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TECHNICAL: Ferrari to fast-track Silverstone upgrades to Barcelona as teams show off their high-downforce rear wings


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Having just arrived in Barcelona, it has emerged that Ferrari has managed to fast-track some upgrades that had been originally planned for Silverstone. F1Technical’s lead journalist Balazs Szabo delivers his latest technical analysis.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the most complete of any circuit in the world, not just those on the Formula 1 calendar, in terms of the challenges it presents. Apart from its straights, it boasts every possible type of corner, with some of them, such as Turn 3 and the combination of 13 and 14 which lead onto the main straight, taken at very high speeds.

The lateral forces exerted on the tyres, especially on the lefthand side of the car are particularly high, partly because nine of the 14 turns are to the right.

For many years, this circuit was home to winter testing for the teams and also marked the start of the European part of the season, which also signified the arrival of the first major upgrades of the year.

Recently, changes to pre-season testing and the calendar mean this is no longer the case, but Barcelona is still a probing test, met with trepidation by all the teams because – and in this case the cliché is true – if a car is competitive here, it should be quick at all types of track.

Considering the high-speed corners of the Barcelona track, it is no surprise that many teams have brought a medium-to-high downforce level rear wing.

As seen on the images of respected F1 journalist Albert Fabrega, there are different trends to recognize among the teams in terms of the design of their rear wings. There are a group of outfits that have elected to bring a spoon-shaped rear wing to Barcelona. This group includes three of the leading four teams – McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull- and also the Visa Cash RB squad.

By contrast, the spoon-shaped concave curvature is less prominent on the Ferrari’s and Alpine’s rear wing assembly as both teams opted for an upward, horizontally stretched parabolic trailing edge.

Williams and Aston Martin have gone for a more aggressive solution as the central section of the trailing edge of the main plane is linear, only the outer segments follow the concave curvature which is dictated by the technical rules.

While teams were divided in terms of the V-shaped cut-out on the flap in Montreal, only McLaren opted for a moderate cut-out in Barcelona while the rival teams elected to run a linear trailing edge.

There are key differences in terms of the tip sections as well. Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and RB have opted for a very similar, simple, rectangular tip section. By contrast, the other teams elected to use a curved line, with McLaren opting for the most striking parabolic solution.

Ferrari has arrived with a raft of upgrades in Barcelona. The most visible upgrade is the new rear wing which is a completely new version. The Scuderia completed the opening seven rounds with the same rear wing before having introduced the high downforce rear wing in Monaco.

In Montreal, the Scuderia ran a low-to-medium rear wing, and it has now emerged that Ferrari brought a completely new medium-to-high downforce rear to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The new rear wing sports a moderate spoon-shaped curvature, a rectangular tip section while the trailing edge of the flap is linear and does not have any cut-offs.

Moreover, Ferrari updated the L-shaped cockpit device that sits alongside the halo. The deflector was introduced in Imola as part of the comprehensive upgrade package, and aims to improve airflow over the car.

The engine cover and bodywork around the coke bottle section appears to have gone through some changes as well. This section looks a bit slimmer compared to the version that was introduced in Imola.


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