For the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, where set-up demands a tricky balance between downforce levels aimed at the straightline speed needed in Sectors 1 and 2 and the more twisty second sector, teams have brought plenty of circuit-specific tweaks, but in terms of overall performance upgrades designed to make a car generally perform better, it’s Mercedes who lead the way this weekend.
The Silver Arrows have brought new sidepods and a new engine cover, as well a revised floor and a changed rear wing.
The W14 E boasts sidepods with taller inlets this weekend, a change the team says improves flow quality to the sidepod radiators, improves engine cooling and allows for less louvres for a given cooling level. The engine cover has increased camber on the side view, which provides for better onset flow to the rear of the car and in particular the rear wing resulting in improved downforce and drag.
A revised floor features small changes to the volume distribution, which the team believes will extract more local load from the forward floor vortex system, which in turn improves flow to the diffuser.
And finally, there’s a more circuit-specific change to the rear wing, with the new version featuring reduced camber and reduced chords which provides less downforce and drag to maximise performance on Spa’s long straights.
Alpine, too, have also brought a revised floor layout to Spa, and the French squad believes that changes to the forward fences and canoe ramps, as well as a smoother diffuser wall cut-out profile will result in a general downforce gain. Alpine also have a Spa-focused change to the front wing of the A523 with a larger cut-out on the front wing flap that reduced aerodynamic load.
Red Bull, meanwhile, have brought another change to the RB19’s engine cover after unveiling a version in Hungary revised to work with the new sidepods introduced last weekend. The Spa version of the ‘Coke’ features a minor revision to the cooling exits on each side ahead of the upper rear wishbones. The changes have been made to cooling requirements in the colder ambient conditions typically encountered at Spa.
Elsewhere, it’s all about circuit-specific changes designed to reduce drag.
Ferrari have made changes to the upper and lower rear wings to reduced downforce for the straights, while McLaren have also tinkered with their rear wings, with revised trims to the trailing edge of the rear wing flap element, modified end plates and an altered beam wing all contributing to downforce reduction for Spa.
It’s a similar story at Alfa Romeo. The Swiss outfit had a good weekend at the tight and twisty Hungaroring but with Valtteri Bottas suggesting in the Thursday’s Official FIA press conference that “whenever there’s more straight line it’s a bit more of a struggle for our car”, the team have attempted to shave off some drag here by reducing the profile of the rear wing, revising the front wing to balance that reduction and changed the profile of the beam wing, which is available in two versions, with and without an upper element.
The rear and beam wings have been given the Spa treatment at Aston Martin but the Silverstone team have also brought a revised floor with a changed edge to boost local load.
Williams have brought new, shorter winglets for the rear brake ducts and a front wing alteration that provides for an optional trim to the rearward element to give a shorter chord length.
AlphaTauri, meanwhile, have brought a changed rear wing designed for general performance improvement. The Faenza squad have altered rear wing tips of the AT04, with the increased size of the cut-outs providing an increase in local load of the upper wing assembly by increasing the tip loading.
Finally, there are no upgrades to the Haas VF-23 this weekend.