'Aerodynamics analysis of a Formula One F1 Race car' simulation project by Ali_Arafat


I created a new simulation project called 'Aerodynamics analysis of a Formula One F1 Race car':

The project illustrates how to simulate airflow around a complex F1 vehicle.

More of my public projects can be found here.



Ever-evolving automotive technology entails an increasing complexity associated with its functionalities as well as safety. Faster speeds lead to more vibrations and a greater risk of lift-off. To safeguard the ‘car+driver’ system in addition to enhancing the performance of a car, it is imperative for automotive engineers and manufacturers to consider the aerodynamics involved.

Simulation acts as an apposite tool to help determine the behaviour of the system in response to the airflow around/through it. Using this information, several refinements to the car design can be made in an iterative process. With the end goal of optimizing the final design, each component of the car can be analyzed with great ease and effectiveness.

Project Goals

The current project aims at carrying out an aerodynamic analysis around a Formula-1 race car travelling at 215 km/h. With the help of the SimScale platform, we intend to simulate this system, taking into account the realistic constraints. Our project utilizes a pre-existing CAD model for the simulation and interprets the results to suggest meaningful design modifications.


The initial geometry for the CAD model has been imported from GrabCAD, provided by GrabCAD member  ̶   Orion. For the analysis, the CAD model has been simplified, cleaned and significantly reconstructed. The cleaned geometry can be seen in the figure below:

F-1 Car: Isometric View


F-1 Car: Front View


A manual hex-dominant mesh was created in SimScale. The fluid region around the car (air) is meshed to model a Virtual Wind Tunnel. This operation gives the user more control and enables the complex geometry to be meshed accurately while keeping the overall mesh size to a suitable value. Prior to meshing, the surfaces are clubbed into topological entity sets. This facilitates the assignment of refinement levels for small and large surfaces as required.

Virtual Wind Tunnel in SimScale

Resultant Mesh on Car and Immediate Surroundings


A fine quality mesh with individually adjustable parameters is used. For an aerodynamic analysis, a steady-state, incompressible fluid flow analysis type is employed along with a K-Omega-SST turbulence model. The analysis is carried out on 32 cores and takes nearly 3 hours.

The convergence plot is shown below:


Results and Conclusions

Post-processing for this case is performed locally on ParaView using a custom meshing approach to set-up fluid flow analysis. Mapping the pressure and the velocity streamlines on the car surface helps us better analyze the processes that transpire in real time.

Pressure Contours:



With the goal of increasing the downforce on the car, we analyze the pressure contours. A greater downforce is achieved when the pressure difference between either side of the main spoiler is increased.
Velocity Contours and Streamlines:
A streamline is defined as a line which is everywhere parallel to the velocity vector. The figures below represent the velocity streamlines of the airflow around the F1 car.
To avoid vortex formation, the ends of the spoiler are covered with winglets.Therefore, spoilers with winglets are employed to increase the downforce while reducing the drag force.



Surface Streamlines at mid height:


Velocity is for flying vecales like planes 88.



The free-stream flow velocity for this simulation ( or velocity of F1 car) is 60 m/s = 216 km/h , which is the lower average speeds of such race cars. But the local flow around corners and curvatures can be accelerated due the the sudden expansion and reach flow speeds in the order of 85 m/s or higher.



Looking good! Do you have a boundary condition on the radiator(s) in the sidepods, or is it just a wall? What about the engine air intake? Is it also a wall?


Hi @fastwayjim

Yes, for the sake of simplicity and as a standard practice for base analysis the Engine intake and side intakes are walls. You may use the project and modify the setup to make them ’ Outlets ’ (w.r.t the domain, as the flow will be leaving the domian).



Hi Ali,

is there a way for efficient creation of face sets or do you have to select them one by one?



Hi @akosior - you could use Topoogical Entity Sets (see this post: Using Topological Entity Sets)


But to create a Topological Entity Set I have to select the faces one by one.


Ah yes - ok now I see your point :pensive: So you’re looking for some type of drag selection?


Actually I think that the most useful would be a possibility to create mesh TES out of geometry TES. I explained it in more details here: Efficient way of creating Topological Entity Sets


Hello Ali,

What is the Cda Value you got for this car ?

Syed Ismail


you can easily copy the project and directly post-process the results as well!


how can i download simscale software student version


Wrote you a private message @prajyaguru!


Hi! I just wanted to ask how did you manage to read or view velocity contours and streamlines? I have been trying but not successful. can you please help me on this I will really appreciate. thanks



Just wanted to know whether you managed to run the simulation and get a video file from it?

If so, I would love to see it?



Hi @shinisomara

A video animation of the flow can be generated manually by post-processing the simulation results locally. e.g on Paraview

I will post an example animation soon.



Hello Ali,

May I please know how to managed to do the simulation of symmetry model. I noticed that you imported full car geometry and then how did you cut it to half



Hi @Sunish!

You can cut the model into halves by using the bounding box. You literally cut the car with the bounding box and as you are meshing the model the other half will disappear.