Although Charles Leclerc was using a new, lower-downforce variant of Ferrari’s rear wing in Montreal than his teammate Carlos Sainz, it was about more than just giving Leclerc something to help him overtake from his penalized spot at the rear. Of the grill. after taking a fourth power unit. F1 tech expert Mark Hughes delves into Ferrari’s bigger plan, with the help of Giorgio Piola’s technical illustrations.
The wing used on Leclerc’s car at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will become the standard component at most circuits once enough examples have been built.
It is a completely different family of wing to the extreme low downforce wing that was raced in Baku. What Leclerc raced in Montreal is simply a lower downforce/drag version of the standard wing, without the straight-edged mainplane of the Baku wing and without a very small undersurface area.
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In Montreal, there was only one example of the wing, with Leclerc chosen to execute it. If there had been enough for two cars with spares, it probably would have been on both cars. It’s Ferrari’s response to the pattern seen in rival Red Bull’s early-season races with higher speed at the end of the straight. With this new wing variant, Ferrari has prepared to make a small sacrifice in total downforce for a more than proportional reduction in drag. Therefore, it is a more aeroefficient wing.
Ferrari engineer Claudio Albertini explained the background to the wing elections in Montreal. “With just one example, we couldn’t take a chance on Carlos’ car, because if he had been damaged in qualifying and replaced with a different specification wing, he would have had to start in pit lane. With Charles, because he was taking the PU penalty and starting from the back anyway, we were able to have a calmer, low-risk qualifying.
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“It is a medium level of downforce, similar to that used in Australia or Miami, but working on efficiency to have less drag… It is true that sometimes you realize when you see a rival in which you can improve and you see it . [with] top speed, there was room for improvement.”
The new wing works in conjunction with a revised lower beam wing, with a narrower upper wing. The new wing has a straight edge flap instead of the standard raised one. The main plane retains the standard wing’s outer upward sweep, but the center section does not sweep downward as dramatically.
This creates a smaller bottom surface area, and therefore a lower pressure difference between the top and bottom surfaces, since the airflow traveling over the bottom surface does not have to go as far to meet the air traveling over the upper surface and therefore it is not. ‘t forced to flow so fast. This reduces downforce (bad) and drag (good).
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The aim of improving efficiency is to gain more lap time from reduced drag than is lost from reduced downforce (although this will vary depending on track layout) and Ferrari feels they have achieved this with this spoiler.