Azerbaijan Grand Prix Pre-Race Techtalk

Azerbaijan Grand Prix baku 2021 qualifying verstappen red bull

Understandably Formula 1 teams do not readily disclose technical information about their development endeavours during the discourse of a race weekend.

For those of us with an interest in the R&D aspects of F1 information can be hard to come by and with the movement of non-essential personnel being severely (and understandably) limited in these COVID times, it is even more difficult to get an idea of what the teams are up to under the covers.

However, some very sharp-eyed photographers and knowledgeable journalists keep a keen eye on what is going on in R&D-land; here is a summary of what was spotted in Baku in the lead up to today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

Red Bull

  • Low profile exaggerated spoon-shaped rear wing main plane with simplified end plates removing stepped cut-out and louvres to minimise outboard directed drag.
  • Revised split front brake ducting.
  • Revised rear engine cover outlet detail.
  • Revised front wing detail with flo-vis testing continuing as late as FP3 (pictured above)

Mercedes

  • Minor diffuser detail updates.
  • Anti-Ackerman Monaco update removed.
  • Monaco front track rod and lower wishbone update reverted.
  • Revised rear engine cover outlet detail.

Ferrari

  • Revised front wing top flap trailing edge.
  • Low drag rear wing.

Aston Martin

  • Low drag two-pillar spoon-shaped main plane rear wing.
  • Revised halo fairing with boomerang winglets removed and fins added.
  • Revised mirror mounting.

Alpine

  • Cut back front-wing upper flap trailing edge.
  • Reshaped front wing flap tips to re-profile the Y250.
  • Minor bargeboard cluster detail revision.
  • New spoon-shaped main plane rear wing.
  • New rear wing endplate detail.

Alfa Romeo

  • Revised rear brake duct winglet detail and extensions.
  • Lower downforce rear wing main plane.
  • Revised rear wing endplate.
  • Front wing fifth element removed and gurney added to fourth.

McLaren

  • Low drag rear wing main plane.
  • Revised front brake duct detail.
  • Clipped front-wing upper flap trailing edge.
  • Much narrower engine cover with extensive flo-vis runs into FP2.

Alpha Tauri

  • Low drag rear wing main plane.
  • Revised front brake duct detail.
  • Clipped front-wing upper flap trailing edge.

Williams

  • New bargeboard detail.
  • New floor configuration.

Haas

  • Unknown

Conclusion

Whilst the obvious focus during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend has been on event-specific drag reduction some teams have used the opportunity to gather empirical data on significant developments that will impact their season moving forward. The McLaren engine cover and Williams floor are prime examples.

However, today’s raced in Baku will be all about using the tow to maximum effect and keeping out of mischief, while smart strategy will be key to a race that is likely to be packed with incidents from which surprises tend to flourish.