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Formula 1

Saudi Arabian 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 5 technical advancements we've seen during the Saudi Arabian GP including track specific RedBull and McLaren wing updates and much more... Find out what makes these upgrades important for the season.

This week we will see a different approach to the technical updates introduced! We have a circuit that has high speed corners and high speed straights. What does this mean? A lot of the updates will be "track specific" and brought in with the purpose of maintaining balance through the corners without compromising the top speeds on the straights leaving you completely open if you get this wrong and produce too much drag. 

So lets get into this week's updates that have caught my eye!

Red Bull

New rear wing option

Red Bull Low Camber Rear Wing
Photo via X and Albert Febrega

The low camber rear wing is a circuit specific wing option. These wings are designed to produce low drag, but still produce enough downforce to allow the car to complete the lap in the fastest time possible with most of the lap time produced in the long straights. This wing will allow less aerodynamic load to get the best top speed whilst still having enough for the corners here. 


Rear wing lower drag assembly 

McLaren new spec rear wing
Picture via x @Giorgio Piola

McLaren have a new 2024 spec rear wing like the Red Bull wing - with the aim of reducing downforce and drag to increase top speed. To achieve this they have an offloaded mainplane and flap. The dipped curvature down the middle of the wing has a feature that enables a flap to be moved just behind where the DRS System Actuator is located. You will also notice the connection to the end plate is different.


Cooling Ducts

Mercedes cooling ducts
Picture @Albert Fabrega via x

This is not an upgrade, but very relevant! We know that Mercedes got the cooling wrong with their engine costing a lot of lost performance in Bahrain. They clearly feel that they have a fix and are in control of the situation. The cooling on the W15 is identical to the one used in Bahrain in practice. They had subsequently changed the cooling setup for qualifying and the race by covering some ducts up - which is believed to have played a part in the issues. It seems they are not risking that mistake here. Whilst the cooling ducts are vital they also produce drag affecting the performance of the car.

Visa Cashapp RB

Front Wing

After a disappointing display last week the team have made a number of changes to the car for this weekend.

  1. They have increased the cooling to the radiators with not only new topdeck cooling louvres, but also with a new engine cover.
  2. The engine cover has changed in shape and slope to increase the flow passing to the rear of the car.
  3. Like most teams they have a reduced camber rear wing.
  4. They have also brought with them a new circuit specific front wing - reducing the loaded area to balance out the changes made to the rear wing to increase stability.

This race will be a case of who has managed to get that balance right and maintain the speed that's needed around here, while giving the driver the confidence to throw the car into the corners... and hopefully not the wall. Can anyone take the fight to Redbull or will it be a race between Max and Checo?

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