Technical F1: 2013 nose fairing patterns
25 February 2013 – In the latest of GPUpdate.net's technical features, nose fairings are the subject of scrutiny. The so-called 'vanity panel' is an optional extra for 2013, with its introduction aimed at removing the unpopular stepped noses seen last season. However, as is explained below, there has been a significant design split up and down the pit lane.
Despite the fact that Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, attempted to discourage teams from exploiting the nose fairing and subsequently gaining an aerodynamic advantage, many bypassed the spirit of the regulations and have developed elegant structures to improve airflow and limit the overall weight penalty of the added panel.
A plethora of concepts have been launched by the teams, with the desired 'stepped nose' removal not coming to fruition. The only outfit on the grid which has not required the addition of a fairing is Marussia, with its low chassis eradicating the necessity.
Ferrari, McLaren, Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso have all followed a conservative pattern with their 2013 nose designs, as shown in the illustration:
This standard concept features a full cover from the stepped point to the nose tip, highlighted in orange.
At Mercedes, the team has further evolved the arched nose it introduced last season. Instead of being flat at the top, it has an intense arch-shape and a more smooth bulkhead height transition:
This approach reduces drag by diverting the air-flow above the nose tip and towards the nose sides, while the main flow is channeled smoothly over the bulkhead. The result of this pattern resembles a 'duck' nose.
Sauber has developed a unique “Π” shaped fairing to create a deep channel on the top section of the nose:
This design, which is one of the most stand-out creations in the pit lane this season, separates the air flowing over the top of the nose and at the sides.
Red Bull has produced a 'dwarf' fairing for 2013, limiting its dimensions to the absolute minimum:
The reigning World Champions, whilst taking into account aero efficiency, have focused on keeping the weight of the added panel as low as possible.
Finally, Caterham and Lotus have both opted to avoid the weight penalty of adding a nose fairing, instead developing a sculpted chassis on top:
This has formed a smoother airpath in terms of drag. However, Caterham's concept features a deeper and more obvious sculpted area than rivals Lotus.
It is highly possible that teams will modify their designs as the season progresses, whether it be in terms of fine-tuning details or copying rival concepts in their entirety. It is also worth remembering that the fairing, as with all new designs, needs to be studied further, unless the FIA decides to clampdown on the regulations even more.
Technical analysis conducted by Michalis Kaplitzoglou for GPUpdate.net