As F1 teams develop front wings with ever greater emphasis placed on the load created towards the outboard end of the flaps, the airflow over the outer 30cm of wing is becoming ever more critical. With designers wanting to keep this area clear of unwanted obstructions, the need to package a means to adjust the front flap angle becomes more difficult. Red bull as ever have had a good look at the issue and come up with the semi floating adjuster that keeps the wings surface almost interrupted.
Adjusting Front Flap Angle (FFA) is vitally important with the current tyres changing the cars balance as the race develops. At pit stops the team will often make a FFA adjustment to meet the drivers need for a balance change.
To achieve this, teams will fit threaded adjuster to a fixed part of the wing, and then the flap will have a corresponding threaded fastener connected to it. Turning the adjuster will move the wing up or down. Teams measuring the adjustment in ‘turns’ which is quite simply how many cranks of a tool, inserted into the adjuster, are needed.
For nearly all teams an elegant fin and metal arm arrangement form the adjuster mechanism, but to house the mechanism the fin tends to be quite wide, not nearly as wafer thin as other add-ons fitted to the wing. This robs the wing of vital surface area in the area where the designers want the utmost control on aero.
Red Bull have found an even more elegant solution, they have mounted the mechanism inside a pod, which floats above the wing on a thin carbon fibre plate, which is already used as one of the wings under-fences.
When viewed from under the wing (Image from Matt Somers F1 Tech Website) the fence, that is used to direct airflow inboard of the wheel for front tyre wake control, is extended upwards. The thin carbon fibre fence passes through a slot in the front wing flap. Now when viewed from above the rounded adjuster mechanism pod mounts to the top of the fence extension. The threaded adjuster reaches down from the pod to the flap, when the adjuster is turned the flaps angle is altered.
Just as with the DRS actuator pods, this set up moves the obstruction away from the wings surface, with just the thin fence extension taking up wing area.