February 23rd, 2013 (F1plus / Michalis K).- Despite the fact that FIA attempted to discourage teams from exploiting the nose fairing and gaining aero advantage over it, many teams bypassed the regulations spirit and developed elegant structures both to gain improved airflow over the nose and keep the weight penalty due to the added fairing as low as possible .
To be honest this was something more than expected as many changes caused the opposite effect than the wanted one, with the recent ban of the blown diffuser to be the best example. The only team that does not need a fairing is Marussia because of its low chassis.
Ferrari, Mc Laren, Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso followed a conservative pattern as shown in the illustration below.
Sauber developed a unique “ Π ” shaped fairing to create a deep channel on top of the nose, separating the air stream flowing over the nose with the one flowing at sides .
Red Bull’s dwarf fairing is an outcome of the desire to limit the fairing dimensions to the minimum required for opted aero efficiency so as to keep the extra weight as low as possible.
Mercedes evolved further last season’s arched nose. Instead of being flat at the top it has an intense arched shape and a more smooth bulkhead height transition. This is to reduce drag by diverting the air flowing above the nose tip towards the nose sides while the main flow is channeled smoothly over the bulkhead, all aiming lower drag production. The optical result of this pattern resembles to a duck nose.
Finally Caterham and Lotus rejected the possibility of fixing a weight costly fairing and instead developed a sculpted chassis on top, thus forming a smoother air path for drag cut. However Caterham features a deeper and a more obvious sculpted area than Lotus does.
It is of high possibility to see teams developing further their initial idea or even coping rivals patterns. It is good to remember that the nose fairing, as all new designs, needs to be examined and studied further , unless FIA decides to make regulations even stricter .
Note: This article was written by Michalis K. His work could be found in his blog www.formula1techandart.wordpress.com and he could be followed at twitter (@bar555). Michalis K. also creates the illustrations shown below.