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A Deep Dive into F1 Car Cooling Systems: Liquid Cooling, Air Cooling and More

In this article, find out everything you need to know about the F1 car cooling systems. Also check out the process of cooling systems with liquid cooling and air cooling.

Utsav Chaudhary
Last updated: 12.03.2024
The Cooling System In Formula 1 Cars

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There is no denying that modern Formula 1 cars produce a lot of heat. These cars are highly incredible machines that can work under extreme pressure and heat. Well, working at full potential may damage the engine and other components. To ensure less damage occurs, the engineers and designers design the track-focused machines with performance in mind. However, cooling the engine requires a decent amount of cooling which is a bit of a complex process.


Cooling Systems in F1 Cars are made different from normal road cars. Various components are being used to transfer the heat from one hot component to the cooler air that is glued over them when driving at fast-paced corners. Keeping a car cool is one of the major tasks for every team in the garage. However, cooling aids can be beneficial but they will reduce the performance by adding weight.


So keeping a car cool and performance also not affected looks like a bit of a nexus problem. But not to worry in this article we will discuss the perplexity of how F1 cars are cooled and what dynamics it revolves while cooling the F1 cars during the race weekend.

The Process Of Cooling F1 Cars

There are two main processes to cool the modern Formula 1 cars. As the design is simplified from nose to tail, any component that is incorporated into F1 Cars requires cooling to keep the device or parts functional for long use.  A few major components such as the gearbox, hybrid system, and the clutch are mandatory to get cooled before the start of every race weekend or before the Qualifying race. The major player that holds up the role of cooling the F1 cars is the ICE engine.


While the process of cooling takes place, the team also ensures that the car maintains its aerodynamic design. The engine produced so enormous heat that the team always had tension about having a seized engine during the race. These two principles of cooling are as follows:


Liquid Cooling

It is one of the common methods or the primary method to cool modern F1 Cars. For this process, a water-based coolant or glycol mixture is made and passed through the engine system so that it can absorb the excessive heat from the metals. After this, the coolant flows to a radiator where the cool surrounding air gets heat away from the coolant. Finally, this cooled coolant again returns to the engine to repeat the process till the car stops after the race ends.

Radiator Cooling Component Of F1 Car
Radiator Cooling Component Of F1 Car

Similarly, the oil is circulated by a gear pump so that the smooth functioning of the gear mechanism takes place, and further, this oil is later driven into the powertrain. The other component that helps the car to improve its performance is the turbo. The turbo in a hybrid F1 engine is intact with a Charge Air Cooler also known as the CAC. This system works as an air-to-air intercooler which helps improve the overall efficiency of the car.


Air Cooling

The other process of cooling the modern F1 Cars is air cooling. This process is not as complex as those with heat exchangers or the radiators. Air cooling is lighter but it only helps in partition while cooling the car. This process mainly depends upon the aerodynamics of the car. Different cars possess different aero aids so different aero cooling is effective to cool the car after the race. Some components like the brakes, air ducts, and side-pods help in marinating the temperature of the power unit.


These air ducts route the cool air from the outside while applying the brakes and then help to transfer the heat from the brakes to the surroundings. Similarly through side-pods moving air enters and moves to the powertrain to dissipate heat.

Air Cooling Component
Air Cooling Component

Both cooling methods are effective but play a certain role on different tracks. They have made successful cool F1 Cars and are still being used to date. These methods have shown that perfect engineering and designing can upkeep the testament of the sports and craftsmanship and strategy of the teams involved during the race.


If you are interested in knowing behind the wheels of F1 cars then do follow us and let us know which topic you would like to cover from the realm of F1 and motorsport engineering.


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