2013 Monza Aero Analysis

As the fastest race of the year, Monza is always very interesting to watch technically as teams bring their completely new setups to meet the low downforce/ drag requirement for this circuit. Massive difference in front wing and rear wing design can be clearly seen, that mainly involves usage of smaller shallower wing flaps, removal of cascades, endplates slots, etc.

Front Wing

Front wings appeared in Monza all look much simpler than they normally are in other races, with the removal of cascades and use of fewer elements. The usage of cascades in most races aims to better manage tyre wake by lifting the air up around the tyre. However they can also introduce some drag together with downforce, that are necessarily needed in Monza. Many teams have used a no cascade front wing here, while some others trim off their cascades to reduce drag.

Ferrari’s front wing looks like the most interesting one, with removal of cascades, they fit on two vertical vortex generators instead aligned outwards on the wing. This would help flow over/around the tyres (what cascades are used for) by 1) better directing the air outwards from the wheel; 2) generating two vortices behind it that re-energise the airflow for better management of tyre wake. They have also simplified the upper flap to make it into one piece instead of two in other races.

Ferrari Front Wing Monza 2013
Ferrari Front Wing Monza 2013

Red Bull has trimmed all their cascades to shorter span therefore reducing drag.

Red Bull Front Wing Monza 2013
Red Bull Front Wing Monza 2013

McLaren used a classic three tier front wing without any cascades. They’ve been using a quite simple classic design in recent few races already. Reportedly they’ve not managed to find a way to get  aero right to meet up with the new pull-rod suspension used this year, which is the main reason for their performance drop. In this case, a classic design is a reasonably good solution, while they can shift more effort to next year’s design.

McLaren Front Wing Monza 2013
McLaren Front Wing Monza 2013

Rear Wing

Rear wing design has been made quite complicated in recent years with the deployment of endplates slats and slots (louvres). Basically pressure difference over two sides of the wing surface (how downforce is generated) would cause a spiralling air over the wing tip, that is called wing tip vortices. This also happens to the endplates as pressure outside the endplates would be lower than pressure in between. To decrease the induced drag caused by wing tip vortices, slots and slats are used to even out the pressure difference on two sides.  However in Monza, with small shallow rear wings, pressure difference is not as significant as that in other races. Slats/slots are therefore removed since reduced pressure difference also reduces downforce. In addition, there isn’t much space on the endplates to add in louvres above a small main plane. Another notable influence is that DRS is not very powerful on this circuit with already small and flat rear wings.

Red Bull has removed all the slots on their endplates:

Red Bull Rear Wing Monza 2013
Red Bull Rear Wing Monza 2013

Mercedes Monza rear wing: only two slots above. Leading edge slots used to direct turbulent air coming off the rear tyre inside the endplates for pressure balance. Also worth noting that their beam wing is running at lower AoA to shed off downforce/drag.

Mercedes Rear Wing Monza 2013
Mercedes Rear Wing Monza 2013

Lotus Long Wheel Base

Lotus has tested their long wheel base car in practice. They basically reduced the degree at which the front wishbone is angled towards the mainbody, therefore moving front tyre forwards about 10cm (Sketch from @TechF1LES). This would change the front-rear balance/ weight distribution of the car. It should also give an aerodynamic benefit by allowing more space for front tyre wake to settle before it reaches the sidepod. Lotus will continue their development on LWB as not much advantage was noted in Monza practice.

Lotus Long Wheel Base (@TechF1LES)
Lotus Long Wheel Base (Source: @TechF1LES)

*Images from AMuS unless otherwise stated

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