How F1 teams have narrowed their technical focus in the final 2022 races

The result of this sluggishness in the performance-oriented segments hitting the track inevitably narrows her focus even further, with teammates often running different setups and aerodynamic configurations during free practice sessions as they search for needed balance around the entire course. .

As qualifying approaches, this usually leads to the two garage sides converging, but, as we’ll find out, that’s not always the case either.

In Abu Dhabi last weekend, Mercedes The pairing began on the same base on Friday by running the medium- and high-downforce rear spoiler assembly, which features a top flap with a slot in the trailing edge (top left). However, as the drivers looked for a bit more performance in the middle sector of the lap, they both tried another downforce option (top right).

The top speed advantage this gave clearly did not provide the overall computer time boost they were looking for, due to accumulated losses in the first and third sectors, and so changes were made to both cars before qualifying.

George Russell In fact, he went so far with his setup, opting for a Gurney on the trailing edge of the top cover that didn’t appear on Lewis HamiltonW13. However, while Russell used the top-of-the-line quarterback slot in the Brazilian Stunning Weekend (inside form), he opted for the full-height variant for Abu Dhabi.

Ferrari F1-75 rear spoiler comparison

Ferrari F1-75 rear spoiler comparison

Red Bull RB18 rear spoiler comparison

Red Bull RB18 rear spoiler comparison

Red Bull and Ferrari They also played with different wing-back configurations during free practice, with both experimenting with a higher downforce option (photos) before both opting for their lower downforce counterpart.

Ferrari also used some practice time to evaluate a revised ground design (below), likely as a precursor to changes the team expects to implement for 2023, which needed real-world data to validate their findings in the CFD and wind tunnel.

The revised design focuses on changes to the floor section just ahead of the rear tire. A rim that runs up will alter the path of the airflow, resulting in a behavioral change where it meets the face of the tire.

Ferrari F1-75 floor comparison

Ferrari F1-75 floor comparison

Photo from: Giorgio Piola

It’s a relatively small change but one that could prove useful as the team grapples with the issues presented by tire squirt, a phenomenon that robs the diffuser of consistency and effectiveness as airflow is pushed laterally away from the tire and into the path of the diffuser.

McLaren It also had test items at its disposal for the final race of the season, as it also looked to validate a new development track for 2023.

Unlike Ferrari, its investigation resulted in a complete overhaul of the floor rim, including the rim spoiler. The test element featured a design more in keeping with the design championed by Red Bull and later copied by others up and down the grid.

The pass-through, complete with flush diverters, has been replaced at the front section of the floor edge with a simpler gurney, with a spacer behind where a lower section of the floor and then the remainder of the floor tapering ahead of the rear frame.

McLaren MCL36

McLaren MCL36

Photo from: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL36 floor detail

McLaren MCL36 floor detail

Photo from: Giorgio Piola

Unseen, due to being underground, McLaren has also made its first foray into using the ‘Ice Skate’ too, a solution first seen at Red Bull this season and later found in the likes of the Ferrari F1-75, Alps A522 and Aston Martin AMR22.

As you’d expect, given the slant for them in the other designs mentioned, there’s also a small tab attached to the sled that sticks out of the side of it and can be seen in the frame created by the rear floor hatch. This will cause the air to flow relative to the height of the ski, rather than the floor around it, and will help combat some of the problems that tire squirt presents.

Thus, skidding has many functions, as it not only provides physical restraint to the track surface while the vehicle is compressed, but also has aerodynamic benefits as it changes the path of airflow backwards.

McLaren was clearly keen to see how robust this would be under real-world conditions, and even made a point in its pre-event submission: “We aimed to assess the impact of this floor edge on the car’s ride height behaviour.”

This data will now be analyzed as the 2023 competitors progress before they are built for next season.

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