When designing (or drawing) a car, a child would inevitably put the exhausts at the back of the car, just as pretty much every other car on the road has them – of course there’s the odd posh motor with twin exhausts and some chav-ed up Novas with exhausts resembling baked bean cans, but generally you’d think of a small, uninteresting pipe like gadget with fumes coming out of it.

Not in the world of 2011 F1 car design though, oh no – the chaps at the drawing boards have been clever this year, using exhaust fumes as a aerodynamic aid to improve performance of the car by passing the fumes over bodywork in weird and wonderful ways.  Renault led the way with their FFE (or Forward Facing Exhaust for non techie types) – yep forward facing – bonkers!

Thanks to our buddies at Octane Photos, here’s some interesting images of the Renault car in the in the pits – note the pit crew with cooling fans on the exhausts and then the tarmac that appears to be ‘charred’ following the car being sat in the pits.  Crazy!

Of course, Renault aren’t the only team with fancy exhaust systems – most of the teams have done something different this year too – here’s a gallery of exhaust systems from most of the grid – our man on the ground reports:

  • Red Bull system is very different to anybody elses, it seems to blow into the outer channel of the rear diffuser? which probably explains what looks like ceramic lining the outer channels.
  • Renault – The gaps in the pit box paint line up with the char marks that the exhaust system is leaving on the tarmac when the car is stationary. They are using 2 extra crew members with cold air blowers to cool the bodywork down around this area when the car stops. If it’s that hot how will it react to debris/marbles stuck in the intake.
  • McLaren – clearly visible is the new exhaust position a lot closer to the centre of the car (as origianly fitted and that suffered earl;y cooling problems on Tuesday) . The old exit location has been blanked off and can also still be seen.

Despite all the smoke and mirrors only Renault seem to be running a front exit system at the moment.