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.

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
Load comments
Russian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race Prime

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021