Formula One car development blog

Mercedes re-introduces curvy rear wing

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Perhaps the most obvious aerodynamic change on any F1 car at the Belgian Grand Prix was Mercedes' new rear wing, featuring a curve not seen on any current Formula One car. Rather than a fully horizontal leading and trailing edge of each of the rear wing's elements, the new wing features a curved shape that is lower in the middle, hence creating a wing that generates more downforce closer to the car's centre line.

The technique was used on several older Formula One cars, such as the ... Read more

McLaren relieved to get data on short nose

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Only just validated in an FIA crash test, McLaren brought its new shorter nose to the Austrian Grand Prix, with the single available item to be fitted on Fernando Alonso's car. As was publicly stated by several teams in winter testing, short noses do have their advantages, particularly due to the mandatory neutral central section of the front wing.

Red Bull Racing is the other recent example of reducing the car's nose, even though it wasn't as radical a change as McLaren did, replac... Read more

Red Bull's pride fails to bring major improvement

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Red Bull's Christian Horner was proud as a monkey at Barcelona, where his team finally showed up with a short nose, following 14 internal and 4 FIA tests (as reported by AMuS), until at last a design was found to match the regulatory requirements. 2 days later however, the same Horner was quoted as saying "we'll have to look at 2016", effectively writing off the 2015 campaign after another disappointing race.

As mentioned by the team, the new nose is considerably shorter, having qui... Read more

Ferrari seeks to exploit Coanda effect on sidepods

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Ferrari have brought a dramatic car update to Barcelona, and it appears there was hardly an exaggeration when Arrivabene claimed beforehand that 70% of the car was changed. Clearly, the team has put a lot of effort in getting this update package together, but with the changes so dramatic, Ferrari nonetheless opted for Vettel to run with the updates and Raikkonen without, getting a full race of comparison data.

On Friday, Raikkonen was still seen running Ferrari's new update packages... Read more

Toro Rosso fits rear wing support through exhaust pipe

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Introduced at the Australian Grand Prix and continued in Malaysia, Toro Rosso have designed a unique rear wing support that appears to protrude the engine's exhaust pipe. A central pillar is common to all teams to help support the aerodynamic forces exhibited by the rear wing to assist the rear wing endplates. Usually though, teams design a carbon fibre fork around the centrally mounted exhaust pipe, or otherwise create a carbon fibre mounting within the engine cover, above the exh... Read more

More gills on Williams to manage heat

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With Malaysia being all about heat management, Williams have added new gills on each side of the cockpit to provide additional cooling for the car's internals. Even though this in itself is nothing new, it's interesting to see that Williams appear to have put in some effort in making the fins efficient, arranging them in two rows of variable sizes. It makes us suspect the team won't limit their use to a single Grand Prix.

Note that the area containing the gills is more or less the o... Read more

McLaren adds 2-channel S-duct in car nose

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McLaren is pushing on with aerodynamic development while Honda focuses on getting its power unit up to speed. The most notable update seen on the MP4-30 chassis at Malaysia is the addition of an S-duct in the nose cone, undoubtedly pushed by Petr Prodromou who worked on the feature with Red Bull in recent years.

Similar to the inlet on the Red Bull RB11, air is caught via a wide channel underneath the entire span of the nose cone, with the outer extremities however feeding channels ... Read more

Cockpit edges: to round or not to round?

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Since Toro Rosso introduced their shorter nose cone on the STR10, the team also added long fins on each side of the upper edge of the monocoque. It's a unique feature across all current cars and appears to be aimed at reducing air to spill over the edges of the monocoque.

This can be a particular issue under yaw, for example when the car is turning left. Air that is then flowing left of the monocoque could spill over the edge and end up in the cockpit opening area, one of the least ... Read more

Ferrari puts new front wing in use at Melbourne

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Come the third and final pre-season winter test at Barcelona, Ferrari brought along a new front wing for the SF15-T. For me the SF15-T has the fundamentals of a great front wing, as long as they develop on the concept over the course of the season. As expected, the new wing was used on both cars in Melbourne, but clearly Ferrari only introduced it at the final test to maximise development time.

The old wing (inset) had a three element cascade unit with a north mounted turning vane o... Read more

Short nose and new front wing add downforce on STR10

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Toro Rosso have introduced a big update to their STR10, including a brand new front wing and a shortened nose cone. It is understood that the car's longer nose cone was initially designed as a base to get through the crash tests and get testing, while the team subsequently focused on what is generally considered a better aerodynamic solution. Two technical heads have confirmed to me that the shorter nose is indeed a better solution, admitting that this has to do with the flow coming... Read more