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Formula 1 Dutch GP

Why Aston Martin’s latest F1 upgrade has forced a pit equipment change

Aston Martin’s ability to surprise in Formula 1 this year continued at last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix when it introduced a fascinating upgrade at the rear of its car.

Aston Martin AMR23 new fin

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. View our full selection of Giorgio's technical illustrative content

The interesting new addition could be found beneath the AMR23’s rear crash structure, as the designers had found a way to utilise a small bowtie-style winglet to work in conjunction with changes that were also made to the surface of the diffuser.

And, whilst the team did not race the item in the end, its introduction is not one that should be taken lightly – as the team had clearly gone the extra mile to get the part on the car so there must be a decent benefit.

Nothing showed that more than the fact that, as a consequence of introducing this winglet, Aston Martin had to redesign its pit equipment, with an overhaul of the rear lifting jack getting spotted in the Zandvoort pitlane.

 

 

The jack, ordinarily a more simplistic cup-style solution, usually slides beneath the crash structure in order to lift the car during a pit stop.

However, if this design was used with the new winglet it would likely break the part – something that indeed happened during practice and could be the reason why the team opted not to race with it.

To avoid the risk of repeat damage, Aston Martin reprofiled the rear jack cup design so it now avoids the risk of damaging the winglet at a stop.

It will be interesting to see if any of the other teams deem the winglet warrants further investigation, given the investment required to not only incorporate the winglet, but also design and manufacture a new rear jack.

Along with changes to the floor, underfloor and floor fences there was also a shift in approach when it came to the AMR23’s engine cover bodywork.

Aston Martin AMR23 engine cover comparison

Aston Martin AMR23 engine cover comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

The squad’s last update in this region had seen it pair a cooling vent along the spine of the cover with the shark fin hoisted above it.

However, its new arrangement reverses this development direction with the fin reattached to the cover but also shortened.

The biggest change came to the shape of the bodywork in this region, and the impact that has on the cooling outlet. Rather than having a double-barrelled arrangement, with a dip in the centre, it is now a flat surface.

This will clearly have an impact on the external flow over the rear portion of the cooling outlet, as it no longer funnels the airflow to the centreline.

Mercedes floor tweaks

Mercedes re-entered the fray with several smaller changes to the W14, the first of which has already been an area of development for the team over the course of this season.

The forward portion of the edge wing has been modified on several occasions already in 2023, as the team optimises how it works in conjunction with other changes that have been made around it to help to balance the car’s performance from circuit-to-circuit.

Mercedes W14 floor comparison

Mercedes W14 floor comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

The team had already removed its rear strake from the scrolled forward portion of the edge wing in Belgium, reducing the number it had previously employed (bottom) from three to two.

However, to improve flow conditions further, it opted to increase the height of the scroll and reduce its length, whilst also adding a metal finish to the lower half of the strakes.

A small modification has been made to the inboard mirror stay too, as the surface has been decambered to improve flow quality to the rear of the car.

Meanwhile, the outer eyelash-like vortex generators that were removed for the Belgian Grand Prix had been reinstalled on the edge of the W14’s SIS fairing.

 

At the rear of the car, Mercedes had a new beam wing arrangement at its disposal as it looked to tune the car for the demands of the circuit and help with the flow interaction between it, the diffuser and the rear wing.

Haas design shift

Haas introduced a new front wing at the Dutch Grand Prix that featured a number of interesting features - both from a development continuity point of view and in terms of a direction shift that’s been triggered by development seen at other teams.

The most obvious difference is a change to the number of slot gap separator brackets between the third and fourth elements, with a reduction from five to four, as the team looks to use its aerodynamic variants more effectively.

Haas VF-23 front wing

Haas VF-23 front wing

Photo by: Uncredited

It’s a design concept that we first saw from Mercedes at the US Grand Prix in 2022 but the Silver Arrows never raced the solution amid questions over its legality.

But, given a change in the FIA’s stance to the aerodynamic use of these separators, Ferrari employed a similar design at the start of this year’s campaign, with Haas adding them to its front wing in Monaco.

The team has also added a third flap pivot, which is mounted between the second and third elements, in order to help stabilise the wing.

The new front wing features another design first seen on the Mercedes too, with Haas adopting the semi-detached flap and endplate juncture on the two rearmost elements. Just like Mercedes, the flap tips are pushed slightly inboard and metal brackets are used to fix them to the endplate.

Haas have also retained the two winglets mounted above these flaps but has likely made subtle modifications to work in conjunction with the alterations below.

And, whilst the aforementioned changes are largely looking to increase the outwash capability of the wing, there’s also changes to the shape of the flaps, both across the midspan section and where they connect to the side of the nose.

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