Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

The Mercedes-style F1 tweaks helping McLaren push forward

McLaren introduced a fairly substantial update at the French Grand Prix in a bid to help its fight with Ferrari for best of the rest in Formula 1 this year.

The Mercedes-style F1 tweaks helping McLaren push forward

The first of these changes was at the front of the MCL35M, as McLaren finally saw fit to adopt the chassis ‘horns’ that have been seen used by other teams for quite some time now.

The ones introduced by McLaren share a similarity with those used by Mercedes, rather than the multiple element variants seen elsewhere, such as at Ferrari or Alfa Romeo.

These winglets help to redirect the airflow that passes by that region, in order to enhance the performance of the flow moving down the car. 

MCL35M detail
McLaren MCL35M rear cooling outlet

At this point in the season, McLaren has a better handle on the cooling requirements of its Mercedes power unit and it has opted to slim down the cooling outlet at the rear of the car in order to make gains aerodynamically. 

To offset this, the team has the option of opening up the cooling panels alongside the cockpit, which McLaren did in France and were easy to spot given they were in raw carbon, rather than painted items.

The panels could only be found on the left-hand side of the car, suggesting that the components within that sidepod need a little more cooling assistance than the right-hand side.

At the rear of the car, the team have made a significant change to its rear wing endplate design, opting for a horizontal set of louvres where there would ordinarily be slots to create strakes.

McLaren MCL35M rear end plate detail

McLaren MCL35M rear end plate detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The panel incorporating these louvres almost appears to be a mirror image of the one in the upper section of the endplate, with the louvres curled upward, rather than down, while the airflow is moved outboard, rather than inboard.

Ferrari tweaked wing

Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari arrived at the French Grand Prix with a revised front wing assembly that featured numerous subtle changes.

The newer specification wing is the upper of the two in the illustration and shows how the flat section of the footplate has been removed, increasing the width of the arc, which alters the shape, speed and direction of the vortex that’s created.

Meanwhile, the ratio of the flaps that can be adjusted has also been altered, with the adjuster moved further outboard, meaning more of the upper two flaps is affected when a flap adjustment is made.

This would allow the team to trim the car a little more to help improve car balance, at the expense of directing airflow across and around the front tyre in the outermost section.

Ferrari SF21 rear wing
The damaged car of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, on a truck

Ferrari also made a change to its rear wing at the French Grand Prix, with the lower tail section of the endplate cut back quite significantly (blue arrow). 

Magic button shroud

Mercedes AMG F1 W12 steering wheel back protection detail, French GP

Mercedes AMG F1 W12 steering wheel back protection detail, French GP

Photo by: Giorigo Piola

Mercedes opted to make a small alteration to its steering wheels in France in order to prevent a repeat of the issue that befell Lewis Hamilton at the restart of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Mercedes has deployed button guards to prevent the button being pushed inadvertently (see inset above), with a more deliberate button push required to deploy brake magic from now on.

AlphaTauri push

Alpha Tauri AT2 floor comparison

Alpha Tauri AT2 floor comparison

Alpha Tauri continued to look for performance for the AT02, as it introduced a new floor for the French Grand Prix.

The updates took care of the area ahead of the rear tyre, as where a single flap was previously attached above the section of floor that was scrolled up, an additional flap has been added.

However, this is shorter than the previous version, as an extra strake has now been added on the floor’s edge (red arrow), which also results in the scrolled section being shortened.

Race Rewind

AlphaTauri AT02 new front wing end plate with arrows details, French GP

AlphaTauri AT02 new front wing end plate with arrows details, French GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri had introduced a new front wing at the Spanish Grand Prix which altered several aspects of the overall design, including a revision to the shape of the flap’s tips, the strakes on the underside of the wing and the shape of the footplate.

The footplate has been squared off, which also means the shape of the surface leading to the cavity it has in its footplate is also altered.

Yuki Tsunoda’s car being lifted away after his accident during the French Grand Prix provided a great view of this area of the wing from beneath too (below).

The footplate has a strake in the middle (red arrow), while the airflow travelling through the cavity appears to be sent out into a channel that’s carved into the side of the lower portion of the endplate.

AlphaTauri AT02 front wing detail

AlphaTauri AT02 front wing detail

Photo by: Uncredited

shares
comments

Related video

2021 F1 Styrian GP session timings and how to watch
Previous article

2021 F1 Styrian GP session timings and how to watch

Next article

Ferrari talking with PMI over new F1 deal despite dropping Mission Winnow logos

Ferrari talking with PMI over new F1 deal despite dropping Mission Winnow logos
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022