Formula 1 Aero Rakes Explained

Aero rakes allow Formula 1 engineers to compare virtual airflow models against real-life track performance.

byJerry Perez|
F1 photo

Pre-season testing, or as the Formula 1 fraternity calls it, winter testing, provides teams with valuable track time to test the various components that were invented or redesigned during the off-season. Aero rakes are measuring devices that help engineers test the efficiency of said components as a car moves down the track. 

The devices may look like silly bits of scaffolding attached to the body of a Formula 1 car, but they're extremely useful and advanced despite the somewhat archaic design. 

As this video explains, aero rakes are lightweight structures that hold "Kiel probe" sensors that measure airflow as it moves around or through the bodywork of an F1 car. Engineers can make the necessary setup changes for specific race tracks based on information derived from the aero rakes, however, designers can utilize the same data to redesign or fine-tune body parts for better aerodynamic efficiency.