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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Tech Corner

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Learn from F1 Coffee Corner - Terry Widdows - our technical correspondent about all things tech and car upgrades during each Formula 1 weekend!

F1 Coffee Corner's top technical advancements we've seen at Imola including MAJOR Ferrari upgrades, an Aston Martin car overhaul, and much more... Find out what makes these upgrades important for the season.

Welcome to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix! This is Round 7 of the Formula 1 calendar and by far - for someone who loves tech - the race that at the start of the season gets circled on the calendar as the one to look out for! It's the start of the European races, where a majority of the teams introduce their first substantial updates after taking the learnings from Testing, the first few races, and a look up and down the paddock to see just how they can improve the cars. 

McLaren showed their hand early with their updates to the MCL38, which propelled Lando to victory in Miami, and will be looking to build on that as they bring the full updates to teammate Oscar. That being said, let's take a look at who else has changes to try and take on the challenge of mounting a battle against Red Bull. 

As always there are two separate updates to look at - the performance updates brought to enhance the cars over the course of the season, and the circuit specific ones that are brought in to do a job on that specific track.

Red Bull

Front Wing Redesign

Let's start off with the changes that have caught my attention with the Champions, Red Bull. Now, they introduced an early update you will remember in Japan including floor changes. The Imola Upgrade is the second phase to that update that they hope will get the RB20 back to its winning ways after Miami. Now, they have a few circuit specific updates, but it's this one that's caught my eye today.

Red Bull Imola Front Wing Redesign
Albert Fabrega via x

This update for the front wing goes in the complete opposite direction of Mercedes - who have been running that very thin chord across the top. Red Bull have, actually, increased the leading edges on the 3rd and 4th plate, the two most top ones. The reason for this redesign and extension, according to the team, is to increase the load on the front wing - no doubt - to work with the Japan floor. The introduction of the new floor edge we are seeing here Red Bull says is to improve the yaw stability of the car. The yaw of the car is the technical term for the weight of the car as the gravity shifts left or right normally when you brake, accelerate or suddenly steer the car. So, these updates are modifications designed to improve the stability of the RB20 - especially in the corners - and whilst very minor, it may well lead to some bigger lap time gains for Red Bull.

Ferrari

Floor Upgrade

Next up is Ferrari - who have brought extensive updates to the SF-24 after their filming day last week - in what is a "McLaren style package", in terms of sheer changes to the car. Let's start by looking at that all important floor.

Ferrari Imola Floor Edge
Rosario Giulina via X

You can clearly see from various photos that the floor edge changes that have been made. The team has described these changes as "flow conditioning", that includes a revised rearward slot and trailing edge volume. This refers to the stay and the new cut that's appeared. This is said by the team to be working in conjunction with the new bodywork on the Ferrari - directing the flow of air more effectively to the rear of the car around the diffuser area.  

SidePod Redesign

Ferrari imola SidePod Redesign
Rosario Giulina via X

This is probably the most visual change to the Ferrari. The largest changes are the introduction of a P shaped inlet and the forward top lip moving from the bottom to the top to create a bigger inlet. This has been described as a change to the cockpit as well, in which the team has said that not only will this increase performance to the floor edge and rear of the car, but incorporate a new cockpit device on the side of the halo. This change manages losses traveling downstream by removing the S-duct exit vent that was there. This will improve the airflow around the cockpit - suggesting the new p-shape has, in fact, led to the complete removal of the s-duct (although we are awaiting confirmation of this).

There are a total of 7 updates to the Ferrari this weekend including front and rear wings, diffuser area, as well as the rear suspension and bodywork added to the ones shown above. Some are suggesting that all of these changes could be worth between 0.2 and 0.4 seconds per lap.

Aston Martin

Modified Top Surface

Aston Martin Imola Modified Top Surface
Albert Fabrega via X

Aston Martin are the other team who have brought a substantial update to the AMR24 to Imola, but haven't been keen to show a lot to the media. As the team prepared for FP1 - at the time of writing - the AMR24 had been fitted with aero rakes to get feedback on the rear of the car, especially the diffuser area. This has been described as a slightly modified top surface, which has the aim of controlling that flow of air that's been generated by the floor - then through that floor. By modifying the expansion, they hope to improve how that flow is dispersed at the rear. The rear itself has been changed considerably by the introduction of a whole new floor, floor edge, and floor fences. The rakes are checking that these are all doing what they should. It has been suggested that the updated floor may only be on Fernando’s car currently as they look to get a direct comparison of data before either fitting it to Lance’s car before qualifying, or even Monaco next time out.

Front Wing Shape

Aston Martin Imola Front Wing Shape
Albert Fabrega via X

The front wing has a new v shape that appeared on the Aston Martin, as you can see in the photo above. There have been some changes to the slot gaps alongside this - all designed to better control that airflow to that new floor we talked about above and protect those front tires.

The other interesting update that Aston have listed is around the rear suspension. They have listed a change to the external fairings, but not the components. The reason that this is interesting is because this isn't listed on the Mercedes update and is a shared customer part they get from Mercedes - suggesting that Aston have modified the customer part for the AMR24. If true, this will raise some eyebrows in the Mercedes garage.

Could all of these updates improve the Silverstone based team's recent performance and put them back into podium contention once more?

Other updates

  • Mercedes - Modifications to Floor Fences and Body as well as circuit specific Front and Rear Wings. 
  • Haas - New Front Wing Endplate and Rear Suspension. 
  • Stake - Floor Fences and Pitstop Equipment improvements have finally arrived. Let's hope those work...
  • Williams - Alex’s car's Floor Body and reduced the weight of the car which has been reported as being significantly affecting performance. 
  • Alpine - New Floor Edge as well after they introduced a new floor on their car recently.
  • McLaren - Circuit Specific Rear Wing and Beam Wing.

That's it for the tech corner this week! Hopefully that will give you a better idea of what's new on the cars for this weekend especially those Aston Martins and Ferrari’s who are going to be ones to watch this weekend for sure. 

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