# Enginering question about F1 car

In formula F1 car, air coming infront of the car goes up with very high velocity as a result pressure difference is created which is very high from Bernoulli theorem.. The F1 car is very light so Bernoulli theorem suggest that instead of moving in the road, the car should fly out in the air.. What is wrong here ? Don't give answer like because the car is heavy. It is lightest car and its speed is nearly to the speed of some plane..

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What makes you think the Bernoulli force points up? – dmckee May 2 '13 at 5:29
simple, pressure difference – newera May 2 '13 at 5:43
Indeed there is a pressure difference. A big one which--by design--points down. – dmckee May 2 '13 at 5:53
Actually the speed is far in excess of small planes. – Mike Dunlavey May 2 '13 at 15:35

Your assumption that there is a significant pressure differential due to fluid dynamics is correct. The assumption that it is a lifting force is not. An airplane generates lift because it has been engineered with lift in mind. An F1 car actually generates a powerful down force to push it against the track, allowing it to get better traction than it otherwise would be able to achieve with gravity alone.

Most of the effort and engineering into the aerodynamics of F1 cars is in trying to find the right balance between aerodynamic drag and the down force generated. If too much down force is generated then the drag on the car is too high.

Check out http://www.formula1-dictionary.net/downforce.html and specifically their comparison between lift:

And down force:

There are a great many more resources on the web that delve into F1 car aerodynamics.

The component in the car that creates the down force is called the spoiler. Additionally, "skirts" in front of the front-wheels also create down force. Both of these components are essential so that as the car moves the down force remains balanced and doesn't pitch.

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I remember reading several years ago that the average F1 car produces enough downforce that it could drive upside down at top speed. (No idea if this is accurate although it definitely seems plausible.) – OSE May 2 '13 at 13:21
+ The only problem with these pictures is they seem to imply by the arrow heads that air parcels separated by the leading edge are rejoined at the trailing edge (the equal-time assumption). In fact that's not so, and the wing wouldn't work if it were. Check here. – Mike Dunlavey May 2 '13 at 14:21
@user2018790 - it varies as they change the rules - but at one point F1 cars generated about 2x their weight in downforce! – Martin Beckett May 2 '13 at 14:32
@MikeDunlavey yeah almost everyone gets airfoils wrong. In this case the point is about the direction of the force. There are some nice wind tunnel diagrams of F1 cars but that level of detail probably isn't very good for an answer like this. – Brandon Enright May 2 '13 at 15:14