How F1 teams beat the unique technical challenges of Monaco

Monaco has always posed unique challenges that Formula 1’s teams have to overcome with their cars to be successful around the streets of the principality.

How F1 teams beat the unique technical challenges of Monaco
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While the new-for-2022 regulations have reduced the teams’ ability to bring one-off aerodynamic upgrades to increase downforce, as they have done in the past, there were still many changes required to deal with the barrier-lined circuit that won’t feature elsewhere on the calendar.

Topping this list are changes to the steering assembly and front suspension, with no less than six teams designing new components to cater for the manoeuvrability requirements of the circuit, including the famous Fairmount (formerly Loews and Station) hairpin.

Red Bull Racing RB18 steering assembly (ARROW)

Red Bull Racing RB18 steering assembly (ARROW)

In a rare shot without the carbon cover that’s usually placed over it, we’re able to see Red Bull’s steering assembly. Sat ahead of the chassis’ bulkhead, as is the case up and down the grid, it has a notch taken out of the nosecone in order to make this layout viable (inset, yellow line).

It would be remiss not to mention how teams mount the nosecones to the chassis, in order it can be changed quickly if it becomes damaged. The red arrows (above) show both the mounting studs on the chassis bulkhead and the cam-style fasteners on the side of the nose, which the mechanics rotate with a tool in order to release or tighten during the changeover.

Previously to this steering setup, Red Bull had housed the assembly within the chassis during the closing stages of the previous regulatory era, with the RB16 and RB16B utilising a straight-through arrangement in this position for the lower wishbone (below image).

Red Bull Racing RB16 front suspension

Red Bull Racing RB16 front suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This novel approach lives on though, albeit with the feature now applied to the forward arm of the upper wishbone on the RB18, given it has opted for a pull-rod front suspension layout this year.


Beating the heat on the streets

Monaco also represented a challenge when it comes to cooling, owing to the low-speed nature of the circuit.

In Red Bull’s case the team enlarged the front brake duct inlet to increase the amount of cool air entering the assembly. The rear outlet, which is a new feature of the 2022 regulations, was also increased to help reject the heat being generated within.

Red Bull Racing RB18 extra brake cooling detail

Red Bull Racing RB18 extra brake cooling detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W13 brake duct exit detail

Mercedes W13 brake duct exit detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

It’s a similar story for Mercedes, as it took the opportunity to alter the size of the outlet to increase flow through the assembly and help cool the brake discs and calipers at the lower speeds encountered.

While most teams set their sights on increasing cooling at the front of the cars, McLaren also made changes to the rear brake duct in order to reject the heat being generated, with the team dousing the region in green flo-viz paint (below) during Free Practice to ascertain it was performing as anticipated.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

This was not the only concession made in terms of cooling though, as McLaren also noted in the pre-event car presentation document that it would be evaluating two different sets of blanking louvre panels.

McLaren MCL36 cooling panel comparison

McLaren MCL36 cooling panel comparison

As can be seen in the image above, the team utilised a larger louvred panel beside the cockpit than it did in Miami (inset), which shows how much more aerodynamic efficiency the teams are prepared to exchange for better cooling.

It’s also worth noting how the cooling panel position coincides with the cockpit guide vane ahead of it, with both working in unison to improve the routing of the airflow and the heat that’s being rejected.

Red Bull also chose to run the entire panel of cooling louvres open in Monaco (below), whereas in Miami it opted to close the front section off with a blanking panel, which shows how important the aerodynamic trade-off is for teams.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar

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