McLaren front wing
McLaren introduced a whole new front wing assembly for the Singapore Grand Prix - and it was very intricate. The team had clearly gone to town on the development and it was a really nice package, with the main concept being to separate how the front wing works across its entire span.
Old and new McLaren front wings © autosport.com
If you look at the endplate area, it is clear the team is trying to turn as much airflow as possible around the outside of the front tyre, while the new horizontal wing section is working on the airflow in front of the tyre to try and join up with it so the flow in this whole area of the car works in unison.
The inboard arched area is all about creating the front downforce that a driver needs - while at the same time being as kind to the airflow as possible, as the air that comes off here will go directly to the floor area of the car.
Inside this arch is the FIA-mandated wing area - and McLaren has got a 'ski ramp' under the nose section to try and create more downforce here.
The whole wing is very well detailed, but it was difficult in Singapore to asses how well it worked because the Marina Bay circuit was maximum downforce.
If you look closely at the trailing edge, at the very top of the Vodafone lettering, you can see that the team introduced a Gurney flap - which suggests the wing was not producing as much downforce at the track as the team wanted it to.
This Gurney flap was obviously not planned from the start, because otherwise it would have been painted and the team would have ensured that the Vodafone branding was not covered up. Sometimes technical progress has to come in front of commercial and presentation aspects - even at McLaren!
Overall, the wing is a nice package - and with the endplate having three inlets to reduce the airflow separation between where the flaps join the endplates, it has turned its wing into a proper 3D-design, as we've seen Renault do to such good effect this year.
Mercedes GP floor deflectors
While some teams only had to make minor modifications to their floors to overcome the new load tests introduced by the FIA from the Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes has had to do a fair bit of work on this area of the car.
As we saw in Italy, Mercedes needed to put a double stay on the floor to stop it twisting under the heavier loads being applied by the FIA - but anything you put down there is going to have an impact on airflow underneath the car.
That is clearly what the team discovered in Italy, so for Singapore it introduced a couple of angled turning vanes to help the air flow off the stays.
These vanes were angled exactly the same as the stays and they act like a bargeboard under the chassis to help scavenge the air from underneath the chassis in a bid to increase its velocity. If you do that successfully, the air has higher energy when it reaches the leading edge of the sidepods and that will help the diffuser to work better.
Unfortunately, however, with the double stays on the car and the way these vanes have been introduced, the positives will be minimal - and these patch ups will almost certainly have brought Mercedes simply back to where they were before the tests.
As an F1 team, if you are doing car developments like this to react to regulation changes, you are not moving forward with your car design and at best you are only standing still.
Sauber was in a bit of a transitional phase at the Singapore GP with Pedro de la Rosa replaced by Nick Heidfeld - as the team tried to get a stabilising block to find out where its car was at.
Taking a look at its rear diffuser, you can see it has introduced this remote section at the back to try to tidy up the air flow under the crash box. The regulations state the tunnel can only be 150mm wide in this area, so that is why you are seeing little wings appear above and below the crash box.
Sauber appears to have gone down the route of having one big single splitter in the diffuser, which you can see below and inboard of the lower edge of the rear wing endplate.
Sauber's rear diffuser © autosport.com
One of the aims of a team is to have a diffuser that works at all height ranges - both high when the car is braking or going through low-speed corners, but also low when it is going through high-speed corners.
It is important too to have something that works well at medium speed too - so I think teams have to edge towards having more splitters in the diffuser to stop air separation affecting such a big percentage of the diffuser area.
You want to compartmentalise the air so the separation does not spread. Putting walls around the separation point would work, but Sauber has never done it - and that is probably what makes the car behave differently from high speed to low speed. That will result in a car that is difficult for the drivers to understand and for the engineers to try to come up with a solution to improve it.
Ferrari front wing
In Singapore, Ferrari went back to something I thought they should have stuck with from when it was introduced - its three-piece front wing assembly.
In the design we saw last weekend, the upper element - which has V-Power written on it - performs a similar function to the McLaren wing design. It stops just inside the area of the front tyre, and will be trying to link up the air flow with the area of low pressure that is caused by air going over the front tyre.
Ferrari's front wings © autosport.com
Looking at the endplate, the holes are there to help get airflow into the underneath of the wing.
The team has also moved the vertical turning vane - the piece that has 'ntander' on it in the picture - backwards slightly. The old version has the 'Santa' of Santander written on it.
Making a change like that will open up a new opportunity with airflow, and teams are always working away at optimising all those bits. This move will have been motivated by getting more air turned around the front tyre, and if you do that successfully you reduce the disturbed air that gets between the front wheels. This should give you more overall downforce.
The tweak to the turning vane may appear small but it is these kinds of small developments that play a vital role in overall performance - and it was Ferrari that took pole position and victory in Singapore.
Red Bull leading edge
In front of the rear wheels, Red Bull Racing made some tweaks to the little flip up area. The team changed the angle of the hole into the floor in a bid to tweak the channelling of the air that goes from the top of the floor to underneath.
With the modern Coke-bottle design of F1 cars, the gap between the bodywork and the inside of the rear tyre acts as a channel for the air - it is better for the air to flow inside the tyre rather than outside as this would create extra drag. Having good air flow through this area is vital for diffuser performance and will also increase the performance of the blown diffuser.
Red Bull's new leading edge © autosport.com
Anything the team can do to optomise the angle of attack of air going through this area and underneath the car will help the performance in both overall downforce and aerodynamic stability, especially under braking.
As a small example of this, if you look closely at the picture you can see a vertical radius Gurney flap around the inside of the tyre. That is designed to stop air that comes over the top of the floor getting sucked underneath - because if that does happen, it will reduce the work the diffuser can do on the main air flow coming under the main floor area.
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