European Automotive CFD Conference
26 June 2008
In Front of the Grid - CFD at SAUBER PETRONAS F1
Leading the Aerodynamic Development
Bienz C., Larsson T., Sato T., Ullbrand B.
SAUBER PETRONAS Engineering AG,
At SAUBER PETRONAS Engineering AG, CFD is now playing a vital role in the aerodynamic
development of the Formula One racing car. CFD has successfully been integrated into the aero
design process and has become an integral part alongside wind tunnel measurements and track
Detailed validation work, comparing CFD simulations with experimental results and track data, has
led to high confidence in the adopted CFD procedures. In many areas, CFD is nowadays leading
the aero development.
This presentation will highlight several examples where CFD led analysis and design, using the
Fluent CFD software suite, translated into new components leading to improved car performance
on the race circuit. This includes wing development, detailed full car simulations, and brake cooling
analysis. Moreover, new insights regarding off-surface flows and component interactions gained
through CFD will be discussed.
Keywords: aerodynamics, Formula 1 racing, CFD validation, wing modelling, CATIA, brake cooling
The Formula One World Championship is the
premier automotive racing series where open
wheel motorcars, optimised for sprints of approximately 300 to 400 km, are raced against each
other on closed road circuits. The Fédération Internationale de
(FIA) created the series
in 1950 as a
championship. Since 1958, the series has comprised the Formula One
Championship and the Formula One
Championship being simultaneously competed
for at several international venues.
Formula One race cars have evolved throughout their history, from a fairly simple tubular-shaped
car into a highly sophisticated
machinery with Formula One standing as the
today. There have been continuous improvements in every element of the car, from
engines to materials used. The most apparent transformation is the body shape, which is primarily
governed by the increasing involvement of aerodynamic considerations associated with the
development of a Formula One car. Aerodynamics has nowadays become the dictating factor in the
development of a successful car, thus participating constructors have made enormous investments
in this area of development, highlighted by the construction of their own dedicated wind tunnels
and, in recent years, increased computational resources for CFD analysis.
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