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f1 car cfd

f1 car cfd

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04/14/2013

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EACC 2008
 
European Automotive CFD Conference
 
25
 –
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,
 
Hinwil, Switzerland
 
ABSTRACT
 
 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
 
testing.
 
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 
 
1.
 
INTRODUCTION
 
The Formula One World Championship is the
world’s
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
l’Automobile
(FIA) created the series
 
in 1950 as a
driver’s
championship. Since 1958, the series has comprised the Formula One
Driver’s
 
Championship and the Formula One
Constructor’s
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
‘high
-
tech’
machinery with Formula One standing as the
‘pinnacle
of 
 
motorsports’
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.
 
©
Fluent Inc.
 
- 51 -
 
EACC2008
 
 
2.
 
F1 AERODYNAMICS
 
 A modern F1 race car is capable of reaching speeds of 360 kph, generating steady state cornering
 
forces of 2.5g to 3.0g and straight-line braking forces of 3.5g to 4.0g. Such braking and cornering
 
capabilities require the generation of a large amount of aerodynamic downforce. In order to
 
generate sufficient levels of downforce, the cars are equipped with front and rear wings, and
 
specially contoured bodywork and underbodies, all operating in close proximity to the ground. Due
 
to the strong ground effect and wheels fully exposed to the airflow, the nature of the flow field
 
around a F1 vehicle is highly complex. The presence of large body and tyre wakes, strong vortices
 
and separated flow regions all contribute to create a complicated bluff body aerodynamic flow
 
scenario.
 
SAUBER PETRONAS is currently building its own state-of-the-art wind tunnel to be in full operation
 
by 2004. With an unusually large test section, even full size testing will be feasible. The team has
 
acknowledged that such an investment must also include added CFD capabilities. In fact, since
 
2000, the capacity of the CFD group has steadily increased. This long-term investment and
 
dedicated work has already had significant impact on the aerodynamic development strategy
 
adopted at SAUBER PETRONAS. Through extensive validation, comparing CFD results with wind
 
tunnel measurements and race car data, new procedures for CFD analysis and design have been
 
established. Today, CFD is not only used for verification but actually leading the aerodynamic
 
development in several areas. As an example, initial wing design is now almost exclusively done by
 
the CFD department.
 
3.
 
CFD SIMULATIONS
 
Herein, an overview of different CFD applications is presented. A few comparisons with wind tunnel
 
and track measurements are also included to further illustrate the validity of these CFD simulations.
 
Since most of these data are considered as confidential, scales are omitted from the pictures.
 
The most complete Navier-Stokes simulations to date include heat transfer, compressibility, and
 
multiple rotating reference frames with grid resolutions approaching 100 million cells. Such
 
simulations require massive and dedicated computational resources for analysis as well as for 
 
pre/post processing. All Navier-Stokes analyses at SAUBER PETRONAS are currently done using
 
FLUENT version 6.1 on SGI multi-processor platforms with high-end graphics capabilities.
 
 An efficient CFD process cannot be realized unless a seamless integration with the underlying CAD
 
database can be achieved. At SAUBER PETRONAS, dedicated CATIA CAD models are
 
developed for CFD modelling purposes. This ensures high confidence in the CAD data and the
 
tedious
CAD-clean-up-phase
is virtually non-existent for the CFD engineers. Figure 1 on the next
 
page shows the SAUBER PETRONAS 2003 CATIA CAD model overlaid with computed
 
streamlines.
 
- 52 -
 
EACC2008
 
 
Figure 1: Streamlines coloured by velocity around the 2003 SAUBER PETRONAS C22 CATIA CAD
 
model.
 
Detailed full car simulations can provide a vast amount of information and insights not easily
 
extracted from traditional wind tunnel measurements. Still, these complex models cannot, in a
 
practical manner, be used for analyses of complete aero maps, which can include variations of yaw,
 
roll and steer angles, wing settings as well as different ride height set-ups. However, even a rather 
 
small matrix of full car CFD simulations can give valuable guidance to various development routes
 
and concepts to be further explored in the wind tunnel. It is not likely that these advanced CFD
 
simulations will, in the near future, reduce the amount of hours spent in the wind tunnel. But
 
indisputably, CFD helps to improve wind tunnel testing productivity.
 
Figure 2: SAUBER PETRONAS C21 rendered by surface pressure.
 
Results from CFD full car simulations can also preferably provide initial conditions and boundary
 
conditions to smaller sub-models. This technique can significantly reduce the turn-around times and
 
allow for more design iterations to be done within a given time frame without sacrificing too much
 
- 53 -
 
EACC2008
 

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