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

F1 technical update: Racing Point, Mercedes, Red Bull & Ferrari

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F1 technical update: Racing Point, Mercedes, Red Bull & Ferrari
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Co-author: Matthew Somerfield

Keep up to date with what’s new in our regular technical updates. Today, let’s look at five outfits at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix – Mercedes, Ferrari, Racing Point, McLaren and Red Bull.

One of the overwhelming technical differences between the teams during the first race weekend at Silverstone was the downforce levels, with Ferrari and Racing Point at the either end of that spectrum. 

This was not only indicative of where both teams are in terms of their development schedule, it also shone a light on the difference in performance from the Ferrari and Mercedes power units. Racing Point was still able to top the speed trap figures during the race, even though it was carrying significantly more wing.

Ferrari SF1000 rear wing detail British GP

Ferrari SF1000 rear wing detail British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Racing Point RP20 rear wing detail British GP

Racing Point RP20 rear wing detail British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For the second race at Silverstone, Racing Point introduced a new wing (below) – while nowhere near as extreme as some of its rivals, it focused most of its attention on drag reduction. 

Racing Point RP20 rear wing, 70th Anniversary GP

Racing Point RP20 rear wing, 70th Anniversary GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The spoon-shaped mainplane has a deep central section that will help to maintain downforce and balance, while the height reduction in the outer sections will reduce the overall downforce that’s achievable. The shallower outboard section also softens the vortex that’s created, as the pressure gradients collide at the wing tip, reducing the drag that’s generated.

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Red Bull vs Mercedes

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detail British GP

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing detail British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes F1 W11 rear wing detail British GP

Mercedes F1 W11 rear wing detail British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull and Mercedes also had new, lower downforce wings available for the first race at Silverstone (above), trading some downforce and stability for better straight line speed.

Both appeared to have selected well when compared with their rivals, but they had new wings available to them for the second Silverstone race (below) that would reduce drag and downforce even further. Both designs featured shorter chord mainplanes positioned higher when referenced on the endplate, which not only affects the downforce and drag that’s generated but also the potential of DRS.

Mercedes AMG F1 W11 rear wing, 70th Anniversary GP

Mercedes AMG F1 W11 rear wing, 70th Anniversary GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing, 70th Anniversary GP

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear wing, 70th Anniversary GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Having tested them on Friday and analysed the data against the wings used last weekend, neither opted to race their solutions though, but they are likely to emerge again for the upcoming Belgian GP at Spa.

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McLaren and Ferrari developments

McLaren MCL35 new barge boards

McLaren MCL35 new barge boards

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL35 old barge boards

McLaren MCL35 old barge boards

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren had new bargeboards available for the 70th Anniversary Silverstone race, and having seen that they were working well they have pressed them into service once more in Spain this weekend. The new arrangement (above left) sports two dog-leg shaped blades that reach outward from the main vertical element and connect to the boomerang winglet above.

It’s a very organic shape that tries to work around the limitations imposed by the slots in the surfaces below them that must then be mirrored in any surfaces above for legality purposes. 

Ferrari SF1000 front wing, Hungarian GP, British GP

Ferrari SF1000 front wing, Hungarian GP, British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari returned to the new front wing design first used at the Styrian GP for the first race at Silverstone. The wing features an array of subtle changes all designed to change the airflow's behaviour right from the front of the car, including a return to a more arched footplate and reshaped and repositioned flaps at the outboard end.

These alterations will all have a bearing on the direction of the airflow as it passes around the front tyre, which consequently alters the shape of the wake turbulence created by the tyre. The hope is that the changes have an impact on the flow structures downstream and alter the downforce that can be achieved and the drag that’s generated.

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Series Formula 1
Author Giorgio Piola