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Formula 1 Canadian GP

How Aston Martin played it coy with its major Canada F1 upgrade

Aston Martin introduced an extensive update package for the AMR23 at Formula 1's Canadian Grand Prix, as it bid to not lose ground to the rapidly advancing Mercedes team.

Aston Martin AMR23 side Canadian GP

But there was a lot more to the upgrade than initially met the eye, especially as the team was fairly coy when it came to detailing the changes it had made in the official car presentation submission document before the action got underway.

This is usual fare to be honest though, as all of the teams have, over time, become more accustomed to generalising the changes being made to their cars at each grand prix.

After giving some in-depth analysis of its changes when this new era of F1 began, most now take more of a catch-all approach to explain what's been altered in the various legality zones/boxes, with the vagaries of the actual changes still needing to be explored.

The prime example in Aston Martin's case is the changes made to its sidepods, which aren't mentioned in its submission documents at all but have obviously been overhauled as part of the package of alterations made to the AMR23.

However, that may be because unlike rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, which recently had to switch concepts, Aston Martin's changes were more about optimising the pre-existing surfaces to elevate performance.

The most obvious change in this respect was to the water slide-style gulley, which has been narrowed and starts a little further back, resulting in a steeper decline into the ramp section of the bodywork.

This also changes the shoulder profile of the bodywork and has led to the rear ramped section being altered where it meets with the floor.

Aston Martin AMR23 rear

Aston Martin AMR23 rear

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, the lower portion of the sidepod has also been optimised, with the bodywork tightened to create more space in the backfill channel (red arrow, left image, below). This allows more airflow to be fed to the rear of the car, while also enhancing the floor edge, which has also been fettled.

The main contributor here is the rearward cutout, which has been widened (yellow double arrows) and has allowed the flap jutting out in the recess to be widened too.

There's an important change made ahead of the undercut and backfill channel too though, as Aston Martin takes a leaf out of Red Bull's playbook once more, with a bridging panel (blue arrow, right image, below) used to infill the channel that had previously existed where the chassis and floor interface (red arrow, right image, inset, below).

This will obviously have an impact on the airflow's passage over the floor into the undercut region.

However, it also has consequences in terms of how the airflow behaves below the chassis and its passage under the floor, where there's undoubtedly a raft of changes that we're unable to see.

You'll also note that the outer floor fence has been tweaked, with a double serration now sitting atop the abbreviated semi-circular transition.

Aston Martin AMR23 sidepod backfill channel
Aston Martin AMR23 floor to chassis bridging panel

At the rear of the car, the cooling outlet bodywork has been amended, with a letterbox-style outlet to be found running down the spine of the engine cover, which has also resulted in a change of tact concerning the shark fin, as it now sits proud of the cooling outlet.

The bodywork that makes up the cooling cannon has also been raised and widened to improve how it interacts with the new sidepod bodywork, while also altering how the heat is rejected in line with the new spine outlet.

Aston Martin AMR23 rear cooling outlet comparison

Aston Martin AMR23 rear cooling outlet comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

Red Bull didn't have an update package to rival the size of the one on the Aston Martin, but it did continue to flex its muscles as it introduced a new front wing design in Canada.

There are no surprises with the changes though. They are just subtle amendments to the design it has already employed, in order that this new specification better suits the demands of the circuit and marries with the balance required for their choice of rear and beam wing.

Red Bull RB19 front wing

Red Bull RB19 front wing

Photo by: Uncredited

There are subtle geometrical differences across the span of the flaps, but where the designs differ the most is at the inboard end, with the immovable sections nearest the nose altered, along with the shape of the curvature on the leading edge of the upper flap just outboard of the adjuster pivot.

Haas also had a handful of changes for the VF-23 at the Canadian Grand Prix, with a new rear wing design the most substantial of those, as it switched from a twin to single pillar design.

Interestingly it opted to run its cars with the two different setups during the grand prix too, with Nico Hulkenberg's VF-23 sporting the older configuration, while Kevin Magnussen's car had the new rear wing mounted on it.

There's no real convention amongst the teams with regards to which design is 'better' than another, as largely it comes down to the weight versus aerodynamic efficiency trade-off.

The single pillar arrangement should, if optimised correctly, offer better flow management around the wing and can be connected to the DRS pod.

Haas VF-23 rear wing comparison

Haas VF-23 rear wing comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

However, the single-pillar arrangement will likely weigh slightly more than its twin-pillar counterpart, as it must be more robust in order to deal with the loads that it will encounter.

Then there's also the mounting of the pillar to consider too as, while the twin pillar arrangement will mount either side of the crash structure, the single pillar must wrap around the exhaust.

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