Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Tech analysis: Williams' search for missing performance

Williams continued to seek answers for its poor performance in recent races with more updates introduced in Germany, as Giorgio Piola and Matt Somerfield explain.

Tech analysis: Williams' search for missing performance

Williams

Williams took the drastic step of reverting to race one spec in Hungary, as they looked to understand just why their pace was so poor considering the number of updates they'd produced in order to increase downforce.

Williams FW38 front wing, captioned, Austrian GP
Williams FW38 front wing, captioned, Austrian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For Germany they finally committed to running the new front wing that has been trialled since Austria but not raced. Both drivers were furnished with the new design which features several standout changes:

1. The 'r' cascade is tilted over toward the main cascade in order that they work together to improve the way in which air is pushed around the front tyre.

2. Inside the main cascade the vertical fin is now supplemented by a slot on the leading edge to increase its efficiency

3. The main cascades support has also been furnished with a slot to improve efficiency

4. The endplate canard has been re-profiled whilst being pointed at a more aggressive angle to improve how the air is drawn out around the tyre.

 

 

 

A new floor that was flown in on Friday night was only used by Bottas in Hungary, however, both drivers had the new floor available to them in Germany.

As we can see in the 2D animation above the slots ahead of the rear tyre have been amended and now reach much further forward, with three L shaped slots and three smaller straight slots replacing the simpler 4 slot configuration used previously.

These slots are used to help to combat tyre squirt, a phenomenon created by the deformation of the rear tyre under load, whereby airflow is pushed laterally into the diffusers path and causes it to lose consistency and downforce.

Williams FW38 rear wing endplate, Austrian GP
Williams FW38 rear wing endplate, Austrian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Having sat it out on in the spares pile for several races the rear wing introduced in Azerbaijan made a return for Germany.

McLaren

McLaren continue to push hard to close the gap on those ahead and had a new winglet, mounted above the splitter in Germany.

McLaren MP4/31 front fins, German GP
McLaren MP4/31 front fins, German GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren's splitter winglet features a flat central section, populated with a slot to improve efficiency and make up for the fact that the splitter stay intersects with it.

Meanwhile, the outer portion of the winglet is turned upward to produce the aerodynamic structure that is desired by the designers to help control the Y250 vortex.

Whilst it bears a resemblance to the splitter winglet used by Red Bull it is clear that both designs have very different objectives, primarily because its role is to align flow structures generated ahead of it, which of course are different dependant on the car.

McLaren MP4-31 of Fernando Alonso, McLaren
McLaren MP4-31 of Fernando Alonso, McLaren

Photo by: XPB Images

McLaren installed two sensor pods on the front brake duct in free practice, which housed laser line tools (arrowed).

Cutouts were made in the vertical fence in order that the laser could measure the distance between the fence and tyre sidewall to ascertain how much the tyre is deforming on track, which will have an aerodynamic effect.

Whilst this is clearly important in understanding the current tyres and can help to improve this season it will undoubtedly come in useful when the the team first get their hands on the 2017 specification tyres too.

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