CFD for F1

Gary S. Vasilash


To bracket last Friday’s early 20th-century Formula 1-related item, here’s one that is clearly 21st century: engine supplier Renault Sport F1, which supplies four F1 teams—Red Bull Racing, Lotus F1 Team, Caterham F1 Team, and Williams F1 Team—is using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for the development of its engines, including a new one that it is developing for the 2014 F1 season. It is using software from CD-adapco.


Cédric Libert, head of the simulation department at Renault Sport F1 said, “CFD technology plays a fundamental role in the design and development of a modern F1 engine. The ability to simulate the behavior and performance of our designs quickly and accurately has a direct influence on our on-track performance. In addition to providing highly optimized solutions for the current V8 era, one of our biggest challenges at the moment is to develop the most innovative, energy saving 1.6 V6 turbocharged engine for the 2014 season. It is very clear that numerical simulation is vial for Renault Sport F1 to be able to deliver this brand-new F1 engine in less than 30 months. Through the use of DOE [design of experiments], and with CD-adapco’s STAR-CCM+ and STAR-CD solutions and expertise, we can innovate and heavily reduce our time to market.”

They must be more than a little proficient at what they do: Renault Sport F1 engines were used by Red Bull Racing to win the last two championships.