Intelligent Light and FieldView

Digital Engineering: CFD in Formula 1 Racing, highlights contributions by Intelligent Light

Seeking Aerodynamic Perfection in Pixels and Wind

F1 Teams Look for Aerodynamic Advantages in Wind Tunnel Tests and CFD Simulation

Intelligent Light and FieldView have long been delivering results for the demanding world of Formula 1 engineering. In the October issue of Digital Engineering, Senior Editor Kenneth Wong has two articles exploring the way that CAE is used in Formula 1. 

In the 1960s, F1 cars began to sprout wings. The so-called airfoils operate much like aircraft wings, but in reverse. Whereas airplanes use their wings to create lift, race cars use theirs to create negative lift, or downforce. "The most obvious aerodynamic devices on a Formula One car are the front and rear wings, which together account for around 60% of overall downforce (with the floor responsible for the majority of the rest)," FIA explains.

For most F1 engineers, the race began long before the car's tire touches the track. Their quest for aerodynamic advantages began in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) programs and wind tunnel tests.

"The role of FieldView is from when the solver run ends to when the engineer makes a decision. The software focuses on reducing the movement of results files which, in the case of F1 teams, could be massive. In minimizing data movement, it increases the CFD solution's performance and nimbleness. The software also emphasizes data management, allowing small packages of data to replace large results files while maintaining full numerical fidelity."

Torbjörn Larsson of Creo Dynamics AB is working on Formula 1 overtake simulations. FieldView images by Intelligent Light.

"Formula One puts more stress on CFD than anybody else we know. We work with NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, and the Department of Energy, but F1 demands daily turnaround on multi-million-cell models to understand the smallest design details or the impact of weather. They want both fidelity and
speed."

Steve Legensky, General Manager and Founder, Intelligent Light
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