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Downforce is an aerodynamic force acting downwards which improves tyre grip, allowing higher cornering speeds.

Downforce can be generated in several ways, including:

  • upside down aerofoils (wings) which are mounted at the rear of some road cars and sports racing cars, and at the front and rear of single-seaters (like the Team Lotus car above)
  • ground effect, where air is squeezed in a venturi shape formed by the floor of the car and the road surface - as the air accelerates through the venturi its pressure drops, sucking the car down onto the road
  • diffusers at the rear of the car

A modern Formula 1 car generates more than twice its own weight in downforce. This means that, theoretically, an F1 car could drive upside down at speed along the roof of a tunnel.