Technical analysis - Bahrain



In this crucial area of the front end, the high-pressure air rolls up to the low-pressure region and creates a whirlwind, just like the sort of whirlpool you can see in a sink. Aerodynamicists have actually created this vortex in order to channel the airflow as they see fit.

From the wing, the whirlwind will develop and be channelled around the car thanks to aero devices such as the turning vanes, the fins, and finally the bargeboards just ahead of the sidepods. As the vortex goes around the sidepods, it decreases in intensity.

The vortex also serves as a 'wall' between the edge of the floor and the front wheel. The dirty wake coming off the rotating wheel affects the efficiency of the car’s underfloor, which in turn hurts overall downforce. By sealing the edges, teams can run their cars with a higher rake angle since the air flowing underneath the car is contained by the vortex protection just mentioned.

On the outboard section of the front wing, one can see the arches that have become a trademark feature on modern F1 cars. Introduced by Mercedes in 2014, the design pushes the air on the outside edges of the front wheels, which helps reduce drag (see pink arrows). One shall also notice the small slit pierced in one of the vertical winglets (see green arrows).