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AlphaTauri reveals extreme interpretation of F1 rear wing rules

AlphaTauri's latest upgrade for the Hungarian Grand Prix includes an extreme rear wing arrangement on its AT04 Formula 1 car, which features a novel interpretation of the upper flap mounting.

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Jake Boxall-Legge

The introduction of the current ruleset in 2022 brought a seemingly prescriptive approach to developing the rear wing, with the prevailing design trend creating a curved merging of the upper element and mainplane into the rear wing endplate.

This was introduced to reduce the turbulence produced by the rear wing; fewer exposed edges offered less opportunity to produce tip vortices, which the aerodynamicists could build into the car's wake to enhance downforce generation.

A larger low-pressure area behind the car, produced by the melding of the wing vortices and the diffuser exit, helped to boost the acceleration of the underbody flow and produced more downforce.

The 2022 rules governing the rear wing design attempted to put a stop to this but has failed to dampen the creativity of the engineers looking to extract more performance from the wing.

AlphaTauri's new wing seems to be the most extreme arrangement seen so far, and the upper flap has been almost detached entirely from the endplate to expose the wing tips. The attachment points to the mainplane have been moved slightly inboard to retain that tip exposure, which will generate vortices as the high-pressure air on top tries to roll to the lower-pressure zone underneath.

This will allow it to extract more downforce from the overall rear wing assembly and attempt to link that to the efficacy of the beam wing and diffuser. The Hungaroring's reputation as a Monaco-adjacent circuit with regards to downforce emphasises the importance of the upgrade.

The rest of the field has experimented with the attachment points with some attempting to expose as much of the wing tips as possible, in their own bids to chase extra performance.

Aston Martin AMR23 and Alfa Romeo C43 rear wing comparison

Aston Martin AMR23 and Alfa Romeo C43 rear wing comparison

Photo by: Jake Boxall-Legge

Aston Martin's rear wing is arguably the most similar to the AlphaTauri design, although the front corner of the top flap does not remain exposed as it merges into the rest of the wing body.

Alfa Romeo's rear wing features a small attachment point bolstered by a metallic insert, but the wing tip has been extruded down to develop a slightly more exposed tip to generate a similar effect.

The FIA regulations governing the rear wing states that "once the Rear Wing Endplate Body and Rear Wing Tip are fully defined, they must be joined to create one unified volume with no remaining overlapping surfaces."

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In its pre-race technical notes, AlphaTauri stated that "the rear wing tip changes give an efficient increase in loading of the wing elements."

The car also features other additions, including a slightly raised nose and a new front wing, while the floor has also been redefined underneath the car in a bid to imbue the AT04 with more downforce.

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