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Formula 1 Bahrain February Testing

How F1 teams made the most of the final day of 2023 testing in Bahrain

The on-track action is over for pre-season Formula 1 testing in Bahrain and teams will now prepare themselves for the first race of the season in just under a week.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

The third day of testing also allowed us to seek out some more of the interesting technical details we haven’t covered so far, with teams not only trialling new parts but also being less covert with the ones they might have been hiding in the opening few days.

Ferrari introduced a new rear wing design on the third day of running, with several changes – including a different downforce level – but the most obvious development is the switch from a double pylon arrangement to a single pillar.

The new version has two side effects, as the single pillar has a swan-neck top line that connects to the DRS pod, while a circular structure is needed at its base to wrap around the exhaust so it can connect with the crash structure.

Ferrari SF-23 rear wing

Ferrari SF-23 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

There are some trade-offs between the two solutions, not only in terms of their aerodynamic impact but also in their weight and how they deal with the associated loads.

A number of square chequered stickers are placed around the wing, which are monitored by a rear facing camera so that the team can establish whether the wing is performing within tolerances from a flexion point of view.

It’s also interesting to see a design solution appear on this that was used by Alfa Romeo last season, with a teardrop-shaped flap pivot employed (circled, flat style on the other wing, inset). While minimal, there will obviously be some aerodynamic benefits from this arrangement, including pushing the local airflow off the surface differently.

Red Bull Racing RB19 brake detail

Red Bull Racing RB19 brake detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A look under the front brake drum on the Red Bull RB19 as the mechanics work on the car reveals some of the changes that have been made by the team heading into 2023. This includes fibrous wadding packed into the assembly to help with heat management.

This is a tactic that Red Bull used early last season before finding the brake assembly's final form, following numerous changes to the shape of the disc fairing and the coatings applied to it and other brake components, such as the calipers.

The rear end of the Alfa Romeo C43 removed from the car gives a great view of numerous components, from the beam and rear wings, very narrow crash structure, rear suspension (both the arms and some of the inboard elements) and the rear brake ducts, including their associated winglets.

Alfa Romeo C43 rear detail

Alfa Romeo C43 rear detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

The rear wing and suspension of an Alfa Romeo C43 in the team's garage

The rear wing and suspension of an Alfa Romeo C43 in the team's garage

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The image on the right also shows the C43’s rear end, albeit this time with the brake drums removed which reveals the ducting that wraps around the caliper and weaves out to the rear of the assembly where there’s an outlet.

You can also see the fairing which encloses the brake disc and helps control the transfer of heat between the disc, the wheel rim and the tyre.

The Williams FW45’s front brake duct assembly without the drum in place shows us how the team has switched to a brake disc fairing that’s similar in design to the one used by Red Bull in 2022, as the fairing is aligned with the caliper below it.

A team member at work on the brakes of a Williams FW45

A team member at work on the brakes of a Williams FW45

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Williams also trialled a lower downforce rear wing configuration on the final day, as it ticked another aspect of its programme off the checklist.

The wing is similar in overall design to their higher downforce arrangement but the mainplane and upper flap take up less space within the allowable box region.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, rear wing detail

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, rear wing detail

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Alpine also tried a lower downforce rear wing on the final day of testing, with a similar configuration to what we’ve seen from the rest of the test (right image), albeit with a focus on reducing the wing’s chord in the outer portion to help reduce drag, while maintaining load in the central section.

The nose of the RB19

The nose of the RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A close-up view of the nose tip section of the Red Bull RB19, which is not only wider than last season, but it also features a NACA-style inlet for driver cooling, rather than the oval style solution used last season. The inlet is trimmed with mesh too, to help prevent any debris becoming lodged in the internal ductwork and reduce the desired cooling effect.

The forward section of the nose tip has shut lines indicating it’s a removable vanity panel, whereby the team can gain access to the structure within, which may be a place where the team houses ballast, just as its sister team, AlphaTauri did last season.

Red Bull Racing RB19, rear wing detail

Red Bull Racing RB19, rear wing detail

At the rear, we have a close-up look at the RB19’s rear wing, which follows the same DNA as last season’s but an interesting feature is the outboard bracket that bridges the static upper tip section and the moveable DRS flap.

This will prevent the wing from rotating too far beyond its intended position of rest when the DRS flap closes after use, while the outer section of those two elements also appear to have been strengthened, likely in response to issues that the team have faced in their recent past.

Mercedes W14, floor detail

Mercedes W14, floor detail

A row of mini vortex generators can be found on the forward section of the floor of the Mercedes W14, with a pair of larger ones thrown into the mix too, as the designers look to improve the airflow rolling out from the underside of the car.

Behind this we find the edge wing, which has been rolled up in the forward-most section and also has its own strake to help encourage the airflow’s behaviour.

Mercedes W14, steering wheel back

Mercedes W14, steering wheel back

A rear view of Lewis Hamilton’s steering wheel confirms he’s sticking with the layout he’s had over the last few years, with the slender paddle shifters up top and the wishbone-style clutch paddle across the bottom of the wheel. Note how he also uses a finger socket on the end of the paddle to help with the modulation of the clutch.

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