The same principle that allows an airplane to rise off the ground by creating lift from its wings is used upside-down to generate the downforce that pushes a race car against the surface of the track. This effect is sometimes referred to as "aerodynamic grip" and is distinguished from "mechanical grip," which is dependent on the car mass distribution, tyre compunds and suspension characteristics. The creation of downforce by passive devices can only be achieved at the cost of increased aerodynamic drag (or friction), and the optimum setup is almost always a compromise between the two.
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