The subtle F1 wing update that hints at more to come from Ferrari
The changes made to the outer portion of the front wing’s upper flap and where it connects with the endplate will be familiar, as we have seen a number of teams already make headway in this region so far this season.
The alteration made by Ferrari is subtle at this stage though, with just a c-shaped cut-out made in the junction of the upper flap and endplate. Beyond that, the team still used predominantly the same parts from pre-season and the first race in Bahrain.
And, whilst this likely improves the outwash effect when compared with no cut-out, there’s sure to be a more comprehensive version in the works that incorporates more than just the last flap, considering the effort rivals have gone to when designing their own solutions.
A new floor design was also introduced for Jeddah, with the shape for the forward cut-out altered (blue arrow) and a raised kickup introduced ahead of the rear tyre where the floor edge tapers toward it (red arrow).
Ferrari tested the new design on Friday but opted not to race the solution in Jeddah, and it remains to be seen if it will be used again or was simply something that the team wanted to test under real world conditions to validate a potential development path.
It had already tested its lower downforce specification wing in Bahrain before making the switch back to the double pillar and higher downforce variant. However, in order to trim downforce and drag levels it made a return in Saudi Arabia.
Ferrari SF-23 rear wing comparison, Alfa Romeo C42 inset
Photo by: Uncredited
The lower downforce configuration features a swan neck mono pillar arrangement, which is also connected to the DRS pod.
The single versus double pillar configuration is a battle that teams have been fighting for quite a number of years now, such are the subtleties in the trade-off between the two solutions, be it in weight, flexion or aerodynamics.
In Ferrari’s case, the wing featured other small changes to help reduce drag, with the profile of the spoon-shaped mainplane altered, along with the chord of the upper flap.
The shape of the tip section has also been amended to create more of a sawn-off finish, similar to the solution we saw Alfa Romeo introduce last season (inset).
Interestingly, it has also adopted the teardrop-shaped flap pivots that Alfa Romeo introduced last season, rather than using the barrel-style ones that its higher downforce wing employs.
Red Bull holds a significant advantage over its rivals, especially in terms of straight-line speed. But it went one step further in Saudi Arabia, as it not only made changes to the rear wing, it also tweaked its beam wing setup to reduce drag further still.
The changes to its rear wing appear to be minor, but included a wider section of the outer portion of the mainplane reduced in height relative to the available box region, softening the transition to the deeper, spoon-shaped central section.
This, allied with geometrical changes to the tip section and upper flap, resulted in a measured reduction in downforce and drag that was suitable for the specific demands of the Jeddah Corniche circuit.
Red Bull’s straight line speed advantage was boosted further still by a method that the team turned to at several events last season, with just a single element mounted to the RB19 in order to make up its beam wing configuration.
Mercedes W14 rear wing specs
Photo by: Uncredited
Mercedes knows it has its work cut out this season, with the team already looking at a total rethink, such is the gap to Red Bull ahead.
But, in the short term it will have to learn and adapt, making the best of what it has at its disposal. This is exactly what it tried to do in Saudi Arabia, working through numerous setups both mechanical and aerodynamic, in order to find the W14’s current sweet spot.
Like the rest of the grid, the rear wing had been a focus in terms of delivering a reduction in downforce and drag for the challenges posed by the high speed nature of the circuit.
As such, a new upper flap was available to the team, which reduced the height of the central portion of the upper flap (blue arrow), whilst the possibility of adding a Gurney flap on the trailing edge was also a viable option.
Mercedes also lent further into the modularity of its wings design, as the upper rear corner of the endplate is able to accept different cut-out panels which enables it to make quick changes on the fly to improve the car’s balance.
And, like it did last season, it also has an option that has no cut-out, something it tended to use when it wanted to cut drag.
This is something it took up for Jeddah, although it did have another trick up its sleeve to use in combination with this as it searched for the right balance.
Having tried the new upper flap design during free practice, it decided to discard it for qualifying and the race, with the team opting to run an alternative tip section design that had the trailing edge trimmed back instead (red arrow, inset).
Aston Martin AMR23 rear wing
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Aston Martin looked to boost its top speed for Jeddah with revisions made to its front, rear and beam wings.
In order that development resources and costs aren’t stretched beyond their means, all three modifications were only subtle, with the main structures retained and just the upper flap of the front wing and rear wings exchanged for trimmed down variants.
Meanwhile, the beam wing elements were also depowered when compared with what was run at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as their angle of incidence were reduced and the elements were trimmed back.