Bahrain GP: Spotting the latest F1 technical developments

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 front suspension detail


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Mercedes added some Styrofoam to the outboard end of the upper wishbone during Free Practice as it evaluated the 2021-specification tyres. The upper wishbone is raised by means of an upright extension, a solution that they’ve used for a number of years, but it does mean that at the joint it does run particularly close to the tyres’ sidewall. Given that the 2021 tyre has a slightly different shape to it the Styrofoam not only acts as a buffer, it also serves as a guide to the team if any of the surface is eroded.

Renault F1 Team R.S.20 floor detail


Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Renault tested a 2021-specification floor during Free Practice as it also evaluated the effects of the new tyres that Pirelli will supply next season.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP20, in the pit lane


Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Flow-vis paint sprayed on the rear wing elements by Racing Point as it looks for visual confirmation that it’s performing as anticipated.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ferrari had kiel probe rakes mounted behind the front wheel to measure the airflow coming off the front wing, nose, front tyres, brake duct surfaces etc. Ferrari made numerous changes to these components in recent races so they’ll just be looking to map those flow structures under real world conditions in order to feed it back into its simulation loop.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000


Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

This side shot of the Ferrari SF1000 illustrates where the kiel probe rake is mounted behind the front tyres.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35


Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

McLaren tested next year’s tyres with its 2021 specification floor that features the diagonal cutout ahead of the rear tyre and is devoid of fully-enclosed holes. You’ll note the team had sprayed flo-viz on the floor to get visual confirmation of how the airflow is behaving.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Another shot of the 2021 specification floor on Lando Norris’ MCL35; he’s not using the latest version of the sidepod deflectors, with the venetian blind-style slats missing.

McLaren MCL35 rear detail


Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another view of the McLaren MCL35 with the 2021-specification floor. Note that this version has a rolled-up edge just ahead of the rear tyre, much like what Ferrari tested a few races ago.

Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL35


Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, Sainz continued to gather data with the race-specification parts and had additional thermal imaging equipment mounted in the pods beside the roll hoop to gather tyre data.

Roy Nissany, Williams FW43


Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Large kiel probe rakes were mounted on the Williams FW43 as they looked to gather data regarding flow around the centre of the car.

Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri AT01


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

AlphaTauri with bullseye stickers on the leading edge of the rear wing mainplane will be monitored by a camera mounted on the car, the footage of which can be analysed to see how much the wing moves under load.

Roy Nissany, Williams FW43


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The Williams FW43 piloted by Roy Nissany with flo-viz sprayed on the front-left brake duct

Flowviz paint on the car of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The McLaren MCL35 with flow-vis paint sprayed on the front suspension elements that’s splattered rearwards as the car gets up to speed.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11


Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

In this big lockup from Bottas we can see how the various aerodynamic surfaces on the car steers the tyre smoke, pushing it away from the car.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000


Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Similarly, we can see the effect when Vettel locks up the front wheel in his Ferrari, albeit with the aerodynamic surfaces on the SF1000 dealing with the airflow differently.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP20


Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The two large pods mounted either side of the airbox house additional thermal imaging equipment that monitors the tyres helping the team to create a clearer picture of how the tyres will perform over one lap and a race stint.

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