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Uncovering F1 2023 tech secrets from testing so far

Formula 1 testing is underway in Bahrain and, while we saw some of the technical details at the launches, there’s plenty for us to sink our teeth into as the cars hit the track.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

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.

Haas is one of three teams, including Red Bull and Mercedes, to have mounted a winglet on the inboard rear quarter of the front wing endplate.

Haas VF-23 front wing detail

Haas VF-23 front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In this case, the Haas winglet also has a slot to marry-up with the slots below it between the front wing elements.


Aston Martin AMR 23, detail front wing

Aston Martin AMR 23, detail front wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Aston Martin AMR 23, detail front wing

Aston Martin AMR 23, detail front wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Sticking with the rear corner of the front wing endplate, on the Aston Martin AMR23 the rearmost flap isn’t fully attached and a small notch has also been taken out of the element ahead.

Aston is clearly looking to help improve the outwash that is generated by the rear section of the endplate and wing elements here, in much the same way Mercedes has with its design, both this and last year.

To help maintain rigidity this section, the Aston also has metal inserts, rather than just being made up from carbon fibre, as the rear element sits away from the main body of the endplate.

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Red Bull Racing RB19

Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The Red Bull RB19 finally broke cover, giving us a wide array of details to examine. Notably, here we can see the width of the nose has increased at the tip, with a NACA duct (a low-drag air inlet) being used for cooling this season, rather than the oval-shaped inlet used last season.

You’ll also note that Red Bull has mounted a winglet on the inboard rear lower corner of the front wing endplate to help with the outwash effect.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, leaves the garage

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, leaves the garage

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Red Bull, like many of the other teams, painted flow-vis paint on its car during the first session of pre-season testing to evaluate whether the bodywork was achieving its aims, aerodynamically speaking.

In the first image we can see the car as it emerges from the garage with the paint having just been applied.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Fast-forward to the shots of the car on track and we can see how the airflow has created a visual representation of the flow field in the oil-based paint.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Red Bull took a more focused approach to its flow-vis application on the rear three quarters of the sidepods downwash ramp, as once again it was looking for visual confirmation of the airflow’s performance.


Mercedes W14, front wing endplate

Mercedes W14, front wing endplate

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes also has winglets mounted in the lower rearmost inboard corner of the endplate, which matches the continued desire to generate outwash, having found a way to defeat the changes made to the regulations by the FIA in this region for 2023.

Also note the three chequered stickers fixed to the upper portion of the endplate, which act as reference points for the hi-speed camera that will look across at them from the nosecone region.

This footage will be reviewed to see how much the endplate flexes under load, in order to check compliance and also see if there’s still some margin available for additional flex to be built-in.


Ferrari SF-23, front

Ferrari SF-23, front

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari’s front suspension is a little more angled for aerodynamic gains, similarly to some rivals but, to keep the chassis as high as possible elsewhere, it has created a keel section for the rear leg of the lower wishbone.


AlphaTauri AT04 detail

AlphaTauri AT04 detail

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A close-up of the AlphaTauri AT04’s floor gives us a good view of the new edge wing, which has some of the same DNA that we saw in McLaren’s design last season, and also features on the MCL60.

The flap is raised above the floor level and has a number of flow-diverting elements to help focus the airflow as it emerges from out under the floor. This will help reduce any ill effects posed by the turbulent wake created by the front tyre that might otherwise be ingested by the underfloor and could be detrimental to its aerodynamic performance.


Red Bull Racing RB19, front brake

Red Bull Racing RB19, front brake

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull RB18 front brake comparison

Red Bull RB18 front brake comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull has made changes to the internal brake ducting for 2023, expanding upon the fairing solution used last season which encloses the brake disc (right).

It’s a solution that we’ve seen many other teams use too and while Red Bull made extensive progress throughout the course of 2022, with various shapes and coatings employed, it obviously felt there were more gains to be had and decided to overhaul the design.

Furthermore, we know there have been changes to the front tyre by Pirelli, which might also play into these changes, which is about creating the right set of thermal conditions between the brake assembly, the wheel rim and the tyre in order to enhance performance.

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