F1 Terminology


It is the shape of a wing as seen in cross-section. An aerofoil moving through a fluid will produce an aerodynamic force. This force is made up of two components. The force perpendicular to the direction of motion is called lift (in Formula 1 it is called downforce or negative lift as the force acts on the opposite direction) and the component parallel to the direction of motion is called drag.


In aerodynamics, the phrase Angle of Attack (AoA or α) refers to the angle between the reference line on an aerofoil and the relative direction of motion through the fluid through which it is moving.


The aspect ratio of a wing is the ratio of its length to its chord. Long and narrow wings have a high aspect ratio while short and stubby wings have a higher aspect ratio. The aspect ratio is defined as the square of b divided by the area of the wing plan form (as seen from above).

AR= b^2/S

A wing with a high aspect ratio will be more efficient as dictated by the formula used to calculate the drag coefficient. Dividing by a larger number will give a lower number for the Coefficient of Drag. 

Cd -> drag Coefficient
Cd0 -> zero-lift drag Coefficient
CL -> Lift Coeffiecient
AR -> Aspect Ratio


Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a solid object. Aerodynamics is a sub-field of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. 
Aerodynamics have had an impact on Formula 1 since 1968 when Colin Chapman introduced an inverted aerofoil wing on his cars to push the wheels on the track for more grip.
Aerodynamics have played a bigger role in the last decade, particularly after the engine freeze when aerodynamics became the major area of development. 

To be continued... 

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