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

The 2021 design tweaks revealed in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1's opening day of practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was quite a low-key affair in terms of the battle for this weekend.

The 2021 design tweaks revealed in Abu Dhabi
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However, a closer look at the cars showed that the focus of many teams was very much on 2021, as there were a host of next year's parts being tried out – including floors, diffusers and brake ducts.

Haas dipped its toe into testing 2021 specification parts for the first time at the Yas Marina circuit, whilst Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault used practice as another opportunity to gather data that can be used to develop their solutions for next season.

2021 brakes fins Race
2021 diffuser central fins rules

The 2021 regulations require teams to cut a triangular shaped section of the floor out ahead of the rear tyre, and also prohibit the use of fully enclosed holes in this area too (main image).

Meanwhile, the rear brake duct winglets in the lower half of the brake duct will have to be 40mm narrower and 50mm has to be lopped off the bottom of the diffuser strakes.

The aim of these changes is to reduce downforce by approximately 10 percent and alleviate some of the stress this causes the tyres when they're fully loaded up.

So, let's take a look at the various solutions that the teams have been evaluating...

Red Bull Racing RB16 floor detail

Red Bull Racing RB16 floor detail

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Having briefly tested 2021 specification parts on its car in Portugal, Red Bull took the opportunity to capture more data in FP1.

Its floor featured the required cut-out ahead of the rear tyre but we can see it is already looking at ways of influencing the airflow. The twisted floor strake (arrowed) helps to move airflow across the tyre face, mitigating some of the effects of tyre squirt that reduce the performance of the diffuser.

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ferrari arrived in Abu Dhabi with a new 2021 specification floor design, having already tested parts for next season in Portugal.

A vertical strake has now been added on the edge of the floor (circled), rather than the dog-eared edge that featured on the previous floor iteration. Slots also break up the strake in order that the airflow be affected by them.

Furthermore, ahead of this, Ferrari has added three twisted winglets that hope to prime the airflow received by the rear tyre (red arrow).

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The floor specification tested in Portugal featured a dog-eared edge ahead of the rear tyre

Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas F1 Haas VF-20

Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas F1 Haas VF-20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Haas fitted Fittipaldi's car with the 2021 specification parts, which included a version of next year's floor that more closely represents the design that the FIA intended when introducing the regulations.

Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20

Esteban Ocon, Renault F1 Team R.S.20

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Renault also has a simplified version of the floor that we saw it test in Bahrain, but this time it was installed on Ocon's car.

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