The aero secrets revealed by F1's dirty cars in Turkey

Matt Somerfield
·5-min read

The challenges certainly were unique, but there were also some unintended consequences from the weekend too as they offered a fascinating glimpse of teams' aero secrets.
For not only did the weather allow us to capture images of some of the vortices, the wet surface gave us clues about how the aerodynamics of the car disturb the airflow and manipulate the tyre wake to improve performance.

On top of this, the track surface was still leeching oil residue. This emulsified when mixed with the rain and, after nearly two hours of running on Sunday, left the cars covered in a grey hue. This behaved much like the flo-viz paint that the teams use to assess aerodynamic performance in testing and free practice sessions – so offered the chance to see a car's aero secrets at work.

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Andy Hone / Motorsport Images</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detailAndy Hone / Motorsport Images

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull is known for its aerodynamic prowess and this picture just goes to show how well the airflow moves around the RB16's sidepods into the coke bottle region.

 

Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 detail<span class="copyright">Andy Hone / Motorsport Images</span>
Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 detailAndy Hone / Motorsport Images

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton climbs out of the cockpit of his Mercedes W11 as a seven-time champion, and we are treated to a view of both how the airflow moves over the surface of the sidepods, and how the design of the halo fairing alters the flow too.

 

Ferrari

Ferrari SF1000 detail

Ferrari SF1000 detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Ferrari SF1000 detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

In this image of the Ferrari SF1000, we can see a vortex that has formed beneath the car.

 

McLaren

McLaren MCL35 rear detail

McLaren MCL35 rear detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
McLaren MCL35 rear detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

A vortex forms due to the adverse pressure gradient at the rear wing tip on the McLaren MCL35 and is visible due to the climatic conditions.

 

Renault

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

This shot of the Renault RS20 shows how the Venetian blind style deflectors push the airflow down and around the sidepods.

 

Williams

Williams FW43 sidepods detail

Williams FW43 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Williams FW43 sidepods detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

This shot of the FW43 is aided not only by the oily residue kicked up off the track, but also some dirt that appears to have clung to the car. It shows how the ramped section of their sidepod drives the airflow in to a point on the floor where it will be picked up again by another aerodynamic airflow structure.

 

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000<span class="copyright">Charles Coates / Motorsport Images</span>
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

The spray from the wet conditions gives us an idea of how the airflow is pushed away from the car by the various aerodynamic surfaces. This in-turn prevents the airflow being ingested by the floor which would reduce performance.

 

 

Gallery: Turkey's dirty cars

For more images of the airflow secrets revealed by the dirty cars in Turkey, here is an extensive gallery.

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Andy Hone / Motorsport Images</span>
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 sidepods detailAndy Hone / Motorsport Images

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Andy Hone / Motorsport Images</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detailAndy Hone / Motorsport Images

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB16

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB16<span class="copyright">Charles Coates / Motorsport Images</span>
Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB16Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detail<span class="copyright">Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detailMark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20

Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 nose detail

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 nose detail<span class="copyright">Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images</span>
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 nose detailMark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Racing Point RP20 sidepods detail

Racing Point RP20 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Racing Point RP20 sidepods detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

McLaren MCL35 sidepods detail

McLaren MCL35 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
McLaren MCL35 sidepods detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Haas VF-20 side detail

Haas VF-20 side detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Haas VF-20 side detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 side detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 side detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 side detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Alfa Romeo Racing C39 rear detail

Alfa Romeo Racing C39 rear detail<span class="copyright">Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images</span>
Alfa Romeo Racing C39 rear detailMark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W11 detail

Mercedes F1 W11 detail<span class="copyright">Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images</span>
Mercedes F1 W11 detailMark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detail<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 sidepods detailSteven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 detail

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 detail<span class="copyright">Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images</span>
Renault F1 Team R.S.20 detailMark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 tyres lock-up

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 tyres lock-up<span class="copyright">Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images</span>
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 tyres lock-upSteve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W11 front wing detail

Mercedes F1 W11 front wing detail<span class="copyright">Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images</span>
Mercedes F1 W11 front wing detailSteve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Racing Point RP20 detail

Racing Point RP20 detail<span class="copyright">Charles Coates / Motorsport Images</span>
Racing Point RP20 detailCharles Coates / Motorsport Images

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W11 detail

Mercedes F1 W11 detail<span class="copyright">Charles Coates / Motorsport Images</span>
Mercedes F1 W11 detailCharles Coates / Motorsport Images

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 tyres detail

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 tyres detail<span class="copyright">Charles Coates / Motorsport Images</span>
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 tyres detailCharles Coates / Motorsport Images

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11<span class="copyright">Andy Hone / Motorsport Images</span>
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000<span class="copyright">Steven Tee / Motorsport Images</span>
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000<span class="copyright">Charles Coates / Motorsport Images</span>
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images