Case study

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team speeds up design decisions with high performance computing

When it comes to Formula 1 aerodynamics research, FIA defines the limit of computational time available for critical CFD simulations. The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team uses a supercomputing solution based on the latest HPE Moonshot HPC server cluster which significantly increases the number of CFD simulations � improving car aerodynamics and the team's competitiveness during races.


Optimizing aerodynamic performance
In Formula 1, a car's aerodynamics are critical. Even the minutest alteration can affect its downforce or drag and, ultimately, how well it powers off at the start of the race, holds the road around corners or even reacts to the slipstream from a competitor just in front.
Cars continually evolve throughout the season and into the winter break between seasons. Whenever engineers modify a part such as a wing or a sidepod, they need to understand how that alteration will impact the car's performance. To appreciate how it will impact downforce and drag, they need insights into both how forces act on the car and how the air flows around the car as it powers along.
"Aerodynamics research is critical," explains Francesco Del Citto, Head of CFD Methodology, Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. "Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD simulations help engineers to design the best possible solution that gives the car the best aerodynamic performance."
CFD is a branch of fluid dynamics that uses computers to perform calculations that simulate how fluids interact with surfaces, in the case of Formula 1, building and running a virtual car in a virtual wind tunnel. The result is an estimation of the forces on the car and a picture of the air flowing around the car. While CFD simulations reduce the number of costly and time-consuming physical wind tunnel tests needed, they are extremely complex, requiring significant computational power.