Tech insight: Force India's 'sawfish' element
14 September 2017 – Force India has added a unique 'sawfish' element to its shark fin for this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, in a bid to maximise its chances at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
As mechanics worked on the VJM10 in the pit lane on Thursday, the element, situated on top of the shark fin and featuring some 30 teeth, was spotted by photographers.
Force India team boss Vijay Mallya made clear ahead of the event that "we haven't eased off" with development, despite being a comfortable fourth in the championship standings.
"Development of the VJM10 continues and will bring benefits for the 2018 car too," he said.
GPUpdate.net technical analyst Craig Scarborough:
Force India has steadily been increasing the complexity of its aerodynamic package, but for the Singapore GP it has surprised the paddock with a 'sawfish' style device on its engine cover. As part of a high downforce set-up for the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the team added a small winglet and the sawfish 30-tooth device to the top edge of the shark fin.
These two parts most likely work together to create a downwash effect towards the rear wing, making the wing more effective, which for the tight turns of Singapore means more downforce.
Both parts of this solution are actually formed of wing profiles that are pointed downwards, creating lift, the opposite to downforce. Thus, the idea of this device is not to create downforce itself, but to set off a spiralling vortex from the mini wing and have it spun up by smaller vortices coming the tips of each of the thirty saw teeth.
This powerful airflow then passes under the T-wing towards the rear wing. The effect is to create airflow aligned with the wing itself, so rather than having air rising towards the wing (upwash), there's a downwash effect so the airflow is pointed down towards the wing, effectively making the wing's angle of attack steeper to the oncoming airflow.
This is a neat solution as the narrow space allowed for the shark fin can be used with these small fins and a vortex effect. As this is the last high downforce street circuit this season, there is not likely to be a need for another team to copy it, but it may go on the other teams' list of things to look at in the wind tunnel over the winter.