Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 Monaco GP

How F1's top teams went all in with their Monaco rear wings

The Monaco Grand Prix is an outlier on the Formula 1 calendar. It is all about bolting downforce onto the car without needing to worry too much about drag implications.

Red Bull RB20 rear wing comparison

Cost cap restrictions have sometimes led teams to question whether the investment of a Monaco-only rear wing is worth it, or whether they are better off just sticking with a higher-downforce specification that can be used at places like Budapest and Singapore.

But with F1’s fight at the front between Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull so close right now, all three teams knew they could not hold back and leave any performance on the table by not going all in with a Monaco rear wing.

Here we take a look at how the three teams approached the Monte Carlo weekend.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari’s high-downforce variant is in the same design family as the medium-downforce wing that was updated in Imola, and features a revised tip section.

The revisions to this portion of the wing revolve around its overall shape, with a much flatter and wider profile preferred. This extends the span of the upper portion of the wing and alters the position of the tip to reposition the vortex that’s shed from the surface.

The flatter profile also results in the flap and bracket connection being altered, with the flap kneeling down over the bracket to create a different shedding surface, whilst also creating a difference in how it interacts with the rear endplate cutout.

Even with the new flap tip section, Ferrari had used the same mainplane and top flap configuration for the first seven races of 2024. However, it did have a higher downforce wing on hand at the Japanese Grand Prix that was not used at all.

That one is understood to be a different specification entirely to the one introduced for Monaco, and more in line with the outgoing specification of tip section, allied to a higher-downforce mainplane and top flap design used in 2023.

This new, high-downforce rear wing features a mainplane and top flap that take up more of the allowable space within the box region permitted in the regulations, with a flatter central leading edge employed on the mainplane, resulting in a tighter radius where the mainplane meets the endplate.

Similarly, the upper flap has a flatter leading edge and curvature across its span than the lower-downforce variant.

Meanwhile, the small winglets housed on the side of the rear wing support pylon that Ferrari first introduced at the Australian Grand Prix also returned to further increase downforce (blue arrow).

McLaren MCL38 technical detail

McLaren MCL38 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren had a new high-downforce rear and beam wing configuration prepared for the Monaco Grand Prix in order to improve the MCL38’s capabilities around the streets of the Principality.

These items join the team’s suite of parts that all share similar DNA. The endplate still features the outboard upwashing swage line and the semi-detached tip section, although the latter is enhanced to contribute towards the uplift in performance that the fresh mainplane and upper flap would yield.

It is not actually the first time we have seen this wing arrangement though, as McLaren actually had it on hand last time out at Imola. However, it was only fitted to Oscar Piastri’s MCL38 for a short time during FP3 in order to assess it ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The upper flap and mainplane take up more of the allowable space within the box region permitted by the regulations but are also both less curved across their span.

This can be seen on the leading edge, with a tighter radius employed where the mainplane meets with the endplate as a consequence.

The trailing edge of the upper flap also features a small, V-shaped notch on the centreline, whilst a Gurney flap is also deployed to aid in the team’s pursuit of providing balance and maximum downforce.

McLaren MCL38 technical detail

McLaren MCL38 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The beam wing is a two-piece layout, with heft to both elements across the central portion and inverse tapering employed in the outer portions to help reduce the drag penalty that might otherwise ensue. Both elements also carry a high degree of attack angle and are cambered to help improve their yield too.

Red Bull Racing RB20 technical detail

Red Bull Racing RB20 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Red Bull had, until Monaco, managed its downforce levels with just two rear wing specifications, a medium- and a low-downforce offering.

However, it brought a high-downforce arrangement available for the famed street circuit, along with a revised beam wing layout.

The entire wing layout shares a similar DNA to the designs it has already raced, but the upper flap and mainplane filled out more of the available space within the allowable box region.

The leading edge of the mainplane continues to be turned upward. It is not only deeper and more cambered than the other specifications, it also has a wider flat section in the middle of the wing, with a tighter radius where it meets the endplate.

The team also made changes to the RB20’s front end to help overcome some of the challenges posed by the Monte Carlo street circuit. Cooling is one of those, with the team having to use its maximum extraction options for the engine cover, including the main rear outlet and the louvred panels atop and along its flanks.

Red Bull RB20 front suspension change

Red Bull RB20 front suspension change

Photo by: Uncredited

The lowest-speed corner on the calendar also poses some challenges for the teams, with concessions often made to improve the car’s steering lock. For Red Bull, this resulted in a new upper wishbone arrangement, with a triangular notch taken out of the rear leg’s fairing.

This opens up more space for the wheel-and-tyre assembly in the maximum steered position for the hairpin and prevents it from fouling the fairing.

Watch: F1 2024 Monaco GP Review – Leclerc Finally Breaks the Curse

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article The simple rule change that could make the Monaco GP exciting again
Next article Loss, heartbreak, redemption: The road to Leclerc's Monaco F1 triumph

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe