Deconstructing Formula 1: Inside the Coke bottle
The area inside a Formula 1 car's rear wheels is second only to the front wing in terms of aerodynamic importance, as Gary Anderson explains
I always say that the front wing of a Formula 1 car is the single most important aerodynamic component because it has two roles. As well as producing downforce in its own right, it dictates the quality of the airflow to all the aerodynamic surfaces following it. Coming a close second to the front wing is the area inside the rear tyres known as the 'Coke bottle'. Since Alan Jenkins came up with the initial concept for McLaren in the mid-1980s, this is the area that has made single-seater racing cars much more open-wheeled.
This area, and how it functions, is critical to the amount of airflow that is displaced either inside or outside of the rear tyre. If the majority of the flow has to go around the outside of the tyre the drag levels will be increased. In effect this makes the car wider the further rearward you go, which in turn will reduce efficiency of the complete car.
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