Technical analysis: Canadian GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

The high-speed nature of the Montreal race track urged the engineers to redesign some of the aerodynamic elements. The long straights meant every team tried to trim its wings and vanes down to decrease drag and hence increase the top-speed of its car. However, Pirelli's ongoing warm-up issues set limits in the pursue for top speed.

Red Bull
Red Bull won the price for the highest number of upgrades in Canada. The energy drink-owned team showed a series of developments in Montreal, some of them were track-specific while others were part of the natural progression of the in-season development of the RB13.

The team equipped the car with new vertical turning vanes around the sidepod area and modified the small vanes on the sidepods. Their complexity is still behind the Mercedes and Ferrari solutions, but the growing confidence of the team and the better results show that Red Bull is back on track with its development tools after the correlation problems.

As many other teams, Red Bull brought a track-specific rear wing aimed for medium downforce configuration. The new one features only three cuts in the end plate instead of four. The main wing and the flap built a flatter construction.

The team also brought a new front wing to Montreal which featured a cut in its end plate. The cascade vanes got also modified.

The underfloor was also reworked for the high-speed circuit. The old one had nine cuts ahead of the rear tyres which were all orthogonal to the edge of the floor. The new one features also nine, but they are more sophisticated and run angularly.


Ferrari’s development concentrated on the medium-speed demands of the Montreal track which puts big emphasis on the top speed of the car, but the heavy breaking zones and Pirelli’s tyre warm-up issues meant that engineers could not trim the aerodynamic devices down as much as the long straights would have wished.

The Maranello-based team brought a new rear wing to Montreal. The new one is a heavily curved version which has been a preferred solution of Williams and Mercedes for a couple of years for tracks like Montreal or Spa. The new solution was tested on Friday and confirmed the data measured through its design phases. Both drivers used it over the weekend.

This new rear wing did not only feature a curved, flatter form, but it had five cuts in its end plates, two smaller of them were closed. This version is expected to be used later in the year in Spa.

Ferrari also modified its underfloor. Teams are heavily investing in the research of the part of the floor which is directly in front of the rear wheels. The current trend is the high number of small, identical cuts which run orthogonally to the edge of the floor. In contrary to that, Ferrari use cuts which have an upcurved S-form. In Montreal, the team increased the number of slots from three to four.

The Anglo-Japanese collaboration continued its ceaseless experimentation with different aerodynamic solutions.

The team tested a new mirror pillar which is linear instead of the previous curved form, it is placed much taller to bring it into a more neutral area which disturbs less the ‘clean’ air flying towards the back of the car. The team decided against the modified mirror for the qualifying and the race.

McLaren introduced a new underfloor for the track lying on the Ile de Notre Dame. The back part of the previous version was rather basic. It did not feature any slots. For this race, the team added three cuts right in front of the rear tyres to manage the airflow in that critical area. It is a sign that McLaren has started an intensive research and intends to close in on its rivals in that particular development path.

The team was desperately searching for the optimal downforce configuration. It did not only try out different rear wings, but also various front wings. Honda’s top speed was around 10-12 kph lower than the average top speed of the others which meant the Woking-based team’s engineers had to sacrifice even more downforce then ideally.


Like McLaren, the Enstone-based team also tried out different front wing versions over the weekend. The engineers wanted to try out wings with different flaps. On Friday, the cars ran with long flaps while on Saturday the front wings featured much shorter flaps to decrease drag.

The French manufacturer debuted its triple-dekcer T-wing in Monaco, but the engineers dismounted it from its car as the element produces drag which is the least desirable on the never-ending straights of the Montreal race track.

Force India
The Silverstone-based team also brought a couple of upgrades to Montreal. Force India’s technical chief Andy Green promised that the triple-decker T-wing will not make appearance on their car in the near future after Monaco because they produce too much drag. The teams removed its Monaco-specification T-wing and swapped it to a single-element version.

A new bargeboard celebrated its debut in Canada as well. The previous version was already a rather complicated, heavily serrated one with 9 significant slots. For Canada, the team modified the upper and front edges of the ten elements. They are now more rounded to decrease drag.

Force India also experimented with various front wings. The vanes on the endplates were dismounted and simpler flaps replaced the previous ones.


Sauber introduced a medium-downforce rear wing in Canada, but it was only used on one car in the race as the team did not have a spare part for Pascal Wehrlein after the German damaged his sole example in a heavy crash during the qualifying session.

The Swiss team also made a slight modification to the underfloor of the car, a vane was added directly in front of the rear tyres to channel the air flying against the rears better.

Toro Rosso
The Faenza-based squad was experimenting with different front and rear wings. The energy drink-owned junior team tried out a medium-downforce rear wing, but it opted against it for the qualifying and the race. However, the engineers found the new front wing with lower drag/downforce effective and kept it on the cars.


Williams also introduced a rear wing which is in line with its previous low-to-medium downforce rear wings. The team was topping the top speed sheet throughout the weekend with that.