Formula 1 Engine Air Intake - Airbox


Engine air intake Ferrari Engine air intake Renault
Engine Air Intake - Airbox on Ferrari and Renault Formula 1 cars
1 - expansion chamber
2 - engine inlet manifold


Lotus 72, is one of the most iconic Formula One cars of all time and its success and longevity in the sport are testament to its brilliant design. Among the most revolutionary cars to come out of Hethel's factory gates, some of the concepts behind the Colin Chapman- and Maurice Philippe-designed car were at least two years ahead of their time in 1970. Its side-mounted radiators and overhead airbox provided styling cues and engineering solutions that are still in use on modern F1 cars and its in-board brakes were just one example of Lotus's drive to reduce unsprung weight. After some initial teething problems it proved to be sensationally quick, and in the hands of some of the era's best drivers it won races in four of the six years it competed.
Matra introduced the trend to use very high airboxes. 1976 new ‘low airbox’ regulations introduced by the FIA and defined maximum airbox height at 85cm above the lowest sprung part of the car, but next year airbox height was redefined at 95cm above the ground.

Engine and cooling air intake
The Renault RS16's airbox is one of the largest in the 2016 field but, it is not the first time we have seen teams use this area and the roll hoop in different ways to achieve both structural and aerodynamic goals. While structural integrity is clearly paramount, as the roll hoop provides the driver with protection in the case of an accident, it is the aerodynamic advantage that can be delivered that is of the utmost importance. The new roll-hoop rules, allied to some experimenting at the time with F-ducts, led to teams exploring other areas before the switch to the hybrid V6 turbocharged power units in 2014 brought this area of the car sharply back into focus. The increased need to supply air to not only the turbo's compressor but also a vast array of radiators and air-to-air coolers meant it was important again.
The tri-inlet compartmentalizes the airflow with the central inlet supplying airflow to the turbo's compressor, whist the two smaller inlets fed various ERS coolers, a gearbox oil cooler and air to cool ancillary coolers.

The engine air intake on Formula 1 car is positioned behind and above the driver's head to capture high-pressure, relatively undisturbed air. Inside the air intake is an expansion chamber (diffuser) that slows the air down and thus increases its pressure ready for its passage into the engine inlet manifold. The air intake is positioned away from sources of heat, such as the track and radiators, to minimize the air temperature. The intake faces the direction of travel to take advantage of a small ram effect the car induces as it moves forward through the air. But contrary to popular belief though, air is not pushed into this inlet, but the engine is sucking air in, reducing the drag penalty a normal cooling inlet would generate.


To know more about dynamics of air intake, check airbox article.


A couple of weeks ago I find an excellent article on Gordon McCabe blog explaining one phenomenon regarding Formula 1 airbox and Airbox air spillage. Link on this article you can find here. Picture is my small add.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Airbox spillage and fluidics

Formula 1 Airbox air spilage
Just to make it clear for as, normal people. Under full throttle (lover part of the image), all air approaching airbox is sucked inside, trough engine and out trough exhaust. Same happened with hot or cold blowing. Engine pumps all air in. So, no air spillage around airbox.
As the driver comes off throttle or without engine hot or cold blowing (engine pumping effect), airflow is impeded in the airbox entry and so tumbles off the sides of the airbox down the engine cover creating a turbulent airflow toward the rear of the car and most importantly disturbs the airflow around the rear wing.


A couple of weeks ago, the FIA issued a Technical Directive to the Formula One teams, announcing that off-throttle blowing of the exhausts will be severely curtailed in 2012 by engine mapping restrictions.

In combination with stringent requirements on the position and angle of the exhaust exits, this is intended to minimise the exploitation of exhaust flow for aerodynamic purposes. It will, however, have a secondary consequence. As Gary Anderson recently explained, off-throttle exhaust flow also serves to reduce spillage from the airbox:

"In the past when the driver closed the throttle to slow for a corner, the airbox spillage became a lot worse. If the airflow attachment on the sides of the engine cover was not good, the performance of the rear wing would be compromised – not something the driver wants under braking or on corner entry.

"Step forward the blown diffuser. Hot or cold blowing allows the engine to work like an air pump, moving this airflow through (Airbox) and out of the exhausts. This reduces the potential turbulent airflow creating negative performance on the rear wing.

If off-throttle blowing of the exhausts is genuinely to be prohibited next year by means of engine mapping restrictions, this will presumably re-create the problem of airflow spilling out of the airbox when the driver lifts off the throttle on turn-in to a corner.

So here's an idea: Why not introduce a fluidic switch which, under certain circumstances, re-routes the airbox airflow through the chassis to the lower leading edge of the sidepods? This could have the joint benefit of boosting the velocity of the underbody flow, and improving airflow to the rear wing, just at the time when the driver most needs it, when the car is in pitch under braking and turn-in.


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Books to read


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