August 13, 2022

More restrictive regulations in terms of design freedom have raised fears that the only variation we would see among the cars is in the sidepods.

However, as the F1 season has developed there has been a fascinating mix of grid ideas and solutions worth focusing on.

Here we look at some of the key areas where teams have allowed their own concepts to flourish with standout designs.

Nose

F1’s new regulations weren’t just designed to try to promote closer racing, but also as a way to keep the car from looking ugly.

One such area that has been plagued by obnoxious aesthetics over recent regulatory eras has been nose design, as teams have taken drastic measures to try and overcome the constraints placed upon them.

Trying to find ways to generate more airflow below the car’s centerline has led to creative interpretations in recent years, with everything from step nose designs from the 2012 season to a double-defended approach adopted by Lotus in 2014.

Ferrari F2012 Nose

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In the time after the 2009 rule change, teams had continued to look for ways to turn their noses up. In order to limit this, the FIA ​​made changes for 2012 which led to the arrival of the rather unsightly ‘nose to step’ solution.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Nose of Red Bull RB8 RB8

Nose of Red Bull RB8 RB8

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Red Bull also had a step nose solution in 2012, but the RB8 featured a letterbox style inlet in the step to help capture airflow for driver cooling.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Lotus E22 ‘Twin tusk’ nose

Lotus E22 'Twin tusk' nose

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The nose design seen on the Lotus E22 in 2014 was an extreme example of how a team could reinterpret a regulation designed to prevent a high nose tip. With one of the “fenders” longer than the other, the team was able to circumvent the proposed location for the spike and create a passage along the centerline for airflow.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Driven Sauber C31 ‘S’

Driven Sauber C31 'S'

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Meanwhile, at Sauber, the ‘S’ duct is reborn, as the team took airflow from below the nose and channeled it through S-shaped piping to an opening in the side upper part of the chassis, reducing the aerodynamic impact of walking.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Nose Force India VJM07

Nose Force India VJM07

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While Lotus had found a way to open up the central part of the nose, many others had opted for a more aesthetically unpleasant solution, with a long, finger-like central extension used to appease regulations while allowing the air to circulate significantly under the central part. part of the car.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The new regulations have been worded in such a way that aesthetically unpleasing nose shapes seem to be a thing of the past, though there’s still time for teams to upend that particular apple cart.

In terms of the current nose design, it depends on how the team wants it to interact with the front wing and more specifically, whether the nose connects to the mainplane or the secondary flap.

In this regard, several teams have opted for modular designs; giving them the flexibility to make changes if they are able to find more performance in another solution, without the need for wholesale changes and without having to re-crash test them.

For example, as seen here with Ferrari and Red Bull, their internal nose structure is shorter than the exterior facade, which means that even though they currently connect to the main plane, they could easily be changed.

Nose Ferrari F1-75
Front nose Red Bull Racing RB18

The flap wing

Another solution that has quickly gained popularity on the starting grid, having been spotted first on the Aston Martin AMR22 when it launched, is the “bib wing”.

Referred to as such by several teams, it was quickly adopted by Ferrari, which put a version through the rigors of simulation and production in the week between the launch of the AMR22 and its own F1-75.

And, while other teams haven’t been as quick to respond as Ferrari, a variant of the design can also be found on the Red Bull, Mercedes and Alpine, each also making changes to the keel shape of the car to maximize its aerodynamic potential. .

Ironically, Aston Martin found that the bib spoiler added no performance to the new concept it introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix, so it has been removed from its car for the time being.

