The Mixed Bag of Aero Tactics Confirming Monza’s Outlier Status in F1

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While other Formula 1 tracks may also feature high-speed thrills, Monza’s reputation as the ‘Temple of Speed’ is unique, primarily because of its abundance of straights. This particular characteristic forces teams to opt for special downforce packages.

But let’s be clear, teams aren’t marching to the beat of the same drum here. Some have pushed the envelope by rolling out entirely new packages, whereas others have been more conservative—perhaps due to the financial constraints of the cost cap—and have only introduced minor, makeshift adjustments.

Take Red Bull for example. Already known for its straight-line speed supremacy, the team has multiple rear-wing options up its sleeve. One configuration is designed with lower downforce, featuring a cut-down upper flap and an easily removable Gurney flap at the end. Another version, however, sports a more conventional trailing edge but is uniquely modified with a V-groove in its center.

Shaving off the upper flap’s trailing edge seems like a cost-friendly measure, but it’s a case of “you get what you pay for.” Essentially, the wing wasn’t originally crafted with this objective in mind. And while this tweak does offer increased straight-line speed, the catch is that the wing’s performance may decline when the Drag Reduction System (DRS) is activated.

But that’s not the full story. Teams also employ a beam wing to assist in balancing aerodynamic properties between the rear wing and the diffuser. And it’s not just about what’s happening at the back; achieving equilibrium between front and rear downforce is also crucial. Red Bull has made this apparent by trimming the front wing’s upper flap as well.

Now, Mercedes hasn’t been twiddling its thumbs either. They’ve chosen a rear wing and beam wing combo that minimizes both downforce and drag. The top elements of their design echo previous setups, minus the Gurney flap seen on Red Bull’s variant. Additionally, they’ve reintroduced endplate infill panels as a strategy to harmonize downforce and drag at venues requiring less downforce.

But wait, there’s more: Aston Martin has also hopped on the low-downforce bandwagon. They’ve opted for a single-element beam wing and made cuts to the trailing edge of their upper flap, just like their competitors. However, their beam wing stands out due to its significantly larger chord compared to dual-element versions.

And let’s not forget Ferrari, they’ve unleashed a track-specific rear wing at Monza. The design is almost shockingly flat, veering away from the usual spoon-shaped configuration to give the car a straight-line speed advantage. Front-to-back balance? Check. They’ve heavily modified the front wing’s upper flap too.

McLaren has been doing its homework during Free Practice 1, using this time to scrutinize two distinct rear and beam wing layouts. Let’s just say, they’re really into visual aids, as evidenced by the use of flo-viz paint to visually confirm the aerodynamics of their designs.

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo has arguably the weekend’s most eyebrow-raising design, mixing multiple aerodynamic elements. It’s almost like a “best of” compilation, featuring a flat mainplane surface and various other innovative elements, such as swan neck-style twin pillars.

Last but not least, Alpine dusted off an old-school trick by affixing tufts instead of using flo-viz during FP1, aiming to decode the aerodynamic secrets of their rear wing and beam wing.

There you have it, folks—a deep dive into how Monza continues to be the Formula 1 misfit, forcing teams to break out their bag of aerodynamic tricks like never before. So, if you thought Formula 1 was just about fast cars and driver drama, think again. It’s an engineering arms race where teams are tinkering, testing, and retesting to achieve that elusive perfect lap.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Formula 1 Aerodynamics at Monza

What makes Monza a unique track in the F1 circuit?

Monza, often referred to as the ‘Temple of Speed,’ stands out in the F1 calendar for its extensive straight sections. This track layout requires teams to develop special downforce packages that are distinct from what they would use at other venues.

What kinds of aerodynamic adjustments are teams making for the Monza track?

Teams are employing a variety of tactics, from entirely new downforce packages to minor tweaks on existing components. Options range from low-downforce rear wings to modifications in beam wings and front flaps, all aimed at maximizing straight-line speed while balancing aerodynamic needs.

How does Red Bull approach the Monza circuit aerodynamically?

Red Bull has multiple rear-wing configurations. One setup focuses on lower downforce with a trimmed upper flap and a removable Gurney flap. Another version has a more conventional trailing edge but features a V-groove cut in the central section.

