Tech Analysis: Monaco GP developments

Tech Analysis: Monaco GP developments

Traditionally Monaco is never the place to bring substantial upgrades as far more time is found in setup work than 10 points of extra downforce. The key is giving the driver confidence, which is why the cars are loaded with additional smaller downforce inducing devices, on top of their baseline package, from front to rear. Small mechanical updates will also be on the agenda for a lot of teams to increase tyre temperatures, which is hard to achieve due to the slow-speed corners and slippery track surface. Here are the key developments from the weekend.

Red Bull

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Having stumbled upon a neat method of reducing drag at the front of the car, Red Bull have had to comply to the FIA’s ruling of mounting the onboard camera pods outside of the nose in the traditional format. Having not run the pods during the testing period, it was a neat touch to see that the team had placed them inside of the nose cone, with only a small bulge and slot for the camera lens to peer through revealing their position.

The location of the camera pods is defined by a box shape that – as with a lot of the FIA’s technical regulations – only considers two dimensions, so placing the pods inside of the nose within the defined region is totally legal. However the FIA drew comparisons to the drawings that compliment the article that discloses the camera pods, stating that there was a clear indication that the pods must be on the outside of the nose. Broadcasters were not happy about the angle of the image inside of the nose so the FIA intervened. The team have now a pair of horn-shaped supports that attach to each pod to guide airflow around the chassis in a very similar fashion to the Mercedes and Ferrari solutions.

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A primary Y100 – Monkey Seat – winglet was also installed above the already-existing lower element to boost downforce at the rear of the car. The winglet draws many comparisons to its 150mm wide predecessor from last year, although this year it has been extended to 200mm to maximise the new regulations in this area of the car. The two winglets work in conjunction with eachother to produce a greater upwash at the rear of the car.

Toro Rosso

Having discovered that their Renault power unit was significantly down on power at the start of the season, Toro Rosso were yet to have run a Monkey Seat until this weekend in a bid to reduce drag. The winglet is based off the one run in testing, with two arcing elements wrapping around the exhaust pipe exit. Again, this is to aid the upwashing process and produce more downforce.

Mercedes

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Mercedes formerly introduced their new Y100 winglet with some subtle changes over the one originally spotted at the post-Spanish GP test. The new arrangement draws comparisons to a lot of other designs that utilise the central ‘Y-lon’ rear wing pylon by curling around the exhaust at the bottom. By working with the curvature of the three elements sitting above the exhaust, this encourages the exhaust plume to remain straight when the car is turning which aids rear stability.

Two of the aforementioned elements are new and made of some sort of metal, possibly titanium to resist the heat caused by the plume. A new fourth element has also appeared in the form of a horizontal blade that sits above the main part of the winglet, which will further aid the exhaust plume’s direction of travel as it sweeps upward.

Images courtesy of Octane Photographic