How a non-performance aero change helped Williams's F1 car

At the German Grand Prix, Williams took a step forward with its so-far troublesome FW41 thanks to a new front wing that wasn't about adding downforce or increasing top speed

How a non-performance aero change helped Williams's F1 car

The idea behind it was about lifting driver confidence by taking away an instability problem that has dogged the team over the first half of the campaign.

While the changes did not bring any theoretical improvement that could be seen on data, the fact the team enjoyed a slight uplift in form is an encouraging sign for the rest of the campaign.

Following its poor start to the year, the team has stepped up its work over the course of the last few grands prix in a bid to find the answers for its lack of performance.

It's imperative that it understands these issues before locking in design aspects of next year's challenger too, to avoid repeating any mistakes from this year with the FW42.

At the German GP the team arrived with a new front wing, as it attempted to overcome some of its issues and, in particular, get rid of the car's unpredictable characteristic.

It was down to Lance Stroll to put the new parts through their paces during FP1, whilst Sergey Sirotkin ran with the old front wing in order that the team could get back-to-back data.

The wing has many new design features, but the single-most important aspect of its design is the way in which the arch at the outboard section has been relaxed (red arrow), resulting in a much gentler profile on the wing's leading edge.

This alters the wing's pitch sensitivity, which relates to its performance at different ride heights (and during braking, cornering and acceleration), and making it less sensitive means that the car should be more predictable to drive.

This geometrical change has also altered the shape of the secondary element of the main plane, and both of their connecting points with the neutral section.

It has also resulted in the first of the flaps becoming fully detached from the neutral section, revising its shape, chord and ability to tie-in with the flaps above.

This will not only have an effect on the shape, orientation and power of the Y250 vortex being shed, but will also empower the flaps to improve consistency, downforce and overall stability - reducing aerodynamic inconsistencies that may have been occurring downstream on the car.

The changes in the outboard section of the wing have been paired with an alteration to the shape of this section and their transition into the flaps (highlighted in yellow).

Meanwhile, the 'r' shaped cascade has been modified too, with a scroll-shaped tip added on the upper surface, altering the vortex that has been shed.

Williams hopes the changes at the front of the car activate other areas that may be operating at a suboptimal level, meaning it can focus on its development path for the current car and move on to its 2019 design safe in the knowledge that it understands what has gone wrong this year.

shares
comments
Force India would consider releasing Esteban Ocon to Renault F1 team

Previous article

Force India would consider releasing Esteban Ocon to Renault F1 team

Next article

F1 teams discussing moving 2019 pre-season testing to Bahrain

F1 teams discussing moving 2019 pre-season testing to Bahrain
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Williams
Author Giorgio Piola
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021