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Formula 1 Belgian GP

McLaren pursuing Red Bull DRS solution with Spa F1 update

McLaren appears to be pursuing Red Bull’s powerful DRS concept seen so far this season with the upgrades that it has brought to the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.

McLaren MCL60 rear detail

Red Bull has frequently enjoyed a top speed advantage in qualifying, up to 5mph, when drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez can activate their DRS on the main straights.

Engineers have relayed to Motorsport.com that they suspect this potency is derived from the ratio of drag delivered by the RB19's rear wing and beam wing.

The car runs a larger rear wing surface to increase drag. This then produces a greater DRS benefit when the flap is open.

Red Bull compensates for this bigger surface by deploying a much lower drag - sometimes using one element only at circuits that do not require maximum downforce - beam wing.

This specification beam wing enables the team to maintain straight-line efficiency despite running the larger rear wing surface.

McLaren appears to be working to replicate this with the revisions it has made to its MCL60 for Spa. While it will still rely on a double-element beam wing, new offloaded geometry will trade load from the beam wing to the rear wing mainplane to reduce aerodynamic load and drag.

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Matt Kew

In addition, the team has devised a modified rear wing endplate to further reduce the mainplane's loading and introduced two different trims to the trailing edge of the rear wing flap element to further help reduce drag and load.

The emphasis from the rest of the grid - aside from Mercedes' more sweeping upgrades and revised sidepods - has been on introducing new wings to better adapt to high-speed Spa.

But Alpine has worked to bring a revised floor alongside its lower-downforce front wing. The new floor fences, ‘canoe ramps’ and smoother diffuser wall should all improve load.

Similarly, Aston Martin has tweaked the floor edge of its AMR23 with the subtly revised geometry seeking to improve the airflow and how it interacts with the rest of the floor.

Alfa Romeo has reduced the size of both its rear wing and beam wing - dropping to a single lower element - and reprofiled the front wing flaps to improve its straight-line performance.

Meanwhile, Red Bull sister team AlphaTauri has modified the size of its rear wing tips by enlarging the cut-outs. This gives “an efficient increase in local load of the upper wing assembly by increasing the tip loading”.

Williams, who will imminently announce the signing of Alpine’s Pat Fry as its new chief technical officer, has developed the rear corner for the requirements of the Belgian circuit.

Alpine A523 detail

Alpine A523 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

New, shortened winglets on the rear brake ducts will interact with the rear wing to optimise the downforce and drag range of the car.

The front wing’s rearward most element can also be trimmed now to give a shorter chord length to reduce loading and suit the lower-drag rear wing set-up.

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