Formula One car development blog

Mercedes S-duct evolution

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While other teams have been busy copying Mercedes' S-duct inlets in the nose cone, the championship team itself was busy further developing its own device. The team have certainly taken inspiration from McLaren's solution of 2016, with an outlet ahead of the kink in the nose cone, and split up by the fairing around the pitot tube.

An image taken today by f1today also shows the clear evolution that Mercedes have done, making the outlet clearly a lot larger than it was on the F1 W07.... Read more

2017 design trends: adoption of the S-duct

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Having been tried, used and developed by several teams in recent history, 2017 finally looks to become the year in which (nearly) all teams add some form of S-duct on their cars. It is a solution which was first pioneered by Ferrari back in 2008. Back then, it was aimed at improving their airflow underneath the nose cone at a time when front wing development was possible in the central section of the wing as well.

The major regulation changes of 2009 removed the possibility for Ferr... Read more

Shark fins and T-wings to be banned on safety grounds?

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Following the launch of the first few cars in launch week, voices were raised that shark fins, engine cover sails, or whatever they would need to be called, should be banned from Formula One. F1 teams themselves didn't agree however, as Red Bull's attempts to get them banned last summer failed, most likely because some teams were already happily exploring the aerodynamic possibilities of such engine cover extensions.

Now, with testing underway, and literally every car underway with ... Read more

Blown wheel hubs continue to be tricky business

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Blown wheel hubs have been adopted by a large number of teams this season, but the feature continues to keep aerodynamicists busy.

At Monza for instance, Red Bull Racing briefly tested an alternative to the open wheel hubs by putting a conical cap inside each front wheel's axle. The cap did appear to have small apertures to still allow some airflow to get through, but clearly much less than what would otherwise be possible. Both cars however were running the usual open hubs in quali... Read more

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... Read more

Sauber making strides with new aero package

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Sauber have at long last introduced an upgrade package for its low key C35. With the team's future secured, money has become available to produce what had been designed in the first half of the season, allowing the team to recover some of the deficit that it had built up since the beginning of winter testing. The team's new package is indeed extensive, with a new, shorter nose much along the lines of what other have been been doing last year. The front wing supports feature a curve ... Read more

McLaren opts against racing new rear wing endplates

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McLaren have turned up at Austria with a dramatically different rear wing end plate than the previous versions, including three new long vertical slits. These are positioned downstream of the two slits that were already present along the leading edge of the end plates.

All vanes are aimed at directing airflow inboard, hence allowing air to stream into the low pressure area that is induced underneath and behind the rear wing's downforce generating elements. The resulting reduced pres... Read more

What Williams was really doing with its illegal rear wing

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The Williams team surprised during this week's Barcelona in-season test by coming up with a very special rear wing. The wing, featuring an additional section ahead and above the usual rear wing flaps would be illegal to run in races this year, but it proved to be useful for the team in an attempt to find and remedy some of the weaknesses of this year's FW38. It was run for half a day by Alex Lynn, before Felipe Massa had it fitted on the car the entire second day of testing.

Contrar... Read more

New front wing main item of aero upgrade of VJM09

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Like many other teams, Force India have introduced a major aerodynamic upgrade to their car, the VJM09. Even though the update was earlier announced to make the car look quite different, in essence it's detail changes, which nonetheless could have a large effect on the car's aerodynamic properties.

The car's new front wing, immediately fitted on both cars, is the most important item of the package and features an arc on the inside of the outer footplate, a design element seen on the... Read more

Williams' shorter nose and new front wing not a bolt-on improvement

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Williams have finally managed to get a shorter version of its car's nose ready for racing, accompanied with a new front wing. Just one item is available at the Bahrain Grand Prix, after the team rushed to manufacture one after finally succeeding the front impact crash test, following numerous failed attempts. With obvious aerodynamic benefit, F1 teams have recently been pursuing this route, with Red Bull also notably having required many crash tests before finally coming up with a s... Read more