12 years ago the dominance of the Scuderia Ferrari was over. Fans didn’t like the dominance of Schumacher and Ferrari, but there was an even bigger problem. The races became boring due the lack of overtaking by the drivers. To tackle this problem the FIA came up with the radical CDG wing concept for the 2007 season. The idea behind it was simple, generate more downforce and get closer to the car ahead.
Actually the Formula One didn’t manage to tackle the overtaking problem. Yes we had some good years but the main problem still is the lack of overtaking. Partly it comes from the other rules the FIA implemented in the Formula One. The teams only have a couple of engines per season for their cars, it is not allowed to refuel and of course the drivers have only a few sets of tires available per race season.
The FIA came up with the DRS system. We all know it doesn’t work out properly as the drivers are able to gain more speed by opening the rear-wing when they are one second behind the car in front. And so did the FIA look in 2005 for the solution to improve the races for the fans. A dozen of options to improve the races were investigated and the CDG wing (Centerline Downwash Generating) seemed to be the best solution. During the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix the FIA showed the teams, in secret, their plans for the CDG wing.
The CDG wing would replace the traditional rear wing on a Formula One car. The CDG wing were two smaller rear wings placed behind the rear wheels. In theory an Formula one car would have more mechanical grip due a different airflow. It has to be said that next to the CDG wings the FIA came with the plans bring back the slick tires.
So how does the twin wing work, as you could also name them, in practice? As far as I know the FIA never tested with the type of wings on a Formula One car. Via computer simulation it was able to see that the current rear wings on the 2005 cars disturbed the airflow behind the car. It means that the aerodynamics on the car behind got a negative effect. It was basically impossible to reach the back end of the car in front. With the CDG concept you create an wake of non-turbulent air. It means that the air in the middle is not affected by the car in front. An following car would be able to run closely to the car ahead.
Basically you create a clean air flow with the CDG wings mounted on the cars. The air will flow towards the ground on the front wing of the car in the back. This is the positive affect of the non-turbulent air effect. However what happens with the air after when it passes also the car behind? Well that’s the biggest problem with the CDG concept. When you behind the car the effect is good. You will be able to come closer to the car in front and you gain more speed and grip. However, if you drive behind the cars you will experience an negative effect of the airflow. Both airstreams from the CDG wing will come together and disturb the aerodynamics. It will disturbs the cars behavior badly.
There was another issue, several technical directors and aerodynamic specialist asked themselves how you should overtake with the CDG wings. It is easier to get close to the car in front, but how to overtake the car? When you get out of the airflow the car’s aerodynamics working decreases and it will be unable to overtake the car. Another problem would be the tires, while the FIA announced they would return to slicks, Michelin or Bridgestone had to re-design their tires as the tires are a big part of the grip the car has.
While the teams agreed on the plans, as Sam Michael from Williams said, Paul Stoddart Minardi’s team boss wasn’t really happy with the rules and told the media that they had to agree with the rules presented by the FIA. However, in the end the CDG wing was not introduced in 2008. The FIA came with other improvements such as KERS and announced the budget cap to be implemented. We all know the Budget cap never happened, and we have still the issue with overtaking.
If you would like to experience to drive with the CDG wing, you can install F1 Challenge 99-02 there is an addition for the game which allows you to drive with.
Sources: Autosport.com / F1technical.net / Formule 1 magazine