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How F1 teams have tried to cut back on drag in Baku

The Baku City Circuit represents a unique challenge for the teams, given the opposing requirements on downforce levels for the different parts of the track.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

A variety of solutions will be in play this weekend but teams will likely settle on the lowest downforce setup they can get away with, ensuring that they are not penalised on the long main straight that includes the start/finish line.

Most have brought new low downforce front and rear wing solutions, while the general development war continues to rage too.

Here’s what the teams have reported as being new for the event:

Mercedes

Mercedes W13 rear wing

Mercedes W13 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W13 front wing detail

Mercedes W13 front wing detail

Mercedes has brought lower downforce front and rear wings, with smaller chord and reduced angle of attack flap elements for the front wing (note how the trailing edge of the upper flap has been cut away), while the upper elements of the rear wing take up less space in the allowable box section.

Mercedes W13 mirror detail

Mercedes W13 mirror detail

The team has also added a lower deflector beneath the side-impact system fairing (red arrow), which is loosely described as being part of the mirror stay structure but has more to do with helping to correct the direction of any localised flow that’s moving around the sidepod.


Red Bull

Red Bull Racing RB18 floor

Red Bull Racing RB18 floor

Red Bull Racing RB18 diffuser

Red Bull Racing RB18 diffuser

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull had already modified its front brake and caliper arrangement for Monaco and has made further changes in Baku to improve cooling. Meanwhile, to help with the additional loads that the floor will sustain, the team has added an external wire to better support the section ahead of the rear tyre.

It has also altered the fillet radius of the floor surface to expose the fences in pursuit of local load, which has resulted in changes on the floors edge to further optimise performance across the board.

Interestingly, and not noted by Red Bull in the report, is the switch to a single beam wing element, as it looks for ways to reduce drag without dramatically compromising downforce.


Ferrari

Ferrari F1-75 rear wing detail

Ferrari F1-75 rear wing detail

Ferrari F1-75 mirror

Ferrari F1-75 mirror

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Originally intended that it would have been its first outing in Miami, Ferrari has installed a rear wing with what it describes as having ‘de-powered’ wing profiles to better suit the peculiarities of the Baku layout.

A new wing mirror layout is also being used on the F1-75 this weekend, which is a general development and not one specific to Baku. The redesign features a new inboard section with an abrupt vertical and horizontal interaction, rather than a gentle curvature, to improve the airflow's path downstream.


McLaren

McLaren MCL36 rear wing

McLaren MCL36 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL36 front wing detail

McLaren MCL36 front wing detail

There is a new rear wing design for McLaren to cater for the demands of the circuit, while a front wing flap has been developed to provide the appropriate balance adjustment range for the lower downforce rear wing assembly.

McLaren MCL36 rear end detail

McLaren MCL36 rear end detail

Changes have also been made to the rear bodywork around the sidepods and engine cover in terms of cooling, with a reduced outlet size resulting in reduced drag.


Alpine

Alpine A522 rear wing

Alpine A522 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Alpine A522 side detail

Alpine A522 side detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Alpine has a number of items on the A522 that target drag reduction, including a revised front wing design and a more tailored rear wing design that not only reduces the size of the elements in the upper bounding box, but also the size and shape of the beam wing elements.

In one of the more interesting changes that is not circuit specific, Alpine has revised the shape of the forward section of the sidepod.

This now boxier inlet design, which is a design similar to what has already been used by Aston Martin and AlphaTauri, pushes the bodywork further forward meaning the airflow is not only captured faster by the inlet, it will also deal with the wake created by the front tyre sooner.


AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri AT03 rear end detail

AlphaTauri AT03 rear end detail

The AT03 has been furnished with a new rear wing assembly for Baku, which features a new beam wing layout to both increase downforce while reducing drag.

As a consequence, the front wing has new rearward elements to reduce their chord length and incidence level to help balance the car. The position of the rearward cooling louvre panel has been changed, and arches down around the engine cover.


Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo C42 front wing

Alfa Romeo C42 front wing

Alfa Romeo C42 rear wing

Alfa Romeo C42 rear wing

The C42 has a new, reprofiled low-drag rear wing designed to complement the team's medium-drag package, which is in response to the characteristics of the circuit.

In tandem, the upper two elements of the front wing have also been revised, with the elements trimmed and angled according to the balance required.


No major updates elsewhere

Aston Martin, Williams and Haas have not reported the use of any new components, although Haas has trimmed the trailing edge of their rear wing’s upper flap back considerably in an effort to reduce drag.

Haas VF-22 garage

Haas VF-22 garage

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