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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Monza Low Downforce Setup

There is no circuit in F1 that looks simpler than Monza, a typical circuit dominated by long straights. In response to this, downforce is not that favourable here, on the contrary, low downforce setup aiming to reduce drag is the key to win the race.

Front Wing

Front wing is not often changed significantly from race to race as it is the part that determines downstream flow, therefore affecting the design of all following parts. However, for Monza, most teams have adjust their front wing by removing cascades, lower down AoA or reducing chord length.

McLaren has removed all the outer cascades and replaced their 2-section upper flap with one single upper flap.

Source: Formula1.com

McLaren Front Wing Change from Spa to Monza

Source: Sutton Image

McLaren Front Wing in Monza

Another noticeable change on front wing is from Ferrari, who has removed all the small upper cascades and made several changes to the flaps and endplates profile.

Source: Formula1.com

Ferrari Front Wing Comparison from Spa to Monza

Rear Wing

The rear wing design is closely related to exhaust/cooling, sidepod and rear diffuser. Teams have different adjustments based on their cars. Major methods to reduce downforce/drag in Monza includes slimming rear wings, introducing V-shape profile and use gurney flap on diffusers.

With Massa hitting 3rd in qualifying and Alonso finishing on podium from 10th start, Ferrari proved their speed in Monza. They modified the beam wing with a V-cut profile and slimmed outer span, fit gurneys along the trailing edge of the diffuser, and quite uniquely, added flaps above and below the diffuser. The V-cut supplies the car with enough downforce at corners with low downforce setup for straights. Use of gurneys and additional flaps help regulating the flow, correspondingly reducing drag.

farrari monza rear design
Source: ScarbsF1

Ferrari Rear Design for Monza

Similar to Ferrari, Red Bull also used a V-shaped beam wing, in combination with a rear wing of very small AoA. They’re among the teams that suffer the most from the ban of exhaust blown diffuser this year and quite obviously still haven’t found a ideal design for their underbody rear part. In Monza, they’ve also added an additional tier to the diffuser gurneys, though that didn’t seem to give them clear benefit.

Red Bull V-shaped Beam Wing

Source: Sutton Image

Additional Tier on RB8 Diffuser Gurney

As the low downforce rear wing has clearly given Button huge advantage in Spa, McLaren is quite happy using this setup for both cars in Monza with a few modifications to further reduce drag. Instead of slimming the wing as other teams, McLaren cleverly introduced a curved profile at the tip of their beam wing to smooth air flow.

Source: ScarbsF1

McLaren Rear Design for Monza – Note Curved Tips on Beam Wing

Lotus has drawn wide attention because of their so-called DDRS system – It’s still quite confusing how people call this device though. Anyway we’re not seeing it until Singapore since Monza is not a preferable circuit for this system. In Monza, Lotus runs on the shortest chord rear wing, which makes it look quite tiny from behind.

Source: F1 Technical

Lotus Rear Design for Monza

Check this post from ScrabsF1 for more detailed analysis of rear end design based on each car relating exhaust/cooling/sidepod to rear wing assembly.