Tech F1i: A look at the teams’ updates in Shanghai

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Formula 1’s return to China after a five-year hiatus saw teams take a conservative approach in terms of development with only half the field opting to bring upgrades to the event.

Haas and Alpine were notable exceptions, while Mercedes was the only top-five team to implement a change on its 2024 contender.

Over at RB, the Faenza-based squad rolled out a new chassis for Daniel Ricciardo, for no other reason than to help the Aussie alleviate his doubts regarding his underperformance relative to teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Mercedes’ only change was an updated Halo, with a “small flick” added either side of the W15’s cockpit, behind the driver protection device.

The purpose of the tweak, according to Mercedes’ notes, is to “generate small vortices that help control the flow out of the cockpit”, and in doing so improve flow the car’s rear wing assembly.


Haas enjoyed a strong performance in Friday’s practice session, an indication that the changes implemented on its Vf-24 charger are bearing fruit.

Updated components include a new floor edge and fences with a new alignment of the elements helping them work together to boost downforce.

A modified coke/engine cover has also been added to the mix that, in conjunction with the aforementioned elements, reduces the “lower energy flow impacting the rear end of the car”.

Elsewhere on the VF-24, an incidence change on the rear corner elements improves the local flow features, resulting in an increase in local load.

Finally, a new mirror design housing with a smaller frontal area reduces its wake, minimizing impact on the rear of the car.

Alpine is desperately in need of turning around its fortunes, so the French outfit has brought forward to Shanghai a new floor for its A524, although only Esteban Ocon is benefiting from the change with Pierre Gasly receiving the update next month in Miami.

The changes include a revised floor body, modified floor fences and floor edges, all of which are intended to improve air flow and increase overall downforce. Importantly for Alpine, the new floor has been fitted to a new, lighter chassis.

This also implies that Alpine now has a spare tub that it can rely on for the first time this season.


Over at RB, the only change to the team’s VCARB 01 is an updated headrest, with the area of the latter behind the driver’s helmet being reshaped in a bid to improve the flow quality downstream.

Finally, Williams has updated the geometry of the forward part of the FW46’s Halo, which cleans up the flow around the cockpit protection element which in turn helps improve the flow to the rear wing.

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