John Beamer’s F1 tech file: Monza

Posted on | Author John Beamer

Honda ran revised front wing endplates on its troublesome RA108 at Monza
Honda ran revised front wing endplates on its troublesome RA108 at Monza

In what I hope will become a regular series John Beamer, editor of F1-Pitlane, takes a look at the teams’ technical developments from the Italian Grand Prix.

Not only is Monza a classic F1 track but it unique among current F1 tracks in that it demands teams to bring one-off aero packages to the race.

The combination of three long straights interspersed with some corners and a couple of chicanes mean that top-speed is off the essence. As a result teams opt to run flat wings that minimise drag at all costs.

As a point of comparison downforce is about 30% less than it is at a typical F1 track ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ think Silverstone or Barcelona. Given the monsoon conditions in qualifying and the early part of the race teams probably wished they were able to run slightly higher downforce but that would have compromised performance in the drier conditions seen later in the race. Anyway let?σΤιΌΤδσs take a look at how some of the teams adapted to the challenge of Monza.

Bye-bye and Dumbo ears and flow conditioners

McLaren\'s Monza nose (left) and Spa nose with flow conditioners
McLaren's Monza nose (left) and Spa nose with flow conditioners

Unsurprisingly most teams dispensed with Dumbo ears. These flow-conditioners are designed to moderate the air at the front of the car to aid rear downforce. As this creates drag the removal of these devices allows teams to increase top speed. Interestingly Honda was the only team that opted to keep its Dumbo ears suggesting that, on the RA108 at least, the purpose of these wings is to rebalance the car rather than create a lot of downforce. A second clue is their positioning, which is more forward than McLaren’s and BMW’s implementation.

In contrast most teams opted to keep bridge wings as these create much less drag than the dumbo ears. Toyota was the only team to remove the bridge wing, not that is seemed to improve performance.

Front wing attachments

Another subtle innovation sported by both BMW and Ferrari was the presence of more sculpted front wing pillars. Rather than the standard straight pillars, they are more curved to ease flow over the wing and increase aero efficiency.

Teams can get away with this because of the shallow font wing run at Monza. On any other track the pillar would adversely interact with the rear wing flap causing a loss of efficiency, hence straighter pillars are the order of the day.

Rear wing

Despite the wet conditions the teams ran skinny rear wings to boost top speed
Despite the wet conditions the teams ran skinny rear wings to boost top speed

Take a quick look at any car lining up on the grid and the flatness of the rear wing stands out. By virtue of being at the back of the cars, the rear wing is often run at a steep angle to create adequate downforce.

Not only does the back of the car need to do less work but the wake from the front is less disturbed than it usually is. Flow conditioners in the mid-region of the car often remain to help feed the rear wing ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ these devices create very little drag and are important to overall aero efficiency of the car.

Front wing endplates

Endplates are some of the most interesting aerodynamic devices on an F1 car. For a start, the interaction between the front wing and the wheel is astonishingly complicated and counter-intuitive solutions often appear.

Perhaps the most interesting was Honda?σΤιΌΤδσs new endplate, which featured a downward bending tear drop shaped vortex generator along its top edge (see top image). In isolation this device creates lift (and drag) but in conjunction with the wheel actually reduces drag of the total system.

Spot any other technical tweaks at Monza? Post them in the comments…

This is a guest article by John Beamer If you want to write a guest article for F1 Fanatic you can find all the information you need here.