Formula One car development blog

Redesigned exhaust system for McLaren

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McLaren is pushing ahead with its car development, and this time has come up with a revised aerodynamics package around the exhausts. The change resembles much that of Renault or Ferrari early on in the season as they decided that it is better to let hot air out of the sidepod sooner rather than later. Hence McLaren did the same, as the exhausts are now part of a large air outlet opening, following which the car's shell is much more tight. Still, the system is assymetrical with the left side allowing more hot air to exit.

Also marked it the revised engine cover which Hamilton already had at the Nürburgring. The previous version that was used without change in the first half of the season is now replaced by a more traditional layout with a straight slope towards the rear crash structure. The change effectively reduces the surface of the cover and is an opposite development of the extending shark fin covers.

Toyota pulling the plugs for extra downforce

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Toyota is doing everything it can to find some extra rear downforce on its TF109. At the Hungaroring, a notoriously slow and high downforce circuit, the team added a BMW-style third rear wing element in the central 15cm of the wing. It is only in this area that move than 2 horizontal panels are allowed in the rear wing.

And as that didn't prove enough, another 2-panel wing was added above the rear light to push air up. Although less than in previous years, this item will also help the diffuser's efficiency by creating a low pressure area behind it.

Renault focus to improve car balance

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Renault, just like BMW have found out the hard way that focusing too much on KERS during the winter has cost them dearly in aerodynamic performance of the car. The French squad is steadily improving with continuous updates and found out with Alonso that their latest package is an interesting upgrade.

The R29 does not have a specific problem but rather suffers a lack of grip, already since the first winter tests. Just like McLaren, the team therefore introduced a new front wing, a much different endplate - which is still quite different from any other car - and a new wheel fairing.

The updates were only available for Alonso, but Nelson Piquet will also have them at his disposal during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

Force India continue intense development

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Force India have shown their much improved pace at Germany that was largely thanks to its new aerodynamic package, including this totally revised front wing and endplate assembly. Although it is clearly a development of the previous version, the most inward, unmoveable part of the flaps have a changed profile to improve airflow along the inside of the front wheels.

The decked elements remained unchanged but it is now fixed differently with a seperate support (in unpainted black carbon) just aside of the endplate. The rest of the changes on the endplates are basically copy and paste work from other teams.

Ferrari drivers running different front wings

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Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa have run the German Grand Prix with different front wing profiles. Raikkonen's car was equipped with a version that has been used for a long time - upper part of the image - while Massa had a new upper flap section. With all the rest of the wing indifferent, the new upper flap features a cutout and is not folded back behind the base plane in its most inward section.

While this change will influence the air fed into the brake cooling ducts, both drivers ran the same ducts.

McLaren add vented front wing endplates

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McLaren have decided to continue to develop its MP4-24 in a little more conservative way as previous highly anticipated updates did not pay off. At the Nürburgring one of the new aerodynamic things was a revised front wing endplate which now includes small vents that catch air flowing along the outside of the wing towards the inside. The idea was pioneered by Toyota but has since March found many more followers.

Additionally, the team also reverted to its more traditional front wheel fairings. As marked in the image, the fairing is identical to last year's version and does not overlap the sidewall of the tyre - like the inside panel still does.

It needs no explanation that the front wing endplates highly influences the airflow around the front wheel, hence requiring continuous evaluation in that area.

Another new diffuser for the Red Bull

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It was only back in Monaco that Red Bull introduced its revised package aimed to benefit from a new double decker diffuser, and now again the RB5 is fitted with an update. The element is possibly as good an improvement as the original DDD was.

This time around the new diffuser now spans the maximum width, while previously the team, along with Toro Rosso, was the only not to use this. All diffusers of the RB5 in the first 7 races were the width of the rear wing, with its endplate extending down to form the diffuser walls. Although now they are still attached, the endplates only reach onto the diffuser, not down to the reference place.

Also note the added hot air exhaust in the engine cover to cool the car's internals better.

BMW revise front wing, again

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BMW Sauber have introduced another update to the F1.09's front wing. Now that the team is completely focused on improving the aerodynamics of the car after ditching KERS, all parts have evolved from being simple to less simple. To no avail it appears though, as BMW was again in a troubled position during the British GP weekend.

The updates however include a new endplate which is slightly bent, allow a little more air to be accellerated under the front wing rather than pushed around the front wheels. Aside of the front wing adjuster, the fixed panels have also been revised, now featuring a curvature of the lower element.

New nose for Red Bull RB5

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Red Bull were starting to miss their duck resembling noses and hence changed the previous one to one that more fits its tradition. The new nose is wider and also slightly higher than the version which the team used for the first 7 Grand Prix. In order to prevent the obligated camera housing from mixing up the airflow too much, the team chose to move them forward as much as possible, effectively putting them to use as straighteners for the airflow alongside the nose cone.

Also note the marked ride height sensor that it attached in a carbon fibre hub under the nose cone. It was used on Friday by the team to measure the influence of the car's new parts - which also include a new diffuser.

Improving front wheel aero on the TF109

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The Toyota TF109 has also seen some updates at the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, including aerodynamic tweaks in the front. New for instance is the modified front wing endplate of which the outer small panel now features an upward flip to help manage airflow ahead of the front wheels.

This area is particularly interesting as the wheels generate a lot of drag while a steadier airflow can also help to keep the brakes cool. Therefore the team also changed the cooling inlets while the wheel fairings allow for a clean exit of the brake air and dust. The design of the fairing alone for instance can be good for a few percentages of extra downforce at the rear end of the car.