Ferrari and Mercedes both introduced updates to their cars for this weekend's Baku street race. While the Italian team brought its first upgrade package in 2019, Mercedes' new parts are rather track-specific modifications.
Ferrari with upgrades
Scuderia Ferrari brought its first upgrade package for the 2019 season. The Maranello-based team completed the first three races of the season with almost the same package, it only worked on optimizing the downforce level for the various track configurations.
The Italian outfit introduced a modified floor, new turning vanes under the nose and new bargeboards for the first street race of the season. The modification on the floor affected the section ahead of the rear wheels. Three new vanes were added to the rearwards slots which should divert air away from the tyres, decreasing the drag induced by them.
The bargeboards were also changed for the Azerbaijan GP. They are now more sophisticated. Previously, they featured three single-element van and a three-element one. The new solution features two single-piece vane and two multi-element ones. The tuning vanes now features more pronounced longitudinal elements.
Ferrari also tried out a new rear wing which was already tested in Bahrain a few weeks ago. This is a medium-downforce
The team wanted to carry out checks through the Friday practices, but the interrupted opening sessions hindered the development work. However, the first signs show that the new components work as expected.
Mercedes with serrated rear wing
Mercedes popped up with a new rear wing in Baku which features tiny serrations on the trailing edge. The team first experimented with this concept in 2015 before debuting it the following year. It was using various solutions of the serrated wing throughout 2016, but it hasn’t raced it since.
The serrated edge can help to re-attach the airflow when the DRS is closed. It can also re-energise the airflow when the DRS is open, making it more forceful.
To trim drag further, Mercedes brought its single-element T-wing concept back for this weekend.
New PU elements
Alfa Romeo installed a new control electronics for both its cars. The fresh unit is Ferrari’s latest version which the Italian team introduced in a reaction to Charles Leclerc’s engine woes during the Bahrain GP. The fresh element is the second one for Kimi Räikkönen and the third one for Antonio Giovinazzi. Each driver is permitted to use only two CEs during the whole season, which means that the Italian driver was handed a ten-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.
Following yesterday’s problems with the manhole cover, Williams mounted a fresh energy store and control electronics in to the car of Geroge Russell.
Honda brought an introduced power unit to Baku, becoming the first engine-maker in 2019 to do so. All four Honda-powered cars received a fresh internal combustion engine. That is the second one for the two Red Bull Racing drivers while Toro Rosso drivers started using their third, last permitted ICE. Other than the engine, Verstappen and Gasly both received a new turbocharger, a fresh MGU-H and a new MGU-K unit.
New gearboxes for Baku
Three drivers started the Azerbaijan GP weekend with a new gearbox. Lando Norris, Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon got new units installed to their cars. The change won’t trigger penalties for any of them. The Thai-British driver used a spare gearbox at the previous Chinese GP which allowed him to replace that for a fresh one. The two other drivers did not finish the last race in Shanghai which also permits teams a free change of gearboxes.
On Saturday morning, Red Bull announced that Pierry Gasly would also receive a new gearbox. The Frenchman was penalised yesterday for failing to stop for weighing when required to do so during the second practice session. As Gasly needs to start the race from the pit lane due to the penalty, the drop of five grid positions for the new gearbox does not have any effect on his starting position.