Since Spain, Brawn is introducing updates all over its car, some smaller than others. At Monaco the BGP 001 featured updated mirror supports. Up to now, the team was running a twin element support while the new version is a much thicker aerofoil. Such in-season change of a previously simple element marks the team's search for performance improvement in areas where aerodynamic development is still allowed.
Formula One car development blog
It's finally there! There has been talk about it for more than a month, but Adrian Newey's design team have finished their version of a double deck diffuser, a device that brings several tenths of a second per lap. Newey has however claimed that while it will be some step at Monaco, the new design should benefit the car more at circuits with high speed corners.
The new diffuser adds an exit channel above and ahead of the usual one which has a constant height over the whole span of the diffuser. Apart from the extra upward flow thanks to this, the inner fences now also feature are small cut-out that allows air to flow into the central diffuser channel. This is also featured with many other teams and was debuted by Brawn GP.
Following the introduction of an updated diffuser at Spain, Force India has fitted a new rear wing on its 2009 car. Just like so many other teams, FI is exploiting the small central region of the rear wing where it is allowed to have more than two closed sections.
FI's solution is however quite distinctive as the team have chosen to add an extra little wing above the other elements. At the same time, the existing elements were modified to create an extra slot, similar to that of the new wing of McLaren.
For the high downforce requirements of the circuit in Monte Carlo, McLaren have designed a new rear wing. The new item now features a completely horizontal leading edge, ditching the curvature in the middle. The resulting lower leading edge will allow the wing to catch a little more air and hence create a stronger downward force.
Additionally, the team also looked at Toyota's central third element, only allowed in the middle section of the wing. While not applicable for the complete wing, this small section will see an improved aerodynamic efficiency compared to a two-section wing.
Ferrari were suddenly in much better shape at Spain thanks to a new rear end package. While previously the sidepods ended in between the rear wheels, a big air exhaust is now in place further ahead. The solution is very similar to an update that Renault introduced at the Chinese GP.
Along with it, the engine cover was redesigned to form a slightly lower curve, aiming to provide better efficiency of the rear wing due to a cleaned up air stream. Close to the car's centre however, the cover features elongated openings to provide cooling for the car's internals. Similar to Red Bull, the teams wanting to have air exits in that region have no option but to make them small as other apertures further away from the car's longitudinal axis are prohibited.
BMW Sauber finally introduced a major aerodynamic upgrade at Spain after struggling badly in the initial stages of the season. Already before the first Grand Prix, the team found the car's airflow around and onto the sidepods. The front end of the sidepod in particular was worrisome as it caused varying air pressure underneath the car and hence unpredictable downforce levels. An interim solution slightly helped, until now the team redesigned the complete front.
First of all, the sidepod's air inlet was reshaped and moved more towards the centre of the car. It now catches air flowing along the monocoque's sides. Because of this change, the outer side of the sidepod could be sculpted more gently. You can clearly see in the images that the new design is much smaller at its widest part - see the floor that now extends wider the the pod at the marker arrow. While the F1.09 still features one of the biggest sidepods of all current F1 cars, it's a major improvement already.
To further improve airflow towards the rear, the sidepod panel was also redesigned. It is now bigger, has a gap in the middle and still supports the outboard wing mirrors. Additionally, the team also follows the trend to fit small barge boards and turning vanes on the leading edge of the floor to better direct air around the sidepod.
There was a time when Ferrari was known for its complicated front wing endplates, and steadily it looks like that is coming back. The team however is now only a follower as they copy various design properties of other, faster cars.
The endplate has complicated since the car's first race. An additional vertical element was added, very similar to the Brawn BGP001. Slightly hidden is a small slot that catches air and directs it inwards of the end plate. Additionally the wing itself now has a higher curve close to the end plate, something that was also copied from Toyota.
Brawn have introduced their first car updates at the Spanish GP, keeping them ahead of the competition. One of the changes includes a redesigned engine cover. While the previous design was a smooth cover, the new updated sidepods have a sharper inward curve. More in the centre of the car, following the exhausts is a new cover of the suspension components.
Marked with a second arrow is also the slightly modified bodywork ahead of the exhaust openings, somehow resembling the curved sidepods of the Force India VJM02.
Toyota have introduced a new front wing at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. The new wing - lower part of image - adds an additional flap and makes the main front wing panels similar to McLaren's design. Apart from this, the cascade element's tip was also changed and simplified as the downward curve has been removed.
Unsurprisingly however, the wing was only tested on Friday by both drivers. The following qualifying and race saw both cars equipped with the older version as pictured in the upper part of the image. This comes as no surprise, as the extra slot is interesting for high downforce tracks, such as the track of the upcoming Grand Prix of Monaco.
BMW Sauber are in trouble, and as a result are focusing towards quickly improving the car with as little effort as possible. What better was is there than to copy another team's working idea and implement something similar. BMW brought at Barcelona a major aerodynamic upgrade package, including a rear wing with the marked additional flap on the central 150mm. It exploits an idea from Toyota that is now also used by Ferrari. The additional wing elements allow for higher efficiency in that altogether, small area.