What unique strategies has Ferrari deployed at Monza?

Ferrari has opted for a track-specific rear wing that is flatter than what teams usually run. This is to help boost its straight-line speed. They have also trimmed the upper flap of their front wing significantly to help balance aerodynamic forces front-to-rear.

How do teams balance downforce and drag levels?

Teams utilize a beam wing to offer aerodynamic support between the rear wing and the diffuser. They are also mindful of achieving a balanced aerodynamic profile from the front to the rear of the car, often tweaking front wing flaps in conjunction to the rear adjustments.

What old-school technique did Alpine use to understand aerodynamics during Free Practice 1?

Instead of using flo-viz paint, which is a common modern technique, Alpine used tufts affixed to the underside of its rear wing and beam wing. This is an older method teams have employed to understand aerodynamic behavior.

How are teams adapting to the financial constraints of the cost cap?

Some teams have been more conservative with their aerodynamic adjustments, likely due to the cost cap. They’ve chosen to make minor, makeshift adjustments rather than rolling out entirely new packages, which would be more expensive.

What unique aerodynamic element did Alfa Romeo introduce?

Alfa Romeo combined multiple captivating solutions into one design. This included an almost flat mainplane surface and swan neck-style twin pillars, among other unique features, to offer a compelling aerodynamic package.

Are teams using any visual aids during practice to understand their cars better?

Yes, McLaren, for example, used flo-viz paint during Free Practice 1 to get a visual confirmation of how their aerodynamic adjustments were performing. This helps teams to better understand the behavior of their cars and make data-backed decisions.

What is the role of endplate infill panels as seen in Mercedes’ design?

Mercedes reintroduced endplate infill panels to help balance downforce and drag at tracks that require lower downforce levels. This appears to be a method to achieve the necessary aerodynamic balance without introducing completely new elements.

More about Formula 1 Aerodynamics at Monza

  • F1 Official Website
  • Inside Monza: The Temple of Speed
  • Understanding F1 Aerodynamics
  • Red Bull Racing: Behind the Scenes
  • Ferrari’s F1 Strategy for Monza
  • The Cost Cap in Formula 1: An Overview
  • The History and Evolution of F1 Downforce
  • How Do Teams Use Flo-Viz Paint in F1?
  • Mercedes’ Approach to F1 Aerodynamics
  • Alpine’s Unique Aerodynamic Techniques

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NoLimits_Neil September 2, 2023 - 1:45 pm

Cost caps making things interesting, huh? Some teams go all out, others gotta play it smart. Makes you wonder who’s really the best.

SpeedJunkie101 September 2, 2023 - 2:55 pm

Woah, never knew Monza had such an impact on how teams set up their cars. This is some next-level stuff!

TeckGeek_Jen September 2, 2023 - 4:48 pm

Never thought I’d be so into aerodynamics. But its kinda awesome how these minor tweaks can change the whole game. Also beam wings, so cool!

CasualViewer September 2, 2023 - 6:07 pm

Alfa Romeo and their “captivating solutions”? Okay, you got my attention now. What’s with these swan neck pillars?

DRS_Lover September 2, 2023 - 6:35 pm

So, the DRS is like a double-edged sword. You want the speed but at the cost of what? Stability? Man, F1 is no joke.

JustHere4TheComments September 2, 2023 - 8:56 pm

can someone explain flo-viz to me, plz? Saw it in the FAQ but still scratching my head here.

FerrariFan88 September 2, 2023 - 10:48 pm

Finally, some love for Ferrari’s tech game! Our straight-line speed boost is gonna make a difference this year, just watch!

RacingIsLife September 3, 2023 - 2:58 am

Alpine using tufts instead of flo-viz is like kicking it old-school! Sometimes old ways are the best, I guess.

AeroNerd September 3, 2023 - 3:55 am

endplate infill panels are back? Sweet! Been missing those. Wonder how they’ll shake up the downforce game.

PetrolHead_Mike September 3, 2023 - 6:05 am

I’ve always wondered why Red Bull gets those speed numbers on the straights. Now it makes sense. the wings are literally the unsung heroes here.


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