Lowe sees a battle of the bargeboards looming

Williams tech chief Paddy Lowe believes bargeboard development will be a big focus for teams in search of gains in 2018.

Haas kicked off the F1 presentations, followed by Williams, Sauber and Renault, and a common technical trait so far among the teams’ 2018 designs is the very sophisticated configuration of the sidepod area.

Complexity of the bargeboard elements ramped up last year, and Lowe believes aero engineers will continue to focus on the space this season.

“As we know in the 2017 regulations, there was new volume and new freedom in the bargeboard area,” Said Lowe.

“We saw through 2017 an explosion of new devices in that space, and that process has continued yet further.

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“When you see our car close up, you will see that we have developed the car in that area even more.

“I will be expecting to see the same on our competition – because it is the biggest area of opportunity still not fully exploited with these regulations that came in last year.”

This year’s regulations have led to the demise of the ubiquitous ‘shark fin’ and T-wing on cars, as well as to the disappearance of the blown-exhaust ‘monkey seat’ concept, changes which only enhanced aero development in the sidepod area.

“Last year the we had controversy of the T-wings and engine fins and everybody being unhappy with how ugly they were, so they came and went,” added Lowe.

“The result is what you see, that is on the limit of the current regulations for 2018. It is a fin, but sort of cut back.

“The T-wing is illegal, you can’t fit that, but we still have the gearbox wing. We were the first to fit that last year on our car, so it’s like a lower T-wing.

“We will carry on with that and I imagine many of the other cars will feature such a wing in this space.

“In a similar area, we’ve lost what is called the monkey seat wing, the little wing that sat behind the tail pipe. That was made illegal interestingly because there was a degree of exhaust blowing.

“You remember the era of exhaust blowing we had in 2011 to 2013. That was an exciting period I felt but was supposedly put behind us.

“Interestingly it did emerge in 2017 as a new much lower powered capability, so the monkey seat wing has been banned in order to reduce that effect once again.”

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