Red Bull Racing RB18 Keel Separator

Red Bull Racing RB18 Keel Separator

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The adoption of a flap wing on the RB18 also coincided with the tapering of the keel, so the team could take advantage of a wider wing profile.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Detail of the Alpine A522 sidepods

Detail of the Alpine A522 sidepods

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The Alpine A522 sporting its version of the bib wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Brawn GP BGP001, Williams FW32, McLaren MP4-31 separation solution

Brawn GP BGP001, Williams FW32, McLaren MP4-31 separation solution

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This is not the first time that we have seen this kind of solutions. While the BrawnGP BGP001 is most famous for its anti-regulation dual stage diffuser, it also had a similar flap wing arrangement, which was used to propagate a vortex structure. Likewise, Williams ran something in 2010, before McLaren’s “bat-wing” arrived in 2016.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari SF16-H T-Tray Batwing Side-by-Side Comparison, Malaysian and Japanese GP

Ferrari SF16-H T-Tray Batwing Side-by-Side Comparison, Malaysian and Japanese GP

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During this time, Ferrari had been testing different arrangements on the SF16-H that played with the airflow in and around this region, although not directly coupled to the keel or the flap.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Pilot area

Another area where we’ve seen design diversity is around the cockpit, specifically the mirrors and halo.

Indeed, there is valuable real estate here in which to add winglets and/or reshape the pre-designed surfaces for aerodynamic advantage.

In this regard, we have seen teams introduce various solutions, some of which have faced challenges from their rivals, while others have simply been observed and implemented by other teams in their own way.

Mercedes W13 spoiler comparison

Mercedes W13 spoiler comparison

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Mercedes’ use of a segmented mirror mount was a bit controversial when it was first seen during pre-season testing. But the regulations allow such designs, even if they are redundant from a support point of view. In this regard, the team recently added an additional “prop” that hangs from the SIS fairing (inset, red arrow).

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Detail of the AlphaTauri AT03 pontoon

Detail of the AlphaTauri AT03 pontoon

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Although Mercedes’ solution caught the attention of rivals, the AlphaTauri AT03 also sported a segmented exterior mirror mount.

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing RB18 Halo

Red Bull Racing RB18 Halo

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Continuing where it left off in 2021, Red Bull has small fins mounted on the side of its halo.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Halo Alpine A522

Halo Alpine A522

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Similarly, the Alpine A522 also has a pair of fins mounted on the side of its halo (inset).

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Aston Martin AMR22 Halo

Aston Martin AMR22 Halo

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Aston Martin has tried various solutions when it comes to the fins attached to its halo, with the horn-like fins (bottom right, purple arrow) used at the start of the season, before being replaced by the vane in front of the rear halo mount point (top right, blue arrow). He also added a vertical fence to the edge of the halo to help better define the airflow path (red arrow).

Photo by: Uncredited

Ferrari F1-75

Ferrari F1-75

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Ferrari also has a spoiler in a similar position, albeit curved to further influence airflow. Also note the fin mounted above the halo, a little further forward.

McLaren MCL36

McLaren MCL36

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McLaren, like several other teams on the grid, also has a wing mounted in and around the cockpit. In McLaren’s case, this also coincides with the position of its slatted cooling panel.

Cooling racks

An interesting but more niche solution can be seen on the Haas VF-22 and Alpine A522, both of which use cooling louvers in the rear portion of the engine cowling spine.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of solution from teams, but it’s more interesting considering there’s been an expansion of cooling options available this season. Teams can now vent heat through cooling vents in the pontoon bodywork.

In Alpine terms, its design is similar to the solution used on the A521, with a short section of the engine cover fin detached above the rear opening, below which are three louvers to help control the way heat is rejected from the interior.

Meanwhile, the solution seen on the Haas VF-22 has the engine cowl fin detached much higher on the body, exposing the 12 louvers and waste pipe cowl.

Alpine A522 rear detail
Haas VF-22 engine cowl detail

beam wings

Absent since 2014, the beam wing is back this season. Designers can now use up to two elements to provide structural support and aerodynamic assistance to the rear wing.

However, while most teams have taken what you would consider the conventional approach to designing these elements, Red Bull has charted its own course, using a stacked layout, where one element sits on top of the other.

It is a solution that has also recently been appropriated by Alpine, as it has moved from a more conventional layout. Interestingly, in order to reduce drag, Red Bull has also removed the topmost element in recent races.

Red Bull Racing RB18 New Beam Wing Comparison
Comparison of Alpine A522 beam wings