Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

F1 technical update: Mercedes, McLaren, AlphaTauri & Racing Point

In the ongoing development war between Formula 1’s teams, keep up to date with what’s new with our regular technical updates. Today, let’s look at four outfits at the Hungarian GP – Mercedes, McLaren, AlphaTauri and Racing Point.

F1 technical update: Mercedes, McLaren, AlphaTauri & Racing Point

Mercedes

The reliability gremlins that Mercedes faced in the first race of the season in Austria, caused by the vibrations from the kerbs, now seem like a distant memory after a flawless performance in Hungary.

The team was able to react positively and make changes for the Styrian GP that reduced the possibility of any failures going forward. The issues that plagued the first race weekend were a consequence of the new rear suspension geometry, with the front leg of the lower wishbone placed higher than before and the rear leg (red arrow, main image above) placed much further back than usual. 

The loads, vibrations and oscillations put through this novel arrangement is believed to have created ‘noise’ that interfered with the gearbox sensors.

To prevent a repeat of the situation the team made numerous alterations, including adding shielding and moving the wiring looms that were affected.

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McLaren

McLaren arrived at the Hungarian GP with a batch of updates (see video above) that it hoped would increase rear downforce and improve cooling. The parts, which had already been run during the pre-season test and during Free Practice in Austria, included a two-tier T-Wing and flaps above the cooling outlets respectively.

The T-Wings are connected to each other at the outboard end by a metal stay, which prevents them from moving around independently of one another and causing an aerodynamic flutter that would be damaging to the downforce and vortices they produce. The flap above the cooling outlet at the rear of the car acts much like a Gurney flap and will not only produce localized downforce but also help with extracting heat from the engine cover cooling outlet.

The team chose not to press another solution trialled at the Styrian GP into action. The flap, inset, mounted just above the floor and ahead of the rear tyre is similar to a solution we’ve seen Ferrari use this season, with both teams opting to mount the flap to the vertical strake alongside.

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AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri AT01 t-wing

AlphaTauri AT01 t-wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri continues to look for pockets of performance rather than follow the crowd, and at the rear of the AT01 it has a single rear wing support pillar and T-Wing.

Aside from Mercedes, which has two rear wing mounting variants, AlphaTauri is the only team to run with just the single pillar configuration. This is a decision that not only has an impact on weight but also aerodynamic performance. It has also allowed the option of a winglet above the exhaust too.


Racing Point

Racing Point RP20 front brake drum

Racing Point RP20 front brake drum

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brake

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brake

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

As Formula 1 heads for Silverstone the debate regarding the design of this year’s Racing Point rages on. As expected, Renault protested the result of the Hungarian GP, so if RP is found guilty of infringing the technical and sporting regulations it will lose the points accrued during those races.

The crux of Renault’s protest is not of the entire car, although everyone has drawn conclusions on how similar it is to last year’s Mercedes, it is instead focused on the Racing Point’s brake ducts (above left), which are a listed part for 2020. Mercedes' 2019 design is shown above right.

Again, the contention is not only based on the similarity of the external features of the two, which as you can see from the illustrations are extremely similar, it’s also about how closely aligned their internal makeup might (or might not) be.

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Hungarian Grand Prix - Driver Ratings

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