Despite the fact that the 2023 F1 season is nearing its end, several teams are still pushing hard to bring upgrades to their cars. This weekend's United States Grand Prix sees Mercedes, Haas, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri bring new parts to their 2023 challengers. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó takes a look at what teams have brought to the Austin F1 weekend.Aston Martin
Aston Martin arrtived at the Circuit of the Americas with a suite of changes, including a new diffuser, changed floor edge, and new engine cover and a different beam wing, all aimed at “increasing the loading on the floor by modifying the underside local flow conditions”.
The floor edge has been redesigned with a longitudinal slot added to it while the side-view expansion of the diffusor has also been modified.
Aston Martin has made a habit of constantly making adjustments to the engine cover of their 2023 F1 car. At Austin, they have revised the bodywork once again with the undercuts alongside the revised floor edge having been enlarged.
The beam wing has also received new profiled which should work with the modified diffusor.Mercedes
Mercedes have brought an important upgrade to the United States Grand Prix which is set to be their last development for the current season. The upgrade includes an all-new floor which the Brackley-based team is hoping will confirm the direction of its development leading to next year’s car.
The new floor includes tweaks to the floor body with the floor leading edge having been raised and the subsequent tunnel roof having been reprofiled. The raised section alters the loading distribution on the outer fence and the team hoped that it will improve “flow quality to the rear of the car and hence rear downforce.
Furthermore, the team has also increased “the extent of the high cambered forward section of the floor edge wing” to “increase local load and forward floor load”.
Speaking of the new floor after clocking the third fastest lap in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton said: “The floor is not a huge amount different. There’s always hype when someone brings an upgrade, but the rest of the car is exactly the same and there's lots and lots of areas in which we can improve.
“But this is an improvement. This is one of the first upgrades that I've actually felt over the last two years. So that's a positive and we just need two, or three times of this step, to put us in a super competitive mode, of which I believe the guys can do.”Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo has brought another update to Austin with the focus placed once again on the floor. The Hinwil-based outfit has made tweaks to edges of the rear part of the floor.
The team noted that the modifications should work together with the package of upgrades introduced at the Singapore Grand Prix and it is aimed at increasing downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency of the car.AlphaTauri
After debuting an excessive upgrade package in Singapore, AlphaTauri have brought another host of new parts to Austin. Their car, the AT04 features a new floor this weekend, with changes made to the floor body, fences and the floor edges, again aimed at improving local load.
AlphaTauri noted that “the outermost fence change keeps front-wheel wake losses further away from the forward floor by generating a higher static pressure on their outboard side. The resulting improvement in energy of the flow field to the forward floor gives an increase in local load”.
The floor edges, meanwhile, feature increased camber, with the team saying: “The highly loaded forward part of the floor edge wing has also been extended further rearward compared to the previous geometry. Both of these changes lower static pressure local to that part of the floor edge and helps draw increased mass flow under the forward floor between the fences.”
Furthermore, the Faenza-based squad has modified the exit of the central bodywork which is aimed at improving the cooling characteristics of the car. The team also hopes that the revised shape will help the cooling without any detriment in loading of the rear wing assembly.
The team has also revised rear brake ducts for the COTA round which should increase their local load. It should increase the diffusor performance by pushing the lower wake losses further outboard.Haas
After refusing to bring major upgrades across the season, Formula One's sole American team Haas have finally introduced an excessive upgrade package in Austin. The team has realized early on at the start of the season that their 2023 F1 car has many shortcomings which included the way of how it manages tyres on high fuel in race trim.
As a result of it, Haas, which has been followed Ferrari's bodywork concept since last year's Hungarian Grand Prix, has now opted for a departure from this direction.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the update revolve mainly around the floor, sidepods and engine cover areas. The VF-23 now sports a configuration that is reminiscent to Red Bull's downwash concept, albeit it also features water slide-style gulleys that have been inspired by Ferrari and has been taken over by Aston Martin, Alpine and McLaren since then.
The most visible changes are the new sidepods that should "allow a better interaction of the airflow on the side of the car and in the area between the rear wheel."
The new Red Bull-style sidepod inlet that features a distinctive forward expansion should “improve the flow around the sidepod, maintaining the same cooling feeding as the previous configuration” and "will allow a better interaction of the airflow on the side of the car and in the area between the rear wheels.”
The Kannapolis-based outfit debuted a revised floor with the team noting that “the expansion and contraction of the floor body are now optimised to guarantee less aero sensitivity with car state changes. The new design has also improved the sensitivity in case of strong side wind”. Reshaped floor edges meanwhile “guarantee a more efficient path of the flow driven by the under floor, and increase the aerodynamic efficiency’.
Furthermore, Haas has also modified the cooling louvres that are now significantly smaller compared to the previous solution. However, the team has increased the central engine cover cooling exit in order to compensate for the changes around the cooling louvres.
The team from America has also updated that front brake duct inboard exit that are aimed at improving wake management. Haas stated that the "better flow characteristic coming from the front brake duct inboard exit" should contribute to greater "aero load with good efficiency”.
There are no updates at Red Bull, Ferrari, Alpine, McLaren, or at Williams.