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Motorsport

Finding his flow

8 months ago

Writer:

Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder

Date:

5 February 2022

After a 30-year career as a Formula 1 aerodynamicist, Frank Dernie sees things you and I do not. We peer out of the window and see trees blowing in the wind, clouds scudding across the sky and birds flying overhead, but Dernie sees flow. After countless sessions in the wind tunnel, he’s hard-wired to do so; he actually can’t help it.

‘It’s pathetic really,’ he tells me, grinning. ‘One of the things I enjoy doing almost more than anything is to go to a fast flowing river or stream, and just watch the way the water flows. I watch for separation, see how the weeds are moving. At subsonic speeds, air and water behave the same way.

‘I used to be a fairly keen fisherman. If you know a bit about fluid flow, you can go to a river you’ve never been to before and work out exactly where the fish are going to be, whereas if you go to the sea or a lake, you’ve got no chance. I much prefer fishing a river.’

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