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
Load comments
The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling Plus

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Plus

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021