Formula One car development blog

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

Getting downforce through the rear wing endplate

By on

Renault F1 have arrived at Barcelona with an interesting update on their car, one that was photoshopped away from its launch renderings.

It may appear like a no-brainer, but Renault has become the first team to generate proper downforce through vanes on the rear wing endplates. While other teams limit themselves to vertical vanes that help clean up the flow or inject some more airflow underneath the rear wing, Renault have taken a different approach.

Still going on with the aerodyna... Read more

Ferrari trial halo-mounted mirrors

By on

Ferrari showed up at Barcelona with new wing mirror supports. Instead of the attachment to the chassis shoulders, the wing mirrors are linked to the halo. The team have meanwhile also added a winglet just above the mirror housing, perfectly shading the mirror itself when looking at the car from above.

It was only between the Chinese and Azerbaijan Grand Prix that the FIA announced that mirrors could also be attached to the halo. The Technical Directive was a response to the decreasi... Read more