Alfa Romeo Racing C38 front wing detail

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 front wing detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The new aerodynamic regulations for 2019 saw teams take two very different approaches with their front wing designs. Alfa Romeo opted for the most aggressive solution, adopting what’s known as an ‘unloaded’ design, a solution preferred by both Ferrari and Toro Rosso too. This ‘unloaded’ wing solution features a flap design that droops down toward the base of the endplate, providing a different pathway for the airflow to travel around the front wheels.

Ferrari SF90 detail front wing Azerbaijan GP

Ferrari SF90 detail front wing Azerbaijan GP

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari’s interpretation of the unloaded front wing design featured a more curvaceous flap design, meeting with the endplate a little higher up than the Alfa Romeo solution.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, teams such as Mercedes opted for a ‘loaded’ design, with the entire span of the wing being utilised. This early version, which Mercedes used at the first pre-season test, actually saw the endplate kick inward at the trailing edge, likely in order that the vortex created at the tip would roll up differently.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

It’s a solution that was swiftly abandoned, with changes made not only to the orientation of the endplate but the subsequent revamp also saw the team utilise a cutout in the upper rear quarter of the endplate, to similarly affect the generation of this vortex.

Renault R.S.19 front wing sensor vs Alfa Romeo C38 sensor

Renault R.S.19 front wing sensor vs Alfa Romeo C38 sensor

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Unable to use the aerodynamic paraphernalia they’ve enjoyed in the past in order to turn airflow across and around the front tyre – known as ‘outwash’ – the designers have tried to use other smaller tricks. In the case of Renault and Alfa Romeo (inset) we can see how they’re trying to place and shape the infra-red camera support in order that it influences the airflow’s direction, however small an effect that may have.

Mercedes W10 front wing endplate comparison

Mercedes W10 front wing endplate comparison

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes continued to make small changes to its front wing design over the course of the next few races, with another new endplate and footplate design arriving and immediately being the subject of the FIA’s scrutiny. In order that the new design could be raced, the team was required to make some rudimentary on-site adjustments.

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The new endplate exposed the tip of the upper flap, and the FIA saw fit to step in and ask Mercedes to remedy the design before others moved to use even more aggressive solutions. The team opted to cover the end of the flap with a temporary addition on the endplate.

Mercedes W10 front wing flap

Mercedes W10 front wing flap

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The wing’s upper flap was also cut back to meet the FIA’s requirements.

McLaren MCL34 front wing comparsion

McLaren MCL34 front wing comparsion

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren kicked things off with more of a halfway-house solution (bottom) but moved ever closer toward the unloaded design trait with its update package in Spain (top).

Red Bull Racing RB15, front wing Austrian GP

Red Bull Racing RB15, front wing Austrian GP

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull has remained firmly at the other end of the spectrum, albeit with a small alteration coming as part of a large update package in France. You’ll note in the top outer corner the flap was pinched where it meets with the endplate.

Racing Point RP19, front wing end plate

Racing Point RP19, front wing end plate

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Racing Point changed its footplate design for the Canadian GP by cutting the surface back significantly in order that the vortex that forms here is altered.

Alfa Romeo C38 endplate design, German Grand Prix

Alfa Romeo C38 endplate design, German Grand Prix

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Similarly, Alfa Romeo targeted gains from a redesign of the outer section of the front wing at the British GP, altering the design of the footplate which now includes a divisional blade on the underside. The team also joined the growing number of teams to utilise an under-nose ‘cape’, used to align the flow downstream.

Racing Point RP19 nose

Racing Point RP19 nose

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Talking of capes, Racing Point also added one to its nose as part of a front-end update in Canada.

Renault F1 Team R.S.19 nose

Renault F1 Team R.S.19 nose

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Renault opted to introduce a small cape solution at its home Grand Prix in France.

Red Bull Racing RB15 front nose detail

Red Bull Racing RB15 front nose detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull hasn’t gone down the cape route, but did make an alteration to its nose design for the Monaco GP – closing the inlet on its tip.

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