Formula 1 | Ferrari explains the Mexico City aero challenge, between Monza and Monaco

Ferrari explains the aero challenge of (...)

F1 is going to Mexico this weekend, on the highest circuit of the season. An altitude that has effects on single-seaters, as explained by Thomas Bouché, director of Ferrari’s on-track aerodynamic performance performance group.

The engineer, whose passion for Formula 1 began with having « French drivers like Alain Prost and Jean Alesi in the Scuderia in the 90s »was a pilot briefly before devoting himself to his career as an engineer in aeronautics, then in motorsport.

In F1 since 2007, the man who has been with Ferrari since 2018 explains the effects that running at an altitude of more than 2000 meters can have on a single-seater as technological as an F1.

“The really unique aspect of the Mexico City circuit is its altitude, at 2238 meters above sea level, which means the air density is 20% lower than at sea level” explains the Frenchman.

“It is a short circuit, one of the shortest on the calendar, but which nevertheless has a long straight, almost 1300 meters, where the majority of overtaking occurs in the race.

« The modern layout used since 2015 does not have particularly difficult high-speed cornering sectors, especially since the last corner, the legendary Peraltada, has been replaced by a slow and twisty section. The low-speed corners dominate, in fact , and make motor skills a key factor on this track. »

Less effect on V6 turbo hybrids

Thomas Bouché specifies that having a turbo engine in the car, which itself compresses the air sent to the engine, limits the loss of power caused by altitude, unlike what it would be with an atmospheric engine .

« The reduction in air density due to the high altitude is one of the biggest challenges of the season: the aerodynamic forces are considerably reduced and we end up with low downforce loads, equivalent to those of Monza , while using the front and rear wing configurations used in Monaco. »

« Turbocharged engines mean that power unit efficiency is only marginally affected and acceleration and top speed capabilities, aided by reduced aerodynamic drag, are among the highest on the calendar. »

“This causes considerable challenges on the engine and brake cooling front. Current Formula 1 cars have not been designed and optimized to operate in this very particular window and so these aspects will be closely monitored and managed throughout. of the weekend. »

“Those aspects will therefore be closely monitored and managed throughout the weekend. It can even become critical in close races, when driving in polluted air following other cars.

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