Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Tech analysis: Verstappen and Ricciardo diverge on monkey seats

Formula 1 drivers have been struggling to get a good balance on the tricky Mexico surface this weekend - and that has prompted an interesting choice by Daniel Ricciardo to add more downforce to his car.

Both the Australian and his teammate Max Verstappen had run without the monkey seat on Friday, on a day when they both had a hard time extracting single lap pace from their car.

While Verstappen elected to continue with the same configuration at the back, Ricciardo opted to add the monkey seat from final free practice in a bid to add a little bit more downforce and help with his balance.

When asked by about the decision, Ricciardo said: "We put it on overnight to try to give me a bit more downforce.

"I felt better yesterday [Friday], but at the same time I think that was probably just the track. The track didn’t improve like we thought, because relatively we seem to be closer to the pace, but as far as the balance I was happy yesterday. Plus yesterday afternoon the track was better than it was today.

"It is a small thing. It doesn’t cost me that much straightline speed, it is a like a bit of free downforce sort of, so that is why I decided to take it."

The extra downforce created by the connection between the rear wing and diffuser that the monkey seat affords may handicap Ricciardo a little on the long straights, but it should help in the corners if only to limit the rear of the car from sliding.

The improved balance could prove even more important in the race when looking after the tyres will be essential to a good result.

Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid, nose cone
Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid, nose cone

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A novelty noticed on the stand outside the Mercedes garage during FP3 was that the team had prepared the 2017 development wing as one of Lewis Hamilton’s spares.

Of course, the team can’t have an infinite amount of parts on site due to space constraints and with tests being conducted with the wing yesterday it makes sense that it remains.

Unless Hamilton suffers two incidents that cause damage to his race and first spare it’ll not see the light of day, but given the drastic airflow difference this development wing has when compared with the usual specification it does seem a little strange for it to be on-site.

McLaren MP4-31, detail
McLaren MP4-31, detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren evaluated its front brake drum in a more closed configuration during FP1 and FP2 but temperature sensitivity on Saturday has forced the team to retreat to the usual open configuration (above).

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Mexican GP
Track Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Teams Red Bull Racing , McLaren , Mercedes
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis