Home Forum Chat Forum F1 car can drive upside down?

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• F1 car can drive upside down?
• tomkerton
Member

Dear Physics legends/aerodynamicists of STW,

Sky TV are running an advert for the new F1 season that claims there is so much downforce that an F1 car could drive upside down. I call BS!

Really? How fast would the car have to be travelling to support it’s weight?

alfabus
Subscriber

unless you know the overall co-efficient of lift for the aerofoils and their dimensions I doubt any calculation is anything other than an estimate

If the downforce is similar to previous times I’ve heard that quoted it’s about 70mph. The cars only weigh about 500kg and they produce so much downforce they can corner at over 3G. To take a flat corner at 3G requires about double the vehicle’s weight in downforce IIRC.

scaredypants
Subscriber

pretty sure that f1 cars generate more than 1G downforce, so yeah, they could

jambalaya
Subscriber

Yes very possible, as above they weigh very little. The wings are kept small to reduce loads and reduce cornering speeds, with larger wings they’d generate even more downforce (or up force if driving on an inverted road). I saw some very interesting footage (could have been top gear) where unless the car was going pretty fast it was very unstable and didn’t corner at all as car is light and grip is poor without the downforce,

kevj
Member

I saw this ad earlier and thought similar. Ok, mathematically they could, but why don’t they?

<I wouldn’t want to be the guinea pig content>

tomkerton
Member

But if we estimate a weight we could work out how much downforce is required and therefore if it’s feasible?

kevj
Member

Tom, there are too many assumptions and variables to accurately make a guess. If it is obviously feasible then maybe, but the assumptions may make the result marginal then there is little point.

A quick Google returns slightly more educated figures:

jam bo
Subscriber

I’d start watching again if they had some upside down sections on the track.

slowoldman
Subscriber

Gary Anderson film:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24772746

As for why don’t they? How would you get it up there?

kevj
Member

slowoldman – Member
Gary Anderson film:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24772746
As for why don’t they? How would you get it up there?

Helical track.

samuri
Member

Before I read any geek links, presumably any car that can generate more than 1G of downforce, irrespective of the car weight, can be driven upside down?

samuri
Member

Yes, now I;ve thought more about it I’m completely wrong. ðŸ˜‰

parkesie
Member

Put the wings on upsidedown see if it flys ðŸ˜†

craighill
Member

I think its around 120mph, they produce I think 1600kg of downforce at 150mph, massively more than the cars weight, around 690kg

andyl
Member

Pretty sure this has been quoted since the 90’s and it’s true. But the car would have to get up to speed the right way first, obviously, and then have a spiral track gradual enough.

A quick google throws up some similar race car data quoted here: http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41451

An f1 car weighs about 1500lbs so at 150mph we could pretty confidently assume that one would have twice it’s weight in downforce at 150mph-ish.

Using the square law for lift then that would give about 70mph for the break even point, obviously you would need to exceed that by a safety margin. Of course you could also set up the wings in Monaco high downforce mode to get a better CL etc.

mav12
Member

Wouldn’t the oil I the engine just oil the plugs up or seep out the breathers or starve the oil pump

mikewsmith
Subscriber

mav12 – Member
Wouldn’t the oil I the engine just oil the plugs up or seep out the breathers or starve the oil pump

Not if you built the engine upside down

samuri
Member

OOh, I know the answer to the this question.

Dry sump is the way forwards. Dirt bikes and planes use it.

Subscriber

If you bolt one F1 car upside down on the top of another, and drive at high speed into a mine…? ðŸ˜‰

OP. Have ever been on an aeroplane? Same principle, just turned upside down. You’d first have to get the car up to a speed where the downforce created exceeds the weight of the car, but then spiral round onto the ceiling and it would stay there.

The helical track mention made me think of The Man with the Golden Gun with the helical jump.
original footage

tomkerton
Member

KevJ, andy Craig – thanks for links and info.

Flying Ox – yes I have been on an aeroplane and have a working knowledge of aerodynamics. I am an airline pilot.

So why do you find it hard to believe? You obviously understand the physics of it all (I would hope…)
If you can create enough lift to get a 70-odd ton aircraft off the ground, why would it be BS to suggest that you can create enough lift to get a 500kg car off the ground. That’s all you’re doing. You’re just stopping it going any higher with the ceiling it’s driving on.

Subscriber

Some have tried..

benp1
Subscriber

I’m sure they could with the right tweaks

Downforce gives you grip for corners, but makes you slower on the straights, so its a balance that is adjusted by circuit. Its also why you have thing like DRS so you can reduce the downforce generated by the wing

If they tweaked it for pure downforce and ignored top speed I’m sure its possible, just unnecessary for F1 use!

DrP
Member

It would be easy to do in a wind tunnel, with a rotating floor…

Start the right way up. Get wind speed to 150mph. FLip that bad boy over!

DrP

D0NK
Subscriber

Start the right way up. Get wind speed to 150mph. FLip that bad boy over!

if we’re going to prove it works I want some fantastical bit of tarmac construction and a nutter to drive it not some namby pamby simulations, be gone with your simple safe ideas

roper
Member

Dry sump ðŸ˜¯

( that’s the level of my input to this thread)

konabunny
Member

My sumps, my sumps, my greasy oily sumps.

DrP
Member

I saw a documentary once where they drove a car upside down in a busy tunnel.
It was hosted by Tommy lee Jones and Will smith.

DrP

DrP
Member

Here’s a screen grab of it…

DrP

nbt
Member

Donk wrote:

if we’re going to prove it works I want some fantastical bit of tarmac construction and a nutter to drive it not some namby pamby simulations, be gone with your simple safe ideas

this, 100 %

igm
Subscriber

This year they can barely drive the normal way up.

clubber
Member

It would certainly make engine failures more interesting…

andytherocketeer
Subscriber

sure this one’s been done before?

don’t forget when doing the sums that the aero downforce upsidedown needs to have an additional 2x the weight of the car to get the same force into the road surface, if you want the same traction.

and when did kg become “force”?

rOcKeTdOg
Subscriber

I hope RB don’t try it with their current car, breaking down upside down would surely injure someone’s finger

molgrips
Subscriber

and when did kg become “force”?

Since we’ve been all hanging out on the same planet ðŸ™‚

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