F1 Aerodynamics to Turn Out a Failure in 2009?

The Overtaking Working Group (OWG) commissioned by the International Automobile Federation to improve overtaking in Formula 1 might not survive the year 2009. Formed by three of the most respectable technical engineers in the sport – McLaren's Paddy Lowe, Renault's Pat Symonds and Ferrari's Rory Byrne – the Group's reason to be in Formula 1 depends by how the aerodynamic changes introduced this year will improve on-track overtaking.

In order to improve the show in Formula 1, FIA president Max Mosley had suggested a “split rear wing” design to be implemented in 2009. However, the engineering trio disagreed and, instead, worked out a new set of aerodynamic changes set to reduce downforce by almost 50%.

This is the reason why the new cars for 2009 feature dramatic changes in terms of exterior look as compared to their 2008 predecessors. Although several poles have indicated that F1 fans are not very fond of the new cars' looks, FIA decided to allow the new aerodynamic package, as it would boost overtaking into the sport. However, should the new changes fail to produce the awaited results, the OWG will be terminated as a programme.

“If the desired effect does not occur, then that will be the end of the expert group,” Mosley was quoted as saying by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

The 68-year old Englishman decided to comment on the matter following several concerns issued by FIA technical consultant Tony Purnell that the 2009 aerodynamic package will not achieve the level of downforce predicted in 2008.

The most important job of the OWG was to make sure cars that want to engage themselves into an overtaking will not suffer as much from the pursued car's air flow as before. That's the main reason why rear diffuser designs have been modified recently, as well as front and rear wing formats.
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