sidepods detail

Williams FW43 sidepods detail

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

This shot of the FW43 is aided not only by the oily residue kicked up off the track, but also some dirt that appears to have clung to the car. It shows how the ramped section of their sidepod drives the airflow in to a point on the floor where it will be picked up again by another aerodynamic airflow structure.

 

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

The spray from the wet conditions gives us an idea of how the airflow is pushed away from the car by the various aerodynamic surfaces. This in-turn prevents the airflow being ingested by the floor which would reduce performance.

 

 

Gallery: Turkey's dirty cars

For more images of the airflow secrets revealed by the dirty cars in Turkey, here is an extensive gallery.

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail
1/24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail
Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail
2/24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB16
Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB16
3/24

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detail
Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detail
4/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20
Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20
5/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16
6/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 nose detail
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 nose detail
7/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Racing Point RP20 sidepods detail
Racing Point RP20 sidepods detail
8/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

McLaren MCL35 sidepods detail
McLaren MCL35 sidepods detail
9/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Haas VF-20 side detail
Haas VF-20 side detail
10/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 side detail
Red Bull Racing RB16 side detail
11/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Alfa Romeo Racing C39 rear detail
Alfa Romeo Racing C39 rear detail
12/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W11 detail
Mercedes F1 W11 detail
13/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail
Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail
14/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 detail
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 detail
15/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 tyres lock-up
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 tyres lock-up
16/24

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W11 front wing detail
Mercedes F1 W11 front wing detail
17/24

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Racing Point RP20 detail
Racing Point RP20 detail
18/24

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W11 detail
Mercedes F1 W11 detail
19/24

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 tyres detail
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 tyres detail
20/24

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11
21/24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000
22/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000
23/24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000
24/24

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

shares
comments

Related video

Ricciardo admits Renault now "underdog" in third-place battle
Previous article

Ricciardo admits Renault now "underdog" in third-place battle

Next article

F1 2021 triple-headers "will take toll" on staff - Wolff

F1 2021 triple-headers "will take toll" on staff - Wolff
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022