Air flow is an important part of the speed element, the more ammount of drag the body shape lets appear, the more they get slowed down. Car designers have long tried to make cars more streamlined, but in the beginning purely did it by eye, and often failed. Later they started using wind tunnels and improved, turning aerodynamics into Science! In recent years they realised that aerodynamics wern't the only key point: they also needed downforce to keep the wheels pushed firmly down on the ground.

Designers of cars use computer programs that can simulate moving air. This allows the cars shape to be tested and modelled before the car is even built. The real car is tested in a large wind tunnel where a jet of air and smoke, or white gas is blown over the car to reveal the air flow.

Formula 1

Because a Formula 1 car moves fast enough to take off like a plane, the greatest challenge it faces is keeping the wheels firmly on the ground. It does this by channelling air down in ways that push the car down, creating downforce.

Downforce is essential to keep an F1 car under control. Unless the wheels are pressed firmly on the floor, the car lacks control and is in risk of skidding. It's impossible to generate downforce unless the driver is at speed, so to stay in control, the driver must go as fast as possible round every bend.

25% of downforce is generated from the front wing.

35% od downforce is generated from the rear wing.

40% of downforce is generated from under the car.

At top speed, an F1 car has enough downforce to drive upside down in a tunnel!

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