Formula One car development blog

Haas revives double-waved rear wing at Monza

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The Haas F1 Team drew a lot of attention with its new double-waved, M-like rear wing, a completely unique shape for a modern rear wing in Formula One. It's rare these days to see a rear wing that has a different shape along its entire span, and hardly a surprise that Mercedes have, or at least had the most varying profile with its spoon rear wing, as the ones used at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps. Apart from the need to test it under yaw, such designs are furthermore made difficult by DRS, as the DRS trigger and flap usually needs appropriate redesign as well.

Still, Haas pulled it off, with an M-shaped profile of the main plane and the leading edge of the moveable flap. The team did not use the wing at Spa, but it could possibly been seen again at other venues this year, as it still offered more downforce than some other wings seen at Monza.

In the top speed charts, both Haas cars were, in qualifying, around 5km/h down at the speed trap at Variante della Roggia on the factory Ferrari cars, who raced the same, upgraded Ferrari engines. That's pretty much at the bottom of the ranking. The team's drivers however were happy with their car's balance - thanks also to a modified front wing -, and eventually only missed out on points due to other factors than pure pace.

While the rear wing does look refreshing, and very different to what other teams are using, the idea is still not entirely new. Renault for instance - with James Allison as its Technical Director - fitted an M-profile rear wing to its Renault R30 as well. While clearly more simple in shape and without a moveable upper flap, the team ran this rear wing in the early races on 2010. Once they finished their own version of McLaren's F-duct - a much more efficient way of cutting drag - the team reverted to a conventional horizontal profile.

Renault's Monza rear end, a particular concept

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Apart from its new front wing, Renault also brought a new rear wing to Monza. While at basically remained the same, the upper panel was cut out at its trailing edge, apart from the attachment points to the endplates as well as the midpoint of the wing.

Also marked with arrows is the F-duct exit which blows air when the stalling device is not operating. Interestingly, this is the only air exhaust one can see on the Renault from behind, in sharp contrast with Red Bull. Renault have designed their sidepods to be long and fairly big, even at the back, so that all hot air from within the pods are blown onto the diffuser. This design is particularly interesting for rear downforce as the hot air can help energise the diffuser's decks.

As said, Red Bull have taken a completely different approach with extremely narrow sidepods, but the RB6 features a large opening below the F-duct exit to get rid of its hot air.

Low downforce front wing on Renault

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Renault introduced yet another front wing, this time a much simpler one as less downforce is required at Monza. The complicated end plates have become a bit more simple as the stacked front wing element and the winglet outward of the panel were ditched to reduce drag.

Renault did retain the basic structure of the wing, but a V-cut was made into the upper panel, ahead of the inside of the front wheel. While it could help brake cooling, the team's wind tunnel tests had certainly shown where along the wing this cut is most efficient.

Note that the Belgian front wing also was a new version, and it's not unthinkable that we will see another new one at the high downforce circuit of Singapore.

Renault bring R30 up to speed with F-duct

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Renault has become the most recent team to add an F-duct, and in fact the last of the established teams to do so. The team was working on the device for months inside the factory, and upon introduction at Spa found it working as expected, a feat that Red Bull for instance did not enjoy at their introduction of the F-duct several races back.

Team manager Eric Bouillier was extremely happy after the race, and rightly so. During the race, the Renaults had top speeds matching those of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, something they previously could only dream of.

Renault's device is very similar to what can be seen on other cars, with the driver controlling the airflow through the duct with his left hand. The main air inlets for the duct are located aside of the roll hoop. This was the only way to add the device without changing the crash structure inside the airbox.

On a side note, both Force India cars at Spa were still 6km/h quicker down the straight than any of the title contenders.

Renault bring high downforce wing to Hungary

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The Hungaroring is one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar regarding downforce, and hence many teams introduce new components to improve the car's handling around the twisty track.

Renault have one of the most obvious changes as it introduces a new rear wing, adding quite a bit of downforce to the car. The new device builds on the drop in the wing's centre and extends on that idea, now adding a small slot underneath the main wing. The most interesting bit of this configuration may well be the non-straight slot between the two main panels, which now are basically just one element with carefully design slot gap. As Renault still do not have an F-duct and while their plans on this are unclear, this is surely an attempt to fight back on the ever improving blown rear wings.

Brake duct development at Renault

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With Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve being particularly hard on the brakes, all teams have modified their braking systems to cope with the additional demand. On a full lap, the cars are for 16% of the time under braking, more than any other track on the calendar.

Renault for instance clearly increased the brake duct aperture, catching more air to provide more cooling to the brake discs and pads (notice the difference with the Turkish configuration in the inset). Renault also ran a new front wing, removing the stacked elements of the wing. The rear wing was also modified, retaining the unique W-shape, but extending its curves and reducing the frontal surface of the wing.

And again a new front wing for Renault

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It's been said before, but the French team keep on confirming that they are convinced much time is to be found in the front wing. Unsurprisingly though, as the front wing hits the airflow first greatly influences the diffuser's efficiency, as well as airflow around the front wheels or into the brake ducts.

Just one race after its newest wing, the R30 is again equipped with a new version. The curvy stacked panel that was present since the the beginning of the season has made way for a 2-panel winglet similar to Brawn GP's last year. The part of the old stacked item outward of the endplate was however retained, making the wing more complex than ever.

Renault introduce another new front wing

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Renault was apparently not joking when they claimed to update their in every race. The team did not introduce a major update in Spain but has brought new updates at every single Grand Prix, each of them effectively used as they were all found to be consistent with windtunnel data. Together, Renault's car has already improved 0.75s since the first Grand Prix.

This time around, the team had another new front wing development, an area where they admitted to be lacking last year. The new version features a turning vane below the stacked element to help manage flow together with the endplates. More important however is the change in profile of the major planes. Stepping away from the steep drop the elements features towards the centre of the wing, the new wing shows an upward leading edge of the middle element, whereas the base plane is now split in two, inward of the front wing adjuster.

Renault add revolutionary double floor

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Now that the diffusers have become so much more important, the whole floor of the car has a much increased importance towards the efficiency of the whole car. Renault haven't missed out on that aspect and have added a double floor to its R30.

The team introduced a huge aerodynamic step at Sepang, including new sidepod panels, barge boards, a modified diffuser and a double splitter. Apart from its normal function of splitting air from in between the front wheels to the left and right sidepod, the new device also marks the beginning of a double floor. Right above the reference plane is now an open area of about 3cm high. Looking closely at the image you can also see that this floor space is extending under the side impact crash structures and under the whole width of the sidepod. While it is not perfectly clear yet how this air channel is used, the diffuser update that came with it suggests that this is used to feed on of the upper channels of the rear diffuser.

Just as with the underbody airflow, the stream in this channel will be accelerated due to the expansion that happens in the diffuser. As such, air is sucked from the front of the channel, reducing drag at the front while increasing downforce at the rear end of the car.

Another new front wing from Renault

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After having displayed their 2009 front wing on the presented R30, the team ran a curvy front wing during all winter testing, before introducing this new spec at free practice in Bahrain. While the base profile retains largely the same shape, the cascade element now features a much deeper spoon to catch more air and push it upwards. The item also has extends above the front wing endplate and in fact has its own small endplate attached on the outer edge of the panel.

Also interesting is the lower end of the front wing endplate which sort of forms an extension to the wing's elements. Renault is obviously aware of where they lost last year's development race, and are now pushing heavily on front wing development.