How Aston Martin has supercharged its water-slide F1 sidepods

Aston Martin has been one of the biggest surprises of Formula 1 2023 with its AMR23 regularly being Red Bull's main challenger.

Aston Martin AMR23 sidepods

Its feat has partially been driven by the additional CFD and wind tunnel time afforded by its relatively poor performance last season.

However, it also has been helped by a wholesale design shift it undertook at last year's Spanish Grand Prix as it moved to the downwash sidepod concept originally favoured by Red Bull, AlphaTauri and Alpine.

Having committed so early to that route also gave it a headstart on some of its rivals, allowing it to reorganise the physical components, such as the SIS (Side Impact Structures), radiators and other power unit ancillaries, that might otherwise compromise the aerodynamic gains available from the downwash-style concept.

Having initially taken significant influence from Red Bull, it became clear that Aston Martin was also keeping a keen eye on Alpine too, as when the AMR23 emerged the team had followed the water slide-style idea that its rival pushed hard with in 2022.

Aston Martin AMR23 floor

Aston Martin AMR23 floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The update Aston Martin introduced at the Canadian GP is an optimisation package around this layout, with the core DNA of the concept retained but it being heavily tweaked to find more aerodynamic performance.

In an effort to improve flow around the sidepod and improve the interaction with the floor, there is now a much deeper undercut beneath the inlet, with the bodywork tucked in much tighter to the ancillaries packed within.

The flank and rearward ramp section of the sidepod bodywork have also been modified to take advantage of the upstream alterations, whilst the biggest change appears to be in the position and shape of the water slide on top of the sidepod.

Aston Martin AMR23 engine cover

Aston Martin AMR23 engine cover

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The channel is now set back and is much narrower. Furthermore, it appears to have a steeper decline into the lower section of the bodywork.

The narrowing of the channel also results in a wider shoulder section, a trait we have seen developed by Alpine and more recently Ferrari when it too switched concepts.

The outer floor fence has also been amended, with the serrated step section moved forward to allow it to add a semi-circular step before the fence merges with the downward floor bulge.

Aston Martin AMR23 outer floor fence
Aston Martin AMR23 engine cover outlet

Meanwhile, at the rear of the car, there are also changes to the engine cover, with a letterbox-style outlet now present in the spine, whilst the shark fin has been trimmed to suit, as it hangs above the bodywork.

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And, while Aston Martin has clearly set its sights on catching Red Bull ahead, it must also be mindful of both Mercedes and Ferrari, both of which have made large-scale conceptual changes to their sidepods and floor in recent races.

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