Aero Rakes F1: What are the nets installed behind the front tyres or the rear end of F1 cars during the official testing, and what purpose it serves?
Formula 1 is one of the most advanced sports technologically. The separation between every team is determined through a fraction of seconds; collecting data, and its analysis is essential. Thus, to keep track of everything, it needs to make massive technological investments.
One such thing is Aero Rakes; they are usually observed at the start of the season (during the testing), as they are often installed behind the front tyres or the rear of a car.
It has been learnt that it serves an essential purpose even if it appears for a brief moment throughout the year. According to Rob Smedley’s explanation on F1’s website, an aerodynamic rake is a series of ‘pitot tubes’, which are sensors designed to measure off-body flow structures.
With this, the team working on the car can obtain a picture of what is happening at different flow structures and the different vortex structures, which allows the aerodynamics team to optimise and improve the upstream flow structure generation by using the data.
Works at a huge spectrum
Data from aero rakes are now easy to process, but the issues it points out vary immensely. Some problems can be fixed easily and in real-time, like a lack of downforce generation.
However, there are some intricate problems, which are complex and not easy to spot. Hence, at this moment, the car goes into the garage and falls under the jurisdiction of the aerodynamics team to solve.
Overall, Aero Rakes are turning out to be more important with every passing year amidst the imposition of new aerodynamics regulations. And the importance air-flow in F1 holds, these rakes are getting bigger in size every year.