Aerodynamical grip


Aerodynamical grip

Grip between tires and track pavement provided entirely by aerodynamical forces produced by wings, rear diffuser and practically all F1 bodywork, called Downforce. Higher the speed of the car, bigger the aerodynamical grip. In Formula 1, real aerodynamical grip start to develop around and above 70-80 Kmh, but around 120-130 aerodynamically produced downforce is about equal as Formula 1 car weight. Aerodynamical grip and mechanical grip are very important, and good F1 car should have good amount of both. If you miss mechanical grip you are slow and car is undrivable in slow corners and tracks like Monaco or Hungaroring. If you miss aerodynamical grip, your car will be unstable and undrivable on fast parts of the track.


The following text is courtesy of:
Willem Toet, Head of Aerodynamics,
Sauber F1 Team
, Sauber Motorsport AG

(...) Removing downforce increases lap time by more than 20 seconds.  Reducing the drag of the car to just 25% of its real value, gives much less than 5 seconds of lap time gain, and just 2 seconds if you have no downforce.  Why does the gain vary due to downforce level?  If you are at the cornering limit because you have no downforce, a drag reduction is not going to help much until you get to a straight and only then once you have enough grip to use all that power.  Alternatively, if you can fly around the corner because you have grip, your average speed is higher and you will have to ‘fight’ drag more, using power – so a drag reduction will help you more in those circumstances.  In low-speed corners little power is needed to maintain speed, so reducing the drag has almost no effect.  In high-speed corners the influence of drag can become quite significant.  However, it makes 10% of the difference you make with downforce and that is with lower drag than can actually be achieved.
In extreme cases, e.g. when all cars are easy flat though a given (very high-speed corner), then the situation changes and, practically speaking, only drag will be important.  Teams take this into consideration when selecting the downforce level for a given race track as the ideal compromise changes.

The designs of the race tracks in many ways drive the compromise teams use for selecting the drag level of the car used for their development work.

Calculated speed variables depending on corner speed:

  Corner Type Speed without downforce Speed with downforce Speed increase because of downforce Speed increase possible in corners because of drag reduction to 25% of normal value
A High speed 139.5 kph 235.5 kph 69% 7.0%
B Medium speed 101.4 kph 127.6 kph 25% 0.34%
C Low speed 76.6 kph 86.2 kph 12% 0.2%


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Some useful links:

- f1technical.net, a great site with a lot of technical information’s and explanations. Site is updated daily with news from F1 word.

 - autosport.com, This site is a legend. A bible for racing lovers. News from all around the word. Unfortunately, to get access to all news, interviews and to open the site completely you should be subscribed to Autosport magazine. Anyway, great read.

James Allen on F1
- JA.F1 site (or blog) ovned by ITV Sport’s lead commentator on Formula 1 James Allen

Joe Saward blog
- joesaward is the Joe Saward official blog about Formula 1 world. Joe is an journalist, who write primarily about politics in and around motorsport, specifically on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship

Vital F1
 - vitalf1.com/ is another great site for Motor Sports fan’s like me. Site is relatively new, but great fun, with great discussion forum, Formula 1 news and forum.

 GP update
- f1.gpupdate.net, Site with fresh news from Formula 1

Planet F1
 - planetf1, another site with many different articles, news and statistics. Biased toward British teams, but anyway good read.

Gurney flap
 - gurneyflap.com, Great history site. You can learn a lot from this site. Pictures, cars and many many more. Great.

4ormula1 is a database of Formula 1 history and statistics of drivers, teams, grand prix, and all results since 1950.

Missed Apex Podcast
Enjoy range of Podcasts and Articles on Motorsport. Every week a Formula one chat on Missed Apex F1 Podcast with F1 journalist Joe Saward and tech Analyst Matthew Somerfield as guests. Also the exciting all electric racing series formula E on eRadio Show and Bike Show Lean Angle Podcast.

Racecar engineering
-Racecar Engineering, an online magazine with a lot to learn from, a lot of technical information’s and explanations

 - fia.com, La Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, representing the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users. Head organisation and ruler in auto sport.

 - wikipedia.org, I don’t believe that I have to tell you anything about this site. It’s not about Formula 1 technology, but you can learn a lot about that too.

Sutton Images

grandprix photo

 - carbibles.com, a great site for normal car users. Here you can find explanations of almost everything about your car and how it works. Technical reviews and explanations of some in-car gadgets.

Dare To Be Different
- Daretobedifferent.org Susie Wolff and UK governing body of UK motorsport have joined forces to launch Dare To Be Different, a high-profile new initiative which is about increasing female participation, not just on the track but in all aspects of the sport.

Giorgio Piola web site