Technical analysis – Austrian and British GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP United Kingdom, Silverstone Circuitgb

The 2017 Formula One season was slowly approaching its midpoint before the Austrian GP, but most of the teams did not fail to impress with the rate of their developments. The ceaseless development war brought a series of updates to the mid-summer races.


The Scuderia concentrated on both the mechanical and aerodynamic development over the last two race weekends.

In Austria, the Maranello-based squad introduced a modified front wing. The new version features a more aggressively curved main profile. The former tunnel is more emphasised while there is another tunnel with an additional curvature. The front wing was tested on Friday, and was then cleared after the data-check for race action.

At Silverstone, Ferrari was required to modify its floor. The Italians’ version has been a controversial piece of innovation for the entire season. The front part of its edge featured an upcurved section which was allegedly flexible. The FIA stepped in earlier in the season to calm down the waves, but that did not prove to be enough. Ferrari was asked to strengthen the floor again and closed a hole around that curvature in question.

Ferrari also debuted a new engine in the British GP. The second-spec Ferrari Tipo 062 was tested by the customer Haas team in Austria, the parent team installed the new units at Silverstone a week later. The internal combustion engine was updated with new pistons which were designed by using 3D printing technology. Both Räikkönen and Vettel started using their third engine. However, their second power unit stayed in the pool which can be used during Friday practices later on in the season.


The Anglo-German squad brought minor updates to Austria and Silverstone which were always going to favour its cars due to the long full-throttle sections.

At Spielberg, Mercedes modified the mirror-pillars which form now almost a 90-degree shape and are lower. The vertical part of the pillar and the turning vane sitting ahead of it form a tunnel.

The engineers took a step even further in terms of the complexity of the aerodynamics of the W08. There is no other car which would come near to it in terms of complexity. The enormous turning vane under the nose cone was updated by adding a small cut to the rear part of it. It is a vortex generator which aims to manage the airflow flying towards the back of the car.

The area around the crash structure went through small modifications as well. Two tiny horizontal vanes were mounted to the sidewalls of the crash structure. Furthermore, two L-shaped, slim carbon-parts were installed to the crash structure. These are all tiny modifications which also shows how advanced the development programme of the W08 has become by the midpoint of the season and how desperately the team's engineers are seeking for the tiniest of improvement.

The team also installed the third internal combustion engine to both its cars, but these are said to feature only minor changes to the previous version which debuted in Spain.

Red Bull

The energy drink-owned team brought small modifications to both venues. At Silverstone, a new front wing debuted. The small vane which connects the outwards and inwards cascade elements was updated for the high-speed circuit. The engineers checked the data with huge rakes mounted on the cars during Friday free practices.

Red Bull also updated its turning vane underneath the nose cone. The three-element solution is now connected with an impressive horizontal vane. The previous version featured a smaller horizontal element which did only connect the two rear vertical vanes.


The Grove-based squad introduced a series of updates in Austria. The cars, however, failed to impress in qualifying trim. Neither Felipe Massa nor Lance Stroll could make the jump into the second qualifying session as both suffered from the difficulty of getting the Pirelli tyres into their operating window.

The engineers mounted a sword-like vane to the sidewalls of the chassis. Like McLaren, that vane is connected to the rather complex bargeboards.

The L-shaped turning vanes around the sidepods were also modified, they are now connected to the upper edge of the chassis. Previously, they were much shorter and were bound to the outer edge of the sidepods.

The front wing got new pillars which now features a hole on both sides. Its shape changed as well, it is now less curved at its back.


McLaren continued to update its car during the last two Grand Prix races.

The Woking-based team introduced a new front wing. The new one features a huge, heavily curved cascade wing which is connected to the endplates. The previous version featured two, much smaller cascade elements. The new front wing was tested during the Friday practices at Silverstone, but the team reverted to the old version on both cars.


Renault brought two major upgrades to Silverstone. The team introduced a new floor which features a Ferrari-like upcurved section on its frontal edge. Unlike many other teams, the Renault-floor only has three cuts in front of the rear tyres. The team could only manufacture one example from the floor which was given to Nico Hülkenberg. Jolyon Palmer will get the new floor in Hungary.

The French manufacturer also updated its bargeboards. The previous version was already a rather complex solution with differing forms, shapes, curvatures, tunnels, channels, slots, cuts and serrations. The newest solution got an extra upcurved element to the edge of the horizontal plane of the bargeboards.