Introduction

Always wanted to work in Formula One? Then join the Voyager-AirShaper F1 team!

We've created a virtual challenge to optimize the aerodynamics of the Voyager-AirShaper F1 car through AirShaper simulations. The current design started life as a visual styling exercise - featuring a bespoke blue livery - 3D modelled by Voyager. But the car is just that – a styling model. A 3D model created to look stunning and realistic, but not engineered to perform well in terms of aerodynamics.

It doesn't comply with the official regulations, and we don't intend to make it comply. Rather, this exercise is about how you can tweak an existing design to perform better in terms of aerodynamics through modest and realistic changes. And we'll do so based in your input!

Reference

We've run aerodynamic simulations on the reference car – the current styling model. Both feature rotating wheels, moving ground and an adaptively refined mesh, but they differ in terms of accuracy:

Regular SimulationAdvanced Simulation
12 Million Cells75 Million Cells
Drag coefficient Cd: 0.881Drag coefficient Cd: 0.896
Lift coefficient Cl: -1.247Lift coefficient Cl: -1.523
Front lift coefficient Cl(f) : -0.224Front lift coefficient Cl(f) : -0.302
Rear lift coefficient Cl(r): -1.023Rear lift coefficient Cl(r): -1.222
Download 3D modelDownload 3D model
Download reportDownload report
View online resultsView online results
Download simulation dataDownload simulation data

This already poses the first challenge - which results will we use?

When it comes to running CFD simulations, you'll always need to make a compromise. Using the Regular Simulation will make it easier on your hardware to process data, the simulations will be faster and easier to run, etc. You'll be able to run more simulations with the same "teraflops" CFD budget, just like real F1 teams. If you're working on large flow structures, this may be enough. But when looking at small scale vortices, or need to mesh small details, it may not be sufficient.

For example, the downforce is higher on the Advanced simulation. In part, this is due to the fact that the Regular mesh was not detailed enough to capture the small gaps between the various wing elements. Actually, even on the Advanced simulation some gap areas are not captured properly!

Design challenge #1 Think carefully about which data to use for which area on the car.

Analyzing the data

We've added links to download the 3D model & report, to visit the online 3D results and to download the full simulation data. Again, we're facing challenges:

  • 3D model: you'll notice the STL surface quality is fairly low in some locations (and it will likely not improve anytime soon). How does this affect results?
  • Report: go through the full report and analyze the forces, the aero balance, the convergence graphs etc to get a feeling of how useful the simulation really is.
  • Online visualizations: the 3D pressure clouds are particularly interesting to spot areas of flow separation / drag. Also, through the "Forces & moments" tab on the left, you'll be able to click on components to analyze their individual drag & lift (like the front wing etc).
  • Simulation data: download the full simulation data and process the results in paraview – see this video. You can analyze every small detail in the flow by creating your own streamlines, pressure maps, and so on. Mastering paraview is a great skill for your aerodynamics career!

Design challenge #2 Use the online viewer and paraview to gain insights into the flow and share your findings.

Improving the car

The car does not comply with the official regulations and we don't intend to make it to. Nevertheless, the goal of this challenge is to come up with solutions that are realistic and stay close to the rules:

  • Don't simply increase the size of the wing, reduce the size of the sidepods, … . That's too easy – no fun in that!
  • Focus on improving flow quality in critical areas. Spot areas of separation and understand why it happens.
  • If you have the time, please do go through the official F1 rules to support your suggestions.

We've set some arbitrary goals:

  • Improved aero balance: not even 20% (-0.302 / -1.523 = 19.8%) of the downforce is going to the front wheels. The goal: increase the front downforce to 25%.
  • More downforce: for circuits with lots of corners, downforce is crucial. So find ways to improve the overall downforce by 10%.
  • More efficiency: the downforce to drag ratio is just 1.7 (1.523 / 0.896). Aim for a Cl/Cd ratio of 2.0 or more.

In reality, things are far more complex, with cars chasing each other, cornering simulations and so on. But for the sake of simplicity, we'll focus on an isolated car going in a straight line at a constant speed of 200 km/h.

Sharing your suggestions

To achieve our goals, we will use your input!

Just drop your thoughts on the AirShaper Reddit channel (use the flair "Voyager-AirShaper F1"):

  • Analysis: drop your insights on where you think the flow can be improved. Support your insights with post-processing screenshots of the 3D viewer / paraview.
  • Suggestions: drop your sketches on how you think the 3D model should be modified.
  • 3D model: if you want, you can also modify the 3D STL model directly. Contact us to get the Blender file.

We'll screen the Reddit channel regularly and gather design input. As soon as we have enough input, we will create an updated 3D model, run a simulation and share the results on the Reddit board!

Design challenge #3 : drop designs on the AirShaper Reddit channel

Deadline

Our deadline is to achieve our goals before the last Grand Prix of the year at Abu Dhabi, November 20th. But that will not keep us from pushing aero updates in the meantime – whenever we've gathered enough input and have made advances, we'll release new results. Step by step, we'll make progress together with you.

We will credit all of the people involved in successful changes, boosting their exposure on social media, to help advance their career.

Trusted By

  • General Electric Renewable Energy
  • Deme
  • Aptera
  • Decathlon
  • MV Agusta
  • Vaude
  • Damon Motorcycles
  • Pal-V - World’s First Flying Car
  • Deme
  • A2Mac1
  • SenseFly
  • Sapim

Awards and Support

  • Solar Impulse
  • iMec
  • Voxdale
  • Professional MotorSport World Awards – MotorSport Technology of the Year

Code contributions by

  • KU Leuven
  • Inholland
  • Linkoping University