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Tech F1i: Upgrades reign in Spain!

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As expected, the Spanish Grand Prix saw an array updates and changes for most Formula 1 teams, with Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren introducing the most extensive packages. F1i's resident techie Nicolas Carpentiers takes a look at the squads' mods.


In Barcelona, Ferrari modified the fixing mounts of its rear-view mirrors, now attached to the Halo and no longer to the cockpit.

It will be remembered that the FIA authorized this installation between the Chinese and Azerbaijani Grand Prix, in response to the complaints of the drivers and the teams about the poor rearward visibility due to the widening and lowering of the rear wing last year.

As usual, engineers quickly realized that change could be exploited to improve performance. This is how the Scuderia took the opportunity to add a winglet above the actual mirror, whose shape is superimposed perfectly on that of the rear-view mirror fairing.

While the tether itself is likely to offer few aerodynamic gains, this is not so the case with the winglet. Its curved profile indicates a desire of aerodynamicists to direct the airflow down ("downwash"), in order to send a better quality flow to the rear wing.

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That’s why several teams asked Charlie Whiting to comment on the legality of it all, a request which resulted in a technical directive being sent to everyone this week by the FIA's head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis, clarifying the governing body's position on the concept of halo-mounted mirrors.

The Scuderia will subsequently be forced to modify its assembly for next week's Monaco Grand Prix. The dispute concerned the definition of the word “mounting”, which Maranello apparently interpreted too freely (the FIA considers that it is not an attachment stricto sensu but a bodywork element, which is prohibited in this area of the car).

Clarification will be useful as several teams are working on a similar assembly, including Renault:

“We’re working on something too,” Technical Director Bob Bell told Auto Motor und Sport. “I think all the teams will be.”

As can be seen in the last image above, the French team tested in the garage a resin prototype made with a 3D printer.