Formula 1 Racing

How F1 teams are changing cars without new parts

Mercedes W14 comparison - Miami

A case in point was spotted in Miami last weekend as both Mercedes and Williams took to free practice with different configurations mounted on their cars.

Mercedes W14 comparison – Miami

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For Mercedes, this resulted in Lewis Hamilton running with an infill panel for the upper tip section of the rear wing endplate. Meanwhile, George Russell utilised a more conventional cut-out.

This design difference has a marked effect on the behaviour of the outer section of the wing, with drag and downforce levels traded off against one another.

This sort of experimentation is helped by Mercedes’ decision to produce a rear wing that has interchangeable parts, which not only saves money in terms of manufacturing but also allows for quick aerodynamic setup changes too (red arrow).

Meanwhile, at the front of the car, Mercedes trimmed the inboard trailing edge of the upper flap in a crescent shape to help reduce downforce and balance the car with its choices at the rear of the car (blue arrow).

This is a solution that we first saw from Alpine in Azerbaijan, as it also looked to find the right balance front-to-rear.

For qualifying and the race, Hamilton continued with the arrangement seen above, while Russell made the switch to the front wing with the cut-out but retained the rear wing tip cut-out.

More, or less?

Williams FW45 rear and beam wing comparison - Miami

Williams FW45 rear and beam wing comparison – Miami

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Williams was also experimenting with its aerodynamic setup during free practice, as it looked at ways to trade performance between the upper rear wing elements and the beam wing.

Alex Albon was tasked with trialling the higher downforce rear wing arrangement with just a single lower beam wing element, while Logan Sargeant ran laps with the lower downforce rear wing, which was married to a double beam wing set-up.

In the end, Sargeant switched out to the same arrangement as Albon, as the team leaned on more performance from the rear wing, while improving its straightline speed with the single beam wing element.

Cooling off period…

Aston Martin AMR23 cooling panel options

Aston Martin AMR23 cooling panel options

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Aston Martin added another cooling option in the engine cover panel to help deal with the demands of the Miami street circuit.

The team has various options available, including bodywork panels where the louvres are pitched more open and closed, while longer and shorter blanking panels are also possible in order to help trade cooling/heat rejection for…

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