What does a 'blown-diffuser' in Formula 1 actually do then?

We’ve heard the term thrown around like a well used rugby ball but what does it mean?

2 July 2010

The term ‘blown-diffuser’ carries with it a certain sense of mystery it’s nothing new to the Formula 1 scene and I suspect it’s not something that will be disappearing anytime soon .As early as 1983, Renault formulated a solution to a problem with rule changes. The full length ground effects tunnel had been banned and a loophole in the rules provided an answer to improve downforce over the rear diffuser. Back in those days, however, the car’s engines used turbo chargers as opposed to today's naturally aspirated engines. This plays a huge part in how the ‘blown-diffuser’ works.

What is a 'blown-diffuser' and how does it work?

A blown diffuser is a device that is used in Formula One racing to improve aerodynamic downforce of the car. Essentially, exhaust fumes exit the engine according to the designer's placement, whereby the placement is absolutely necessary to achieve maximum downforce as the hot air travels over the rear diffuser. This means moving the exhaust from above the car to below it.

The difference to then and now though was the turbo charger provided a steady flow of hot exhaust air to keep constant downforce. On the other hand, normally aspirated engines do not provide this reliability, they give out varying amounts of engine fumes depending on the position of the throttle. The more it’s pressed, the higher volume of air that is expelled.

How does the ‘blown-diffuser’ benefit F1 drivers?

With the ‘blown-diffuser’ directing all important air flow towards the back diffuser as well as around the tyre’s it gives the drivers more confidence to push the car harder into the corners and ultimately reduce the times on their laps. As with all the gadgets and gizmos that the teams are putting into their cars it still boils down to driver skill and the fact that split times are fractionally different between each racer, so we’ll only see lap times improve marginally. If these engineering marvels get your motor running you should come Karting at one of Team-Sports 8 fantastic tracks where all our karts come equipped with ‘rear-magneto-induced-multichannel-fusion-sporks’ giving you the ride of you life.