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

Tech insight: British GP updates break cover at Silverstone

As the journey to Silverstone is short for majority of the Formula 1 grid, bringing new parts isn’t nearly as complex as shipping them at short notice to the further-flung corners of the calendar.

Tech insight: British GP updates break cover at Silverstone

On Thursday, new developments appeared cars and were unable to escape the scrutinising gaze of Giorgio Piola’s camera as they went to be inspected by the FIA’s technical delegates. These are just a selection of the early sightings in the Silverstone paddock, showcasing the different requirements compared to the Austrian Grand Prix just a fortnight ago…

Silverstone’s lower-downforce wing club

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1 Team R.S.19 rear wing detail

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1 Team R.S.19 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Owing to Silverstone’s high-speed nature, and the two long straights in particular, there’s the opportunity to run lower wing angles as low-speed downforce is less of a consideration. 

While not quite Monza-spec, it pays to trim off some wing to boost the overall performance of the car in the straights and the higher-speed sections of the course. By getting even braver with the position of the rear wing mainplane, teams can also improve the overall effectiveness of DRS, but that poses a greater risk of losing traction on the exit of corners like Luffield and Club.

Renault was spotted with a lower-downforce configuration, as seen in Giorgio Piola’s image (above), where the leading edge rises in the centre to ease the transition from the swan-neck mounting to the mainplane. 

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Red Bull has retained the wing angles which it ran in Austria, which were also at a mid-to-low downforce level to maximise straight-line performance. That’s been complimented with a lower-camber mainplane to inhibit drag. 

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15 rear wing detail

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

So far in 2019, Red Bull have frequently run back-to-back rear wing comparisons between its two drivers in order to best assess the lowest level of downforce it can get away with. Although the angles used between the two cars were visually similar, Max Verstappen’s car (above) appeared to be without the Gurney flap applied to the trailing edge when seen in scrutineering, but it was spotted on Pierre Gasly’s car.

Although this appears to be an extension of the back-to-back running Red Bull has conducted, this could also be an effort to add a smidgen of extra rear-end downforce to Gasly’s car, with a view to improving his confidence in the car.

At its core, a Gurney flap creates a rolling vortex in front of it to boost downforce, while shedding two counter-rotating vortices behind it which ultimately minimise the drag penalty.

More F1 tech insights:

British summer cuts cooling

After a surprisingly scorching Austrian Grand Prix weekend, most were hoping for a far more clement affair at Silverstone – and the lingering clouds above the paddock on Thursday suggested that would be the case. Temperatures over the British GP weekend aren’t expected to tickle the mercury above 21C, and so the cooling requirements aren’t anywhere near as drastic as they were two weeks ago at the Red Bull Ring.

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 side detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 side detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes has been able to drop its cooling outlet behind the halo attachment points, and the bodywork in this area consists of several removable panels to ensure adjustability. Furthermore, the vent next to that attachment point has been partially closed off.

Racing Point sharpens up aero

With the changes to the prescribed endplate designs for 2019, teams are very much restricted with what they can do. Last year’s endplates were able to control the airflow quite considerably, but the newest generation of designs seem to be operating on a less-is-more policy.

Racing Point has taken that to a new extreme, and fits in with the most recent developments in redefining the footplate. The latter half has been largely cut out, presumably to develop an earlier outwash effect.

Racing Point RP19 front wing detail

Racing Point RP19 front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The footplate (above) still develops and squashes a small vortex underneath, which rolls up underneath, but is then let go much sooner than usual. That is then drawn outward into the ambient air, presumably trying to pitch it around the front wheel from a further-forward position.

Alfa Romeo (below) has also redefined its front-end geometry, becoming the latest of a number of teams to attempt a cape-style addition to the nose.This aims to improve the aero balance by adding a little more front-end downforce, while also aiding the link-up to the strakes underneath the chassis bulkhead, leading to the bargeboards.

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 nose detail

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 nose detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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