The star of the last major upgrade wave was the Haas VF-23. The numerous changes made to the undercarriage, side mounts, bonnet and front brake calipers justify the designation of the B version. Because it is a change in concept. Away from Ferrari's outwash principle and towards Red Bull's underwash approach with the ramp in the side box. “The aerodynamic balance and ground clearance characteristics have changed compared to before,” explains operations manager Ayao Komatsu.
It was brave to launch an upgrade of this dimension for the first time in a quick weekend. But the American racing team had no other choice. The engineers wanted to complete as many races as possible with the 2024 Learning B Edition. For her, the Austin was a jump into the deep end.
“We started with different settings, made the same changes as usual, then put our data together and determined the setting for the rest of the weekend,” Komatsu said. However, a mistake crept in: “We did not use the wings to the maximum. This cost us a lot of time in corner kicks.”
Five teams are making improvements
AlphaTauri and Aston Martin have also delved into the upgrade box. This was Alpha Tauri's seventh major renovation this year. The lower part of the car has been improved again, but this time in the front area. The rear also gets a new air outlet, and the underside of the bodywork in the front axle area has been improved to improve flow quality under the AT04. Aston Martin's scope was equivalent to the expansion phases of Montreal and Zandvoort. The lower body, side horns and keel wing were new.
Mercedes introduced the fifth version of the undercarriage, if you include the first specifications at the beginning of the season. This time the engineers focused on the front of the floor. It has been raised again, giving the Venturi channels in the upper area a new look. At the same time, the edges of the floor in this area have been modified. This diverts the airflow in the outer duct, improving flow quality and thus downforce at the rear.
The drivers were happy. The W14's unexpected rear end troubled them for 17 races. On paper, the intervention should bring in two tenths. “It was another important step in learning for the 2024 car,” technical co-ordinator Mike Elliott explained.
Here's our summary of Austin's upgrades:
- Bottom: The front edge of the floor has been raised. This also changes the shape of the anterior venturi tunnels
- Bottom Edge: The small wing on the base plate has been extended to the rear. This increases communication pressure locally.
- Underbody Edge: Another step in the flagship aero package introduced in Singapore. The floor edge in the rear area has been modified.
- Bottom edge: A new slot was cut in the floor edge and the wing element was attached parallel to it. It was previously placed underground.
- Publisher: Further expansion abroad. More downforce at the rear.
- Side Siding: Side siding undermining is strongest in the modified area of the floor.
- Beam Spoiler: The lower rear spoiler has been modified to accommodate the new diffuser. The wing profiles have been redesigned.
- Front brake ventilation: The cooling outlet of the front brake cylinder has been modified.
- Bottom: The geometry has been completely changed from the front venturi channels to the diffuser. Thus, the flow expansion at both ends of the floor also changed.
- Floor Edge: The floor edges have been adapted to the new shape of the floor.
- Cooling inlet: The cooling inlet is more oval in shape than triangular. The bottom is raised to further undercut the side panels in the front.
- Side Sides: The side sides now have a ramp and a small basin at the top.
- Hood: The side horns are more recessed at the rear and flatter than the previous model.
- Cooling outlet: Hot cooling air no longer escapes through the gills at the top of the side pods, but through four vertical vents on the outside of the hood.
- Bottom: The front part of the floor has been modified in the middle.
- Venturi channels: The outer channel has more volume. The three inner vertical baffles are more angular.
- Bottom edge: Adapt to adjust the front floor space.
- Engine cover: The central air outlet has a new shape. This allows hot air to be removed more effectively without damaging aerodynamics.
- Rear brake ventilation: The lower ailerons on the brake drum have been modified.
- Chassis: The underside of the chassis in the front suspension area has been changed. This improves flow into the Venturi channels. Creates more local downforce.
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