Formula 1 2019 | The Ferrari SF90 and What to Expect this Season!

The 2019 is now fell of to a start as we see launch week coming to and end. All participating teams, Ferrari, Mercedes F1, Red Bull, Alfa Romeo Racing, Toro Rosso, McLaren F1, Renault Sport, Racing Point, Williams and Haas have all revealed their 2019 spec contender with a host of new and old liveries.

If you were sitting under a rock for the past year here are the 2019 regulation changes introduced last season:

  • Larger front wing face with banned vortex generators and flaps to reduce dirty air produced when running behind another car
  • Raised and larger side pods with less aerodynamic manipulation pieces on the floor
  • Larger rear wing span and raised height to increase downforce, a tradeoff to the lost downforce at the front
  • Larger and wider DRS (Drag Reduction System) vent on the rear wing for more significant effect while overtaking
  • Higher fuel load limit. Up 5kg from last year’s 105kg to 110kg

An overall simple and modest regulation change package as we wait for the larger engine mods in 2021. But an interesting set nonetheless.

Teams had various unique and extreme ways of finding loop holes and maximizing the down force on the front wing. Teams by the likes of Mercedes, Racing Point and Red Bull are seen utilizing more aggressive front wing angles to pull as much lost down force back as possible.

The W10, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s 2019 Contender
The RP19, Racing Point F1 Team’s 2019 contender

The front wing is one of the most critical Aerodynamic devices on the cars, not only producing front down force, but also determining the quality of flow to the rear of the car, notably by attempting to minimize the disturbance created by the front tyre. The first 2019 aero change is a proposal to make the wing wider in span, perhaps to the extent that it will be as large as the overall car width, at 2000 mm (current width – 1800 mm). This will increase the down force potential of the cars at the front, which could be balanced by greater rear load, but will increase structural considerations for Engineers in the teams. Most critically, however, the ability to create an outwash effect from the front wing will be diminished, as this is seen to be something which greatly restricts overtaking potential by providing the following car with poor airflow. Currently, there are three main devices on the wing which create an outwash – the arch/tunnel inside the endplate, the endplate itself and the vertical cascade elements.

Like the front wing, the 2019 aerodynamic changes require a wider rear wing, with a greater depth also apparent. These changes will not have much of an effect on their own except at those tracks where maximum down force is required, and therefore, more wing than the current maximum will be run. However, it is also thought that there will be a greater DRS effect by making the flap chord greater, something that should improve the racing between cars at circuits with shorter straights, such as Melbourne, Monaco, or Singapore, while those tracks at which overtaking is already at a good level, such as Baku and Spa, will not be affected greatly given the maximum flap chord would not be taken advantage of to the same degree.

The larger wing and larger DRS flaps are most notable on the Renault, McLaren and Toro Rosso as seen below:

It will definitely be interesting to see how these regulation changes affect car performance on track at Barcelona this week for F1 Testing. Although the FIA claims a 1-1.5 second, lets hope every team works a way around that!