Formula One car development blog

Alpine already switching to more compact rear end

By on

Lots of people were stunned by Alpine's decision to fix a bulky airbox on the A521, but the team have already run their new car today with a new, more compact design that sees the rear end of the car considerably slimmed down. Along with the airbox that now tapers down more more quickly, the sidepod air outlets are smaller, leaving a lot more room low above the car's floor for clean airflow.

As the image shows, Alpine were focusing on front end aero on Friday morning with a rake fit... Read more

Mercedes vs Red Bull - Rear end comparison

By on

Mercedes's secrecy about their car's floor triggered the interest of many ahead of winter testing. Though the team were perhaps most clear about it, others similarly tried to not reveal too much about the floors, as this area is where teams had to adapt their designs to comply with the modified regulations without losing too much downforce.

The reduced floor width towards the rear wheels meant teams had to redesign an aerodynamic area that is crucial for the efficiency of the diffus... Read more

Bahrain

Again no S-duct for McLaren?

By on

Even though most teams still use the S-ducts, even when featuring narrow nose likes like on the Renault RS20 or Mercedes W11, it seems like McLaren will once again opt against an S-duct. Last year, with the introduction of the MCL33 car, the team switched to a narrow nose, and at the same time ditched the S-duct. It might be less advantageous to have an S-duct with a narrow nose, but the most likely reason why McLaren opted against is to be able to package things closer, while still... Read more

A closer look at Alfa Romeo's front end

By on

Alfa Romeo have maintained a similar front-end philosophy compared to what featured on its 2019 contender. While many other teams went for narrow noses, Alfa stuck with the regular, flat-top nose cone with apertures at the tip of the nose to feed the S-duct.

The picture shows how the new Alfa continues to feature a very wide S-duct outlet, almost the entire width of the nose cone and just a few centimeters in height.

Left and right of it are new winglets since the second test at Bar... Read more

Red Bull joins louvre sidepod panel trend

By on

The second week of pre-season testing at Barcelona saw Red Bull Racing bring a fairly considerable aerodynamic update to its RB16, featuring detail changes on the front wing and the diffuser. The most obvious change was however the change in the barge boards where the team have now joined Mercedes and Ferrari in having louvres as sidepod panels, instead of only vertical deflectors.

The new design, at least in this area, is very similar to that from Mercedes with a number of flaps pu... Read more

Mercedes surprises with innovative Dual Axis Steering system

By on

Onboard images from the first day of testing at Barcelona have revealed that Mercedes' new W11 features a steering wheel assembly that moves forward and backward - apart from the obvious rotational movement to steer into corners.

The recording, coming from an onboard shot of F1TV, shows how Lewis Hamilton's steering wheel moves towards him when coming on a straight, and forward again when nearing a corner.

As Mercedes have meanwhile confirmed this is an additional way for the driver... Read more

Alfa adds fins around S-duct

By on

The Alfa Romeo team have fitted their C38 with a set of additional fins on the upper edges of the monocoque. Attached to the panel that covers the upper front suspension elements, there are 4 vertical fins on the left and right sides of the S-duct exit.

Just like the fins that Mercedes added, they direct airflow outboard, helping extraction of air out of the S-duct.

The image also reveals how the panel isn't really a great fit onto the monocoque, and even worse so against the nose c... Read more

New sidepod shape part of Melbourne package for W10

By on

Mercedes have drawn most of the attention to them at today's testing, thanks to having an upgrade package "that leaves not a single aerodynamic element unchanged".

Indeed, the updates are extensive, and reaching a lot further than the nose and front wing changes we mentioned earlier on.

Perhaps the most obvious change are the sidepods, which are a step away from Mercedes' traditional sidepod design. In fact, the new shape seems highly influenced by a design trait of recent Adrian Ne... Read more

Mercedes introduce new nose and front wing

By on

Mercedes have kicked off the second week of testing at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona by adding a new front end to their W10. Having struggled with front end grip during the first 4 days of testing, the upgrades will come as a welcome addition to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

As another evolutionary step in Mercedes unique thin nose cone, the team have further narrowed the nose and added some sculpting to improve airflow underneath and over the nose cape that managed airflow ... Read more

Mercedes W10 rear wing airflow explained with flow-viz

By on

Testing usually sees teams apply flowviz paint on their cars to visualize airflow on certain car elements. They do so to verify the findings from the windtunnel and detect any unwanted effect that was not simulated.

So did Mercedes, revealing airflow on the suction surface of the rear wing and its endplates (flows D and E).

It is clear in the image that airflow has drawn straight lines onto the suction surface of the main flap. This shows perfect laminar flow, as one would expect w... Read more