Formula One and FIA use additive manufacturing to test 2021 car

Formula One (F1), the premier world championship for motor racing and its governing body the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), have used additive manufacturing to help determine the design, rules and regulations of its 2021 cars. 

The 50% scale F1 2021 model in Sauber's wind tunnel testing facility. Photo via Formula 1.

Each F1 season, the FIA issues new regulations for vehicles participating in the championship. The new rules are tested using prototype car models implemented. Last month, the 2021 vehicle underwent extensive wind tunnel testing using an accurate, 50 percent scale model produced with the help of additive manufacturing.

The wind tunnel tests were performed by an independent consultancy group from Sauber, a Swiss motorsport engineering company, using its own wind tunnel facility. The use of additive manufacturing to create the scale models delivered a number of benefits to the development team. Pat Symonds, F1’s Chief Technical Officer, stated “50% is a good compromise in that we can still get a good level of detail on the model but we still have distance behind. It’s true teams have tended to go more to 60% these days.”

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